Why just One? Why not be with multiple partners? If the marriage is miserable, why not end it?
I get a lot of these questions, too. Remember how we defined dating, cohabitation and marriage? Dating is the most temporary of the three. Consider a flock of sheep: they don’t always stay in the same pasture, and they move around a bit. Why not have multiple partners?
In my limited experience, I have known some very emotionally-scarred people. Some of these people are working through their scars and are trying to improve. Others are oblivious to the dearth of emotional baggage they carry into all their subsequent relationships.
And I gotta say: Emotions are important. Why else would we champion the “do what feels right” motto? Our emotions are separate from our mental intellect, and are like loaded nuclear warheads–if we use them without thinking. Just ask any woman during her…er…time of month. Or don’t–probably safer.
Either way, following our emotions without stopping to think of the consequences to ourselves and others is tantamount foolishness, not to mention rather selfish. A man who cheats on his wife with a co-worker may think he is following his heart. But what does the wife hear? “You’re not good enough. I’ve found someone who is better than you. I’m tired of being around your problems. I’m off to live the good life, but I’m not taking you with me.” Notice where the blame is placed–not on the person who cheated, but on the person who has to pick up the pieces. And what happens when all the family owns–the house, the car, the dog, even the kids–are separated from each other in a messy divorce? Does anyone truly get over that? Perhaps they may learn to live with the fact, but does the scar ever go away?
Deciding to suppress our emotional baggage for the sake of dating (or cohabitating) with others is nearly as foolish. Any issues we have not yet solved will manifest themselves against our unsuspecting significant other. We may even give that other person more emotional baggage of their own. Or worse, we may find ways to turn off our emotions completely, ensuring an eventual numbness in every relationship, while we spend our lives looking for what we have lost.
Emotions must be paired with a healthy dose of common sense. Follow it through: What will be the consequence of this action? Do not, however, choose the selfish action because we’re “okay” with the negative consequences on others. This is wrong.
Now, marriage. Let me say this: speaking as a young, educated, married woman, NO ONE on earth has any business getting into this, unless they work at it DAILY. Marriage is a covenant established by God, and it looks as though God meant marriage for life. Do not enter in to this covenant unless you will work to keep it. Intentions can be turned awry, and marriages do not run themselves.
I will not sit here and judge those who have gotten divorced; that is NOT my intent. However, it seems that many of the problems in marriage were present during the dating relationship. People get married because they fall in love, but I do not think people should date because they fall in love. Don’t assume problems go away after marriage; if anything, they increase. The difference is having someone with whom to weather the storms.
More on Monday.