“Marriage is our last, best chance to grow up.” — Joseph Barth
In many ways, your intimate relationship reflects how you deal with the world at large. During the process of working on your relationship, you also have an opportunity to learn about yourself. You may also come to understand why you have been having these problems to begin with, and become able to remove other obstacles to progress elsewhere in your life. There is no stronger base for improving yourself than someone who knows and supports and loves you completely.
Some people continue to dart from one partner to the next, setting sparks, hoping to find the one that sets their heart on fire so intensely that they think the flame will never die. They never get to the real enduring warmth of the embers that is true committed love.
What’s remarkable about our culture is that most rom-coms and pop songs are not really about relationships – they are actually about the start of relationships. That blissful period of discovery and possibility represents and encourages an idealized view of relationships. It suggests that love is all you need, love will keep us together, and love conquers all. The couple overcomes the obstacles (often their own comical obtuseness) that kept them apart, and the wedding at the end caps the theme that the couple is a single entity held together solely by the power of the force, love. It’s a beautiful fairy tale I call “The Illusion of Mutuality”.
IRL, of course, the wedding is actually a beginning, and of a whole new phase when the force of love is often not enough. When the inevitable stumbles occur, the illusion is broken, and new couples may be shocked to find the support of their love that seemed so steady and surefooted disappears, at least for a while.
A sudden sense of panic, a demand to bring back that loving feeling, may help couples bounce back after a short while and regain their footing. They apologize and make up, maybe stifle their desire for better in order to keep the peace, and hope for the best in the future. They think they have learned how to get along, but what they may have learned is what topics to avoid and how to compromise their dreams, or what they have to beware of losing and how impossible their spouse can be. For too many, repeating and worsening struggles or coldness eventually produces such prolonged dysfunction and damage, they can’t do it any longer.
Too bad the wedding and romance industry won’t allow advertising about pre-marital counselling anywhere near their happiest-day packages. Few newlyweds are willing to taint their dream by imagining that they could possibly be in the half of couples that eventually divorce.
Why bet against the odds? Get some insurance to improve your chances.