Thoughts on Marriage

 

thoughts on marriage

I’m not a married woman. I live with my boyfriend of nearly three years and our golden retriever, Archie. I don’t know why I wrote that charming summary of my romantic life but someone’s bound to be new around here and I thought I should touch on that real quick. As I write this N is out walking Archie in 20 degree weather so if that doesn’t prove he is marriage (and Dad) material, I don’t know what does. Bless that man, I adore him.

But on to the point of this post: In America, someone gets divorced every 13 seconds. Let that sink in. Every 13 seconds.

I’m 25. I’ve watched as friends and acquaintances have gotten married and divorced. I’m ashamed to admit that when that happens, I breathe a small sign of relief. Those are the people who get divorced. Not us. They are the ones who got married too quickly, or for the wrong reasons (coughpregnancycough). They weren’t mature enough. They weren’t a good match. They weren’t us. At least that’s what I tell myself. Because realistically, in 2 or 4 or 8 years (statistically, it’s 8 years) that could be us. It could absolutely be us.

Because why not? It seems asinine that we should believe that we will succeed where others have failed. Where we have watched our parents fail! That the people we look up to and whose advice we value most in the is world could not do it. Don’t we seem full of ourselves? Why yes, let’s go ahead and try this thing. Great plan!

And why on earth do people encourage people our age to get married? Our own parents, all divorced (though my parents have both been happily re-married for 15+ years), are supportive and excited that we’ll spend our lives together. What is it about this institution that they can put aside their own experiences to suggest we give it a shot? If I watched half of all people fail at something, I don’t know that I would try it. I really don’t.

When I can’t predict the future (which is always), I tend to turn to statistics for comfort or to feed my freak out. We live together, so our chances of divorce increase by as much as 40%. But we are over 25, so it’s a drop by 24%. And statistically we are 13% less likely to divorce because we both went to college. I will now feel 16% less bad about my student loan payment, because gosh darn it, it’s improving my future marriage.

The truth is, deep down, marriage terrifies me. Marriage to N doesn’t terrify me. Something about being a part of this thing that has a 50% failure rate terrifies me. I’d like to think that isn’t immaturity speaking. It’s fear and it’s logic. I truly hope every single couple who gets married believes that it is forever. They wouldn’t go through with it if they didn’t, right? But somewhere along the way shit flies off the rails. What makes us different? Will we try harder? Every single day? Are we simply a better match? Will we just always love each other the way we do now? I don’t know. I hope so. With my whole heart, I hope so.

I guess in the end, this post could be called “thoughts on divorce”. But damn, that would have been depressing. And alas, perhaps it was.

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  • I agree with the post I have been with my BF for almost 6 years and we have seen couples married and now divorced in that time frame. And dont worry marriage terrifies me as well which iswhy I am ok with the long wait for the marriage and all of that, becuase I believe in stats which freak me out.

  • Kai

    I 100% feel you on the whole being terrified and how you turn to statistics for not knowing how to predict the future. It saddens me so much that people in their early 20’s are so terrified of marriage. My friend said that there is just no point. I 100% disagree with that statement and we had a heated debate, lol. But another friend of mine, who is 21 years old with an almost 3 year old child and has been married for almost 3 years is about to get divorced. THREE YEARS!!! That breaks my heart. 🙁 I hope that you and N’s love stays as strong as ever, forever and that you make it out of every low you face. You guys are adorable! Happy Friday 🙂

    • Nadine

      I completely agree with you. There is still a point and I absolutely intend to get married someday. I like what the institution is supposed to represent.

  • I think it’s absolutely awful the number of people that get divorced. And I think a large number of them happen because someone just refuses to make things work. When you’re getting into a long-term commitment like that, you have to agree to work on things when they get tough. You don’t just quit. (And I’m using you as a very general term.)

    I absolutely want to get married one day. I think that as long as you have the same values, and always agree to work through everything, then there’s no reason for it to not work out. But the statistics of divorce are just ridiculous these days.

    • Nadine

      I think a lot of people make bad decisions about why they get married in the first place. It’s easier to not try to make it work when maybe it wasn’t well thought through. That being said, I know we’ve talked through all the important things value-wise. Maybe a lot of people just don’t do that. I don’t know.

