My friend shared an interesting article on Facebook this morning called, “What makes for a stable marriage?” by Randal S. Olson. I don’t click on everything I see on Facebook (Thank God!) but —and perhaps because my parents are divorced—I clicked on and read the article. I feel like opinions are everywhere these days, so I enjoyed it for its scientific foundation. Plus, it had colorful photos/graphs that made it more fun for a girl like me (Girl with a B.A. In English who took Astronomy to fulfill her science requirement).
I enjoyed the article; the stats made sense in most cases. My one “issue,” if I must call it that, is a married couple that stays married doesn’t necessary represent a “stable marriage.”
Anyway, moving forward, it was the first comment (23 upvotes as of right now now) that really got me thinking:
I find this an interesting topic because I feel that so many people have so many different opinions on it. People I thought who would live together before getting married surprised me by saying no way, while others who I thought would get married straight away expressed wanting to live together beforehand. It seems to be a kind of toss up of answers when I ask people about it.
Then there was this reply to the comment above:
In my last relationship, I lived with my ex for over two years. I will say he was a great roommate. We were both respectful and communicated well. We shared the work load and lived very well together. Obviously, it still didn’t work out.
I guess for me, I didn’t see it as a “trial run” as most people call “shacking up.” I just enjoyed spending as much time as I could with him. Living with my S/O definitely made breaking up harder, but not impossible. Obviously if it’s not meant to be, living with someone is not going to stop someone from moving out (I hope!) “I don’t like you anymore, but we already bought the rug together so I guess I’ll stay,” is not the excuse to use!
But this comment about thinking you know someone really stuck out to me because when I think back, one of the “mistakes” I made was thinking that once I moved in with my boyfriend, we would stay the same in the sense that we would “change together.” And I…relaxed and got comfortable—for lack of better words. Two years into my last relationship, I figured that I knew the entirety of my S/O. It never occurred to me that he could change outside the realm of me and him. I knew his unpleasant little habits or what to do when he had a bad day and no lunch, and I still enjoyed living with him. I knew all of his strange quirks, I got used to the bad habits, as did he. We lived harmoniously together for the most part, despite his inability to put his dirty socks in the hamper and my inability to work any of the tech-savvy appliances he had set up. I thought the course on my then boyfriend was done. We had graduated with a degree on the other's living habits! Woo!
Nope. That wasn't the case at all. Just like everything else—just like everything in NYC—everything is constantly moving. Our own mind, body, and spirits are moving constantly inside of us. Yes, I think couples do change together, but they also continue to grow separately on their own (and that’s a good and natural thing!). I just didn’t know that that's what happened at the time. I didn’t think that I could know someone completely and entirely that day, and the next day, I would have to learn that person all over again. I thought it was a locked in kind of a deal where the person I signed the lease with was the person I would live with for that entire year.
Ha! Silly me...
It's just never like that with human beings. We are simple and irrational and dumb most of the time, but we are always moving, always growing, always changing into someone else.
Change is the only constant.
And just like how we, ourselves are constantly morphing and changing, so is our significant other. It’s strange for me to look at my S/O now and think, “I know you. I love you. And tomorrow, I will get to know you. And I hope I will love you.”
Perhaps that’s what love is—or at least a part of it: Knowing someone at that moment, loving someone at that moment, knowing they will change, and hoping that with the new knowledge of them that tomorrow brings, the way you feel about them will still be there. It’s the acceptance of knowing tomorrow you and your S/O won’t be the same, but still the hope that you will still feel the same. It's the acceptance that they will grow and become something that you just can't foresee, but the hope that what they become you will trust and care for just as much…
Wow- I just got really into that. I feel like I got so close to saying something really really...
Eh-hem *awkward cough* back to science and the article…
Moving forward, now that I have done it once, would I live with a serious boyfriend before marriage again?
Hm… I don’t know. I don't know if I would. There are pros and cons to both. And, let’s point out the obvious, every single person is different. Every single relationship is different. There really is no right and wrong.
Oh no! My post is becoming one of those thoughtful circles with no answers! I didn't mean for this to be a cop out!
But it’s true; there is no answer. My parents knew each other for three months before they were married. They made it 26 years, had 6 beautiful children, and then… they split up. So would you say the length of three months was good or bad? Who knows. I think about that all the time.
And then there is this guy/girl:
Seriously. Explain that one.
We... We just...We just can't. But at least this quote by one of my favorite authors of all time, John Steinbeck, makes me feel all warm and happy and somewhat content on the inside despite the fact that I have very little figured out about love:
"If it is right, it happens - The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away."
So readers, here are my questions for you, because yes, I’m really interested in this.
- How long did you know your S/O before you “tied the knot”?
- Did you/Would you live with your S/O before marriage or only after? Thoughts?
- What is your #1 tip/secret on creating/maintaining a stable relationship/marriage?
-Also a kind note - if you could respond in the comment box below that would be very helpful. It gets a little tricky keeping track of all of the comments when they are on Twitter/FB/etc. and I don't want any comments/thoughts to slip through the cracks unseen by me! If you have any trouble commenting, of course, feel free to answer via your social media platform of choice.
P.S. The picture of me and my dog, Gemmy, isn't directly related to this post very much at all - but hey, my relationship with my dog is pretty darn stable...With the exception of a few ruff patches. (See what I did there?)