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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Marriage Series: Is marriage a bad thing?

Welcome to the first week of the "How to make your marriage work," series.

I'm so happy you've taken the time to educate yourself on how to have a strong marriage. Like I said previously, this series isn't just for those who are married or are currently engaged. It's truly for everyone. 

Do I need to define everyone?

The single lady 
(All the single ladies! All the single ladies!)
The dating hopeful
The "He mentioned the idea" 
The I'm not sure I ever want to take that step
The engaged
The newlywed
The long married
The separated
The divorced

And so on.

For our first week, I thought it would be fitting to discuss the biggest question that looms around the idea of marriage. I mean, it is why most people don't want to get married in the first place right?

Everyone wants to know, "Is marriage a bad thing?" 

Seriously, I don't know how many times I get asked, 

"How are you and your husband doing?"
"Do you like being married?"
"Why would you want to get married?"
"Is it hard?"
"Don't you get tired of each other?" 

The truth is, the answer to these questions can vary by minute, hour, day, week, pretty much in a split second. But to answer the main question, I would say no, marriage is absolutely not a bad thing.

Take my husband and myself for example. We've been best-friends since the age of twelve so it's safe to say we knew each other quite well before getting engaged. (As well as you can think you know someone until you're with them 24/7). 

We dated for about three and a half years before getting married. (I guess he wasn't sure about me). As we discussed the idea of marriage, our friends thought we were stark crazy. They couldn't understand why on Earth we would ever want to do something like that. 

After all, we were only twenty-three and twenty-four. To the world's standards, we were little babies, but to us we had accomplished so so much by the grace of God.

It was the next logical step.

We loved one another.
Wanted to become one.
Wanted to be able to be intimate. (That's an entirely different story)
Wanted to live in the same home.
And simply, we just wanted to start building and creating our lives together.

As we explained this to our not so easily convinced friends, they gave us tremendous grief. The more they told us we couldn't and shouldn't do it, the more we knew that we could. 
And so we did and have been making it work to everyone's surprise.

One reason marriage gets a bad rap is because people go into it with the wrong intentions and mind frame. They don't have a plan, so when the tough times come around (which they will) everything seemingly just falls apart. Sure we can have a plan and everything changes, but at least there was one to begin with. We can't expect to jump into such a commitment and think everything is going to be fine simply because we hope it will be.

Just like anything else in life, we need to plan ahead in order to succeed.

Marriage takes work; work from both participants. And who says work has to be a bad thing?

Our engagement lasted six months and in that time we took classes, were mentored, and discussed our upcoming union. Not the wedding aspect, but the life post wedding. 

What would our finances look like?
How much would we spend?
Where did we see our careers in the future? 
What did we expect from one another?
How did we see alone time? Is it okay to travel out of town with friends?
What was a fair amount of "hanging out" with friends time every week?
What were we going to do to keep the romance?
What were our feelings on divorce?
How involved did we want our parents to be in our lives? What would be their roles?

And the list goes on.

Developing a plan for us wasn't just about where we were going to live. It was about our entire lifestyle. If you can be on the same page about that, you're already stomping out "the marriage is bad" stigma. 

Another reason marriage gets a bad rap is because people think once you're married, your life is over.

Excuse me, it's marriage not death!

Your not in jail or under house arrest. Get out and get a life!

My husband is a people person and I on the other hand would rather stay home. Knowing this, we've built time for him to hang out with his friends into our weekly schedule. I don't know about you, but I'd rather my guy be out playing golf or watching a movie with his friends than rotting at home with me. It's great to spend time together, but be sure to spend time a part as well. 

After all, absence does make the heart grow fonder.

I seriously could go on forever, but I'll give you a break. Here's a list of reasons why marriage isn't bad:

1. You inherit a built-in best friend.
2. You have someone to share your ideas, dreams, frustrations, etc. with.
3. They become your biggest supporter.
4. You have someone who will give you their honest opinion.
5. You get to build a home together.
6. Dual income! (If you're not a housewife)
7. You gain a travel buddy.
8. You get to create new things together; maybe even a family.
9. It teaches you a lot about yourself.
10. It has the power to make you a better person if you'll let it.
11. You have someone who will challenge you and vice-versa.
12. You have someone to help you.
13. You get to watch one another grow and change while growing together. 
(It's inevitable. Neither of you will stay the same. Just make sure you're aware of the changes and be willing to change as well).

And most importantly,
 14. You have someone to share your love with and to receive love from.

Did I miss anything? 
I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts and tune in next Wednesday when we continue with  

"Marry & stay married for the right reasons."