  • Divorce scares me so much too. Jeremy and I both have parents that are divorced. Mine are still going through theirs – which is really fun trying to plan a wedding with divorced parents – so I totally get where you are coming from. We also live together, but we will both be in our 30s when we get married, so hopefully that helps us succeed? I have seen many friends from college get married and divorced already. And it’s sad. It shouldn’t be like that but I do feel like there is pressure to get married right out of college and get married in your early 20s.

    My sister got married at 25 and at the time, I thought she was old. HA! Luckily, they are still married (almost 10 years) and seem to be going strong! But I have talked about it with Jeremy that this is it. We are going to be together forever, no matter what happens (unless someone cheats…I don’t stand for that). I think as long as you are open and honest with your partner about your feelings, things will hopefully work out. But I do understand where you are coming from!

    Longest comment ever!

    • Nadine

      I will be needing to talk to you eventually about wedding planning with divorced parents. Mine have been divorced for nearly 20 years but N’s parents are still in the midst of theirs. And I do agree that there are a few reasons that divorce absolutely is the right choice, adultery and abuse being those reasons.

  • Cat

    I suppose it also depends on how you see failure. As the average lifespan goes up in a sad way it makes sense that lifelong marriages goes down, not everything that is right when you’re young remains right in 50+ years. Some people grow together and others grow apart in a way that can’t be put together. I believe that love can last a lifetime, when I get married I want to feel like it is forever. That being said, that’s not always the case, I think a marriage that at one point is right, full of love and laughter and perhaps results in wonderful children isn’t a failure because it ran its course and both parties moved on. My parents worked amazingly together for a while, as devastating as it was when they broke up, I would rather they ended things and led happy fulfilled lives then stayed together and were miserable, that wouldn’t be a success I don’t think. I sincerely hope that when I get married it will be forever but if not I hope the marriage is filled with so much love and laughter that it won’t be a failed part of my life but a part that was beautiful but ran its course and led to other doors and other successes. Sorry for the huge comment, it’s something (as a romantic and a child of divorce) that I also think about! x

    • Nadine

      I completely agree that I’m happier that my parents divorced and moved on and were happier and more fulfilled. It would be far worse for them to have stayed together and been miserable. I think the marriages that fall apart because two people grew apart are the scariest. I see why people divorce because of adultery or something. Of course! But growing apart is something that could happen to almost any couple and at what point do you draw the line and decide that you can’t grow back together? That’s the most terrifying of all.

  • This is such a great post :). I couldn’t agree more, I’m 25 also and the friends that are getting married already are just not happy. I’m finding myself before I say “I Do”

  • Divorce rates are scary.

    Marriage is scary. Life is scary. Only you know what’s best for you and when it’s best for you to move forward. In the end, YOU’RE the one living with the end results.

    Nothing depressing about your post. If more people thought as clearly as you about this subject, there’d probably be fewer divorces.

    • Nadine

      The last line of your comment was a bit of a relief, to be honest. Thank you.

  • I am late 20s and single. While I want to get married, I too am a little terrified by the statistics. But I have made a pact with myself that I will try everything possible in my future relationship to make it work and I will make sure that BEFORE I get married, the person I am marrying also agrees to work through the hard stuff instead of giving up, cheating, etc. My parents have been married for 31 years, they married really young (dad was only 21!) but it has NOT always been easy but I know that instead of giving up they just work through it, together.

    • Nadine

      You are lucky to have had such great role models!

  • I grew up seeing friends’ parents divorcing, but my parents have been married for 33 years and still going strong (knock on wood). I think being a child of divorce severely increases your chances of potentially getting divorced yourself.
    Not to say my head is in the clouds and I’m delusional, because I totally understand life and that things happen, bad things. I pray that when I get to that point it doesn’t happen to me. But the first step is I need to get a boyfriend. I guess that cuts your probability down too… not even being in a relationship 😛

    • Nadine

      I didn’t list that statistic but yes, having divorced parents does increase your chance of divorce pretty drastically. That makes it a bit scarier for me and N.

  • The thought of divorce can definitely be scary. But I don’t think that the fact that a lot of people’s marriages don’t work out should affect the way we feel towards marriage! It’s sad that marriage has a bad rep nowadays because of this. But I’m very very happy for you that you have such an amazing man! You seem like one very lucky lady!

