Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash
We should all know better: marriage takes work.
“People marry believing that they would have a blissful marriage. However, happiness does not necessarily follow from a courtship romance,” says David Kan from Eagles Mediation & Counselling Centre (EMCC), a trained practitioner in premarital guidance and marital counselling.
“[Marriage] is an intentional and on-going effort to nurture and grow the relationship. It is marked by all kinds of expectations and by the closeness of individuals involved,” he adds.
When we hear of people meeting and getting married in the span of a year and less, we react to the news unconvinced, yet at the same time harbouring a tiny hope that they last; because what is life if not for the promise of true love that withstands all things?
However, before you rush to put down your savings for that flat and exchange your breathless “I dos” at the altar, be sure that these aren't the reasons you are choosing to get married.
1. You’ve been together since forever
…so why not? You’ve seen each other while puberty was still doing its work on you. You’ve seen everything there is to see, and miraculously still feel love towards the other. It’s time.
That’s all fine and well – if you’ve been putting in the right kind of work.
“While premarital couples spend a great deal of time and attention on building the castle of romance, it is vital for them to recognize and appreciate the relationship dynamics of personality uniqueness, differences in family background and role expectations.
These key areas need to be understood and worked through to establish a strong foundation in getting along with each other on a long-term basis,” explains Kan.
It’s unwise to judge your readiness by how long you’ve been together. After all, there are plenty of bad relationships that last longer than they should.
2. You think marriage will resolve the issues in your relationship
Being in a relationship also means being responsible for someone else’s emotional well-being.
If you aren’t able to handle it well before marriage, there’s little chance that the situation will improve after the demands of marriage is added to the picture, as you’re now living with the responsibility of the physical and financial well-being of another person as well.
“Decisions and plans have to be made taking into consideration of other party. With the onset of post-courtship, life steers to a different plane in their marital commitment,” says Kan.
Teo Jin Huang, a divorce lawyer and partner at I.R.B Law LLP, also shares:
“Unfortunately, I have seen too many cases where couples’ long-standing disputes can be attributed in one way or another to some form of 3rd party involvement, and not in the sense of an extra-marital affair.
Be it big decisions such as the raising of children or even daily run-of-the-mill arrangements such as arranging furniture in the home.”
3. You’re afraid you can’t find someone else
…is simply not a good enough reason for settling into something as tremendous as marriage.
If this is a major driving force behind the reason you’re getting hitched, don’t.
No matter how fully capable you are of creating your own happiness, signing to a life-long bond to someone you don’t fully love is unfair to both parties.
The basis of any marriage is partnership and commitment, and doing so without love will be immensely difficult.
“At the end of the day, if the couple does not function, the marriage does not function,” says Teo.