Marriage Is Not the Cure for a Bad Dating Relationship

BY: - 6 Jun '13 | Relationships

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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?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 530 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict. She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and on the Michael Baisden Show. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. For more of Tiya's fearless life and love wisdom, visit her blog at www.theboldersister.com

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  • http://www.blackandmarriedwithkids.com Lamar Tyler

    One of the keys to getting the divorce rate down is stopping marriages that should never happen! Great post Tiya.

    • Tiya

      Thanks Lamar. I am not sure why so many think marriage will improve their situations. It puzzles me.

    • Anonymous

      Lamar, I complete agree with you. Stop the bleeding before it starts.
      That mindset requires many to get serious with themselves and a level of maturity that many don’t want to deal with. Maturity = Responsibility. i.j.s

  • Chaplain

    Yes I believe marriage does offer a viable solution, and in some cases is the ONLY viable solution to a challanged relation. Here are two quick reasons. One- it burns the boat! As long as two people continue to try to strenthen a relationship BEFORE marriage,they are just kidding themselves. The real sanctifying heat cannot come until REAL commitment is solidified and tangable. Until marriage, both parties AND their respective families keep tend to keep an emotional distance, reserving some, just in case.

    TWO- the most violent an unstable of all relationships are the unmarried. They garner more domestic distirbance calls than any other. Why? Because an unmarried relation, dispite what we’d like to bleieve is a breeding ground for the insecurities wed like to think we’ve overcome or outgrown. It turns otherwise highly functioning folks into emotional weenies. Its like working for an employer who keeps you temporary, or on probation, never closing the deal. Do you look for another job?
    Closing the deal is super important and offers great psychsocial and spirtual relief. For many, if not most, especially the younger ones,the longer you drag it on, the worse its likely to become.

    • Anonymous

      Great point, but I do have to disagree. The real commitment comes before the marriage and appears when both people show they are willing to make sacrifices and change negative behaviors for the sake of the relationship. If a person has insecurities or any other baggage, they won’t disappear once they get married. And there is usually a valid reason that, an employer for example, is only keeping you on temporarily. If a marriage has a real chance at survival we have to at least start it off on the right footing. Thanks for your comment.

    • http://www.notyouraverageadvice.com Tiya

      Great point, but I do have to disagree. The real commitment comes before the marriage and appears when both people show they are willing to make sacrifices and change negative behaviors for the sake of the relationship. If a person has insecurities or any other baggage, they won’t disappear once they get married. And there is usually a valid reason that, an employer for example, is only keeping you on temporarily. If a marriage has a real chance at survival we have to at least start it off on the right footing. Thanks for your comment.

How Do You Know if He’s “The One”?

BY: - 6 Jun '13 | Relationships

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I think we’ve either all been there, or we are there right now – wondering how to figure out if the person we are with is “the one.”  After all, the last thing any of us really want to do is spend our time investing in a relationship that just isn’t going anywhere.  We want to feel like our time is being well spent and that we are choosing to be with the person we were meant to be with.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Is your relationship perfect?  I doubt it.  Relationships really never are.  That’s why I am not going to make it seem like things need to be perfect for things to be right.  Actually, if things seem too perfect, it can be an indication that things are all wrong.  The imperfections in a relationship are what make it special.

Here are a few things I think women should look out for if they are trying to figure out whether or not the imperfect man in their life is “the one.”

  • You are truly yourself around him.  It’s painful for me to watch a friend behaving differently around someone she’s dating.  It makes me feel like she is scared that he won’t fall for the real her.  And truthfully, if you are worried that a guy won’t fall for the real you, he doesn’t deserve the fake you either.
  • You are comfortable sharing your past with him.  Hold up.  I am not suggesting that you tell this man every single detail of your past (especially the stuff you really aren’t proud of).  But I think you should be comfortable sharing stories about events that have made you who you are.
  • He inspires you to be a better person.  He doesn’t have to share the exact same personal dreams that you have, because your dreams belong to you.  However, he should have a spirit about him that makes you want to do better and be better.
  • You aren’t hiding him from anyone.  This just means that you love him and you don’t really care who else knows.  If you have to keep your man away from your family and friends, something just isn’t right.  It doesn’t mean he won’t be “the one” for you one day (maybe you are still seeking approval from everyone about your decisions), but it does mean that you aren’t quite ready yet.
  • You share the same values.  To build a life with someone who doesn’t share your values and your belief system is not easy.  Whether it’s the role that faith plays in your life or your thoughts on having children, you should be with someone whose beliefs are in line with your own.
  • He makes you laugh.  I mean a deep, honest laugh.  The kind of laugh that makes you feel joy and freedom all at once. When someone makes you laugh like that – consistently – it’s pretty special.
  • He doesn’t fight dirty.  I think all couples have arguments and fights.  However, I don’t think that fighting dirty is ever necessary.  If you are with someone who resorts to name calling, bringing up things you may be ashamed of, or being just being plain mean, it’s not a good sign.
  • He gives you something that no one else can.  Everyone describes this feeling differently.  Some women say “ he completes me,” while others say “he’s my other half.”  And some people, like me, just say, “my life is better with him.”  No matter how you slice it, it boils down to feeling like he adds something to your life that no one else can. He makes your life better.

BMWK Family, How did you know your partner was “the one”?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 397 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a lifestyle consultant who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create lives they love. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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