Disclosure: First let me say, I have no degrees in psychology... I am not a counselor or trained therapist. But I have lived a lot of life...so this is just my take on this subject. Ok? So now that we have that cleared up (that is kind of my "release" so that I'm not held liable for any damages) let's move on...
Most every little girl has that dream that she will one day grow up, the Prince will ride up on his white stallion and carry her off to live happily ever after in their beautiful home and they will have children that are perfect. But most every woman (and man) grows up and finds that it just doesn't usually work that way. Now, please don't think this is me tearing apart the institution of marriage - just the opposite, actually. My issue is that I have come to feel that too many people (most people) go into marriage with no realistic view as to what they are entering. They stand up in front of that pastor, or judge, or whoever, and they hear "do you take...for better or for worse..." and they say "I do." But then they enter the real world of marriage. Hopefully they get to experience lots of "better" and minimal "worse"... but often life just doesn't work out that way. People gain weight, they lose their hair, things shift...but beyond that, children add demands, stress and take away sleep (and money!); or sometimes children don't come; sometimes children are sick; bills come every month; houses need repairs and replacements (cars too!); jobs can be lost - or changed; people get sick...sometimes very sick; people can get bored or tempted or just stupid. Now I promise I won't talk about anything that I haven't been touched by in some manner during my adult life (and years of marriage)... so that leaves the playing field pretty wide open. The jist of what I'm trying to say is that marriage is tough. Marriage can be the greatest relationship in life - it is designed to give us that one person whom we go through life with and share our life in the most intimate way. But there should be some test beforehand. They should have out a sheet asking anyone who wants to get married to read, review and fill in the blanks. And the blanks should be under the heading "Better or Worse" and then listed below all of the things that might possibly fall under those categories. To pass the test, you must successfully fill in a definition of each of these possibilities... making sure you understand what you are agreeing to exactly. Now the better is not too tough, although it amazes me that relationships have actually broken up because of jealousy because a wife would do better financially than a husband. But that is another blog - and certainly not what I'm talking about. My concern today is the "Worse." I don't remember anyone going over these with me before I said "I do." In considering what is the "worse" you could be dealing with, some of the things I've listed above. But in real life, how do you deal with that point in marriage where you are bored...where you just don't see stars when you kiss - or your knees don't turn to jelly? Isn't that in reality maybe the "better" - to be so close to someone that you are that comfortable with them? What do you do when you have a sick child that demands every possible sacrifice that could be asked of your life? What do you do when you find your spouse is cheating (possibly again)? This line of questions could go on and on - and maybe it should.
I think often about what my kids have learned from my experiences in marriage - and on one hand it wouldn't surprise me if they never got married. They have seen unfaithfulness, abandonment, selfishness, stupidity, humiliation, deception, lying, heartache, tears, promises broken (to name a few). But I want to think they have also seen forgiveness, restoration, commitment, humility, repentance, etc. And I have taught them along the way that marriage is about sticking in through the "worse"... not going in counting on the better. Often I wish someone had sat me down and talked about the possibility of what "better or worse" could mean - but the honest truth is that I would not have listened to them anyway. Back then I was a dreamer and a complete romantic (of the idiotic kind... there is a difference!) -- it was only through living life that I've found out I believe in marriage vows - not because the other person deserves it, but because I want to be the kind of person who lives up to my promises. I believe in commitment. I believe "for better or worse" means fighting through even the worst and hoping to get back to the better.
Beyond my kids, I consider often what I will look back upon at the end of my life. I will, of course have regrets - everyone will have some kind of regrets. But I hope they are petty ones. What I don't want to look back and regret is that I didn't fight hard enough to keep the promises I made or the vows I took. Often I've been told that I just don't know when to let go of someone... and there have been times that I have been so hurt and would agree with that. But at the end of my life, I don't think that will be a regret at all. I hope that is part of the legacy my life leaves to my children, grandchildren and anyone else close to me... that they remember me as someone who took "for better or worse" to mean everything it implies. And that I was a woman of integrity and perseverance.
Hope you are having a great day!
**one disclosure...I do not ever condone that "worse" includes physical or true emotional abuse... I do believe there are things that happen in some marriages that the only answer is separation - and sometimes divorce. But I simply believe as a society, we too easily look for any reason to grasp and give us a clear conscience to go that route without really fighting for what is right. And like I said at the beginning of this... I'm no trained authority. I have just lived a lot of life and learned a lot of lessons in my 45 years.
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