I’d Like a Marriage License, Please?

All you really need to get married these days is ID, a couple witnesses, and maybe a little blood. You can get married in a courtroom, if you want. You go through the simple process of filling out the appropriate paperwork, a couple of weeks, a ceremony, and then it’s all done. You have a license to be married. It certainly isn’t that easy to get your driver’s license (Thank God).

Premarital counseling is a must for Christian marriages, if they want their Pastor to perform the ceremony. I have heard of some cases where the counseling didn’t work out, and the Pastor would advise the couple not to get married, or at least to wait. I’m not sure about Pastor refusing to wed a couple, but I think there have probably been some cases like that. Outside the religious sector, however, how much really is required for a couple to be allowed to marry?

Here is the Problem

There are a lot of emotions involved in relationships. One of them, often times, is impulse. People who just can’t want to get married because they ‘love each other so much,’ are in danger of getting into a commitment that doesn’t work out anywhere near the way they had planned. Infatuation is all too often misconstrued as love, and better judgment is often clouded with heart-struck feelings. Getting married without knowing the good, bad, and ugly is a major no-no, but the system of obtaining a marriage license doesn’t slow things down nearly enough for people to think twice and get a level head about that commitment.

Relationships need to be tested. The film License to Wed with Robin Williams is an incredibly humorous example of what I mean. If there has never been conflict, or a challenging time in a relationship, or a period of time without sex (if you have had it already), then it isn’t possible to have a realistic impression of how your marriage will be. Life has ups and downs. If your relationship has always been on the up and up, or has more downs than you can count, marriage can wait. Forever is a long time, and if you are considering marriage, it is important to be realistic about your relationship.

Feelings are nice, but they hardly pay the rent (or mortgage). What about children? Do you agree on how many to have, if at all? You can fall for anyone, but that doesn’t mean you have the same outlook on life or the same views about what marriage really means. Expectations have to be laid out on the table at least as far as money, sex, and children. A majority of marital disagreements stem from those three subjects, so it is crucial that you know each other’s views well in those areas.

Is there any way to change the system? There are way too many people getting married and then getting divorced. I’ve been trying to think of a way that unnecessary divorce can be prevented.

Maybe people should be required to pass a premarital course that can assess their skills in working together as a team, knowing each other well where it counts, and effective conflict resolution. Another part of the course could be a list of expectations in marriage and how well they understand each other’s expectations. It might also be a good idea to discuss long-term goals and plans to see if they really want to be in the same place down the road.

I don’t know what could work! I’m just saying that if people understood better what marriage is supposed to be like, there would be a much lower divorce rate. I’m saying that some people should slow down and really make sure that they have a solid relationship that has the potential to grow over a lifetime. Or maybe everyone should just find a minister like the one in License to Wed before they tie the knot!

Why is Communication Important in a Marriage

Distance between two people, whether they are married, friends, or acquaintances, doesn’t happen overnight. There never is just one reason why a couple, who was once madly in love with one another, would create mountains of gaps between one another. When a relationship begins, it can easily thrive on physical attraction and the excitement of being with someone special. As the bond between a couple grows, their attraction quickly changes into the initial stages of love, building a foundation of trust, and wanting to be with one another for a stronger, happier future. When a couple decides to marry, their love for one another takes on a different meaning and sustains itself on trust, honesty, and commitment.

But as the years pass by, with increased amounts of stress and responsibilities that our lives demand, somewhere down the line, being there for one another seems to get lost. Communicating with each other feels like a chore that you would rather skip; whether it is after an argument, over some misunderstandings, or even sharing certain details of your lives. Things seem to change and nothing is the same again. Communication gap doesn’t just happen overnight and it certainly doesn’t take just one incident to make it stare at you right in the face. Gradually, with time and suppressed feelings, a couple can easily fall prey to not communicating, not sharing any part of their hearts and souls with their better halves. We’ve all heard people say, “The key to a happy and successful life is communication”. But why is communication so important for a marriage to work? Can we ever find the answer to this relentless question?

Importance of Communication in a Marriage

How important is it? What can be the effects of not communicating and sharing with your spouse? Do couples actually drift apart without opening up to one another and letting each other know their true selves? Can lack of communication in marriage be crucial enough to break up a family? Why don’t we try to find out the answers to these questions in the rest of the article.

