A sparkling engagement ring seemingly invites unsolicited advice from co-workers and family alike about the trials and triumphs of a happy marriage. One of the most common stories is that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but, if you manage to survive, you’re headed for domestic bliss. The advice of the well-wishers is based on statistics provided by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
- 20% of married couples divorce within 5 years; 50% of married couples divorce within 20 years.
- Couples marrying between the ages of 20-24 are 50% more likely to divorce than couples that wait until their late twenties to marry.
- Couples without a college degree are 20% more likely to divorce within 10 years than a college-educated couple.
It appears the wisest course of action is to get a college degree and marry in your late twenties. Once married, cross your fingers and hope hope hope that you’re still married in 20 years.
I’m a newbie to the matrimony game, but my thoughts on the first year are already drastically different from the perception touted by society. In summary:
Life didn’t change much after the wedding: I was happily in love before the ceremony, and I am happily in love now. The largest change, perhaps, was the mutual acknowledgement that we are in this marriage for life, and that our marriage contract doesn’t have an escape clause.
The ‘marriage is forever’ mandate offers an incredible degree of security and liberation inside the construct. A secure marriage encourages both partners to continue growing as individuals, and understands that a marriage evolves as consistently as the individuals within it. A husband and wife must be active participants in their marriage – they must each grow as individuals while learning and re-learning the details of their partner and their union.
There is an incredible sense of freedom in knowing that you are loved come what may. Feel free to try new things, change your mind, and pursue your wildest goals – you are securely loved, and your partner will stand by your side come what may.
Jon caught the common cold, and so we spent the majority of our weekend in bed. We did, however, brave an outing to the apple orchard to make sure we got a pumpkin before the farms sold out. Not much to write about, but a perfect example of an ordinary weekend inside a happy marriage: