Marriage or wedlock is usually a contract that is created through the civil processes. Furthermore, it is an interpersonal relationship that occurs between two individuals recognized by the government or by society and commonly through religion. A wedding ceremony occurs inside churches or pastorals officiated by a religious leader such as a pastor or a minister. Commonly, marriage is the unison of one man to one woman, but polygamy can also be present. In polygamy, it is usually a man having relationships with several wives. There are a lot of reasons why people marry. There are people who marry because of stability; economic, legal or even social.
Another reason for marrying which is highly valued by other couples is love. They feel the greatest mixed emotions with their partner and plan to stay with them forever. Moreover, they associate the feeling of love with God. Especially in Christian countries, love is the most important or crucial reason why couples marry. They also tend to last longer when they rest their marriage “in the hands of God”. Both of them believe in the sacredness of the marriage which was given by God onto them, as such, they learn to value one another more as they improve their religious faith and beliefs.
According to Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III in the book of Gary Thomas:
Marriage requires a radical commitment to love our spouses as they are, while longing for them to become what they are not yet. Every marriage moves either toward enhancing one another’s glory or toward degrading each other. (2000, p.39)
An interview was conducted on January 24, 2008 about the marriage of a couple and what they believe as to the reason why they had been together for a very long time. The couple shared their experiences without any hesitation, however, their names were not wished to be mentioned. For the safety of the identities of the respondent, they will be called Mr. and Mrs. X. Mr. X is 45 years old, while Mrs. X is 43 years old. They had been married for 20 years already and they have a happy marriage with a family of five.
Mr. and Mrs. X at first believed that they wouldn’t experience or live a marriage that would last this long. At first, they were hesitant to get married and that they wanted to simply live together in one house. Being in a Christian community, they were greatly influenced by the ceremonies of wedding and its holiness that they planned to get married at the age of 25 and 23, for Mr. and Mrs. X respectively. At first, their relationship was not that strong, since they were just dating for a couple of months before the wedding. It seemed as if it was a hurried wedding, but the end results, being married and still passionate with one another up to this moment, defend that it was not.
Mr. and Mrs. X attribute the success of their marriage to their strong faith and hope in God who blesses their marriage and to the love that they have for one another. They go to church together for almost 20 years now and their zealous life improved their relationship as husband and wife. The bible states that the husband should be served, loved and cared by his wife while the wife should be protected, supported and loved by the husband. Mr. and Mrs. X follow this passionately and arguments or problems with their relationship are lessened. If there was an argument or a fight between the couple, they tend to rationalize things and think maturely. They try their best to talk with one another and control their temper.
They share the feeling that communication is the best tool of fixing things and making a marriage last. If one gets upset, the other would tend to loosen things up and decrease the tension. Mr. X or Mrs. X would likely to listen to the other well, before stating their opinions in a calm tone or voice. They also discussed and agreed that they have to talk at least once a day and share what they feel. They create or give constructive criticisms with one another and tend to work things which seem to cause certain arguments. They are willing to communicate with one another and improve their selves to conform to each other’s needs or demands. They see to it that their relationship has a good balance of giving and taking.
Time and attention is also an important factor which Mr. and Mrs. X identified to be the reason for their marriage. Mr. X would usually fetch Mrs. X from her work and they go home together. If Mrs. X has some spare time, she would usually bring food to her husband or visit him in the office. They always eat their dinner and breakfast together at home and see to it that they do not miss eating without the other. Mrs. X doesn’t eat her breakfast or dinner unless Mr. X is with her. They only miss eating together if there are emergencies resulting to the absence of one. Moreover, Mr. and Mrs. X combine time with communication to improve their marriage. Even before the wedding, they already set a certain date to talk with their plans in life.
They discuss their dreams, hopes and plan for the family that they have in mind. They often talk about the number of their children, the setting and design of their house, how they would settle arguments, the do’s and don’ts when one is angry or upset and more, even leading to hypothetical questions such as “what if you caught me cheating” or “what if I cheated with your bestfriend”.
They set-up these “scenarios” to see how one or the other reacts. They also discuss this to avoid it since they would know that they would hurt each other’s feelings or harm the relationship. Lastly, their marriage is a success because neither one plans on giving up to any problem or thinks of letting go during hardships. They both have a strong stand to stay together and love one another for eternity. For Mr. and Mrs. X, separation or divorce is not an option.
For newlyweds, they could first improve their relationship as friends, then as lovers. A strong foundation of a relationship is very important to bring out the maturity, increase similarities and improve how they handle conflicts or problems. Furthermore, newlyweds should have a strong faith and trust with their partner. Trust is very important as it lessens jealousy or any thoughts of cheating. Communication, time and affections, which were showed by Mr. and Mrs. X, should also be mustered by newlyweds to live a successful marriage life.
Chapter 11: Relationships. Psy 203 Lecture Notes (2008). Retrieved January 24, 2008.
Thomas, G. (2000). Sacred Marriage: What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy. Michigan: Zondervan.