Is marriage becoming an outdated concept in a world of Hollywood-style divorces and disposable spouses? With celebrities filing for divorce almost every other day, and the awful stats on marriage and divorce, it’s a wonder that people bother getting hitched in the first place.
But, I think the real reason divorce is hitting an all time high, and belief in marriage as an institution is waning, is that the new generation (and young women, in particular) have far more choices open to them today, than their parents ever had.
And by choices I mean the ability, means, and legal sanction to:
– Leave an abusive relationship. Whereas most women of our parent’s generation would have chosen to stay in an abusive relationship (and still do), young women today have much greater support from parents, society and the law, and when faced with that choice, they are more likely to opt out, and with good reason).
– Pursue happiness aggressively. Whether that means choosing to leave an unfulfilling relationship because of irreconcilable differences, growing apart or career choices, young people have greater legal and societal support to end a marriage than their parents did.
While the aim of being in a happy, fulfilling relationship is worth pursuing, it takes a lot of work and sacrifice, not to mention loyalty and commitment, to make a go of it. Young people today seem far less committed to their relationships, and less tolerant of differences.
After all, why bother, when it’s so easy to end something that isn’t working and start over with someone new? What they don’t realise, however, is that the issues that plagued them in their old relationships are likely to follow them into the new relationship as well.
For women, in particular, the pressure to settle down and have kids makes many of them rush into marriage without assessing the suitability of the person they’ve chosen as a life partner.
The question, then, is not whether marriage is an outdated institution, but whether you and your partner are marriage-material. Do you both have what it takes to make a good marriage? Are you truly ready for marriage and all it entails?
Here are some things you need to do if you’re in a relationship or planning to take the plunge.
Get Rid Of Your Illusions
Like a thirsty man running towards a mirage in a desert, the false belief that marriage is going to make you happy is the cause of many a divorce. If you’re miserable when single, you’ll be miserable when married. That’s a fact. As long as you keep believing that you need another person to “complete” you, you’ll be chasing a mirage of happiness, and end up disappointed every time.
Our limiting beliefs about marriage are what prevent many couples from staying in what would otherwise be happy, fulfilling relationships. Getting rid of your illusions about marriage and the opposite sex will eliminate one of the biggest obstacles to having a successful marriage.
Know What You Want
Before you decide to settle down with one person, it’s smart to date until you have the maturity and clarity to know your own needs, and know what you expect from yourself and your partner. Dating allows you to learn more about the opposite sex, teaches you what sort of people to avoid, and helps you understand how to deal with the inevitable problems that crop up.
Don’t Rush Things
Instead of giving in to the heady emotion that accompanies “falling in love” and rushing into a commitment you might regret, take the time to get to know each other for at least a couple of years (anything before that is a risk) before deciding whether you want to spend your lives together. Ending a relationship can be painful, but it’s much less painful than a divorce, especially when there are kids involved.
Live In The Moment
Instead of keeping one eye on the goal (marriage) and pressuring your partner into a commitment, learn to live in the moment, appreciate your partner for who they are, and enjoy your time together. Take every relationship as a learning experience, because that’s exactly what it is.
Learn what it takes, and doesn’t take, to build a great relationship. Is the opposite sex a mystery to you? There are plenty of books and courses that will help you learn more about them. I recommend some of the best ones on my sites below.
Get Your Act Together
If you are unable to take responsibility for your emotions, have codependent tendencies, or addictions (that can be lethal to a relationship), approach a counsellor and learn healthy ways to communicate with your partner, manage anger, deal with disappointment, stress and sexual needs. These skills will stand you in good stead when your marriage hits the inevitable bumps along the way.
Deserve What You Want
In “How to Attract The Mate Of Your Dreams“, I wrote that the best way to attract a great partner is to become one yourself. You’ll find a number of good books that teach you how to become a great partner here .
Practice Unconditional Love
The popular notion of love is that it’s a feeling, an emotion. But is that really true? While being in love does generate powerful feelings and emotions, those are actually the symptoms or effect of love. In a spiritual sense, love is a way of life, a way of being. We do not fall in love or feel love. We practice love. Love is about doing, not feeling.
Practice unconditional love towards yourself and others. Learn to treat people with the love and respect they deserve. Act from your higher self at all times and you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime of love and happiness.
© Priya Florence Shah
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