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!