You’ve dreamt about your wedding day your whole life. The perfect white wedding dress. The romantic violin and piano duet as you walk with your bundle of roses. The exchange of vows against the sunset. And most importantly, the man at the end of the aisle.
You’re excited to unveil a new chapter of your life with your SO. You put such romanticism on becoming a mother and a loving partner. You have high hopes for the future and pledge to make it happen.
No, you won’t end up in failed marriages like the ones you’ve seen with celebrities, or with your family. You’ve read a lot of articles, telling you ways of achieving a healthy marriage – to communicate, to spend quality time with each other, to resolve conflicts ASAP, and to keep the romantic activities ongoing.
But whether you like it or not, there may come a time when the romantic facade of married life strips off, revealing that the flowery vows are easier said than done.
Expectation: Without sex, your relationship will collapse.
Reality: Without friendship, your relationship will collapse.
Women’s magazines have taught us that physical intimacy keeps a relationship alive. I couldn’t agree more. How many times have you read articles about “surefire ways to spice up marriages” like the best activities for dates, and best sex positions?
When the relationship is slowly fading, you turn to these romantic and pleasurable things to keep the fire burning.
But there’s something we should nurture more – the friendship. It is your sturdy foundation. When the friendship is lost, that is when a marriage falls apart just like a house of cards.
You know why? You’ll encounter drastic changes when you get married. Job loss, mortgage payments, economic hardships, pregnancy scares and infertility, sick children, aging parents – all these stressful events will hit you, test your strength, as well as your relationship.
Aside from acting as a lovemaking buddy, a provider, and a father to your child, your spouse should be your best friend. He should be the one to rely on more than anyone else.
Expectation: Having kids will surely make your marriage better.
Reality: It may. It may not.
The moment a little human being comes into your life, your marriage is no longer about each other – it’s about raising that human being.
You’ll start making sacrifices you’ve never done before. You adjust your priorities. You establish roles. You engage into great conflicts.
Don’t get me wrong. Parenthood will bring you the biggest joys, and the biggest heartbreaks as well. It will allow you to grow individually and as a couple. However, there’s no guarantee a child will make your marriage better.
There are moments when the children are used to fill the lack in the marriage. To “complete” what has been missing.
Some people will stop and think, “Maybe he’ll change when we have our own kids. Maybe he’ll learn to become more responsible.”
Unhappy couples decide to have kids so they may save their marriage but once the baby novelty wears off, they realize how broken they are. So it’s safe to say that you shouldn’t expect children to improve your marriage.
Expectation: Be with someone who completes you.
Reality: No one should be completing anyone.
Not secure about yourself? Don’t enter a marriage. Don’t expect your partner to be a “missing puzzle piece” that could provide what is lacking in your individuality.
No one should be completing anyone. It’s absurd to say “I can’t leave him because I’m not complete without him” or “I gave everything to him and now I’m left with nothing.”
We’re not in the dating stage anymore. So before you shop for a wedding dress or hire a wedding planner, ask yourself: Are you whole enough to get married?
Expectation: Divorce should never come across your mind.
Reality: Divorce has always been an option.
Who gets into a relationship, thinking of some possible ways to exit? Nobody. Most people would tell you that you shouldn’t think about divorce as an option and you should focus on making the relationship work out.
Well, they’re right. But how about using the thought of divorce as a way of nurturing your marriage?
A divorce is an option. It has always been. Maybe you just have to see it in a new light. Think of it, not as an exit strategy when something goes wrong, but rather a warning that your relationship is always at risk and you should do everything in your power to nourish it.
Look at how beautiful your relationship is, and how much you love your husband. It’s like finding a precious gemstone. You don’t want to lose it. You don’t want to abandon it just because its shine dimmed.
Appreciate each other. Express how much you love him. Say thank you. Maintain good communication. Strengthen your friendship.
Keep the fire burning. Resolve conflicts as they arise. Apologize and forgive. You got this.