Communication Keeps a Couple Closer than they Think
How can someone know another individual for who they really are? We don’t get premonitions or have the power to read other people’s minds. By sharing our life’s stories and incidents, we can be sure to intimately involve ourselves with someone. Same goes in a marriage. More than just having physical contact, the emotional connection is also important. When we have shared small instances from our lives, no matter what it is (something like wanting to bake cookies at home, going out for a long drive, wishing to paint the walls together), any kind of openness will bring a couple together and make them feel as one. When you know what is going on in your spouse’s mind and heart, you can resolve issues more quickly and effectively.

Assumptions and Misunderstandings won’t Creep In
It is a natural that when your spouse isn’t sharing a particular information with you, our mind tends to wander off and think of the worse. When a couple talks to one another without any inhibitions, they eliminate the negativeness out of their lives and keep misunderstandings at bay. After knowing each others’ likes, dislikes, opinions, beliefs, wants, and desires in life, you two made the decision to see this marriage through. So what is stopping you now? Opening your heart to someone you love should be looked upon as a blessing because you know that there is at least one person in your life who accepts you for who you are. Keeping a verbal gap between you two will only bring in disappointment and insecurity.

Lack of Communication can Lead Towards Infidelity
Let’s look at our question on communication from a different angle. What does not communicating with someone lead to? When your spouse doesn’t share things with you, he/she isn’t sharing his/her life. Keeping things to yourself, avoiding any major conversations or arguments, wanting to be alone rather than spend time together, all these factors play a major role in separating a couple and breaking their bond. This may not be the case with all the couples, but sometimes, not being emotionally connected with your spouse might give you ideas of making this connection with someone else. No matter how much a person can try to stop themselves from taking this path, when the heart isn’t fulfilled with its own needs, it tries to satisfy it elsewhere.

Good Communication Means you Respect your Spouse Enough to be Honest
Many a time, when we don’t wish to talk to our spouse, we tend to make up some stories and end the conversation right then and there. This may work in your favor once or twice, but over the course of time, you might just want to get out of any situation with making up lies. When there is nothing to hide from your spouse, what is the need to bring in false information and ruin your chances of having a beautiful life with someone. Initially, it may seem innocent to keep certain things from your spouse, but this behavior only highlights the fact that you don’t respect your spouse and be honest with him/her. You owe it to him/her to let in on what is going in your life, your mind, and how can you both handle the situations and move forward.

Communication is a Two-way Street with No Red Lights
Talking to someone doesn’t end at you sharing what was on your mind (anger, frustration, news) and go your separate ways. To communicate means being there for one another whenever your spouse needs you and emotionally comforting him/her. Often times, couples feel that sharing means saying what they want and leaving the room. In fact, when you open yourself to your spouse, you also open the possibility of receiving information as well. In a marriage, or life in general, we all look towards being needed, wanted by someone. And when a couple, who is married is there for each other, no problems are tough enough, no arguments are important enough to break them apart.

So I ask you again, “Why is communication an important factor in a marriage”. For a couple, the answer to this question will be different because we all have unique lives, with different issues. How you handle each situation is up to you. And the most important thing is, are you walking the path of life alone, or keeping your promise to be by his/her side forever?

Does Age Difference in Marriage Matter?

The practice of men preferring to marry younger women and women preferring older men has been in existence since time immemorial―since the concept of matrimonial alliance itself came into existence in most likelihood. What has changed over the years though, is the age difference between husband and wife. Whether this difference in age actually affects a person’s marriage or not, has become one of the most debated questions in recent times.

An Overview

A look at the statistical data compiled over the last century or so, suggests that the age difference in a matrimonial alliance has been constantly changing owing to several underlying factors. It came down from 29 years for men and 26 for women at the beginning of the 20th century to 26 for men and 23 for women by the mid-20th century. The drastic fall was attributed to the emergence of nuclear families in the society.

By the end of the 20th century, though, the difference was back to what it was in the beginning. This reversal was attributed to several factors, including education, women becoming more and more independent, better contraception, etc. Come today, things have changed considerably, as both men and women are giving their career first priority, thus making marriage take a back seat.

Does Age Difference Really Matter in a Marriage?

