Marriage Advice from a Divorce Attorney and me

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/03/laura-wasser-celebrity-di_n_817271.html

I’ve glanced over this article on the Huffington Post, written by Divorce Attorney Laura Wasser, and found it to be quite good.  So I would like to share it here with those of you who are thinking about marriage, hope to be wed in the future, or are about to tie the knot.  She brings up some excellent points about what would make a good marriage and these are things that I think are not well thought of by folks who are making plans. 

Most people get married because they are in love, for money, for status, because they are pregnant, because they have to, there are so many things that draw people to marriage.  How many couples however, sit down and talk about what will happen after the fact? I find that most people spend more time arguing about the big day than they give to the day after.  The white wedding is surely a wonderful and glamorous affair that most girls are taught to dream of from day one.  However, since most of our fairy tales are all about the wedding and the process of getting there and none of them are about the day after, we are all caught in the dark.

A good friend of mine from way back had a conversation with me one day about he and his wife’s marriage.  He told me that before they got married they sat down one evening and mapped it all out.  They discussed who would do what, how money would be spent, everything, right down to who washed dishes and who paid the bills.  They made decisions about what they wanted their relationship to be like to.  This couple was married till the end and I think it encompassed about 50 years at least.  I have always thought of his advice because I knew it was well intended and since they had a great marriage it certainly made a lot of sense.

Another time I was listening to a Buddhist monk talk about relationships on a tape.  It’s easy to think – oh what does he know, he doesn’t even have sex.  Yet, a truly enlightened master does know.   There are those who learn from experience and those who learn from others.  So I preface this because I too was a skeptic.  Though my eyes were opened when I listened to the intelligence behind his advice.  One thing that struck me hard was him laughing about the oddness of a couple who can be naked in front of each other but are afraid to discuss their future together.  I will add that often couples not  only get naked but are involved in many interesting ways of discovering their bodies.  For instance, I’ve heard young teenagers tell me that they believe oral sex is not sex and they are still virgins.  I’ve also heard that youngsters believe anal sex or sodomy keeps you a virgin.  How odd that such a concept would occur to young people.  At one time women would never even conceive of such a thing, as these duties were left for the prostitute.  

Interestingly some colleagues and I were involved in a minor research paper in our undergraduate days.  We looked at whether living together before marriage made any sense to length of time.  In fact, we learned that couples who were living together actually had shorter marriages than couples who did not live together.  This was qualitative research (based on many real studies) and with a small study done locally with people we knew.  It opened all of our 20-something eyes and made us realize that living together doesn’t mean anything.  We also learned from the conclusions of the research papers we read that many of these couples got married hoping it would fix the problems of their cohabitation.

Marriage doesn’t add anything other than more problems.  Especially if you are not going into it intelligently.  I’ve always felt that if you treat it like a business partnership and take time once in a while to set the passion aside for a minute and talk about practical matters, before and during, this makes good sense and prolongs the relationship.  If you act like you are in it for the long haul, than you will treat it with respect and nurture it.  You would do the same for a business and marriage is a partnership.

While I have never been in a good marriage, I’ve been fortunate to know many women friends who are.  Since I am only 48, they have been married for a couple of decades at most, but there are no signs at this point that it will change.  I’ve also known  of other marriages, besides the one described above that lasted till the end of one of them.  Communication is what they will all say is the reason for their success but this doesn’t quite explain what that means.  What it means is that they discuss their partnership and make plans together, tell each other if they are coming home late, call to ask someone to pick something up from the store, decide on vacations together, etc… 

Marriage doesn’t have to be difficult but we make it this way.  The problem is that there are not enough resources about having a good marriage and tons of resources on bridal gowns to buy and lots of pressure about having babies.  Marriage can be fun but it has to be taken seriously as well.  I encourage you to take this into consideration.  Read the article above and take it very seriously, before you say “I Do!”

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