Guest Author - Sadiyya Patel
"For better or for worse" is still very much a strong argument for getting, and staying, married. While some people would be too shy to admit it, the love and support in times of illness can help to speed up recovery.
"for better or for worse" means that that no matter what happens,no matter what curve balls life throws them, someone will always be around.
It goes beyond having a security or safety net. It´s the knowledge that they can count on someone when times are bad, and that alone generates a considerable degree of peace of mind and a sense of calm for the soul.
And here´s a romantic, but true - notion of marriage, to which happily married couples will agree: "Marriage moves us from ego to we-go.
The single self shifts from me first to the sacred union of us. Values such as love, honesty, respect, fidelity and dependability form the backbone of a good marriage.
Small acts of kindnesses are the oil that make a marriage run smoothly. Without the oil of kindness, the marriage can easily grind to a halt.
And how about the simplest reasons for marriage such as: silly little jokes, hugs and cuddling, traveling together, laughing together, quiet times together, mutual friends, sexual intimacy, pillow talk, kissing and making up? Can anyone really put a price tag on these simple pleasures? Don´t they echo the saying that the best things in life are free?
Oh yes, there is love in relationships, but there is deeper love in a marriage that is on its way to its 25th or 50th year. Sir Arthur Wing Pinero sums it nicely: "Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young."
So did James Thurber: A lady of 47 who has been married 27 years and has six children knows what love really is and once described it to me like this: "Love is what you´ve been through with somebody."
People who have remained happily married are those who realize gradually that there are actually two marriage contracts, not just one.
The first contract is what everyone is familiar with is the one that the priest in a wedding ceremony makes official. The second contract is what couples call the silent contract. It is secret, implicit and largely unconscious. It is this second contract that specifies standards and behaviors our partner should fulfill.
The distinguishing characteristic of the second contract is our secret belief that our own feelings, needs, and sense of what is right are most important. Your expectations of your partner can carry risks and can lead to arguments and hurt feelings.
Happily married couples are those who understand this second silent contract and all of its ramifications.
Happily married couples are those who continue to invest in the marriage, knowing that for love to flourish, it takes hard work and substantial amounts of creativity.
After a while, love and physical attraction may take the backseat, especially once children arrive. But fulfilled couples know that they must stick it out, through thick and thin, for the sake of the emotional well-being of the children as well as their own.
When couples think of others and not just themselves and make a continuing effort to make the marriage work, they´ve made the best investment they could ever make and they firmly believe in this.