Of late, new trends have started to emerge suggesting a drastic age difference in married couples; at times, as much as 15 years. This is aptly reflected in the rising number of celebrity couples who are getting into matrimonial alliances despite the significant difference in their age. If we are to go by the age-old adage, love triumphs everything, we are safe to assume that the difference in age doesn’t really matter in a marriage; not even when the wife is older, in which case the difference usually comes across as inflated.

On the flip side, however, it can result in a wide range of marital problems. Some of the most common problems include lack of understanding, infidelity, sex drive disparity, financial problems, etc. A closer look and one would realize that all these problems are related to each other, either directly or indirectly. For instance, generation gap can result in lack of understanding between the two partners and this, in turn, may lead either one of them trying to find solace with a third person, thus leading to infidelity.

So What Should be the Ideal Difference?

Ideally, the age difference between two people getting into a matrimonial alliance should be somewhere between 3 – 5 years. One has to take into consideration the fact that men attain maturity late as compared to women, which implies that men need more time to get accustomed to the responsibilities associated with a family. Marrying late also gives men enough time to put their career on the right track. Of late, this has become all the more important as women folk seem to prefer well-settled men over those who are yet to make a comfortable living.

Even women nowadays seem to prefer getting married late so that they get enough time to fulfill their ambitions on the career front. However, both men and women need to be careful about this, as opting for marriage too late can affect the biological cycle and result in medical complications when planning children in the future.

While there do exist examples of happily married couples with a significant age difference, they are very few, and therefore, the ideal age difference―as they say―should be no more than 3 – 5 years. Interestingly, the same rule applies in a situation where a woman marries a man who is younger to her. In the end, however, these are mere numbers, and for make any marriage work, what the couple needs is to put in genuine efforts.

Marriage Advice for Women

Women are way better in terms of understanding the needs and wants of their men, rather than the other way round. However, there are still some missing blanks, which, if a woman is able to fill, can ensure a wonderfully happy and long-lasting wedded life with her husband. The following humorous pieces of advice are nothing but those missing blanks (in addition to a bit of inside information).

Marriage Advice for the Ladies

Space. Give your man his space. Most women have heard about this, many have even understood it, but very few actually implement it. A man’s mind is a mysterious maze. At times, it does not rely on logic, but on instinct, gut feeling, or his mood. At times, it is best to just let him be. Let him do his own thing and he’ll be the happiest bloke in town, which in return, is good for you too.

If you go shopping with your man and you catch him glancing at another hot woman across the street, let me tell you, it is completely normal. 101 out of 100 guys have a wandering eye. I mean, we’re born with it. It’s in our blood! However, it does not mean that we’re having an affair or that we’re cheating. Do not confuse a wandering eye as a sign of infidelity. So basically,
Your guy checking out another woman → Perfectly normal.
Your guy checking out another man → NOW, you’ve got some worries!

If his old schoolmates phone to inform about a last minute football match, on the same day that you both had plans to redo the kitchen; take a deep breath, count to five, give him a sweet smile (even if it is fake), and allow him to go. Believe me, gestures like these really count and they do help in strengthening the bond between husband and wife.

Man and machine have a relation of their own, and one which is rarely interpreted or understood by women. Men are freakishly obsessed with their cars, home theater systems, and other similar electronic gadgets and gizmos. These things constitute a man’s ‘territory’ and trespassers are not generally welcomed with open arms.

To all women who are of the opinion that men are heartless creatures made of stone, let me tell you, that’s not quite the case. Men are like coconuts. We may appear to be all stony, grumpy, and hard on the outside, but there is a softie inside each one of us. How well or cleverly a woman identifies her man’s soft spot (and uses it to her advantage), often determines how strong their bond is, how alive their romance is, and how smooth their relationship remains.

The best way (and believe me, it is the quickest) of bringing life back into a seemingly dull marriage is through sex. Nothing works better. It is your trump card, your master key, a small spark which instantly grows into a raging fireball. Believe me ladies, the best way to get to a man’s heart is not through his belly, but through the bedroom!

