A Fine Marriage

A fine marriage

“A fine wedding may be pricey, but a fine marriage is priceless” ~David Jeremiah~

What makes for a fine marriage?

Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Marriage coaches, Self-help books and others do their best to define what makes for a good marriage and how you can keep the love in your marriage and make the love last. However, research shows that despite all the help and articles and advice from advice columns and such, divorce is highly rampant in our society. Marriages are breaking down daily and one is forced to ponder, what is going on?

What is happening to the institution of marriage?

I am pretty sure there are any number of reasons why marriages are breaking down but I have observed and I think one of the major reasons why marriages are crumbling is because like everything else it has become a commercialized entity. Not only that, but it has also become a competition of who can have the biggest and the best wedding. Not a lot of people take the time to really engage in thoughts about why they are getting married and what kind of marriage they would like to have.

The problem is that in this day and age we spend way too much money and time on planning a wedding that we don’t spend time and money at all on finding out what exactly will make a fine marriage and how we can have a fine marriage. Through the commercialization of weddings, we have been made to believe that love is all you need to sustain a marriage, yet that is not the absolute truth. There is nothing wrong with love, it’s a great starting point, but it’s not all that’s needed to sustain a marriage and any marriage that is fueled on love alone is doomed to fail.

Along with love, values and attitudes are important components of a fine marriage

It seems to me that people don’t spend time enough to focus on values that matter to them and whether or not they share the same values with their spouses. They are too focused on the fireworks that are bound to be there in the beginning of the relationship but sooner or later give way to something else.

Hollywood has us convinced that fireworks and chemistry are the most important things, yet time and again fireworks and chemistry wanes and gives way to more substantial issues that are not discussed.

Take finances for example, research has shown that financial issues are a major cause of most marital breakdown. For the most part, this happens because many people don’t take the time to talk about money and how it will be handled when they get married. Rather they spend time and money on the wedding which is but for a few hours than on the marriage which is (ideally) for a lifetime.

The original purpose of marriage

In terms of attitude, an unfortunate occurrence is the fact that many have been blinded and have lost sight of the original purpose of marriage. Marriage is not an institution designed for self-gain, it is an institution designed for the sole purpose of serving, serving God and your partner.  It is in this service that you gain. But I have observed that many enter into a marriage with a “what’s in it for me?” attitude. It is an established fact that any relationship in which you expect to receive rather than give, you come up short.

When a marriage is entered into with a “what’s in it for me?” mindset, the result is keeping scores. You start to think, I did this so then s/he should do that. It becomes all about you and what you could get out of it and if you are not getting what you want, you are bound to start looking for it elsewhere. Keeping score never ends well and marriage is not about who does what, when.

So, here’s what I propose:

  • What if we start spending less on the wedding day itself and focus more on the marriage?
  • What if we enter into a marriage with an attitude of “to love and to serve” rather than “to keep scores”?
  • What if we focus on shared values and establish a solid foundation rather than the fireworks and the chemistry?
  • What if upon embarking on a marital journey, we take that journey with the intention of giving and giving alone?

Imagine the joys that could be experienced, and much more I believe these could be the beginning of the making of a fine marriage!

Lola Sholagbade
Psychotherapist, M.A, R.P, C.C.C.
Lola is an experienced psychotherapist. She helps individuals, couples and groups to cope up with problems such as anxiety, trauma, abuse, depression, eating disorders, self esteem issues, life transition, grief and loss. She supports her clients by encouraging them to explore and express their feelings and helps them achieve their potential and desired goals.