Twenty years ago today I got married. Looking back, I can’t say it was the happiest day of my life, there has been many joyous occasions in my life time. But then again, I don’t think marriage and a wedding day, should be the ultimate ambition of anyone really. The concept of modern marriage has been much in the news recently. No longer thankfully is it needed to offer women ‘protection,’ in a patriarchal society. When unless you were incredibly wealthy and able to financially support yourself, the repercussions of being unmarried, left you vulnerable and often poverty stricken in the past. Nor is it required to ensure a healthy sex life. It’s sometimes hard to comprehend, the stigma that was attached to sex before marriage, having grown up in more enlightened times. The Magdalene Laundries scandal, seems like something out of the Victorian era, yet I was shocked to read, that they closed in the early 1990′s.
To say that marriage is for the procreation of children, is quite insulting to those people who experience infertility problems or don’t want to have any offspring. I actually found that the wearing of a gold band, 3rd finger, left hand, didn’t have any influence on my fertility. Gay marriage, or marriage as it should be called, is no different from what my husband and I have, except that it is same sex couples. Marriage is about the relationship between 2 people, who love, care and want to support each other, hopefully until Death and his swishy robes comes to visit.
There is much more to a marriage than a wedding day. There won’t be much of a happy ever after, despite the careful planning and hand sewn wedding favour pouches, plucked from a unicorn, in a silvery glade, on the night of a full moon, containing a potpourri type mix, of the bride and groom’s toe nail clippings. So you can treasure it always and remember their special day. You might be reading this thinking I’m actually quite negative about marriage, I’m not. I will admit that I wasn’t bothered if I married or not, I wouldn’t have been at all concerned by the fact of having children without the adornment of a wedding ring. Being married does not automatically make you good parents. There are plenty of fantastic single parents, creating stable, loving family units, that make a mockery of the concept that marriage is needed, to raise a family.
Today is my 20th wedding anniversary, without wanting to sound boastful, I love being married to my husband. It’s been easy peasy so far, that’s not to say we haven’t had to cope with some challenges over the years, but we’ve been there for each other. The 20 years have whizzed past and despite all that time together, I still find his jokes funny, I still fancy him and I still love to spend time with him. I have no intention of setting myself up in this blog post, as an expert on a happy marriage. Over the years, the scythe of divorce has swept through a few of our friends and their marriages, yet we are still together and still happy. We were totally honest with each other, before we decided to get married, discussing what we expected from a marriage and what would doom our marriage.
So here are the ingredients I think are needed to make a happy marriage/relationship :-
Friendship :- A person who values you as a friend, is interested in you. Who accepts your family, your friends and doesn’t begrudge time spent in maintaining those friendships.
Respect :-Respecting a person, their views and feelings is very important in a relationship.
Supportive and caring :- They are there for you when you need them and you can always rely on them.
Trust:- You can totally trust them and feel confident that they are being honest with you.
Responsible :- They take responsibility for their own actions and effects they have on other people. Sharing responsibility for offspring and household.
Fun :- Enjoy spending time together, as a couple and as a family.
Compromise :- A relationship should be equal, you shouldn’t expect to have everything your way.
Love :- Loving the person for who they are, not who you think you can change them into.
I deliberately didn’t put love at the top of the list, because although it is the basis for many a happy marriage or relationship, and could be seen as a vital ingredient, it could also be the basis for an unhealthy relationship as well. Without having the positive ingredients of respect, trust and friendship, love alone, will not make everything alright.
Marriage is often seen as a lifelong commitment, but unhealthy relationships are very similar to the Dementors from Harry Potter, sucking the very life force out of you and leaving you an empty husk. They wear you down, until you can no longer think or trust your own judgement. A relationship where either partner is abusive, physically violent towards the other, isn’t an acceptable way to live. But people find themselves staying in such marriages or relationships, because they believe they love each other. Love isn’t about hurting the person you love. People become conditioned to accept being treated in an appalling way and sometimes no longer have the ability to see how wrong it is.
A partner of the Dementor persuasion, is not always abusive in an obvious way, instead they display other negative behaviour that has no place in a marriage or relationship. Someone who puts you down all the time, makes fun of you, chips away at your confidence and self esteem, isn’t a nice person. Why would someone who supposedly cares about you, do that? Manipulative and controlling behaviour, snide, nasty comments, none of these are desirable characteristics in a partner. I disliked sulky behaviour when my offspring were little, nobody should put up with such behaviour from an adult. To take a huff or make a partner endure the silent treatment, isn’t the response of a reasonable adult. People get married or form relationships so they can have a secure, safe and loving connection with the other person. If they are aggressive towards you, scary of temper and you feel as though you are living your life walking on eggshells, walk away. Don’t wait for those eggs to crack, that isn’t the way to live your life. If the good ingredients aren’t there, walk away. You only get one chance at life, don’t waste it on a life that’s not worth it. Life is for living in a way that will make you happy. There is much more to a happy marriage/relationship, than thinking you are in love. It should be a place where you can be yourself.