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Image: Maggie with Pop! Wed Co.

This post has been forming in my mind for a week now. But really it started back in college when I took a sociology class (man I LOVED soc classes) about relationships and families. One of the things we covered in class one day, stuck with me all this time, the differing views that men and women tend to have on what marriage means. Now let me preface by saying that I am paraphrasing because I don’t remember the exact details of the article/study we read and talked about (I was in college/this class like 10 years ago guys …), and the study focused only on heterosexual couples. So pardon the potential gross generalities here.

The gist was that one of the issues of couples cohabitating before marriage was that they each had different expectations and views on what would happen once they got married. In general, most men expected nothing to change – that the relationship would stay the same, and they would “just be married now”. But on the other hand, most women expected A LOT would change once they got married.

Now I am not exactly sure why women would think that getting married is like some sort of wizardry. That the act of getting married means their partner would suddenly become neater, more attentive, less grumpy, etc. But I see this happening first hand (not with my clients!) but with friends of friends and hearing of relationship qualms post-marriage.

So let me put this out there for any engaged, soon to be engaged, or maybe somedayย engaged in the distant future, couples out there: marriage is NOT a solution to your relationship problems. When you get married, it’s not magic, it’s not easy, and it most certainly doesn’t mean that your problems go away. I might argue that getting married might even bring you MORE challenges because there is no longer an easy out, as you have vowed and promised to be in this together, but that is probably a separate blog post in itself.

Now don’t mistake my words here, I LOVE being married. I love having a life partner in my husband, who is really my partner in all senses of the word, but we did not go into marriage lightly, nor did we go into it blindly. We went in with the understanding that it was going to be hard, it was going to be trying, and it was going to be something we would have to work at, often.

I have a hard time understanding how others don’t see this. Like when you hear that people divorce because one didn’t want kids – isn’t that something you talk about BEFORE you get married? I think some people think “oh once we get married, so and so will change their mind about kids”. They might, or they might not. But in either case, marriage won’t be the reason that that person will or will not change their mind.

So I invite you, engaged, soon to be engaged, and possibly engaged in the distant future, couples, to think about your relationship and the challenges you face (and might face) now. I invite you to talk about these challenges and find out where you might disagree with your partner on certain big ticket items, before you get married. Because while being married is truly a wonderful thing, it most certainly will not be a solution to your relationship problems.

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