(I’ll start with a disclaimer: I am no marriage expert. My intention is to share our experiences from my perspective so far. I was a little hesitant on posting this one, hope it helps someone or starts conversations and thoughts that do)
This is the second post in the series 372 days in marriage. In the last post I covered some things the never married (and perhaps hopeful) should consider when it comes to marriage. (You can read the post here). Moving on… from encountering the never married we have also encountered some married couples. It is only normal for people to seek commonalities when they first meet or are still somewhat unfamiliar with each other. Beyond asking names we proceed to ask what they do for a living, where they live, where they are from and, you guessed it, marriage and children.
Somehow when people have gone through experiences others have not, they go into “sage mode” and proceed to share their, uh, ‘wisdom’. I am just sharing my experiences, observations and lessons with the hope it will help someone, start or augment conversations… In short enrich others or at least make for pleasant reading :-).
Besides the never married people Ingrid & I have encountered, we have met married couples married for varied lengths of time with a myriad of experiences. We have married people who no longer share the optimism, commitment and fervor they once had for their marriage and spouses. (Something I find extremely sad.)
On discovering we have not been married as long as they have the couples go into “sage mode”. They proceed with attempts to dampen the passion and fervor they see in our marriage and in the marriages of others like us. Matter-of-fact statements such as, “wait till you’re married as long as we have” characterize these couples as admission to some kind of giving up on each other and their marriage.
They are not happy with where their marriage but are not willing to do something about it except wallow in that state. It is not my intention to condemn them. In fact, it breaks my heart they are where they are. I haven’t had the courage to ask them exactly how they ended up where they are but after listening to them for a while I made some assumptions and conclusions.
When they started out, they had a picture of marriage which is way better than their present reality. I have not met any couple that got married with the worst wishes for each other and their marriage. I am sure the (now) ‘sad couples’ also had greater expectations and desires for their married lives.
- I reiterate, I am no marriage expert, but for the couples facing whatever they are, please do not give up on each other and or your marriage. Do something.
- Remember, the now sad couples have not been always this way. They were at some point the happy ones. When I encounter the sad couples I take that as a reminder: I do not want a good marriage but a great one. I am reminded not to slack in my marriage, not to take Ingrid for granted but to be intentional in celebrating cherishing her and our relationship. (I will share some of the marriage resources I use regularly soon).
- Marriage is multifaceted but the people in it are the ones who ultimately determine what is magnified in theirs.
- As excruciating as it may be to listen to sad stories, do not be quick to run from couples that share their heart-rending experiences. Learn from them. If they are candid and willing find out how they ended up where they are and what they would do differently. Other people’s experiences over years but shared in a few minutes could be a difference between a good and a great marriage. (This is applicable in other areas besides marriage).
Remember: no single marriage is an absolute representation of what marriage is but what it can be (In the next post, one other kind of couples I’ve encountered and from there simply what I’ve learned in 372 days in marriage. Stay tuned!)
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