Newlywed women, please note the following point. One thing that a woman must avoid at all costs, is back-seat driving. Men are capable drivers, and to be frank, much better too! Back-seat driving is a strict NO. It annoys us like crazy. Oh and since we’re on this subject, here’s another point. When driving to an unknown destination and along an unfamiliar route, if he finds himself in unfamiliar territory, your man will wait nearly until eternity, before he admits that he’s lost. It’s a guy thing. There’s no logic to it, I completely agree, but that’s what it is. It happens. So, the best thing you can do in such a situation is, let him figure out things for himself. Pitch in with your suggestions or solutions only after he has exhausted his. To you it may sound like a completely absurd thing to do, but you should do it. It’s just one of those things which have no explanation.

Ladies, boost your man’s ego from time to time and make him feel good about himself. It’s a guy thing, once again, there’s no real logic to it. Praise him for a job well done, even if it is as silly or simple as fitting a light bulb, or changing your baby’s diaper. Making a man feel good about himself will boomerang back into benefits for yourself.

Finally, accept your man and love him for what he is. He may forget your birthday, buy the wrong variety of dish-washing detergent, absent mindedly get you a bunch of beautiful fresh flowers which you’re unfortunately allergic to, and embark on a rare mission of cleaning the house, which only results in him leaving it in a bigger mess, than what it was originally. But don’t forget, at the same time, he’s also the one who will cover you with his jacket during a chilly midnight walk, try his hand at hilariously silly poetry just because he knows you like poems, and patiently put up with all your mood swings and cravings during that time of the month. Yes, men are goofy, but in quite a lovable way. Love him wholeheartedly and show him that you do, and he’ll be yours to cherish for a lifetime of wedded bliss.

Last but definitely not the least, smile. Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than her lovely smile does. Women rarely understand the immense power of their beautiful smiles. It can make the roughest and toughest of men go weak in the knees. It can tame a lion of a man into something you want to cuddle up against. A flash of that smile can melt his heart, keep you close, and never apart. (That was my line by the way!). So ladies, smile more! We simply love it when you do!

Use the tips given above and have your husband completely besotted with you. A marriage whether old or new, needs to be worked on. So, keep that spark alive and love him unconditionally.

Two Secrets of a Happy Marriage

In the era we live in, the divorce rate rises continually. Back in the fifties, the divorce rate in the church was much lower than the divorce rate in the world. Yet, nowadays, the divorce rate in the church is the same as that of the world.

It is very interesting to observe that among Hasidic Jews, this means Jews that still have prearranged marriages, the divorce rate is zero! Incredible, isn’t it? However, when asked about the secret of such a low divorce rate, the main ingredient was respect. “We respect one another.”, they said.

Another survey showed that among the Christian couples who pray together (I mean really making time to pray, not just saying the blessing at the table) the divorce rate is incredibly low, less than one percent. Obviously, here praying together is the key.

These two categories have given, along with their answers, an important indicator to a marriage’s stability. Let’s see more about respect and prayer in marriage. How can respect be nurtured in your relationship?

1. First of all you need to realize that your spouse is not primarily yours; what I mean is that he or she belongs to God, he/she is God’s ‘property’ and it is God who gave him/her to you. You will also have to give an account to God concerning the relationship with your spouse, you are supposed to grow together closer and closer to God’s image and in this process you also grow closer and closer to one another.

2. Jesus said, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” That involves knowing your partner better each day and treating him/her as they want to be treated. There is one important thing to note here, treat him as he wants to be treated (not as you want him to treat you); I am making this distinction clear because women have certain expectations like being paid attention to, listened (not only heard), ultimately all these lead to one thing: respect. The same way, men need to be respected, they need to know that their partner admires their qualities in private and in public as well. However, people are unique, your partner is unique, that’s why you as his wife and you as her husband should know best your partner’s love language.

Just as you can’t make a sparrow swim or a fish fly, the same way, you need to create a suitable environment for your spouse, telling him/her you love and respect her/him using her/his own language. Many times the way you want to be treated is not the way he wants to be treated by you, he might just not perceive certain gestures the way you do; that’s why, you have to learn, use, and continually update your partner’s love language.

3. Pray together, stay together. Prayer creates an incredible bond between people, and especially when it comes to marriage, God, the inventor of this institution, will surely strengthen it and help the two make marriage what it is supposed to be. Being thankful every day for your partner, with him/her actually hearing you saying ‘thank you Lord for my husband/wife’ is such a blessing and such a great healer! It can heal deep wounds; this gives depth to your love and respect levels. Just being grateful for what God gave you.

