As a single person, I tend to stay away from offering any advice on marriage. For me, any such advice would be all theoretical (having never had a spouse of my own). But, I do, however, listen to marriage advice often and tuck it away for possible future use. This week I had the opportunity to "get" some advice from one of my married friends. And, since I loved it so much, I thought I would share it here.
My friend started out by telling me that all marriage counselors should tell their clients in pre-marriage counseling that they "WILL get divorced". I laughed a bit until I realized she was absolutely serious. She continued, "Seriously, they should tell young couples that they can see the future and they WILL get divorced".
She then went on to expound upon her thought and I loved it. She told me that if I could look forward and know that my marriage would end in 5 or 10 years, it would give me the opportunity to change that future. And, the truth is, if you don't work at a marriage, if you think the other person is "stuck" with you no matter what, or if you enter into marriage with the wrong person, you likely will get divorced.
So, what would you do to change that future?
Would you work harder now to repair any cracks in the foundation of your marriage? I hope so, because those cracks can become fissures that one day could leave a canyon between you.
Would you view the relationship with more care and concern if you thought the other person could or would walk away at some point? (Not that you should live in fear of that, but sometimes, when we think something is ours irrevocably, we don't care for it as we should. Would you treat your spouse differently if you felt that you may lose them one day?)
Would you do your best not to take your spouse for granted?
Would you listen more?
Would you work more on yourself and the kind of person you are becoming?
What would you do to change that future if you thought it certain?
Now, this may seem drastic, severe and dramatic. Maybe it is. But, think of teachers who start out the semester telling their students that they have a 100% average in the class, now they have to fight to keep it. Or, think of movies you've seen (i.e., Back to the Future) where the future is known and a small part of the past has to be changed to effect it. This is basically the same principle.
I don't think this should be taken as a prophecy of doom over a marriage, but one of gentle caution meant to remove the rose-colored glasses of love. You're not always going to like the person with whom you've chosen to spend your life. So, what are you going to do now and going forward to make sure that you love them well and fight to keep the relationship in constant repair?
I think these are great questions to ask, and don't necessarily apply to only marriages. What if you knew you would lose any relationship because you neglected it or failed to put in the time necessary to make it grow? Maybe if we thought more along these lines we would choose our friendships more carefully, love each other better, and work harder to keep the friendship alive.
And, as always, this is just food for thought and what I'm thinking about today. I welcome any comments or thoughts on the matter. I hope that any wisdom I gain now will mean a smoother road for my own marriage someday. So, I welcome those who want to share the wealth of their wisdom and experience.