On Marriage

I was deeply saddened to discover that the husband of a couple I greatly admire is being unfaithful to his spouse. Another friend confessed that her spouse had criticised her for not losing the weight she gained from having his babies. I have seen for myself relationships where one spouse does not respect and value the person they chose to marry. Couple who keep secrets from each other, who would rather discuss their problems with their friends instead of with each other.

Like all other couples, my husband and I have our problems. We disagree about money, about how much time to spend with extended family and how much charity we do. Occasionally we argue about his driving or my inattentiveness. I think he drives like a loon on speed and he thinks I am too busy to listen to his blow by blow accounts on his conversations at work. We’re both guilty.

But after many years of practise (having been married almost 12 years and having dated for another 3 before tying the knot) we’ve come to realise that we did the right thing; marrying our best friend. One day, sex will be too much effort for our frail bones, good food too hard to digest and the cinema, too dangerous for our old selves. Our children may forge lives in countries far away (or they may not) and our friends dead or divorced. But we will still have each other, I hope.

Here are a few things we’ve come to realise

  1. Marriage isn’t really for ever. It’s for as long as your work at it and appreciate it.
  2. Don’t marry someone unless you respect and admire them. Wrinkles and extra fat on ones person do not affect these such feelings.
  3. Keep as few secrets as possible from each other. Insecurities can escalate to full blown paranoid fantasies and for no good reason.
  4. Be kindest to each other.
  5. Don’t go to bed angry. It’s really hard and almost unavoidable but have done this in the past and it sets the stage for months of festering anger.

And with regards to children, remember

  1. You chose to bring them into this world.
  2. You owe it to them to work hard at your marriage
  3. Do not begrudge them the time they take up. One day they will be so grown up and independent and farther away from you in more ways than you can think.

And finally, remember that change is the only constant we can depend on. What we resent today may well be something or someone we crave tomorrow.

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