Marriage can be magnificent, amazing and beautiful. But it doesn’t possess any super powers. It can’t take a struggling dating relationship and transform it into a marriage made in heaven. No, the commitment itself won’t even be able to perform that particular trick, although there are many of us who hope it would. There have been so many couples who believed marriage was going to be the cure to the confusion, disagreements and mayhem existing in their lives. Contrary to popular belief, our vows are just words until we actually put some action behind them.
During a recent “Strawberry Letter” segment of the Steve Harvey Radio Show, a listener wrote in asking for advice on his troubled marriage. Through the letter he shared how challenged the relationship had been from the very beginning. This young man thought if he married his woman things would improve. To his surprise, the relationship worsened and he was at the point of walking away. I can’t recall the advice offered on the show, but the idea behind the letter is what had me stumped.
I wondered exactly who or what gave him the impression that making such a level of commitment would change the bad behaviors, negative attitudes and drama present in his relationship. What guarantee did he have, going in, that marriage was the solution. It’s like putting a band-aid on a broken leg; it won’t heal anything. Problems, like the ones he mentioned, are usually below the surface and require extra attention and action. Disrespect, lack of trust and ineffective communication usually still exist after we say I do, if neither partner is willing to correct.
If a person drives us crazy when we’re just dating, they’re probably going to drive us the same kind of crazy once we marry. The individual has to acknowledge their present behavior isn’t benefiting the relationship. If they are unable to do that, what makes one recognize it in a marriage? I am a firm believer that when people show us who they are, we must believe them. People can and do change, but they have to want to. We don’t have the power to change them and neither will marriage.
Marriage works best when it includes two relationship focused individuals who are willing to go above and beyond to make it work. Marriage won’t save us, heal us or fix us. We must be realistic about our expectations. It should, however, compliment us and begin on a solid foundation. Our focus should be on strengthening the relationship before we decide to take it to the next level, so we have the greatest chance at marriage success.
BMWK, do you think marriage is a solution for an already struggling dating relationship?
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