  • KG

    I’ve been married for three years and everything still scares me.I got married at 33 – and I’m glad I did because I was mature enough to know what i wanted and how I wanted it. But its just like any relationship – you have to work hard at it and not worry about divorce ever coming your way. I know people who have been married for 20 plus years and then one day, they just decide to end it. We just never know what will happen. I suggest to just live in the moment. Live for each day!

    Keep it Touched,
    KG
    http://www.kgstyleinc.com
    an online shopping magazine

  • I had these same exact thoughts at your age. I got married at 25 and felt that I also saw people split up because they got together too young (not all were married).

    Enter my late voice teacher. He had married at 21 and had been married for close to 30 years. His secret? It’s not easy. They almost split up. They had counseling. But his best advice was this: just keep dating each other. Marriage doesn’t close a chapter in your relationship. As long as you continue to see each other in the same light as your dating period, marriage will just be that—dating your significant other. Once he thought about marriage this way their relationship improved.

    • Nadine

      That is such great advice. We will definitely try to keep dating each other, and try to keep it fun. It seems like that gets much harder to do after you have kids, which is also scary.

  • I really appreciate this point. For one thing, i have the same concerns that you do. My parents got divorced 4 months before their 31st anniversary. Their THIRTY-FIRST. Who does that?! And if a couple who has been able to make it work for 30 years all of a sudden decides to up and quit, then what assurance do I have that something like that won’t happen in my own marriage? Two of my siblings have even been divorced! Neither one of them made it to their 2nd anniversary..

    It’s beyond terrifying for me.. And yet, for some reason, I still find myself wanting to try the marriage thing, just like you. And I don’t know why. I don’t know what it is about me and my relationship that makes me think that I won’t suffer the same fate. Is it arrogance? Blind faith? Wishing and hoping?

    I don’t know. But I do know that someday, I want to try. I want to let myself fall, to trust fully in my spouse, and have them trust fully in me, and I want to have something worth fighting for every day for the rest of my life. Even though I’m scared.

    Thanks for writing this, and putting into words what so many people seem to be thinking on the topic. This is really well done.

  • I’m 25, live with my boyfriend of almost 6 years and am no where near getting married. It’s not that I don’t want to, but the fact that my biological clock isn’t ticking loudly in my ear yet, I’m just not desperate to say ‘I do’.

    With that said, I was talking to a married coworker just yesterday about this and he comes from a divorced family and both his parents have been happily re-married for a long time. His wife on the other hand doesn’t come from divorced parents and thinks divorce is the end of the world. He made an interesting comment, he said ‘when things get really hard, she and I deal differently because she think divorce is the ultimate failure and I know that life doesn’t end with divorce because I’ve seen happy lives lived after divorce.’

    I found that amazing and I wonder after reading your post if that’s the reason divorce rates are so high, in part because people who grow up with divorced parents don’t see it as a horrible awful thing?

  • I’m 29-years old. I married my husband Scott the day after my 23rd birthday, so we tied the knot at a VERY young age. We’ve been married for nearly seven years this summer. After reading your post, the one thought I can offer is this.

    Don’t give up.

    Love and marriage are sometimes not a feeling, or state of bliss…but rather a decision. Are there days when I don’t feel like loving my husband? Absolutely. Does he ever feel the same way about me? You bet! Sometimes, you simply must CHOOSE to stand by someone even when it doesn’t feel natural, easy, or fun. The rough patches will eventually pass…you just have to be stubborn enough to stick them out.

    That being said, there are days when being married feels like the best thing in the world! It’s not all good and it’s not all bad. It IS all about determination. While this can’t be true for every situation, I think there would be a lot fewer divorces if people gave up less easily. Sometimes you have to fight for your marriage! I think of my husband as a family member — just like my parents or siblings. Sure, there might be days when I don’t really like him, but he’s not going anywhere! I’ve found this attitude has helped carry us through even the most challenging times in our marriage.

    It sounds to me like you fear divorce as much as I do. That perspective alone is very healthy, and will be a great tool in helping you stick with things, even when the going gets tough!

  • I agree with this post so much! Bryan and I have been together for almost 5 years and bought a house together a few months ago. I have no doubt in my mind that I love him, that he loves me, and that we will happily spend the rest of our lives together, but something about marriage still scares me. It probably doesn’t help that my parents are currently going through a divorce after a 30 year marriage, but sometimes I feel like we’re happy together in our own little life without being married and marriage is this big scary thing, so what is the real benefit. I’m sure we’ll get married someday, but it is weird that thinking about spending the rest of my life with Bryan makes me happy yet thinking about being married makes me fear we will get divorced someday.

