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Marriage 101: 'Til Death Do Us Part

Jennifer Hallmark,


I
t’s time for the final thought on commitment from this writer. I first titled this article, “All Good Things Must Come to an End,” but realized that sounded negative when discussing marriage...


What I am referring to is an end to this series of articles. Hopefully, I have given you some reasons to seek after a good marriage and ways to enrich the one you have. I want to leave you the way we started with thoughts on commitment.

The only way a marriage works is through hard work and commitment. All the hard work, date nights, positive friends and common interests will mean nothing if you are not committed. A time will come when your marriage is tested, by a tragedy or some other stressful event. How will you react? What will you do? Will your marriage hold?

To have and to hold, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part…simply Marriage 101…
We can’t see into the future to know but we can take certain steps to give our marriage a fighting chance.

(1) Make a decision. Remind yourself often of your decision to stay married. Unrealistic expectations of your spouse can cause you to wonder why you got married in the first place. We all make mistakes so don’t make another one by going back on your marriage pledge.

(2) Reflect. Remember why you married your spouse. What was it that made you fall in love? Reflect on these traits and remind yourself daily of them.

(3) Dwell on the positive. Let the negative go. Choose the higher road. It takes effort to think of the good instead of the bad.

(4) Forgive. You can’t go back and redo the past. You can’t forget but you can make a conscious choice to move from the past into the future. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.

(5) Have a support group. Have friends that hold you to this relational obligation, positive people who point out the best in your spouse and yourself.

(6) Stop imagining the worst. Refuse to think bad thoughts about your spouse. Period. The mind wants to think the worst and will blow everything out of proportion.

(7) Repeat. Repeat these steps until you come to a place of recommitting to your spouse. Marriage is not for the cowardly. You must be brave to work hard and stay faithful.

I also like visual reminders. I have the card my husband gave me on Valentine’s Day in a prominent place where I can read it often. In my menopausal state of life, I am moody and need constant affirmation. Something as simple as a card can give me that.

My husband and I are in the process of “emptying” the
The only way a marriage works is through hard work and commitment.
nest. Our daughter has married and moved away and our son is in college, contemplating doing the same. Menopause, the sluggish economy and high stress at work has made this a difficult year in our lives and it has tried to infiltrate our marriage.

Back in July, we celebrated our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. My wedding band and engagement ring had worn thin over all these years so we decided to keep the small solitaire diamond and replace the bands. It was an emotional decision for me but also another form of commitment.
Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.

I believe the next twenty seven years will be better than the first and I often look at my ring to remind myself of this. I kept the old wedding band as a reminder of the past and the new reminds me of a promising future. To have and to hold, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part…simply Marriage 101…


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Deborah M., 2010-03-11 00:37:47
-- I enjoyed this article by Jennifer. Thank you for having her as a guest writer.



  






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