Little girls dream about it. Boys catch on a little later in life. Both genders eventually come to that time in their lives where marriage is on their minds. They envision the nice house, 2.5 children and a dog, the picket fence, a couple of luxury cars, good jobs, soccer and lacrosse games and so much more. Then, there are those trips to grandmother’s house for holidays and special traditions established within the families. Ah! How lovely. Just one thing, are you imagining these marriages based on movies from the Hallmark Movie Channel, The Housewives of…, advice from successfully married or none of the above?
As a divorced woman who learned more about marriage and men after marriage, I would highly advise any person, no matter what age, ethnic background, religion or other characteristic to invest sufficient time learning as much as you can about the opposite sex. In addition, read books or attend relationship seminars in preparation of marriage. Marriage is not a fairy tale and never resembles those ridiculous movies or reality shows on television.
First, let me share one of my situations while married. Now, I love to get my proper sleep each night. I’m not lazy, but I do like to get my eight hours each night. One night I was sleeping extra hard after a rough three days at work when I noticed my ex nudging up on me at 3:00 a.m. because he couldn’t sleep and ,of course, for a little nookie. I was steaming mad and felt like executing a karate kick. I’m most irritable if you wake me up in the middle of the night for anything less than an emergency. However, I also know that men are wired for sex and they just need it when they need it. I could hear the old women saying “you’d better take care of your man before he gets his needs taken care of somewhere else.”
Well, my thoughts were, where was his understanding for my need to rest as a working wife who cooks, washes, and does everything around the house? Why couldn’t he show me a little concern by allowing me to get a little more sleep? You may say it’s such a little thing, but little things take on a life of their own depending on the people in the scenario. I only share this to say to the women who can’t wait to be married that you’d better be prepared. You can only feign so many headaches before you’re busted. This is one area of contention that has existed between the sexes for years. Wives call their husbands sex-crazed when really they are just desiring the women who made them say “yes”. You’ve got to be ready for all things with this commitment. It’s bigger than a white dress with a veil. You don’t want to be a deer in the headlights totally caught off guard by the behavior of the opposite sex.
There is a men’s list and a women’s list. We have physical and mental changes that occur with each decade of our lives that can affect our behavior. Without proper education about the sexes, men will fail to understand that women prefer to be left alone during the week that their menstrual cycle is coming because the hormones are skewed. Can you gently embrace this men? The same goes for men during their forties and fifties. The testosterone plummets and men go through male menopause and experience significant changes in behavior, manliness, and body image. They need a cheerleader during this time, not a critic. Will you serve that role with gladness, ladies?
Unfortunately, these differences in the sexes are not discussed in depth before individuals take the plunge. Couples get too caught up in the particulars of the wedding and fail to adequately invest in premarital counseling to determine the potential strength of the marriage. People buy into the adage “love will find a way.” That’s cute, but I’m not really sure what that means. Realistically, strong marriages are about how committed couples are for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health,…
Ultimately, my goal here was to celebrate the beauty of the institution of marriage while reminding candidates to understand that much work will be required. It’s definitely not for the selfish or self-centered. It’s not a trophy to be obtained, but something two people must be ready to thoroughly embrace. Too many people are ill-equipped to be married which leaves couples in something more like a prison. The thing about prison is you either die in it (stay married) or you get released (divorced). If two people are not willing to do the work required to be bound together until death does them part, just put marriage on hold for a while. It’s a huge investment in one’s time, love, patience, and care. You cannot just turn it on and off when you want.
In closing, take advantage of all the YouTube videos, relationship and marriage seminars, and books about 1) the opposite sex and what constitutes their behavior and 2) what are the keys to a great marriage. Let’s don’t learn these two things on autopilot. It’s blessed me and hopefully, it will bless you, too!