After having just celebrated my three year anniversary with my boyfriend and with the Georgia Bridal Show billboards all over, I have been thinking a lot about marriage lately.
I’ve already have the man, the venue and the ring picked out, but there is a whole lot more that comes after you say “I do.”
(Side note: I am not engaged or really planning a wedding, I just love all things girlie and weddings are very high on that list!)
I work at a restaurant and a few days ago one of the other servers walked into the server alley and yelled, “OMG look at the guy at table 34! He’s my future ex-husband!”
Now, as a romantic traditionalist, I found this expression outrageous. And unfortunately, it’s not the first time I’ve heard it. The media (yes, we are always blaming the media) is changing the way marriage is portrayed and I think it is damaging to the whole institution.
I would argue that the word “divorce” is used more often in every day language than the word “marriage.” No one likes divorce and I don’t think that anyone actually stands at the alter assuming the union will end in divorce, but I think it is so acceptable nowadays that people don’t take the commitment of marriage as seriously as they did 50 years ago.
Marriage is also becoming more of a duct tape solution to relationships – which is certainly not helping. A girl I know, Anna* married John* a few weeks before she had his baby because she didn’t want an illegitimate child. Anna and John had just gone through a rough breakup when Anna peed on a stick and was faced with a positive sign. They thought that a baby, an apartment of their own and a marriage certificate would fix their relationship. Unfortunately, only six months later Anna and John are finalizing their divorce. At age 22, Anna is a single mother and a divorcee.
When Chris and I get married, I know it’ll be forever. It takes me four months to decide on a haircut – there’s no way I would say yes to a proposal if I didn’t put in the legwork to know that it was right for me. It’s taken me just under three years to be positive that Chris is the one. He’s not perfect, but neither am I.
As a Child and Family Development minor, I have taken several classes about relationships. I have learned that the reasons most marriages fail are because of expectations. A wife expects her husband to always be on time, give her extravagant gifts once a month and always remember the anniversary of their first kiss. A husband expects his wife to maintain a career, raise the kids and clean the house every day. We can’t fulfill these tv-generated expectations so eventually our partners will begin to resent us.
I, however, will go into marriage with the expectations that Chris will try his best to make sure I am happy every day and I will do the same. I can’t wait to start our life together – and to plan the wedding!
Be sure that before you say “I do” you know how to finish the sentence.
*Names have been changed.