As parents, we all want to set good examples for our children. If, for instance, they see us treating everyone we encounter with respect, chances are good they'll do the same. Doesn't it feel great when your child politely asks the waiter if he "can please have" a particular item, then thanks him when it arrives?
I had hoped to model marriage-lasts-a-lifetime-behavior for my kids, too, but as happens so often, life just didn't work out that way. Their mom and I went through a basically mutual, fairly amicable split after 27 years. And though it's nice that we showed them how to have a civilized divorce, that still wasn't the ideal.
There was, however, a positive to be gained from the negative. I believe going through my divorce gave me insight into why the marriage was what it was, and went where it went. I've come to more clearly comprehend the thoughts and choices I made, and the assumptions I held, concerning getting married. And I discovered that some of them were, shall we say, less than correct.
This personal understanding, combined with the stories I've heard and research I've done for my website (DivorcedOver50.com) has helped me develop five tips I believe young adults should keep in mind as they make the all-important decision about whom to marry, and when.
- You need to love him or her desperately. This is not a choice where you say, "Eh, makes sense, what the heck, sure, let's get married." You need to feel like nothing is more important than spending the rest of your life with him or her. Nothing. It's not enough to think that he or she will be a good parent, and that you're quite compatible. You have to feel a deep need to be together, and a strong fear of life without that person -- if not, he or she is not the one to marry.
A friend of mine, who owns apartment buildings, has a 19 point checklist for deciding to buy a property. If just one point is a no, he walks away. He says it keeps emotion out of the mix. And he's done very, very well.
Obviously the decision to get married is all about emotion. It has to be. However, you still need to do some serious analysis.
If you've got a green light on all the above, and the emotion is there, go for it. If not, do like my friend, and walk away.
That doesn't ensure your marriage will go the distance, of course. But it should increase the odds, as well as make for a smoother ride along the way.
For more content of interest to anyone who is Divorced Over 50, or whose marriage is at a point where divorce is a possibility, please visit DivorcedOver50.com.
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