  • Brin

    I got pregnant at 21 from a one night stand to a guy that lives 5 hours away. I decided (my MOM told me I had to move out – smartest thing she has ever done for my well being) that I had to make things work. I moved in with him when I was 7 months pregnant. New state. New job. Out of my comfort zone. After having my son there were lots of complications with him. He lived in the hospital for the first 2 months of his little life. This made my relationship with his dad closer. A year later after a series of unfortunate events our son was without insurance. We did the only thing we could do (because we weighed out and attempteed every single other option available) we got married. Less than a year later we are finalizing our divorce and I have never been happier. This sounds strange but I think if I didn’t marry him and just ended the relationship I would always have that ‘what if’ in my mind. We both tried to make somewhat of a life based on shitty circumstances. Either way. No matter if you have been together since you were in high school or you meet on an online dating site and get engaged after 6 months of dating everyone is at risk for failure and the only thing you can do is try as hard as possible and give 110% in that realtionship and if at the end of the day you give it your all and it still isn’t working you shouldn’t be embarrassed to throw in the towel and start making a new life in which you will both be a lot happier.

    • Nadine

      I loved reading your perspective on this. I think the “what if” factor plays a major role in a lot of decision making about relationships. It would have been terrible to wonder for the rest of your life if you could have made it work. This comment makes me wish so badly that you’d return to the blogging world. We miss you, Brin, although you more than make up for with with how much you amuse me on twitter.

  • Val

    Divorce doesn’t scare me because I know I’ll be okay. I love my husband and want to stay with him forever, but he isn’t my entire world. It would SUCK if we divorced, but we would both be okay and move on and the world wouldn’t end. I have seen people stay in horrible marriages because they were so terrified of divorce and couldn’t live on their own. That is scary and awful, but I’d be fine. I want to work at my marriage and make it last, but if it doesn’t…at least I tried!

  • Very well put. Thank you.

  • Before I met my now-husband, I was a little scared of marriage. Firstly, I was scared I wouldn’t meet anyone I wanted to marry that also wanted to marry me, and I’d be lying if I said the statistics of divorce didn’t worry me. But I grew up in a home with parents who had a very stable marriage, and were a great example to me, so I think I was scared of making that commitment basically because my exes were just all kinds of wrong for me. When I got together with B, I knew very quickly it was right – heck, after 8 months I decided to move hours away from my family and friends to be with him. So marrying him didn’t faze me at all, I never had a single doubt about it. We’ve had more than our fair share of tough times in the almost 3 years we’ve been married, but we’re closer than ever.

  • I’m not married yet – but newly engaged. I’m not scared of divorce. I mean. Yes, I am fully aware that it happens, too often. But I also think people are too quick to marry and then too quick throw in the towel. I think you need to build a a relationship, a friendship, a core foundation before you jump into a marriage. I think too many young couples think that marriage is going to be simple – never stopping to think about the tough moments. But when you get married, and when it does get a little rough … you need to honor and respect the vows you took that day. You can’t run away or call it quits the minute things get bad. You need to work on your marriage. If you’re not fully prepared to choose to fight for your marriage in sickness & in health, for better or for worst – then perhaps you shouldn’t be married … just my two cents.

  • Elizabeth

    I have not experienced divorce first-hand and neither has my husband. But seeing it through our friends/families, we know it affects everyone around the couple – especially the children! Whoever said divorce isn’t that bad and doesn’t affect the children was a big, fat liar. We have been told to never let divorce be an option. Both parties must be willing to work 100% on both ends. There’s premarital counseling before you even jump in, marriage counseling & mentoring that can help. If my grandparents can make it 65 years (and they got married at 16 & 18), anyone can! They’ve been through a lot in their marriage – including losing a child – but they never brought up the “D” word. I was 26 when I got married and I was terrified because I loved being “single”. Now I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your man seems like marriage material from the way you talk about him. It’s work, but it’s SO worth it! Please don’t dismiss marriage like it’s a bad thing. It can be such a blessing to you and the people around you.

    • I just want to put in my two cents and say that staying in an unhealthy marriage has the potential to be much worse on children than divorce. Since my parents split up I have never once wished they were together because they explained to be why it was the right decision for our family. I’m grateful I had two parents who were able to love me separately rather than having to live amidst fighting and unhappiness (not that I personally remember those things). In my opinion, the key with kids is to handle a divorce maturely and civilly.

