We’ve all heard the jokes. ‘Marriage isn’t a word, it’s a sentence’ is arguably one of the most poignant. How many people get trapped in a marriage which they thought would work out, and when it started to fall apart, they thought they’d use children like a sticking plaster. And when that didn’t work … According to some sources, the average marriage is expected to last for about 32 years.
Most jail sentences are actually shorter.
So, how to get it right? After all, if there’s a formula for book writing, motor racing, cauliflower shape and babies, there must be one for marriage.
- You’ve brought your experience with you.
Everyone gains something from experience, even if it’s ‘how to avoid’ information. Anyone who’s managed a relationship into the so-called long term – even if that long term was only five or six years – should be able to isolate a few of the good things and reproduce them in a positive way.
Obviously, don’t actually bring those relationships up. They should stay firmly in the past. What you need is the lessons learned. The bit where you know that when he’s glued to the footy, that’s because he loves the footy, not because he doesn’t love you.
- You share everything with each other.
If you can’t share everything, there’s a reason for that. Maybe it’s a lack of trust; perhaps there’s some sense of judgement. Hiding things is bad. It makes it harder to open up about everything if you sense the other disapproves, and it’s important in marriage that you feel like it’s the two of you against the world.
- You share goals.
It’s not enough that she knows everything about you. If she wants you to settle down with a white picket fence and 2. 4 children, and all you want is to go clubbing with the lads at weekends, have reasonable sex at least three times a week (you’ve got to be realistic) and earn enough money for Ibiza every year, then you’re not shooting from the same barrel.
- You understand one another.
There is no changing anyone. It’s the law. There’s no point in thinking that you can and ideally, if you’re with the right person, you’re prepared to overlook the annoying things because of all the wonderful characteristics.
- You know the difference between marriage and wedding.
Don’t forget, you’re likely to have at least 32 years of this person. If all you’re aiming for is the fabulous party with the white dress, the flowers, the bridesmaids and everyone looking at you, you’re probably not ready for the reality which is marriage.
Julie Rennie hosts wedding receptions in Edinburgh, Scotland. She hopes this article will make it easier for people to decide if they are ready to get married.