There is a remarkable number of articles available in various magazines, in blogs and on television programs about “What You Should Know Before You Get Married,” Usually, it’s something like “Six Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Saying ‘I Do‘” or “Four Common Marriage Problems – and Solutions,” as featured on NBC’s The Today Show. Nearly every article or video tells couples basically the same things and everyone of them leaves out the most fundamental thing that you really should know before you get married.
If you marry someone for financial reasons; security reasons; simply because you don’t want to be alone; because your friends are doing it; because you have always dreamed of a big, beautiful wedding like Muriel in the movie Muriel’s Wedding; or because you think you are marrying your best friend, then you are potentially making a disastrous mistake.
Marriage is an archaic institution. At best, it is a social institution that can be traced back to the common law of those old pagans, the Anglo-Saxons. At its worst, it is modern day slavery. The one, most important, thing you need to know before you say, “I do,” is this:
You had better be deeply, irrevocably in love with the person you are marrying. You had better be prepared to lose everything, to sacrifice everything and ultimately be prepared to die for him or her. You had better unconditionally love, and be willing to subordinate yourself to, that person. That is the secret to a lasting marriage.
If you do not feel that way about the person you are thinking about marrying, don’t do it. Financial security alone does not make a happy marriage and it’s never a sure thing. Nor is having a “best friend for life.” It is not going to be enough to carry you through if you hit a major snag. Is it important to know yourself and to have your own identity? Yes. But, be prepared to deny yourself and your identify when you marry. This is especially true for women.
Is it important that you have a lot in common with your partner? Maybe. But, it is not the most important factor. You can have a lot in common with someone and never be in love with that person. On the other hand, if you are in love with them, then the differences don’t matter.
Questions about religion and children, and much pettier issues too, will find their own resolution, if two people are completely in love with one another. But, only if you are in love with your husband or wife to the point of self-negation. If you are not a love slave to your mate, do not get married! Keep on living together for a while if it is comfortable, maybe, but do not sign those legal documents.