It is in prayer that you realize better and clearer how together you form a whole, and that you should complete each other and not compete against each other. Ridiculing each other is a habit that can be fun at first, but once it reaches maturity, its fruits are bitter. Therefore, coming before God every day, simply allows you both to revolve around the steady axis that can really reinforce your marriage and put you back on the right track.

Spinning one around another as a couple is not sufficient, people change, feelings can be up or down, situations differ, yet God is the same, always, never changing, and this stability and advice that you can receive only from His perspective, is of a great value in marriage; actually the best advice ever!

Through prayer God will also remind you of how beautiful He wants your husband or wife to become. Married couples know the ‘cruel truth’, that there is neither Prince Charming nor Snow White.

You will be reminded each day of how precious you actually are in the eyes of God, and that will make the task much easier for you as your spouse will not rely on you for his/her self-esteem. The main problem with many people comes from their low self-esteem, it not only brings them down, but it will surely affect their marriage too.

Forgiveness is another precious jewel you can receive through prayer, and oh, if your partner is breathing…it means you are likely to be offended; that’s why forgiving is also crucial. Above them all, the infinite love of Love itself―God, will be poured in your hearts and your joy of living will be continually refreshed by His Holy Spirit living inside you.

Marriage May Fill Your Heart with Joy, but It Can Also Kill You

In a study conducted by psychology researchers at the University of Utah, some 150 healthy married couples helped to determine if arguments have a noticeable effect on calcification of the arteries that supply the heart muscle. The couples, mostly in their 60s, were recruited through newspaper ads and a polling firm. Each couple was paid $150 for their participation and the husbands and wives received a free CT scan of their hearts.

The study showed that hardening of the coronary arteries is more likely to occur in wives, when their husbands demonstrate hostility during arguments. Hardening of the arteries is more common in husbands when either spouse acts in a controlling manner during arguments. Study author Tim Smith, professor of psychology at the university, explained the purpose of the study by saying, “Women pay more attention to friendliness vs. hostility, and are more concerned when it’s out of line than are men. Men are more interested in issues of control in their lives.”

Each of the couples was asked to select a topic that was an ongoing source of debate in their marriage. They were then seated in comfortable chairs facing each other, and videotaped talking to each other about a variety of problems-money, children, in-laws, household chores, etc. Some of the couples engaged in “quite pointed” arguments, said Smith, despite knowing that they were being taped. Some couples were so hostile toward each other that researchers suggested they seek counseling.

Graduate students watching the tapes coded each conversation to indicate the extent to which the discussion was friendly or hostile, and submissive vs. dominant. For example, comments such as “You can be so stupid,” or “you’re too negative” were coded as hostile and dominant. But a comment such as “that’s a good idea” was coded to be warm and submissive. Based on the resulting scores for their conversations, each couple was ranked accordingly, as to which spouse was more hostile, dominant, controlling, or submissive. Two days later, each couple underwent their CT scans, and doctors used a standard scale to score each person’s level of coronary artery calcification, factoring out traditional risk factors such as weight, cholesterol levels, and family history.

The results of the study were dramatic, and definitely said something about the quality of each couple’s relationship. Matthew Sylvan, director of Psychocutaneous Medicine at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital’s department of dermatology in New York City, says that the tenor of a marriage affects the health of both partners. “The link between the mind and body is something I believe in strongly, and see all the time,” he said. While studies such as this one need more research and data to support the original findings, Silvan said he wasn’t surprised at the resulting conclusion that, men and women react physically to their marriages in different ways. “For a long time people thought of the mind and body as separate,” he said. “And more and more they see they aren’t separate. The two mutually influence each other.”

The mutual effect of marriage on the health of husbands and wives was further underscored by another recent study. The study, conducted by Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania and backed by the National Institute of Health, analyzed Medicare records from a national sample of more than half a million elderly couples over a 9-year period. The purpose of the study was to examine couples to see what health risks there might be for one spouse when the other is gravely ill or dies. Previous studies have shown that the spouses of sick people are more at risk of illness and death themselves, a phenomenon sometimes called “the caregiver burden” or the “bereavement effect.” This study was unique in that researchers examined an extraordinarily large group of couples, and also quantified the risk associated with a range of specific illnesses.

