You’ve married the love of your life. You’ve been together since you were fifteen – high school sweethearts, Prom King and Queen, best friends. Why not get married? It would be like living the dream for the rest of your lives, right?
Or what if you’ve only met a year ago. Sparks flew, he was the perfect gentleman, always with roses and candy, opening doors, cuddling and watching movies on Saturday nights with a bowl of popcorn. You’ve only known each other for a year, but it feels longer. There is a great connection and you can’t see yourself without that person. What could go wrong?
One thing I’ve learned from my own marriage is that being a great wife and being a great girlfriend are two very different things.
As a wife, your role is no longer temporary, and that is what frightens most people right into a divorce. Too many times I’ve heard about couples being together for decades, and as soon as they get married, things start to fall apart.
That’s because the mentality shifts once you’re no longer just a boyfriend/girlfriend. You stop doing the things you did to get the person.
Some people advocate that it’s better to live together first, feel out the other person and whether you can tolerate them permanently in your space, before you consider marriage. What, then, would you say to couples who’ve lived together for years, get married, and then break up? It isn’t as simple as just sharing the same space and getting along. You’ve become one with the other person, biblically speaking.
It is true, nonetheless, how challenging it is to occupy space with someone else – to tolerate their idiosyncrasies, their weirdness, their very different lifestyle, some of which gives credence to the idea of living together before deciding on marriage.
Your thoughts, goals, dreams, desires, are infused into the other person’s, and not everyone can handle that. Marriage requires a lot of compromise and self-sacrifice.
Of course, no one is asking you to give up your dreams. They’re yours, so own them. What is required is mutual understanding on how to attain your dreams together. That’s where the work comes in.
The beauty of a marriage lies in two people seeing themselves in each other and putting their partner’s needs ahead of theirs. There is no greater joy than when two people work together harmoniously to achieve the same end. There is mutual love, understanding, and respect that fuels the journey.
Ordinary relationships don’t usually have this feature. You’re with another person, but you don’t necessarily infuse them into your goals and ambitions. It is simply two people sharing an emotional bond while living separate lives.
Marriage joins everything together, and if treated with the respect and holiness it deserves, is nothing short of amazing.