I’m Still Thinking
By Kevin Sheehan, Special Columnist
Regardless of weekly content, this column is designed to help others expand their way of thinking and promote creativity, empathy, and thought in general.
A friend of mine just announced he was engaged. Whenever something like that happens, rest assured there will be jokes about his funeral…er, I mean wedding day. Because not much is sacred anymore, marriage is the source of many jokes, even though being a sensitive and emotional endeavor.
Sadly, the fact is, a little over half of marriages end in divorce. (So my second marriage will be the one that lasts.) What can be done to prevent divorce? The easiest way is to not get married. But what if you already are or are planning on it?
Keep in mind that marriage is the biggest, and most worthy investment- financial, emotional, mental- that you will ever make. That is completely true. You invest money into each other with gifts, household bills, large purchases, even supporting the other if they are temporarily out of work.
Emotional investments are even more daunting. Most of us have very high guards up. For us to learn to trust someone again, to open up about our desires for the future, and our history, for our dreams as well as our nightmares, requires an emotional investment in that person.
Mental investment does require a strong mind. Spending your life with someone will guarantee that at some point you do not see eye to eye on a matter. Handling that situation calmly, with a soothing tongue and moderate tone, is a mental trait. Damage from a loose tongue will wound and scar someone for life. Just ask anyone who has been called worthless.
One thing I told my friend is that the world looks more conquerable through four eyes than just through two. But always make sure you see it through your mates as much as you do your own. Sometimes the weight of responsibility is too much for one individual. It is important to have a mate that is a complement to you, and not competition. When you fall, you want your mate to help you up, not say “I told you so.” When you can see the world through your mates eyes, you better learn how to support them. And in a true marriage, one mates success is both mates success.
Support is not a benefit, but a necessity. In most couples, both have secular jobs. Both face stresses in the workplace. It is important that after coming home from work battling a stressful day, that your spouse won’t have to fight you too (Ding-ding, Round Two, FIGHT!) Console your mate, don’t add conflict. Support your mate, don’t scrape.
You can tell when people don’t understand marriage based off statements like “Oh, your wife won’t let you do that?” “Your husband doesn’t want you to do that?” Here is why: When two people get married, they make a commitment to each other that comes before anything else. Their job, their role, is not to make their friends or family or co-workers happy. The spouse comes first. Wedding vows clearly state loyalty. And with successful relationships, nobody is a “boss”, but they work as a team. Using that reasoning as a controlling tactic is unhealthy, however when two people genuinely love each other, they will make decisions to make the other person happy, even if it hasn’t been mentioned or talked about.
When people think less of marriage than it actually is – is when marriages start to fail. Marriage is designed to be a lifetime commitment. Most do not see it that way these days, but it is. Marriage is two people trying to conquer the world, supporting each other. Marriage is the future, leaving the past behind. Marriage is slapping each other’s butt when you’re 70 years old. Marriage is the blessing, and the curse (I’m pretty sure my girlfriend is the blessing, and I am the curse.) Marriage requires both mated to give 100% effort. Marriage is the biggest sacrifice, and the biggest gift.
But most importantly, your marriage will be what you and your spouse make it.
Kevin Sheehan does not like the term “tying the knot.” A knot can easily be untied. He prefers a weld. It is not easily broken, and Kevin enjoys “weldings”, where there is often cake.
Let Kevin know what you are thinking. firstname.lastname@example.org