When I said my vows two decades ago, I knew not what I'd signed up for. My lack of true understanding made me question the way in which we prepare our youth on the matter of marriage. Being raised with ideals of fairytale endings sets unobtainable precedence. Thus nearly guaranteeing probable failure, given such high expectations. I have to wonder if we were more forthcoming on the subject, might the ever rising divorce rate be diminished?
Looking back I can openly acknowledge marriage should come with an instruction guide, even a simple pamphlet would be incredibly beneficial. Don't get me wrong, I love my man. We have braved disgruntled ex's, poverty, unemployment, loss of parents, cancer, near death experiences and teenagers, whew. Exhausting, yet we survived it all with the grace of God.
Though I must admit, the day he slid that little box across the table and serenaded me over lunch may have concluded much differently if I knew then what I know now, cliché as it may sound. No matter how endearing it truly was, had I known better the road ahead, I might have contemplated longer before accepting his proposal.
The harsh reality is that marriage isn't a fairytale. It requires more than chocolates, roses and fancy underpinnings to be successful. We dream our whole life of this enchanted time, only to find it doesn't turn out the way it did for Cinderella. For some this reality is a deal breaker.
I count myself a woman of true grit, being on my own since I was 19 lends a certain maturity. I've faced my share of hardships, failures and disappointments, so why hadn't I been prepared for this? No one warned that blended families rival battling virulent cancer -- Trust me I have faced both. All of my friends and family stood back smiling as I dove head first into a bottomless pit of astoundingly endless reality checks, offering zero warnings. The slap of raw truth left me pondering why might this be?
Marriage comes with many added bonuses, including the ultimate jackpot of the clandestine emotional baggage your true love is sporting. Come on admit it, you know what I am talking about. We all have a history, a past, we are human. Living so closely with another is an incredible undertaking; such commitment touts heaping servings of respect and understanding if it is to be successful, though often it is taken lightly.
Current philosophy seems to be, after the infatuation wears off simply move them out and move on to the next. That which was once held sacred seems now a mere technicality. Simply claim temporary insanity, sign the divorce papers and hurry home to change your Facebook status to single.
I have to wonder, could we change the future of marriage simply by imparting some of the knowledge we acquire along life's highway to those taking the plunge? Wouldn't it be easier to simply stop this endless degeneration of the sacred institution of marriage by teaching our young that fairytales are attainable, with no less than a lot of hard work, dedication and good dose of patience? Rather than sending them into a lion's den of misconception and predisposed defeat, might we better equip them with the tools to face the mounds challenges ahead?
So I ask this, if those who have a few years of marital knowledge securely tucked under our belts reached out to those preparing to vow their life to another, might there be more successes and many less failed unions? The next time someone we know flashes their newly acquired engagement ring or excitedly announces they 'popped the question.' might we step outside our comfort zone, ask them to meet for coffee and offer up some priceless advice that could quite possibly be that key to their fairytale?
Such a priceless gift would definitely be worth more in the long run than that crystal bowl you will offer at the after party. Though I recommend you still bring the lovely bowl.