Wedding Season: Does “I do” Mean Forever?

Wedding bells are ringing. It’s the time of year many brides walk down the aisle and say “I do” for the first, and hopefully, only time.

I adore going to a wedding. I love the romantic atmosphere, the feeling of a new beginning, and the hope and excitement that comes with it. A well planned wedding is a fun event to attend: good food, good wine, good entertainment. It’s a happy occasion and most attendees are in a festive mood.

But…

With so many marriages ending in divorce, I have to admit that sometimes I leave a wedding wondering, “will they make it?” I know it’s kind of pessimistic from someone who sings optimism, but I’m being honest.

Why do some marriages stand the test of time while others, sadly, don’t? Is it luck? Compatibility? Life circumstances? What is it that makes some marriages last “forever” and causes others to unravel before the first anniversary is even celebrated?

Perhaps, it’s a little bit of all of the above.

Does saying "I do" mean staying together forever?

Does saying “I do” mean staying together forever?

Maybe it’s a combination of compatibility, luck in life circumstances, and a commitment to the actual marriage itself.  Anyone who’s been married for any length of time will tell you that marriage is hard. Challenging. Not the fairly tale we’re told it will be when we’re young and naive.

There are good times and bad times. Ups and down. Positive and negative moments.

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Because, people are human. People are flawed. People make mistakes. And sometimes, those mistakes are too big to forgive. Why do people treat the person they once loved the most, the worst?

I’m always shocked when I learn about someone I’ve know, who I thought was happily married, is getting divorced. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when this happens. Statistics say “almost half of all marriages end in divorce.”

But, those aren’t my friends. My people. Until of course, those people getting divorced are my people. Then it can get complicated. I never want to have to pick sides, decide who I want to be friends with, ditch someone I once adored.

It’s hard when a marriage ends. Especially if there are children involved. The custody issues, alimony, child support: it takes a lot of paperwork and documents to end a marriage. We’ll save that for the attorneys.

It’s wedding season right now: people are tying the knot, joining together to form a bond, creating their happily ever after.

A wedding takes time and energy to plan. The details are staggering and the expense can be significant. It’s amazing how much thought goes into a wedding and how quickly it can become undone.

One night. A sloppy mistake. A careless act.

I feel for the people who are the recipients of a partner making a mistake. A mistake that can unravel a family, take a parent out of a home, and force kids to be moved around like pawns on a chess board.

We all know plenty of people who have endured this experience. It’s not fair. It’s not what they signed up for. It’s not the way things should have gone.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know why some “I do’s” last forever while others don’t. Sometimes, people just grow apart. People change.

What I do know for sure, after being married for over twenty years, is that marriage is challenging, hard work, and something I treasure. I’m not perfect, my husband will be happy to agree with this, but he isn’t either.

And, that’s OK.

We do the best we can, try to make time for each other, and work at making our marriage a priority. If you’re married, I encourage you to do the same. Put the time and energy into making your marriage thrive. I promise you, it’s well worth the effort.

After all, it’s your happily ever after that’s at stake.

Find meaning each day,

Dara

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