“When a husband and wife have got each other, the devil only knows which has got the other.” – Honore’ de Balzac
While I write a great deal about many aspects of marriage, the overall situation is often neglected. That being the case let me address it here.
Marriage as an institution has its’ roots in property rights and authenticity of children being the father’s. Arranged marriages protected these rights and assured families that the new couple were of equal rank.
Today however that is all changed in most cultures. Witness the recent wedding of Prince Harry!
The beginning of most relationships that are fueled by desire and love have a glow that surrounds them. You can see it in the eyes and in the body language. It is indeed ‘magical.’ It is wonderful and consuming.
The beloved can do no wrong. Whatever the problems are they are masked or overlooked and excused. Passion covers it all and makes the relationship positive. Any idiosyncrasies or even downright annoyances are brushed aside.
How long this phase lasts can vary.
How much time is spent together is important. Under what circumstances the couple see one another is another factor. How any differences are brought up or solved or swept under the rug is vital.
So, let’s say they get along just dandy and the passion is there and they decide to marry.
Big decision. Now they have to include family and make plans. Step number one on the road to …
Maybe they get through all the planning, picking out china, and deciding where to live. The pull to be a couple is still strong.
Then they are on their own in that home and by themselves to live it out.
Here is the tricky part. Once married there is a license to be whoever you really are and to interact together as you wish.
That license says in small print;
Now I can be a slob.
Now I can say whatever I feel like saying. Now I can be as demanding as I wish.
Now I can decide what I want to do with money.
Now I can be the boss.
Now I can have sex, or not have sex.
Now I can tell others what I choose about my life.
Now I can…
This is the rest of your life, or not.
It is really up to each partner to be as courteous and caring as they might have been before that license was issued.
The passion will wane as having a readily available sex partner changes the dynamic.
You no longer have to woo and win someone. They are yours. It is easy. Maybe too easy. There is no mystery, no conquest, no longing.
Being romantic after the license takes thought and work. Yes, work. It does not occur automatically. My own bias is that it is the female that keeps the fire burning; adds a bit of mystery. She keeps him interested.
Today it is very easy to see, work with, or find, other partners for whatever reason. That means the bond at home is not strong enough to resist outside influences. Or perhaps the needs have changed. Maybe those cute habits before the license are now just plain annoying. Maybe you now make issues and argue or even fight about all sorts of things.
When I see couples heading for divorce I always ask if they had any clue about the things that now want them to be apart; they all say yes and can enumerate them.
To be sure there can be crisis, ill health, death, and certainly having a baby that cause huge changes. But if a couple is really bound together they can become tighter.
There is nothing like marriage but marriage. My idea is have that license expire every so often, like five years, and have a couple have to renew it!!
“Today he admits, he gave his sons one piece of advice: Never confuse I love you with I want to marry you.” – Cleveland Amory
Are you happily married? If so, why. If not, why not? What were you surprised about in marriage?