  • I’m recently married (3 months) and found this post very thought provoking. Marriage, in the past has scared me because my parents are divorced and my older sister has been divorced once, but somehow — marriage with Adam felt so natural. My own parent’s divorce was incredibly nasty. I didn’t speak to my father, nor did anyone else in my family,for over 8 years. But now, I am closer to my father than any other family member and it has given me a whole new perspective on life…on marriage… on love.

    The marriages I know that have fallen apart have done so, in large part, because the individuals were not happy. Not necessarily with the marriage — but with themselves. The best that any of us can hope to do is to take these “lessons” learned from others and try to apply them in our own lives. And doesn’t that really apply to everything — school, jobs, kids, friendships? I think so.

    -Kate
    http://www.theflorkens.com

    PS: Actually, newer studies (not biased by religious researchers) typically show no increased risk of divorce for couples that live together. Typically.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-hughes/does-cohabitation-cause-d_b_1776099.html

  • ive been thinking about this a lot too as i am getting married in two months. when it comes down to it, the fact is, if each person in the marriage is actively and constantly putting the needs of the other person before their own needs and constantly looking out for the welfare and happiness of their partner, that couple will NEVER get divorced. that is what my church has taught me. it scares me too. i have friends that are divorced and i think “what makes me different than them?” but i am marrying a man who i love more than anything and who i know without a doubt will always put my needs before his own. and i will always put his needs before my own. and that is why i think we will make it. and if you are religious, a key ingredient is having Christ at the center of your marriage. with that, your marriage is bulletproof.

  • I think the statistics are interesting and sobering, As a happily married woman it did make me think. All I know is that I am so happy being married to my husband and so happy that we have vowed the rest of our lives together. I look at people who have been married for years and years (my parents and his are both still happily married too) and I think “I want that.” Even if statistics said we couldn’t have it- I would still want to go for it and put everything I have into our relationship. It’s that important to me. And having a husband that feels the same way about marriage makes it even that much better too.
    Lauren

  • In my sociology class we were just talking about this. And it really does make me think am I crazy to think that it wouldn’t happen to me? That I could be married to one person for my whole life? But I guess it is the hope that makes all of us do it. The chance that we could be the ones to make it. And I guess I am happy to take my chances one day rather than never find out.

  • I like that you come at it from an “I don’t know, what do you think?” perspective. When I see/hear engaged or dating couples act like that could never be them, I think, “Oh, really?”. We got married young by choice. Now we’re 3 moves, 2 deployments, and 1 puppy later. We’re still here 🙂

    I must say, it’s the girls who go NUTS over the weddings that may have the highest divorce rates. Marriage has nothing to do with your wedding ha ha.

  • This is so true – that statistic is so hard!

    xx
    Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Hiiiiii Nadine! I just found your blog, and am ob-the-sessed and just spent all of Finals Week reading your archives 🙂 Anyway, just wanted to say hi and that I too have my very own Harry Potter (Sirius) wand and the best day of my life was spent at HP World, and yadda yadda yadda. So, let’s be friends 😉

    And this post was so interesting to read. With celebrity culture and Facebook, divorce and breakups seem to be so very prevalent that it’s so easy to lose hope in the marriage institutions. I love it when couples prove that wrong!

  • Marriage is scary. Divorce is scary. Life is scary. But I suppose at some point we just have to overcome our fears and do something that frightens us. I have no plans to get married anytime soon, but I think that when the time comes I will just have to have trust and faith in the love that my partner and I share.

  • When it comes down to it, marriage is such a huge leap of FAITH.

  • marriage is work. and as long as you remember that it can work. people are lazy now. it is easier to say screw it and let temptations win than to work at it.

  • I think our generation is just so used to getting exactly what they want, when they want it that they don’t put the effort forth..and that’s really sad. That’s why I’m still single (and have been for 3 years) I don’t want to waste my time….effort….life….on someone who’s just going to throw me away because they don’t want to work for something.

