How Do Your Words About Marriage Impact Others?

I enjoyed this post by a young engaged gal who is excited to be getting married. Yet, colleagues and even complete strangers fill their days warning her about how hard marriage is, celebrating their divorces with her, and suggesting she still has time to get out of the marriage deal. Read her reaction. (And as an added bonus at the bottom of her post, see a classic 1965 performance of Jackie DeShannon singing “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.”

I applaud her ability to be hopeful and positive within a negative climate. Yes, the cloud of young love is hovering over her, but her point is that she doesn’t live under a rock, and she knows all about divorce and failed relationships. (Don’t we all have more than a glimpse?)

I would guess that readers of this blog are rather fond of marriage. After all, you care enough to read marriage tips and research about boosting your relationship. How do you project your marriage to others? (Or if you are engaged, do you present a happy marriage as your ideal?) It’s so easy to fall into negativity and complaining. Try to be a positive voice even in a negative culture. Not only will you shape how others feel about marriage, you will help put your own relationship in its best light.

Sure, you may choose to have a serious discussion about the challenges of marriage to your nephew or your daughter, but are you overall bullish or bearish on marriage? Do you praise your spouse and your union? Do you share your positive experiences, how you felt at your marriage?

I like to tell people I’m a big fan of marriage and share how it’s been a great blessing to me. I get to share my life with my best friend. I get to reveal all my insecurities and dreams and concerns without fear of rejection. I always have someone to encourage me when I’m down or lend me the corner of his t-shirt to wipe away my tears (when I’m happy or sad). I have the perfect Daddy to help me raise my munchkins. I have someone who will even rub my feet if I ask nicely. In short, it’s totally worth the effort.

What’s your story, and have you shared it lately? Feel free to share it here. Or when you hear your coworkers griping about their spouses, say something positive to turn the conversation.

Photo Credit: ©PhotoXpress.com

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9 responses to “How Do Your Words About Marriage Impact Others?

  1. I am on the fence about this. Well, not really I guess.
    Young couples already have the light and fluffy feelings of marriage, so much to the extent that their expectations are rarely based in reality. What I tend to notice is that people “leave them in the clouds” or you have divorce couples tell them that marriage will make your arms fall off. Both are extremes.

    I do, however, believe it is quite appropriate to let a newly marriage couple know that it is not an easy thing to do. When they go into marriage with the unrealistic expectation that it will be all smiles all the time, they set themselves up for failure (and for the growing number of divorces within the first four years).

    So, without making the couple feel like the four horsemen are going to show up after they say I do, they do need understanding that all married couples know… it takes lots of work and lots of love.

    • I agree that realistic expectations are important to convey, particularly in a premarital counseling arena. I just disagree with the blanket statements of marriage being impossible and that it should be avoided at all cost. I also think advice should come from people whom the couple trusts, not random individuals with a chip on their shoulders about failed relationships. Thanks for your input!

  2. Lori,
    This could be my story as well! When I was engaged I was only 19, my husband was 24. One of the girls I worked with was in a very sad marriage. She was constantly telling me how my joy wouldn’t last. I was a Christian trusting that God had led me to my husband. The difficulty for me was my marriage was completely in faith at that point in time. I had no experience, but she did and her’s was not good. I spent many, many hours crying in the office bathroom. I was afraid, nervous and madly in love with Tom. I believed he was who he said he was. But I didn’t know. What gave me confidence was the belief that God had brought us together. We were trusting HIM to make us into the husband and wife who would glorify Him “for as long as we both shall live”. I had no idea how those steps of faith then, would lead us to where we are today. We are amazed, grateful, blessed and more in love with the Lord and each other than we ever dreamed was possible. Is it because our marriage has been without trouble – OH NO! We’ve had lots of it, but each time God has walked us through and given us a testimony to share in order to help others. It is the best because I’m living life (all of it – the good and the bad) with my best friend.
    One of our favorite songs is by Shania Twain “Still The One”. The line that always gets me is: “Looks like we made it. Look how far we’ve come, my baby. So glad we didn’t listen, look at what we would be missing. They said, ‘I bet, they’ll never make it,’ but just look at us holding on. We’re still together, still going strong.”
    Thanks for giving me a chance to share this part of our story. It is and always will be a testimony to God’s faithfulness.
    Oh! We’ve been together 32 years now! :-)

  3. I agree with David – a bit of realism is a good thing, and usually lacking when a couple is about to marry.

    Sadly pre-marital counseling is usually too little and too late. The pre-marital usually happens after a date is set and everyone knows – and at that point pride will likely keep a couple from backing out even if they should.

    We tell kids that marriage is the second biggest and second most important decision they will ever make. Long term they will either look back and see it as a very good choice, or the choice that ruined their life. There are a few who fall between those, but most end up on one end or the other.

    If marraige is something you do for as long as you like it (a view I don’t agree with) then it seems like no big deal – try it, and if it fails you bail. Of course the research shows that this does not work – even if a person sees divorce as acceptable, the results are devastating, and each divorce makes the chance of a good marraige in the future less unlikely. In reality divorce is like cutting off a gangrene arm or leg – even when it’s the best choice it’s a horrible thing to do, and you carry the scars, limitations, and regret of the action for the rest of your life.

    • Well put, Paul. I think your two camps are pretty accurate–best decision or the choice that ruined their life. I know many people in both categories. The latter seem to have been ill prepared, immature, or unaware of who their partner really was. In retrospect, they say they didn’t understand the gravity of their decision. I did have one couple in premarital counseling who backed out close to the wedding date. Although it was sad, I consider both of them lucky to not go through a divorce, and fortunate to not have children affected by the split.

  4. My husband and I have been married for 29 years. We get to share our story quite a bit as we were only 15 and 17 and pregnant when we got married. When people ask how long we’ve been married, my husband has a comical way of anwering, “He says we have been married for 7 glorious years!” Then he says, “we’ve actually been married for 29, but sprinkled all throughout that I am sure there has been a total of at least 7 glorious years, lol!”
    For real though, people ask us all the time “how’d you do it?” and one thing I like to tell them is that we have figured out that not only are there ups and downs, but that there are some times when you won’t even like each other, and THAT’S OK!
    The problem is, when many people hit that bump, they think maybe they married the wrong person, or they are going to be miserable from then on. They have to understand that they just need to hang on and keep that love they still have deep down, because the ‘like’ will return with a little time and a little nurturing!
    Bernice
    http://bernicewood.wordpress.com

  5. Thanks for the humor-infused story, Bernice!

  6. I am on the fence about this article. I found this blog on freshly pressed, and I found the anecdote to be witty and positive.I think of a year back when I was about to get married- co-workers, relatives, friends told me stories of infedility, broken marriages, but most of the time I felt that won’t happen to me. I was amused at the paranoia about marriage! But I was in the engaged and naive state of mind, blissfully ignorant of the real adjustments required for marriage. I read love stories then and expected a fairytale marriage. I am only now realizing that I had unrealistic expectations, and building a new level of understanding. The last year has been a really steep learning curve, and I wish my colleagues and friends would have prepared me a bit more for it!

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