The Ever After (Part 2): Getting to know each other
As a follow up to my previous article, The Ever After, which spoke about the real world of marriage, I would like to speak about Getting to know each other. Past the fairy-tale wedding, the memorable honeymoon and all the fanfare, lies the real essence of marriage—getting to know each other.
Marriage is the coming together of two individuals: that involves not only sexual intimacy and the exchange of last names but the tolerance of two identities living under one roof and sharing the same space for the rest of their lives. I provide the following example:
Looking back at the world wars taught to me as a child, it was a common occurrence for two countries or regions to fight over territory and sometimes because they couldn’t stand each other! The reality is marriage can sometimes feel like war: having things in common doesn’t mean your views are common, your preferences are common or your attitude towards things are common. Yes, marriage can be war.
Take for example, John and Beverly—two newlyweds who just tied the knot. John is somewhat quiet; he doesn’t talk much but he notices the little things about you that really matter. Beverly is normally extremely loud and forgets where she puts everything. These two married for love and, during courtship, were able to put aside their differences because they focused on the biggest factor in a marriage—love. (Any other focus will lead to a destruction of your union.)
Although they love each other, each has different ways of dealing with household and social issues that sometimes put them at odds. Some of Beverly’s girlfriends recommend that she end the marriage and tell her that it won’t work. Looking at these two, you would think their situation is hopeless. What you fail to see is, this was inevitable. There is no way you can put two human beings in a room for a prolonged period of time and expect them not to argue or fuss. The reality of getting to know each other is you WILL argue and fuss. The reality is, your differences are what made you fall in love in the first place: get to know each other, embrace the differences and learn to love that side too. (Truthfully you don’t want to be with someone that always agrees with you anyway!) Differences keep the marriage hot and interesting and it gives you something to discover daily in each another.
So, for all those planning to tie the knot soon, it’s ok not to know everything right away! And for those who have already taken the plunge, its ok not to agree on everything! Get back to the root of marriage which is love. Use it as a chiller when you feel your anger ignite and you want to argue and fuss with your mate. You’re in it for the long haul so you might as well get to know who you’re married to: the good, bad and extremely ugly!
Keep spreading the love and look out for part 3.