Sadly, it is increasingly uncommon to see couples celebrating twenty-fifth wedding anniversaries. As meaningful as vows and religious convictions might be, some couples reach the point where it seems to be doing more harm than good to stay together.
Perhaps the trend towards marrying in the late twenties or early thirties will have a positive impact on the longevity of marriages. By that age, young people often have had the opportunity to date several people, to become established in a career, and to mature.
These factors allow them to make a conscious choice about what they want for their future. It is not simply a matter of falling in love and getting excited about the ‘idea’ of a wedding. It is more about getting clear about who one is, and knowing when there is a good ‘fit’ with a partner.
To fall in love with someone because they are attractive, or fun to be with is fine, but those qualities alone cannot sustain a strong marriage. You have to really know the person well enough to see both strengths and weaknesses. You also must be prepared to live with the weaknesses, because you cannot change another person. Ideally, with good communication and commitment to the marriage, compromises can be worked out.
Too often, things we may not like are overlooked in the thrill of the romance, and once the honeymoon is over we want to begin making ‘renovations.’ This is the source of much conflict in marriages. Better to have waited and found someone who was a better fit for you, than to marry another and make his/her life miserable because he/she is not all that you wanted.
If you want to live happily ever after, then you must take your time in choosing, and choose with both your head and your heart.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit www.gwen.ca