The best advice I ever got from my Mother was that growing together in marriage is hard…way harder then the naïveté of youth ever wants to comprehend. She said “At first, you will have your good days and bad days, then good weeks and bad weeks, then good months and bad months. And the longer your marriage lasts, you will also experience good YEARS and bad years.” This is NOT the reality most young couples want to contemplate upon getting married, but this is the raw truth of growing together with a separate soul who in all reality won’t always be on the same growth trajectory or the same life page as you at every point of your marriage journey. Recognizing that and then using the original marriage commitment as a beacon for self sacrifice and re alignment is what allows couples to grow old together in a matured love full of wisdom instead of fleeting lust (or like, as the author mentions here). There are also some very core values that need to be aligned upfront to ensure growing paths won’t stray too far. I was shocked at the marriage counseling group session that the church requires prior to getting married where couples had not discussed basics like “How many children (if any) would you like?” Then getting into the more nitty gritty scenarios put a few couples into panic territory because their alignment was way off… things like “Would you let your sick in law move in with you?” Or “How would you handle having a disabled child?” No one knows for sure how they would react to this situations when actually posed with it, but alignment and conviction around value intent is what keeps marriages going through those “bad years”. I agree with the author , many marriages come about (and end) through a lens of fantasy and self-serving. Harder questions of life need to be asked up front to measure the true commitment to the long haul instead of just the immediate fancy wedding.
Thank you for this thoughtful write up and wishing all couples who come upon it to gain courage and insight to choose a partner on the wisdom filled criteria that links up all identities of a spouse…friend, lover, parent, partner.