Home » Relationships » Marriage » Are Weddings Really Happy Events? (Healthy Marriage Practices pt. 1)

Are Weddings Really Happy Events? (Healthy Marriage Practices pt. 1)


Last year I wrote a series on Marriage Predictors – those character qualities, behavior patterns and practices of newer couples that tell us all on the outside where the relationship is heading. It was one of the most read series I’ve ever written. So I wanted to spend some time this winter and revisit the topic for a bit. This winter, I want to write about Healthy Marriage Practices – those character qualities, behavior patterns and practices that build healthy marriages – those things that couples, and not just young ones, with a chance to go the distance do.

For the record, I do not claim to be a marriage expert – just an experienced married person with 17 years behind her. (Yes, you folks who are 25 plus years in can chuckle at me now…)

I am totally admitting to all the dents and dings (and sometimes full-blown crashes) that come from an honest and realistic experience with marriage. Doing it well is not easy. And anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. Of course marriage holds tremendous potential – for joy, intimacy and the most fulfilling human love available to us here on earth. And because it involves letting a fellow sinner in so close to that most sensitive and vulnerable of places – our heart – it holds the potential for betrayal, disappointment and a soul-killing ache so deep it is capable of functionally killing a person – even though they may still be walking around for years afterwards.

In fact, as I’ve gone to a few weddings in the last couple of years, I’m wondering…knowing the work that is ahead of the young couple…knowing how much potential pain lies in the future of two people willing to walk the long path of sacrificially loving the other for a lifetime… knowing something of what it means to say, “for better or for worse…”,  I’ve wondered if weddings should be such recklessly happy events. Shouldn’t we older folks be a bit more concerned? Maybe we should sit down with young couples repeatedly beforehand and make sure they understand (as much as a love-struck and relationally inexperienced young 20-something is capable of understanding) that a really great and healthy marriage doesn’t just happen. It is something two people cultivate. It is something they choose to invest in. It is something that requires a relational and character-based skill set, not just a lot of emotion, candles and lingerie and vague optimistic hopes that things will just work out for them somehow.

For the record, lest you think I am a crusty curmudgeon of epic proportions, of course I think weddings and marriages are reasons for celebration. I love almost everything about them. The ecstasy of two people deeply in love and the exuberance of youth thinking, “We can do this!”. The way a groom looks so lovingly at his beautiful bride and the way a bride literally glows in his presence. I weep at pretty much every wedding I go to. Especially when the bride starts walking down the aisle and I flash back to the joy and emotion of my own wedding day. It is indeed cause for some of the greatest celebrations we as humans should share.

Yet…

Over the years I have walked alongside and in the vicinity of a lot of young and some not-so-young couples as they’ve tried to go the distance together. Some have done well. Some, not so much. And if you know me, you know I ask a lot of questions when given the opportunity to learn something. What follows in the next few posts are partly observations made from the outside. But really, they are things Jeff and I have learned for ourselves as we’ve struggled from the inside, trying to love one another well – and not just maintain, but grow our marriage.

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3 thoughts on “Are Weddings Really Happy Events? (Healthy Marriage Practices pt. 1)

  1. Amen girl … your’s truly is a major realist when it comes to marriage – having counted around 18 divorces in my immediate to almost immediate family. Naturally I believe these were do to a non-Christ based marriage … and in fact, simply marrying the wrong person regardless of the red flags everywhere. I know I sound like a pessiminist … but this is exactly why I am NOT married … I know too much of the real deal with the frailties of man and woman in a healthy marriage at best, compared to the worse case scenarious I have personally witnessed that can cost more than a couple could bargain with in that “soul-killing” process you mentioned. Perhaps I have indeed missed out on a blessing of sorts not being married but haven’t felt I have overlooked the “right” man in my life, so no harm done. Truly some are called to singleness, such as I, and I often wonder how many “marrieds” miss out on the blessing of not being attached, having entered into a life long union … “just to get married” and married to the wrong person.
    Anyway, this is such a superb topic to read about and look forward to seeing what more you have in the next posts. Will check out the past posts as well.

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  2. Oh man, I think if we really told people about marriage and they actually “got it” not many would walk this path. LOL I also get teary at every wedding and it is for a mixture of reasons. The love, joy and hope and the knowledge of what lies ahead in the journey of a marriage.
    Happy New Year! Hope y’all are getting your health back!
    Tamara

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