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Ahh… Marriage. To some it is the final destination, the last goal on that infamous “To Do List”, the meaning of a complete life. To others it is that dreaded inevitable consequence, the choice to retire after you’ve left the game for whatever apparent reason: forced out, gracefully bowed up, sustained injuries, whatever.

Over the last 20 years, more and more marriages have ended in divorce. Is this because we choose the wrong partners, or that we don’t understand the dynamics of marriage? In it’s simplest form, all marriage is is a law binding agreement. And like any other law binding agreement, there is a penalty if you breach. We like to call it alimony. But one of the most critical problems with today’s structure of marriage is people’s perception of it. People tend to treat marriage as an experiment, rather than a long term commitment. People go into marriages thinking “well, if this doesn’t work out, we can always get a divorce.” Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Pre-nuptials subliminally reinforce this frame of mind as well. The opposing arguments that I’ve heard are that “we have to protect our assets”. My rebuttal to this is to actually get to know who you’re marrying.

There is no reason for anybody to be engaged for more than a year. Engagement is simply just the time frame from which you declare you are getting married to the day you actually walk down that aisle. This is not another phase in your relationship. It disturbs me that people look at it that way. “That’s my fiance.” If you’ve been saying this for the last 3 years, you should really reconsider getting married to that person.

I don’t think there is any specific age to get married. We fall in love at different ages. It would definitely be unfair to tell a young person that they’re not in love. You can be 19 and be in love. But being in love and being ready for marriage are two different things. Falling out of love can be just as easy as falling in love. This kind of love is not strong enough to carry over into a marriage. You need that unconditional love. That love you have for your siblings. You know, the one where no matter how much you may dislike them for a particular thing at a particular time, you never stop loving them.

Being in love is very different from loving somebody. When married people fall out of love, and they don’t genuinely love the person, they get divorced. Being “in love” is just another way of saying you’re infatuated. I remember when I was a young child, all of the people my grandparents age who were married, happened to be married for 35+ years. Of course, the passion that defined their fiery youth is perhaps gone, but these marriages had way more to stand on. Nowadays, we treat marriage as another relationship, just with a ring.

I am all for marriage and spending the rest of my life with the one that I love. However, I am wise enough to know that marriage should not be forced. I know that getting married because of lust and infatuation is nothing more than a cheap impulse that will result in heartbreak and disappointment. I know that getting married because you have children with your beloved is not a good enough reason to get married. Getting married for anybody other than yourself is jeopardizing your happiness, and you can’t be a good parent if you are not emotionally and mentally stable. This only comes from happiness.

I don’t want to be worried about alimony and things of that nature when I get married. I want to be assured that we are committed to each other and that we are happy with each other at our worst. Of course, people change and sometimes divorce is the best solution, but most people don’t drastically change

Now, if you’re in a relationship now… look at your partner and think about what I said.

A better understanding of what marriage means will lead to stronger marriages!
Written by Bryant Buntin, Author of Dear Women I Haven’t Slept With

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