(Part 2 of ‘Let’s Talk about Marriage’ part of the ‘In Marriage’ Series)
Marriage! That glorious institution many of us dream of experiencing. We enter, all starry-eyed, with that Disney world view of ‘Happily Ever After’ existence. The institution where ‘love’ is all we need to survive even though we have no understanding of what ‘love’ really means. So we enter into such relationship thinking that we’ll never have to do anything to keep that love alive! We find the man or woman of our dreams and time freezes.
We imagine the years ahead when we are enjoying the beauty of our Grandchildren and great-Grandchildren who will be perfect little saints. We aren’t old and grey, sitting in our rocking chairs, but physically and mentally energised to still take the young ones to the park. In that vision, we imagine the beauty of watching them develop—delighting in them as we did their parents and telling them stories of when their parents were children.
Then we get married. Reality strikes! And the illusion disappears! There were no prior thought of the process of having children, building lives together and creating a place to call home. There weren’t even thoughts about possible challenges we could face as parents. What challenges could there be to hinder the bounty of love we had for each other? Surely, being ‘in love’ was all it took. Everything else would simply fall into place.
For a select few, the ideal does match up with the reality. For the vast majority, we have had to come to terms with our present reality having fallen so short of our ideal.
Deep into the realities of parenting the struggles begin and we realise no one actually told us what the purpose of marriage was or explained to us the sacrifices that we would have to make. We never had the basics explained to us and now we find ourselves trying to navigate our way, through unknown territories, with no guidance and for many couples, no additional support.
In Let’s Talk About Marriage, I touched on the topic of neglect in the area of marital education. My husband and I needed that kind of education and found it difficult to obtain. We came to a point in our marriage where we simply got stuck. We came to a crossroad and knew which path we wouldn’t take but we also didn’t know how to move forward onto the path leading to the future we had dreamed of—‘Happily Ever After’. We needed guidance and the natural thing for me was to turn to the church for that guidance.
The Journey Continues in part 3: My Faith Journey