“When you get married, you’ll be a great husband...”
“When you get married, I’ll be so proud of you...”
These are not statements I’ll be making to our children.
I think we need to start focusing more on showing our children what real romantic relationships are like rather than waiting to cheer them on walking down the aisle.
Don’t get me wrong ― wedding ceremonies can be beautiful and full of joy, but the ceremony means nothing without two people who know what they’re getting into afterward.
In regards to marriage, I believe there’s far too much emphasis on the fancy dresses, destination weddings, and money spent rather than putting emphasis on what it really takes to be in a long-term committed relationship.
“I think we need to start focusing more on showing our children what real romantic relationships are like rather than waiting to cheer them on walking down the aisle.”
This is not to say that those who celebrate marriage in an extravagant way don’t know anything about relationships. I just think the whole business has gotten a bit out of control.
Every Disney fairytale ends with the wedding. And that’s it. The end. But what happens after that?
Marriage is not a destination. It’s one small thing that can happen in the larger journey of a relationship.
I’m on my second marriage. If you read my blogs, you’d know about the chaos of my first marriage. That said, I’m certainly not going to deter our kids from getting married because I made mistakes in the past. But I’m not going to highlight marriage as a life goal either.
Although I’m very lucky to have found my current husband and our partnership works well, I don’t think marriage is necessarily the key to happiness. I don’t want our children to grow up thinking marriage is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
My husband and I got married after we had lived together for a long period of time and we were already raising kids together. Marriage was not something we needed to allow the relationship to continue. We just decided we would do it after a period of time.
I believe that moving in together before even thinking about marriage is key for any relationship. I don’t preach to our kids about not living together until after marriage. I would always recommend moving in with your partner before you vow to be with them forever for better or for worse.
If you haven’t kicked your partner’s dirty underwear out of the way while on the way to make coffee or experienced their most annoying habits in real time ― you have no idea what you’re getting into ― in my opinion.
“Marriage is not a destination. It’s one small thing that can happen in the larger journey of a relationship.”
The right to be able to marry if you want to should be in place no matter who you are or what gender you are. No question. But that’s different than marrying with the belief that marriage will somehow erase serious incompatibility issues.
If you believe in Astrology, then you would know about the compatibility potential of, say, an Aries and Virgo couple. Some of us have more fire in us and some of us more earth. There are many traits within our individual personalities that make us better-suited for a particular person.
When I refer to my relationship with my husband around the kids, I talk about partnership. We love each other. We also struggle to like each other sometimes. We need space on occasion. We’re human.
Marriage will not change a relationship at its core. The most decadent wedding ceremony imaginable won’t change anything if problems exist already.
The expectation of a relationship changing after marriage is probably the biggest misconception out there. This is exactly why I want to be honest with our kids. It’s not easy. And you don’t have to get married to prove anything or to be socially accepted. Not in my house anyway.
There doesn’t need to be a ring on it to make things right. Diamonds don’t create more love or protect you from betrayal.
Our children will grow up and do what they will. If they want to get married, I’ll support them 100%. If not ― same thing. I just think the option of not subscribing to the idea of marriage should be part of the conversation.
More from Michelle: Unfaithful & Obsessed: Our Love Affair With Affairs
Originally a Vancouver Island native, Michelle now resides in California where she is an ex-corporate slave, writer, artist, mother, stepmother, & wife.