Advice Papa Gave Me: Marriage Is A Contract. Read The Fine Print

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My dear daughter,

I have watched you grow up over the years and I must confess that you have given me much joy.  Now in your twenties, I am sure your thought sometimes turns to the subject of marriage. With this in mind, I want to let you know some of my thoughts on the subject.

My dear, marriage is an exchange of vows, which are meant to bind two people together for life. I will like you to understand that marriage is not an enterprise that one should embark upon without deep reflection.  Oftentimes, many tend to see a wedding through the hazy prism of romance, its realities diffused through the haze of what we have been told is a life defining occasion which will help make our lives complete.

As unromantic as it may seem, however, like any other contract, marriage requires a lot of thought before we sign on the dotted line – a weighing of the pros and cons, as well as a reading of the fine print, before we make a decision. It is inherently a risky business, with built-in problems, which must be addressed every step of the way, as the marriage contractual obligation proposes making a commitment for life.

When a marriage fails, there are few, if any, couples that walk away from marriage unscathed.  The consequences and ramifications of dissolving a marriage continue to affect the individuals long after they call it quits and move on with their lives.  If for no other reason, these long-term consequences should be enough to make one pause, and to take time to think about and see exactly what it is they are getting themselves into.

Part of the reality of marriage is the fact that one is taking a calculated risk, a chance that two persons who are completely different individuals from different backgrounds, will be able to adjust and overcome their differences.  Together, they must work as a team on a relationship that will, over the years, be tested in all ways and manners.

There really are no guarantees when it comes to relationships, and marriage is a crucial partnership.  Therefore, we must take into account the realities that come with marriage, and realize that there will be adjustments of all kinds to be made, ups and downs to negotiate, twist and turns, unforeseen stumbling blocks to surmount, temptations to overcome, in short, circumstances that may cause one to falter in their stride and consider very seriously throwing in the towel and giving up. These are the risks and problems we have to know in advance and accept before signing on the dotted line. If we think about it, what compromise we must make and live with is the definitive determinant of whether or not a marriage will stand the test of time.

For better or for worse, marriage, in one form or another, has remained a reality in human society.  More thought should be given to it, from all perspectives, before we become part of a tradition, which has so much power to either make or mar one’s life.

What Do You Think?

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