Young adults who are anticipating getting married are not stupid. They have seen the previous generation go through divorce after divorce and so they know firsthand of the disastrous effects divorce has on children, unspoken of or not. Far too many of you who anticipate marriages are only armed with the commitment that what happened to your parents will not happen to you. That's fine; but it's very similar to the commitment we adults had about parenting. We knew we wouldn't raise you the way we were raised, but we didn't look closely enough at marriage itself.
This evolutionary process (it is an evolutionary process, isn't it?) definitely works to some extent but it is rather unscientific. This method relies only on trial and error, learning from your mistakes and not repeating them. What is really necessary is a system of marriage that is laid out in front of you before you get married. Then you don't have to make the same mistakes that everyone has made in the past. You can start with fact-based information about how to behave, how to communicate correctly and how not to behave. The manual for marriage now exists, but it isn't my goal to advertise the work that I have done as much as it is to remind you that you're not getting into something that just happens naturally. Because of our culture and the power of our environment to influence us, having a happy marriage doesn't just happen. Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not trying to say that marriage requires tremendous work; it doesn't. But it does require a conscious decision to do what is correct.
The dynamics of a marriage are far different from any other social or other kind of relationship dynamics. There are certain rules that need to be followed. If you don't know the laws of marriage, no matter how great your desire to do the right thing is, you are going to make mistakes out of sheer ignorance. Ignorance is not a bad thing. It is what it is, unless you already knew what not to do. In that case you are responsible for your ignorance. Do you see my point? If you have a manual but choose not to read it, and then stumble through a process thinking you will figure it out as you go along, you are underestimating the importance of marriage.
Many people go to their religious leaders for premarital coaching. I am very much in favor of this because every religion offers guidelines of life that are very relevant. I must also state, from my own experience with couples who were suffering from painful marriages, that those guidelines are not enough. Other people go to psychologists for premarital coaching. I am sad to say I discourage this practice. It seems their systems focus on the negative in the name of exposing the dangers and pitfalls. Unfortunately they don't discuss adequately with depth the benefits of a sacred relationship, which marriage is. It is my ongoing contention that people must recognize the three aspects of their being (physical, psychological and spiritual). Western psychology completely ignores the spiritual aspect of humanity; a three legged stool will not stand, nor can mankind understand its true nature when it ignores its spiritual aspect. Ironically, the spiritual aspect of man is the essential aspect and it must be addressed and understood in order to get the full benefit of marriage. Please note I am not a religionist. I suppose all religions are good and none are perfect. Spirituality is part and parcel of all religions and even exists when people don't practice religion.
4) Speak at length about raising children. Talk about how you want to raise them, include your goals and how you hope to achieve them. Talk about methods of discipline. Discuss what you will do with your children, and how much time each of you will spend with them. 5) Talk about your future intimacy. Talk about what lovemaking means to you but never correct each other. Tell your partner how you think your sex life might change after you are married. Be open about what your expectations are but don't ask for a commitment. Know for certain that a person does what they want to do but primarily what they are used to doing, so don't expect change.
The above five tips are just the tip of the iceberg. A truly happy marriage comes from unselfish and mature behavior. Learn what it takes and you will have the happiest marriage on earth. That is my prayer for you. Don't forget to tell your significant other, "I love you."
Paul Friedman’s entry into the business of helping couples mend their marriages began with a very rough personal experience with divorce. Paul came out of an early retirement to become a mediator. His belief was that couples could easily work out the details of separation and get on with their lives. He discovered the truth from his clients:they only sought divorce because the help they found to stay together didn't work.
Read more relationship advice at Lessons For a Happy Marriage.com