"A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct."-Dune, Frank HerbertI am continuously amazed at the carelessness that people apply to pretty much the pivotal decision of our lives. Marriage is a vital survival system to combine the resources of two individuals(time/talent/energy) into a new single entity(a family) to be able to accomplish things that a person by themselves cannot. I have been blessed to have found the right person to marry then we have both worked our buts off making it as successful as possible.
My first year of college was at an extremely evangelical christian university. I observed people marrying individuals who were total strangers to them a month prior. These people were trying to avoid sin of intimacy(not entirely physical intimacy) by pulling the trigger on what their faith required to be a lifelong commitment.
I moved on to a public university, but I still observed people rushing into the same lifelong commitments with breakneck speed. In one case a friend of mine got engaged a month after meeting someone, he had just had a serious relationship collapse and consciously though he had to settle for who he could get. Do I really need to spell out that this did not result in a happy or lasting marriage.
My stock advice to anyone thinking marriage is that it is a wonderful thing, but that it must be entered correctly, with the right person, and then maintained.
- You need to be able to think past the initial euphoric rush of romance, to make sure that this is someone you can literally live with the rest of your life. Make sure that in addition to eros there is philaos in your relationship.
- You need to be in near perfect harmony on the accumulation and use of resources(money being how we mostly denominate these things). The practical economic side of this social system is that we have two people pooling their resources into one entity. That means there shouldn't be your money and my money anymore, there is our money and our money means our money. If this sounds a bit communist that's because it is on a mico-scale, even if one party is keeping the day to day checkbook everything still needs to be done to commune all financial decisions. All of this needs to be worked out and agreed to before you even get close to an altar.
- Sex is an important way that couples bond their brain chemistry to each-other. Hormones similar to mothers with newborns are released after orgasm. So people it's not just for reproduction and it's like any skill it takes some practice to be any good at it.
- You have to trust each-other, and it has to be the right kind of trust. If your spouse trusts you because they have you emotionally beaten into submission then such is a flimsy foundation. Ask any police officer how many people follow a law that they don't have any moral agreement with.
- NEVER marry someone who is stupid or mean, and ugly is your choice.....all three can breed true.
Previous generations of Americans dealt with this be simple expediency that everyone knew everyone else from childhood. There were only so many possible matches and you remembered them from when they first hid a frog in in your school desk.
So many people rush to the altar thinking they are doing the "right" thing, either for religious or expedient grounds. "Shacking up" can of course be taken too far and has several well documented pitfalls, but I would submit that hastily entering of scared vows to be more sinful. Take the time to really get to know your prospective spouse people, anyone who doesn't think you are worth that time isn't worth yours.
How much misery could be avoided before we hit the point of diminishing returns?