    › xo fal • falfindshappiness.blogspot.com

  • I one time had a professor tell me, in class, in front of everybody, that it was a good thing I was continuing my education because statistically it was the best thing I could do for my marriage, since it was too late to wait for the statistical proper age. Very funny, professor.
    Divorce is a scary thing. You remind me, my husband told me a long time ago that the reason he never wanted to marry the two serious girlfriends he had before me was because he was pretty sure they would divorce him, but he wasn’t afraid of that with me, for whatever reason.
    I haven’t yet had any friends get divorced…then again, most of my friends haven’t even been married as long as I have! Neither of our parents are divorced either, which I’m finding is extremely rare. Marriage definitely means taking a risky chance, but I do believe it’s worth it. Although…if anyone prefers to be selfish…they might have more fun staying single because I don’t think anyone really wants a selfish spouse…

  • With stats like that, it’s no wonder people are afraid of marriage. I got married when I was 20 years old & we’ll be celebrating our 4 year anniversary next May. It’s sad to see couples that got married around the same time we did getting divorced after 2 or 3 years.

  • it’s depressing really. it’s even more depressing to hear people that are engaged that have the attitude of’ well if it doesn’t work out, there’s always divorce’. heck yea you’ll get divorced with that attitude! i still have hope in the institute. and each happy year that we have together i just keep thinking to myself ‘heck yea, we’ve beat another statistic!

    • Nadine

      I see the value in divorce for situations that involve adultery or abuse, absolutely. I think it’s just harder to figure out where to draw the line if you’re growing apart.

  • I agree marriage is terrifying. And I’m married. When we were engaged I had some pretty major panic attacks. But since we’ve actually gotten married I haven’t freaked out once. I think a lot of people give up too easily. You hear of people getting divorced after 1 year of marriage. In my opinion, when a marriage gets bad, you need to work on it for at least a year before even considering divorce. You need to go in thinking that divorce isn’t even an option.

  • Steph

    You’re so right, marriage in the face of the astronomical divorce rate is scary. My husband and I just got married after 4 years of dating, 1 year long-distance, 2 years of living together, 4 moves across 3 states, including 6 months of living with his parents, so we feel like we’ve been time and distance tested. My dad says that marriage is the thing that gets you through the times you don’t want to be married anymore. It’s an agreement to get through the bad times and see what’s on the other side, as well as being a wonderful way to connect to one another.

    I find it oddly comforting that friends that have gotten divorced have said things like the following: “As I walked down the aisle I though ‘well, I just won’t have kids with him'” *they went on to have 3 kids and get divorced after 10 years* and “The last straw was when he called me a wh*** during an argument. I mean he’d called me a b*tc* before, but wh*** was crossing the line.” I think, well, the signs were definitely there.

    I think it comes down to the agreement between two people to share a life no matter what happens. And communication, it’s all about communication!

    • Nadine

      Well I find those statements by your friends oddly comforting too but DAMN why did they go through with it? That confuses me more than anything. And I would never ever let someone talk to me like that. That’s a complete lack of respect, not just a lack of communication.

      • Steph

        Exactly! I think with mutual respect and communication and the agreement that divorce is simply not an option (that’s what the dating phase is for-getting out if you need/want to), you’ve got the recipe for a lasting marriage 🙂

  • Samantha

    My husband and I got engaged after 4 months of knowing each other, married 4 months later, and pregnant one month later! Oh and then he deployed to Afghanistan; people had their opinions if you can believe that 😉 But anyways, my point in telling you this is people can be together for 2 minutes or 2 decades and you just never know. Scares the crap out of me too but I guess if you know, you know, and then it’s not so scary 🙂 Sounds like you know!

  • It’s a leap of faith. I’ve seen people close me to “fail” in marriage, but I won’t let that stop me from believing in forever with the man that I have pledged that to. Maybe it makes me fight for it even more fiercely. It is no secret that the “institution” of marriage is changing, but the love that I have for this man is real, and there really is no title that could ever define that.
    xx

  • I recently (6 mo ago) got married, and let me tell you… I know why couples get divorced. Marriage is HARD. It’s worth it if you love the person you’re with, whole heartedly, and luckily, I do. 🙂 There are days when I want to poke his eye out… but I don’t. Marriage takes a lot of work and communication and deep breathing, and I think the fact that so few people tell young people that is why so many of them fail. Marriage is not sunshine and rainbows all the time, it’s impossible. I think young couples go into marriage expecting everything to be easy, and they think they’re “done” now that they’ve found their spouse, but you’re not, unless you’re prepping for divorce. I think you’re really smart to think about it, and to know the statistics, and to be realistic about it. At the end of the day, EFFORT decides whether or not you divorce.

