“The relation between any two decently married people changes profoundly every few years… every change causes pain, even if it brings a certain joy. Marriage is a long event of perpetual change in which a man and a woman mutually build up their souls and make themselves whole.” -D.H. Lawrence
This quote aptly describes the beauty and challenge of a marriage relationship. Only a Hollywood movie would have you believe that a perfect marriage exists with constant pleasures and few problems, but the truth is marriage is really hard. A healthy, surviving marriage takes intense, daily work. The powerful emotion of love does not make a relationship unsusceptible to difficulties, even in their most severe form. So as a single person who has high hopes, great dreams and a heart full of love looking for a lasting relationship, you must ask yourself the important question, “Why do I want to be married?” Make sure you have a concrete answer that is more than just “I want to share my life with someone special” before you embark on a serious relationship.
Many people have different reasons for getting married. Some love the idea of being in a committed relationship, having children, and growing old together. Some people see it as the next logical step in a relationship that’s gotten serious. Some people see it as a safe haven; an escape from other difficulties. And the possibilities of what marriage means seem to be endless these days. However, your reason for getting married is an integral part of making your future marriage last.
There are some definite check points you can use to analyze your readiness for getting into a relationship that will last a lifetime. Here are two of the key points:
1. You must be willing to grant complete access. With the right person, you should be open and honest about anything and everything. This means more than just fessing up to obvious faults like admitting you are a back-seat driver or acknowledging the fact that you enjoy sports more than you do praying the rosary. When you’re married you must be comfortable with your spouse knowing every last detail about you. Every tick, every embarrassing moment, every bad thing you’ve done and every weakness you have. There can’t be any excuses, only acceptance. You must be ready to share your life on this level if you want your marriage to last.
That may sound uncomfortable, but I guarantee you that allowing your spouse to see you in those completely vulnerable moments becomes a foundational cement in your relationship; a level of security that no one else in your life could have. You shouldn’t have anything to hide from your spouse. This exclusive knowledge of each other builds an intimacy that becomes this relational super glue. If you are willing to allow that type of intimacy, you are on your way to a solid, lasting relationship.
2. You must be willing to raise the bar. Couples fall in love and when the relationship begins to evolve and faults begin to reveal themselves, it is tempting to ignore the faults and focus only on what makes the relationship “feel” good. This is a recipe for disaster.
We are called to marriage for good reasons, and of course it is for happiness, love, and procreation. But we are also called to marriage because we are supposed to get each other to heaven. As you get to know each other and live life together, inevitably your faults will be known. You must be willing to raise the bar on your relationship. You must be willing to help each other overcome your faults – not with mockery and a lack of charity, but with love. It’s like running a three-legged race where you both have your own legs but are tied together. Only by working together can you reach the finish line. You fall down, get a few bruises, laugh hysterically, and get back up to compete in the race and become a winning couple.
So as a CatholicMatch member looking for love, think about it… Why do you want to be married?