Marriage Counselling

I was chatting to the cleaner at work.  He said he was getting married soon and he asked me if I was married.  Without thinking I said:

“Not any more.  Been there, done that, wouldn’t recommend it!”

“Oh.” He said and sounded surprised.

One thing led to another and I ended up giving him a lecture on marriage.  He was kind enough not to point out that I, with my failed marriage, was hardly the sort of person he should listen to hehehe.  He listened to me, absorbed what I said and thanked me.  For my part I was astounded to realise he really did not know these things about love.  I decided if he did not know there might be many other people who don’t know either and I should write an entry on the subject so here it is.

Ten Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me BEFORE I Got Married.

1.    If one, or both, of you thinks “If it doesn’t work out we can always get divorced” you will probably end up divorced!

There is almost certainly going to come a time when one, or both, of you will think it has NOT worked out.  If divorce is an option it will happen.  If it is not an option you will work together to sort the problem(s) out.

2.    Attitudes towards children, finances, gender roles and goals must be the same, similar, or at least compatible!

If you think smacking children is OK and your partner thinks it is abuse you are in trouble.  If you hate spending and your partner loves it you better buckle up for a bumpy ride!  If you think women should clean and men should work and your partner thinks both should earn and both should clean an umbrella won’t help in the storms you will be facing.  If you want to settle down and your partner wants to roam you are likely to break up some day.

3.    The physical sensations that accompany being in love WILL disappear.

The heart palpitations, breathlessness, weak knees and other physical sensations we associate with being in love are, in fact, lust.  Your body is reacting the way it must to ensure survival of the species.  Those physical reactions will fade and, in time, disappear.  There are countless people who think, once those feelings pass, it means they are no longer in love but this is not true.  They have simply moved past that stage of lustful infatuation to a stage that has the potential to last forever.

4.    Minor annoyances will turn into major stress.

If a habit annoys you the tiniest little bit at the start of a relationship you can bet it will become the most irritating thing in the world after a few years of it!

5.    He or she will NOT change!

This one should, arguably, be number one on the list.  If you don’t like something about someone before you marry – don’t think for one second they will change after marriage.  They will not.  If you don’t like something about your partner all that will happen over the years is you will move from not liking that thing to HATING it with a passion and, possibly, hating your partner too.

6.    You will both be attracted to other people.

If you are not blind, deaf, and socially isolated someone, somewhere, some day is going to trigger lust in your body.  We have already established the fact (see #3) that those physical sensations are NOT love.  Don’t be fooled into thinking they are and throw away your relationship for temporary lust.

7.    There is a fundamental difference between men and women.

Men will not be ready to work on their relationships until their wives reach the end of the road.  At that point the marriage is over.  See this entry for a more detailed explanation of this critical difference between men and women.

8.    What makes people feel loved differs from person to person.

One person may need sex to feel loved whilst another needs words and another needs quality time.  A marriage counsellor named Dr. Gary Chapman has identified five different languages of love and, if my ex and I had read his book “The Five Love Languages” before getting married, there is every chance we would still be together today!

In my family there were four people and all four of us needed different things to make us feel really loved.  I need “Words of Affirmation”, my ex needed “Acts Of Service”, my son needs “Quality Time”, and my daughter’s language of love is that of “Receiving Gifts”.  None of us had “Physical Touch” as our language but many people do.

My ex could not feel loved no matter how many words of love I gave him – he needed me to do things for him.  I could not feel loved no matter how many things he did for me – I needed him to give me words of love.  My son and daughter understood OUR languages of love but neither of us spoke theirs so my son pined for fishing trips with his dad and for me to do things with him whilst my daughter became a miser who cherished every broken thing we ever said she could have when we went to throw it out.  She STILL cannot bring herself to throw out a bag full of diet coke screw caps I gave to her, one at a time, when she was about ten.  Every one of those caps I saved so she could count how many bottles I drank in a week represents, to her, a gift of thought and love from me and she still, at 26, can’t bring herself to throw them away!  That is how powerful an individual’s language of love is!

9.    Relationships will not always be 50 percent give and 50 percent take.

Every now and then each person in a relationship will be empty and unable to give anything to the other person.  At those times the other person must be willing to give 100 percent to get them both through.  I swallowed my pride for 13 years but the day came when I could not do it one more time.  My ex had never done it and he would not do it then so the marriage ended.

10.    Love is both the strongest, and the most fragile, thing.

Love is a living thing.  It can withstand enormous amounts of abuse but it is not invincible.  It can, and will, be killed if it is repeatedly abused. Physical abuse is just one way you can kill it but there are other ways.  Contempt, disrespect, jealousy, mistrust, lies, deceit and even just neglect can, and will, kill it off sooner or later.  Once love is dead it is almost impossible to resuscitate so take time to nurture and nourish it on a regular basis.

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