The hoopla surrounding weddings can often overshadow the reality of married life. Gerry Ellen offers some questions to prepare you for a lasting marriage.
There are so many beautiful and wondrous things about the matrimonial state of being. The union and partnership of two loving souls who betroth their lives and hearts to each other for the remainder of their time here on earth is the epitome of bliss and modern day conventional wisdom. Or is it?
I have been married twice. No small secret, and definitely no regrets or shame after the fall of our relationships and togetherness. Sure I can say that now, since so much time has lapsed after the breakups; but frankly and in retrospect, I don’t think I was even close to being ready to be married. Or if I was, I certainly didn’t have the proper tools to carry out an emotionally intimate forever union with another person.
I had some serious growing up to do as a late bloomer. I wasn’t prepared or in any way knowing how to migrate beyond the best friend stage and the whole domesticated phase after that. Domestication and partnership are right up my alley, but I had other things to learn and get in touch with at the time, and I had adventures to participate in (of the mindful nature).
As I look back, the most amazing piece about marriage was the glow and lustful feelings in the beginning, being hitched to someone to almost call my own. But it is so much more evolved than that.
When we say our “I do’s” to another person we love, the true test of partnership comes into focus. It is only before we walk down the aisle, or in both my cases, dirt paths by the beach, that we get a real taste of what spending each waking moment with our person really looks like. What goes on before marriage is a beautiful whirlwind of the heart and the long-term planning of the ceremony, the honeymoon, the registry choices, the talks of cohabitation, and all that other gooey romantic stuff thrown into the couple-hood cauldron of love.
These are some of the questions posed during the after-loveliness of what changes in marriage, and in no particular order, with me coming from a place of complete respect and reflection and love, and some messiness thrown in:
- Who does what around the house to keep it in some sort of working order?
- Budgeting and financial breakdowns of “do we combine our resources, have separate checking accounts, plan our money for a future fallout, what?”
- Are we going to have children?
- If I lose my job will you be able to support me financially, physically and emotionally?
- Where do we want to retire and do we even need to discuss this at the onset of our nuptials?
- Do we have a pre-nuptial agreement? This is actually a “before marriage” discussion, but if one or both of you are a bit wary of “one foot out the door syndrome” then you probably don’t need to be married at all, much less discussing a pre-nuptial agreement.
- What types of sleeping habits do you have?
- How often are we going to make love and get crazy wherever our wild selves need to go?
- When we make friends, do we preferred coupled people, or single people?
- Will you engage in same-type activities together, or will you be spending most of your couple-hood on solo adventures, or with other friends?
- Do we have each others’ backs in times of strife? (This one is a biggie!)
- Do we continue to laugh and make love often and engage in constant intellectual stimulation?
- Does our respect and admiration continue to be at an all-time high?
I have no doubt more thought-provoking questions could be added to the list by those who have experienced marital bliss, and who experience different responses when the “thank you” cards have been sent, the gifts have all been put away and to good use, and the sheets on the bed have gone from clean to used.
Marriage is a beautiful thing, there is no doubt. It’s also not something to be taken lightly. Once we exchange rings and vows and words of forever loyalty and commitment, that’s when the real and true party begins.
It is not simply a celebration of two people joining forces; marriage is also a love-induced depth of heart, soul, mind, body and everything else in between.
It brings the good with the not-so-good. It opens up new avenues of change and things that probably were forgotten. If it is a roller-coaster, perhaps even the best of intentions can’t tiptoe around the intensity, but only those who stick it out through thick and thin, will be all the better for it.
Marriage cannot be underestimated by any sense of the word, and the partnership alone is worth its weight in gold, or platinum, or whatever other gemstone happens to bejeweling the fingers of the two parties involved.
One thing is for certain, the afterglow must never die.
[image: via gomagoti on flickr]