The results of the study showed that the risk is a considerable one. Men were 4.5% more likely than usual to die on any given day after their wives were hospitalized; women with sick husbands were almost 3% more likely to die. The researchers say that these risks increase because of the lack of companionship, practical help, income and other support that can happen when a spouse gets sick. If the sick spouse then dies, the partner’s risk of death by any means-accidents, suicide, infections, or pre-existing conditions-rises by 21% for men and 17% for women.

The partner’s death risks were highest in the six months after the spouse was hospitalized for a severely disabling problem. Older people were especially vulnerable. Researchers have suggested that the effects of a spouse’s illness on the partner should be taken into account by families, social service workers, and doctors. “You can die of a broken heart not just when a partner dies, but when your partner falls ill,” said Harvard Medical School chief researcher Dr. Nicholas Christakis. “What it means to me is that people are interconnected, and so their health is interconnected.”

5 Secrets of a Successful Marriage

Every society recognizes marriage through different mannerisms. Some actually preach both spouses to give up the idea if it doesn’t live up to their expectations. This is rare, except in cases of the olden days, where polygamy was rampant. Although we believe that love is the essence of a great marriage – the very foundation, it’s also true that there are some generic rules that apply to any marital bond (despite geographical and cultural differences).

Boost His Ego
Though many might not agree with this rule, it actually holds true.
We are humans and tend to stereotype roles, as soon as we imbibe them. The universal problem of ‘Men and their ever-growing egos’ exists all around the world.
As a human tendency, women tend to resist and battle these out in what they know as letting out steam.
What you really need to do is simply keep quiet; because in the fit of anger that a man is so proud of, he would neither hear you out nor would he ever understand the depth of your advice.
As profound as it may sound, it’s good to practice non-violence at this stage, thereby allowing his ego to grow.
Consequently, he will mellow down and salvage his pride.
Write Down
As ridiculous as it may sound, even the most precise man in this world makes mistakes.
Remember at school, when your teacher would insist that all math equations needed practice; and practice would only be sufficient, when they would be written down.
Writing things is a good habit that improves a lot many things in life.
Firstly, it makes you understand what you’ve written thanks to the continuous flow of words on paper.
Secondly, it makes your brain more sharp, thereby making you less prone to the usual mistakes that drive couples into petty arguments.
Furthermore, it also makes you more disciplined and at peace with yourself to make major decisions that would ultimately make life easy.
What’s even better is that when you note the finer nuances of whatever took place at the time, it will be easy to put up a great fight, when you’ve armed yourselves with the exact situation if the need for a battle should arrive (God forbid!).
Spend Time
When we speak of quality time, we normally interpret it as the good times spent with each other.
What we need to remember is that normal life is spent in pursuing everyday aspirations.
So, after the accomplishment of each goal is when you really need to take time off. That’s what really means quality time.
This time you can spend in just about anything – sharing housework, reading, learning a new skill, exercising, etc. Being together is the key.
Appreciate and Laugh
Men like women, who can appreciate and laugh at themselves, as they consider women to be the forever lot of conniving sex.
There are two distinct advantages of this: (i) it makes you a great sport, making you aware of your flaws and allowing you to improve upon them; and (ii) it makes you more cheerful.
Believe it or not, laughing at yourself also adds a new dimension in your spouse’s eyes.
These cheerful moments will surely be a catalyst in making your marriage successful.
Be Diplomatic
Remember that a large part of a woman’s life is dominated by the imbalance of her hormones.
At times, she may not even know why she feels the way she does.
During such times, you just cannot control the ire that has only just reached at your mouth’s gateway or has just twitched the finger of your right hand and is compelling you to raise it.
It is at these times that you need to use diplomacy.
As hard as it may be to control one’s anger, you need to do this for the sake of your woman, as she really cannot control the way she is.
Bear in mind that a woman is an important deciding factor of the marriage’s success. So, try and adjust with her fluctuating mood swings.
Most communities only teach you the fact that marriage is forever, ‘until death do us part’. But you need to keep the aforementioned pre-decided factors in mind in order to make your relationship a success.