    • Nadine

      Maybe I’m completely naive but I often wonder how different marriage is from what we are doing now. We are committed to forever, have been together for 3 years and living together for a year and a half. I often wonder how marriage will feel different once we take that step, though I’ve heard it does feel different (though I’ve had some friends tell me it feels the same as living together). I would never expect marriage to be easy but it’s good to emphasize how important effort is for the health of marriage.

  • After dating my high-school sweetheart for 8 years, I didn’t think I’d contribute to the divorce statistic either. But… only 5 days after our first anniversary, I learned that he had been unfaithful. I thought I did the right thing, after 8 years of dating, marriage was the next logical step. We didn’t rush into it and I really thought I knew him after all those years.

    Divorce is horrible, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. But believe it or not, I wake up and am thankful for what the divorce process taught me. I learned so much about myself, as well as what I need/want in a relationship. If I can give you one piece of advice, its to sit down with N and talk about what marriage and commitment means to each of you. Looking back, I didn’t know to ask that and my ex-husband and I had completely different definitions.

    I want to be married again, I loved being married. But I’m scared to death to fail again. Like you, I don’t know what the magic formula is, but I wish I knew.

    • Nadine

      Adultery is definitely on the unforgivable list in my book. I would never advocate staying with a person who has been unfaithful to you. I love the advice you gave about what marriage means to us, that we need to figure that out. I think we’re on the same page but having the explicit conversation is never a bad idea. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • I am so glad I read this. I almost didn’t, thinking (based on twitter comments) it would be about marrying young and fast and perfect fairy tales that I don’t really believe in, but instead it was something I could really relate to. It is so scary. My boyfriend and I are both in careers with high divorce rates, which terrifies us both. I try to remind myself that we’ve overcome things that most relationships cant already, but it’s so scary to think about how the odds and the statistics are against us!

  • Marriage is definitely a weird thing. My husband and I had been together for nine years and lived together for six before we got married this past August. So many people we know ask us that standard, cheery and excited question– “How does it feel to be married now?!” To be honest, it doesn’t feel any different. We dressed up, went to the courthouse with a good friend as our witness, and a half an hour later we were drinking pints and eating crab dip for lunch at one of our favorite bars. I truly believe that is how it should be. Our society has built up these expectations about marriage, about roles husbands and wives are supposed to play, about fairytale weddings women are supposed to want, and that marriage is what is most acceptable. In turn, many people cling on to those expectations and I believe try to live up to something that they just truly can’t live up to. They then become disappointed, jaded, and ultimately unhappy at which point they blame the marriage because it didn’t turn out to be what it was “supposed” to be. If our society let go of those expectations, I believe we would see fewer divorces and a lot more happy people!

  • Jessa

    I have been married for 2 year and marriage still terrifies me. It’s crazy to see friends get married and divorce so quickly. Before my husband I wasn’t planning on getting married OR having kids but with the right person it makes it a different.

  • That makes me so sad to hear how terrified people are of marriage. I married my high school sweetheart at the ripe age of 18 and ten years later we are still happy and thriving. Not that it hasn’t been difficult. Not that situations haven’t come up that have rocked the boat. And maybe it has something to do with the fact that both of our parents are happily married…but I know that most of it has to do with Christ being the foundation of our marriage.
    But since I know that not everyone here is on the same page religiously, I will offer this piece of advice. When you make that commitment, you don’t make divorce an option. It’s not a topic of conversation. When it’s completely off the table (with of course the few exceptions being abuse or infidelity etc) you don’t live in the fear of the other giving up on you or walking out. We also have a few ground rules like never leaving the house in the middle of an argument.
    Just my two cents =) Marriage is work but its WORTH it.

    Mimi
    http://thisdomesticateddiva.com

    • I appreciate that you added the few exceptions. Certainly divorce is justified in some cases. Strangely, I’m not scared of marrying N. I do like the idea of never putting divorce on the table, never making it an option. I just don’t know how much that holds up in real life. What if you worked and worked at it and years, decades later you were still miserably unhappy? It’s hard to say never. I say I hope. I hope we don’t. I hope we’re happy. I hope we succeed. But if feels crazy to think we will when we’ve seen so many others fail. Thank you for such a lovely comment.

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