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On Marriage In The Season of Weddings

May 30, 2014

weddingI keep coming upon expressions from the hearts of friends and strangers through Facebook and other social media about the endurance of their marriages. I suppose this is because we are in the busiest time of year for weddings so lots of anniversaries fill the calendar.

Some announcements are congratulatory in nature, sharing that it is their –st or –rd or –th anniversary. They proudly if wearily say they’ve hung in through “thick and thin” and that they are glad they did. They say they’d marry so-and-so again and “do it all over again” and that “the best is yet to be.” Some publicly thank their spouse for the years of their partnership.

It’s all lovely and we click “like” as some of us wonder in the quiet of our minds why we didn’t find such happiness and others pretend that they have or actually (and perhaps worse) believe that they have when in fact they have not.

These congratulatory anniversary messages support and keep alive the idea of “until death do us part” that our culture has driven so deeply into our psyche that we can’t help believe that to do less is a failure.

Of most concern to me is the expectation these announcements put on young people who are recently married or who are contemplating marriage.

So, to be clear for you young people embarking upon this commitment to hang in by your partner’s side through thick and thin and until death, here’s what I would advise you about “thick and thin.”

Thick and thin is –
– hanging tough and finding solutions through
— health crisis (yours, your partner’s, your children’s)
— lulls in your love
— lulls in your expectations from the other
— each others growth that changes the terrain of your marriage

Thick and thin is –
– finding supportive strategies for each other when
— one or the other is exhausted or stressed
— one or the other loses a job
— your children tax you to the limit with colic, a disability, behavior challenges or substance abuse
— you need to care for each other’s parents

Thick and thin is –
— allowing each other to bring into the marriage his/her own way of doing things
— realizing that you each come from histories that will not mesh perfectly and accepting that without judgement of the others ways
— understanding that you will likely have different ideas of each others roles and patiently allowing for the time needed to sort out who does what, who’s better suited for whatever, and knowing these things may change over time

Thick and thin is not
to tolerate –
— physical or verbal abuse toward you
— physical or verbal abuse toward your children
— episodes of rage that make you or your children feel unsafe and threatened
— repeat substance abuse or addictive behaviors that put you and/or your children at physical/emotional/financial risk
— physical or verbal behaviors that overtly or subtly demean you or your children
— behaviors from your partner that stunt your personal, professional, creative or spiritual growth
— behaviors from your partner that intimidate and/or silence you or your children
— behaviors from your partner that create isolation from or distance between you and your family or your friends as a means of control
— mental/emotional illness for which your partner refuses to seek help and that seriously and negatively impacts your or your children’s wellbeing
— behavior that withholds love, financial support or anything else from you or your children as a means of manipulation
— disloyalty to you through affairs (how you resolve this is personal to each union, but repeated affairs that hurt you should not be tolerated)

If you find yourself in any of these situations you should seek counseling and break free, even if you love your partner or love aspects of him/her. Any condition that is diminishing you should not be suffered. That is not what is meant by “thick or thin.”

Toilet seat up or down, cabinet doors open or close, tidiness of closet space, direction of toilet paper roll, cap on or off toothpaste — these things are part and parcel of living with anyone and mature compromise should be expected. This is not the stuff to make or break a marriage or relationship (unless they are used deliberately to burden or enrage, in which case the problem is much bigger and probably addressed above).

I’m not sure a person can experience a greater reward in their earthly life than to find a partner who complements (meaning: that completes or brings to perfection) their nature and with whom true love is found. It is a gift and a joy to be in such a relationship. Few find it but it is what we each deserve and should seek and if found, enjoy and nourish.

weddin image cc credit

Though the image above is of a man and a woman, the post applies to all couples, whatever gender.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2014 5:52 pm

    Such a nice and carefully-thought out post, Mary. I stopped and paid close attention to it, in part, because it’s date is my son and daughter-in-law’s 5th anniversary. I’m glad that coincidence cause me to focus in on it – lots of good thoughts to reflect on for the new marrieds, the old marrieds, and really, for anyone.

    Like

    • July 18, 2014 2:44 pm

      Thanks so much for visiting sublime days and for your comment.
      I sincerely appreciate that you took the time to read this post
      and to consider it thoughtfully.

      I’ve visited your site and will be keeping an eye on it.
      You might want to have a look at a photo-blog that I kept for five years –
      about the life in and around a small pond in New England.
      While there are no cranes or badgers, there’s lots of other plants and animals!
      Here’s the link:
      http://www.SilverLining-MaryMcAvoy.com

      Thanks again,

      Mary

      Like

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