When I was younger, I often wondered, “when will I get married.” Getting married wasn’t something I was sure I’d experience. The potential seemed incredible, but I was skeptical.
Growing up in a divorced family, I was skeptical of creating another potentially broken home if things didn’t work out. So, for years I embraced my life as a bachelor. I had accepted my fate as a single man. I thought that was the best it would ever be for me.
Boy, am I glad things didn’t go that way.
What is marriage about these days?
Marriage is hard work.
Marriage is going to push you in every way.
Marriage can make or break people. But it has so much power to bring balance and connection to our world.
Marriages today are treated with scorn and disdain. But I feel this criticism is very misplaced.
With the right partner, it’s easily one of the best things we can do as humans.
Marriage is the first human institution ever created. We decided bridging our differences to cooperate is far more effective than surviving alone. Interdependency is the nature of life.
We need each other, no matter what we may tell ourselves.
My wife has helped me to become a better man through our relationship and connection. The family and what we’re building together have brought meaning and purpose to my existence. It’s pushed me to be the best version of myself.
Marriage is a contract.
Two people come together to join as one. Marriage is something new created by these two people merging their lives. Each life within the sphere of the one marriage. We don’t lose ourselves in marriage but become part of a greater relationship.
There is power in this new creation.
This is why putting our marriage first is crucial. Both people are cared for within the marriage. Marriage is what sustains those two individuals. When we see our marriage as a structure within which our whole family is housed, we can visualize the importance of its care.
Marriage and responsibilities push us to do more because it’s necessary.
Happy marriages need open communication. It’s only possible with raw honesty. We have to be real about what we need and desire. Disguising our needs only creates more pain in the long run.
Marriages in America have gotten a bad rap. Many of us come from divorced homes, so we have mixed opinions based on our experiences. That is to be expected.
I ruled it out for many years. I was very wounded.
Family, marriage, kids, home life, education, and spirituality are scrutinized because people break the rules.
This is a fatal mistake. We blame these institutions and traditions as the problem. But the problem lies within our hearts and our willingness to grapple with the hard things in life. Not about blaming but taking responsibility.
Marriages fail because of people, not because of marriage.
Me and Ashley are still very early in our marriage, so I’m not claiming the secrets to a lasting marriage, but we put a ton of work into our relationship before getting married.
It will be year three in August of 2023.
We just passed the five years mark of being together, and we’ve grown closer over time. This didn’t happen by accident. It was intentional with both of us.
We worked through this workbook, which helped us discuss many topics that eventually present themselves in marriage.
- Spirituality & Faith
- Cleaning duties
- And more
The distinction is depth compared to breadth. We went deep into each area to share what we believed and envisioned for our lives. This helped us learn about each other and ensure our visions aligned for success.
So many people DON’T do this and suffer because of it. Marriage allows us to go deep into the relationship. This depth brings power, stability, and joy. But marriage won’t work unless two people are willing to bear it all and bring their best every day. This is really what marriage is all about.
Some days we suck at it.
The key is being humble and bringing a beginner’s mind to each day. This allows us to start anew.
We also never stop dating.
Just because we’re married doesn’t mean we don’t have to put in the effort to ensure our spouse is loved and cared for. It’s very easy to take each other for granted. Consciousness allows us to counter this movement.
Self-care is crucial in marriage.
Working on ourselves helps to counter challenges that come up. By ensuring we take responsibility for ourselves and our well-being, we protect our spouses by placing undue pressure on them to fix us. This habit starts way before getting married.
Working on ourselves is an underrated way to ensure we find a great partner. As we learn about ourselves and the darkness we all carry, we realize we all have dragons to slay. It helps us not bring false expectations to our relationship.
Our first relationship is always with ourselves.
If it’s broken and toxic, then so will our relationships become.
By caring for ourselves, we prepare the soil of self for a rich and abundant harvest. This carries into our relationships. The earlier you start, the better. These are tools and skills we all need to learn to thrive. So you may not be sure if you want to get married.
But start building strength in yourself today. It will carry into any future relationship you have and set you up for success.
Why Get Married?
I can personally attest to marriage as being one of the biggest blessings in my life. It’s far superior to all the heathen shit I did when I was single. I’ve come to realize I prefer depth over variety.
But it wasn’t easy getting here. Begin with ourselves, and things will come in time. Let’s look at some essential things about marriage.
What are the 3 most important things in a marriage?
There are no definitive answers here, but for newly married couples, these three pieces can make the difference between success or failure.
Building a shared vision: New couples should take time to discuss and establish shared goals and values. This can include career aspirations, financial goals, and how they want to raise a family. Having a shared vision for the future can help to keep couples on the same page and working towards the same objectives.
That’s exactly what Ashley and I did before we tied the knot.
Setting realistic expectations: New couples should be aware that no marriage is perfect and that disagreements and challenges will exist. However, setting realistic expectations of what marriage is and what it isn’t can help to mitigate these issues and make them more manageable.
No one is perfect. Our spouses will drive us nuts some days. We will fight and get frustrated, but as long as we always come back to each other, we will be okay. This is married life.
Prioritizing intimacy and emotional connection: It is also vital for new couples to prioritize building emotional intimacy and connection. Don’t sleep on this one. Especially if kids arrive. This can include spending quality time together, going on regular date nights, and finding ways to make each other feel loved and valued.
Bonus – Embracing change: New marriages are going to involve lots of changes, for example, a change in living conditions, different habits, change in lifestyle, etc. It’s essential to be adaptable, understand that change is a natural part of life and any relationship, and be willing to work together to navigate these changes.
These activities are how we prioritize our marriage to ensure longevity.
When we do the work, marriage benefits begin to root in our lives.
Let’s take a look at some lesser-known benefits of marriage:
- Improved cardiovascular health: Studies have shown that married individuals have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and have better outcomes after a cardiovascular event.
- Better cancer outcomes: Research suggests that married individuals have better outcomes when diagnosed with cancer, likely due to the support and care provided by their spouse.
- Lower rates of depression: Marriage has been linked to lower rates of depression, likely due to the emotional and social support a spouse provides.
- Increased longevity: Marriage has been shown to increase lifespan, with married individuals living longer than their single counterparts.
- Improved cognitive function: Marriage has been associated with better cognitive function in older adults, including better memory and higher verbal fluency.
- Greater sense of identity: For some people, being married can give them a sense of identity, stability, and belonging to a family.
- Reduced stress: A partner’s emotional support can help married people to handle stress better. This can be due to psychological and social resources like emotional support, companionship, and intimacy, all known to buffer against stress.
The critical piece is the support and care available when we have a loving spouse. Now, these benefits quickly fade if we’re in a toxic marriage, so love and trust are the foundation! All of these pieces can define what marriage means to a man.
They did for me. It’s why I’m such an advocate for the importance of marriage in our society. The benefits can be massive.
If you or someone you know may be struggling in this arena, feel free to check out my coaching services. I tackle issues related to marriage and much more!
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