Sunday, March 20, 2016

LEARN DEEP COMMUNICATION BEFORE MARRIAGE

The sixth way to divorce-proof your marriage follows the path laid down by the last two ways.  Engaged Encounter normally plunges a couple into communication about the areas that matter the most once you are married, and offers tools that can deepen your communication throughout your married life.  By choosing not to live together in a sham of marriage, a couple can focus on getting to know each other in ways other than the physical, and their emotional and mental intimacy will provide a firm foundation on which to build the physical intimacy that should begin on the wedding day.  

Each human being is unique and inexhaustible, and getting to know each other can be an exciting adventure, as you compare differences and similarities in the ways you think and feel, your backgrounds, the ways you grew up, your families and friends.  Even when you have met when you are fairly young, there are always things to discover about each other, some trivial, others far more substantial.  Your similarities can draw you together.  As you discover differences, you need to decide whether or not they are things that can make living together difficult. You can learn to appreciate your differences when you are married if they are not deal-breakers when you are dating.  My beloved husband and I discovered when we took a standard personality test that we were the opposite in every category; by then we had been married many years.  These differences often made our marriage challenging, but through our work in Worldwide Marriage Encounter, we learned to appreciate our differences, and when we were given the responsibility to coordinate a huge convention, we learned to combine our different strengths in order to bring about a very successful event.  He was very organized, and was able to plan and time the many different aspects of the convention.  I am more a people person, and I speak Spanish, and was able to communicate with the Spanish speaking people involved, as well as translate the final talk into Spanish.  He would usually write the emails letting our committee know the details of what was happening and the upcoming meetings, and I would "friendly helperize" it by telling everyone how much we were looking forward to being with them again.  Once, he was very busy at work and told me to write the initial email and then he'd look at it.  I went on and on about how much we loved our committee and were looking forward to the next gathering.  He read it and told me it was very good, but that I had forgotten to put the date and time of the meeting in the email!  I valued the way he coordinated everything so it all came together at the right time and I felt treasured  for my people skills which had often seemed less important in the past. We truly learned what it meant to be a team, both as a couple, and with all the different personalities working with us on the convention.

Take the time to get to know each other. If you discover irreconcilable differences, it is much easier to break off the relationship when you are dating, or even to cancel your wedding plans after you are engaged.  We always told our daughters they could tell us they had changed their minds a minute before the wedding began, and we meant it.  When you have really invested the time and effort to get to know the person you are dating, or to whom you are engaged, you will be more certain that you are a couple who can build a strong marriage, and you will have more of the tools to continue learning about each other throughout your married life.  And it will be an exhilarating journey!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

LIVING TOGETHER: A LURE TOWARD DIVORCE

The fifth way to divorce proof your marriage before you are married is not to live together before hand.  Couples have been misled into thinking that they can "try out" marriage by acting as if they are married to see if they are compatible, but there is an essential difference between cohabitation with no commitment and a covenant where a man and a woman become one flesh and promise to love each other till death ends their relationship.  Statistics collected by US Attorney Legal Service show that a couple who does not live together before marriage has a 20 percent chance of being divorced within five years, whereas if they cohabited, their chance of divorce is 49 percent, more than double.
If the couple thinks they will sidestep the issue by living together instead of marrying, 49 percent of them are likely to break up within five years, and the percentage who break up within 10 years is 62 percent, again nearly double the 33 percent for a married couple.  Only half of cohabiting couples marry within five years. Living together can often be more stressful due to the instability caused by the lack of a permanent commitment.  While society often doesn't condemn the couple living together, couples who come from a religious background will frequently have the uneasy sense that they are "living in sin" even if they are not willing to admit it, unlike Julia in Brideshead Revisited who realized that she was 
“Living in sin, with sin, by sin, for sin, every hour, every day, year in, year out. Waking up with sin in the morning, seeing the curtains drawn on sin, bathing it, showing it round, giving it a good time, putting it to sleep at night...."
Waiting to live together until you are actually married will not only increase your chances of a long and happy marriage, but before you are married it will enable you to sleep better, without that constant companion of guilt.