My grandparents have been married almost 71 years. My parents have been married over 45 years. I've seen very positive relationships and I have seen tragic relationships in my lifetime. I've seen joy and I've seen misery. I've seen them occur simultaneously.I am not married and have never been terribly stressed out by the fact that I am not. For the most part, marriage is leap of faith and a commitment to sharing the good and bad aspects of who you are. I think some are well equipped for this experience while others are not well suited for it. This does not mean that those that are not suited are deficient or lack something. Their soul, passion, interest, commitments are just focused on some other aspect of life and that marriage is not the vehicle by which they choose to experience life. In my experience most of us are desperately trying to fit roles and responsibilities and gravitating to the middle so as not to seem different. The relationships that I have seen that seem to stand the test of time are those where the parties rely upon the other for things that they might want, need, or lack in themselves. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.I've left out that I am jaded. I happen to be a divorce attorney which could profoundly impact how I see marriage, relationships, people and possibly animals and inanimate objects. Despite the fact that my lenses have lost their rose colored tint long ago, I still see marriage as an important aspect of our culture. Without it, I would have to find another type of law to practice.I've been told that such things as: (a) I did not love the person when I got married to, but I thought it was time to get married; (b) I felt that it was a good decision because the other party would bring me ....; (c) I wanted to have kids, etc. These types of reasons always strike me sad because the person made decisions about their life which profoundly impact another. They put themselves above another and I think that is the fundamental problem in many marriages. If you are expecting anyone to fill your cup, you are sadly mistaken. From view, I do not think that is how life, love, or anything works.I read a book a few years ago that contained a chapter that focused on divorce. It was by Malcom Gladwell and it was entitled "Blink." The author is excellent and I would encourage anyone to read his work. The relevant chapter focuses on why people get divorce. According to the book, there is a Professor at the University of Washington who has been studying why people get divorce. According to his work, the answer appears to be contempt. The Professor can put a couple is a room and tape record their conversation discussing a benign topic and by listening to the tape for 30 seconds or so, he has an astonishing ability to predict whether a couple will divorce. In simple terms, contempt is when one person holds that their thoughts, feelings, rights, existence are above another. From the moment that shift happens, the probability for divorce increases. I was reading another blog posted on this site and the person expressed some Buddhist beliefs. Although I am not a Buddhist, I do see that for a relationship to remain viable that there has to be a sense of oneness and infinite compassion. The grace you give today may be the grace you need to come back to you in the future.Life might present the opportunity of marriage to me. At this time, I am non plussed by the experience. This may change.I think we are all provided opportunities in life where we can choose to place value on something or not. I think the same thing is true for marriage. I think one must think long and hard before entering marriage because if you are committed to being marriage you have to make a decision that it will always have value to you. If you are someone who the value of a penny fades in direct correlation to the amount of tarnish, you might want to hold off on marriage.
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