Many many years ago most marriages were arranged. Families were heavily involved with whom their son or daughter married. Anyone remember "Coming To America" starring Eddie Murphy? Well the concept for arranged marriages was simple. Falling in love and marrying a person meant marrying each others family and that most people would not consider all of the important things associated with marriage when they are in love. Things like their genetic and psychological make up, how their partner respond when they are happy, sad, confronted, or even the relationships they have had over the years with their own families that may be different from their partner has a huge impact on whether marriages can last for a lifetime.
I can distinctly remember a time for sure that my spouse and I, if an attorney and a judge were present would surely be divorced by now and it had everything to do with familial patterns brought into the marriage that were at opposite ends of the spectrum. As a child I cannot remember a time that we did not have a dog. Our dogs were so important to us that many times we treated them as if they were human. My husband on the other hand and his family loved animals as well, but maintained a distinct difference between man and dog. Last winter was the first year that our three dogs were forced to move outside into some very upscale dog houses. As a matter of fact, champ our boxer has a 30 year guaranteed roof on top of his outside home. Well, one particular night temperatures were due to fall below the 20's. I informed my husband that this was indeed too frigid for my dogs to endure. He exclaimed, those dogs were built to deal with this kind of weather and they are not coming back into this house. My response was either they come in or you get out! It got so bad that we brought the veterinarians office into it and I'm sure that was the highlight of their day. Nevertheless, we ended up barely speaking for two days all because of different perspectives on how we were taught to love dogs.
By no means am I suggesting that we go back to arranged marriages. I am 100% in favor of every person having total autonomy in choosing who they fall in love with and ultimately marry. What I am suggesting is that every person take the necessary time to look beyond infatuation and see if what we perceive our partner to be and who they really are matches up. With the alarming divorce rates, it's time we start taking control of our marital destiny and at least getting close to "Happily Ever After."
Submitted by Paula M. Sims, LPC, NCC, NCSC