Monday, February 8, 2016

LIFE LONG MARRIAGE

The second way to pursue a divorce-proof marriage is to marry someone committed to marriage for life. Because my husband and I were married in the Catholic Church at a time when marriages were expected to last, and people were scandalized when they didn't, we took our vows seriously and intended to be married for life.  

The Church makes this clear as the priest introduces the declaration of intentions:
My dear friends, you have come together in this church so that the Lord may seal and strengthen your love in the presence of the Church's minister and this community.  Christ abundantly blesses this love.  He has already consecrated you in baptism and now he enriches and strengthens you by a special sacrament so that you may assume the duties of marriage in mutual and lasting fidelity.
At some point, after we had been married for quite a few years, one of my husband's coworkers asked him if, being a lawyer, he had drawn up a pre-nuptial contract for us.  He replied that the only contract he used was "to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part."  

These days, when a much higher percentage of marriages end in divorce, and cohabitation is more socially accepted, one would do well to be certain that the person you are dating believes that marriage is permanent and gives indications that he or she honors other commitments undertaken.  Someone who frequently breaks promises or backs out of things he said he'd do is not good marriage material.  

In addition, it's critical to think about the things that are most important to you in marriage besides faith and commitment. Neil Clark Warren's book, How to Know if Someone Is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less is invaluable in helping individuals discover the qualities that are essential and those that are deal-breakers in a future spouse.  As he writes,  "you need to rehearse the fact that a bad marriage is a thousand times worse than no marriage at all."  Those of us who have seen friends in a catastrophic marriage or one that ends in divorce can testify to the truth of that statement, and the devastating effects on children of such a marriage. Really evaluating what you are looking for in a potential marriage partner is an essential investment in building a future with the right person.

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