Do Early Marriages Last Longer?
Your biological age may give you the licence to marry but if you are emotionally and intellectually juvenile! You may be ill-equipped to cope up with the challenges that marriage throws up. Grow up before you tie the knot.
Marriages, it is said, are made in heaven, but the truth is that they have to be managed on earth. Just as it is imperative that you have a post-graduate management degree to manage an organisation, it is equally important to have a mature mindset and relationship management skills in order to make marriages last.
Eighteen-year-old Debbie fell in love with 22-year-old David. After a whirlwind romance of barely four months, they decided to tie the knot. Not much thought was given to Debbie completing her graduation, as they were both from wealthy families, and David was the heir to the family business. While Debbie focused on having a 'perfect fairy tale wedding', David was keen to quickly cross the milestone of marriage, and provide a grandchild for his ageing parents. It never crossed their mind to discuss their values, priorities, lifestyles, relationship needs and their ideas about an ideal relationship with each other.
Once the fairy tale wedding was over, Debbie was at a total loss as nothing else had been thought or planned by her. David, on the other hand, got down to everyday business once the marriage milestone was crossed, and focused on procreation and recreation during the nights. All that was unsaid and unaddressed earlier started coming up as 'issues'. Not only were their individual expectations from marriage very different, but they also did not have the tools or the skills to negotiate their differences in a win-win way. As expected, the differences escalated into ugly conflicts, with the families commenting that they 'fight like kids'. Well, they were 'kids'.
Many a marriage is rife with conflict because the man and woman are actually 'Mama's little boys' and 'Daddy's little girls', who have got together to play 'house-house'. Soon they realise that they lack the emotional maturity to nurture and' sustain relationships, with both running to their respective parents boohooing and complaining about how their wife/husband is being 'mean' to them. Such 'biological adults' but 'emotional kids' can be of any age, but more often, those who marry early face this problem.
MARRIAGE AS A GETAWAY
Coming from a dysfunctional family, Sarah had low self-worth. Her parents were in constant conflict. Sarah not only witnessed these but also had to take sides, listen to her mother's sob stories, and meet her father's unreasonable expectations. Above all, she was ignored by both her self-obsessed parents, leaving her feeling like an 'emotional orphan' in need of love and nurturing. She fell in love with James at the age of 15, and married him when she was 18.
James found her 'child-woman' demeanour cute and adorable to begin with. She, of course, was in search of a nurturing home away from her conflicted home. Soon after marriage, she realised that James was neither willing nor able to be an 'emotional parent' for the 'emotionally needy child' within her. The conflict began, as neither were her expectations of James parenting her satisfied, nor were James expectations of having an emotional adult as his life partner. James soon sought companionship in an 'adult woman' and the marriage ended in a divorce.
LOOKING FOR A PARENT SUBSTITUTE
Cheryl was raised in an orthodox and religious household, with innumerable restrictions on her. She saw marriage as her 'ticket to freedom', and enthusiastically okayed a proposal from Robert in London when she was only 19. She soon discovered that setting up a home in London was no easy task for her. Her dreams of freedom and life in the fast lane soon became a never-ending nightmare of cooking, cleaning, scrubbing the bathrooms, grocery shopping, and serving her husband late at night. She fought for freedom from the daily drudgery. When a very busy Robert told her that she had to handle the home single-handedly while he worked outside, she had an affair with Steven in the neighbourhood and got addicted to smoking pot. Conflicts began at home, which soon ended in a separation.
The reason for many a broken marriage is that boys and girls often get married at an early age for the wrong reasons. They are not going towards marriage or their partner, but are getting away from their parents. Often they are looking for an indulgent parent in their spouse, and that's where the trouble begins. Such emotional kids need to grow up and learn to nurture themselves, so that they can establish an adult-adult relationship in marnage.
LIVING IN A MAKE-BELIEVE WORLD
John and Catherine were high school sweethearts and had begun dating when they were both 14. They got married after seven years of being with each other. John confessed during counselling that after being with Catherine for seven years, he married her only because he felt obliged to do so, as he had made a commitment of eternal love at the age of 14. The truth was that there was a huge mismatch of values and dreams for the future, and yet he married her out of a 'sense of duty'.
The marriage began with a 'silent resentment' in John, which grew with time, and escalated into everyday conflict and emotional distancing. Obviously, when John made the commitment of undying love at the age of 14, he did not have the maturity or clarity to truly know who and what he was committing to. The phenomenon of jumping in head first into marriage, jolts many a brain after marriage, and makes them do all the thinking that they should have done pre-maritally, often leading to a breakdown of the relationship.
MATURITY IS IMPORTANT
The examples mentioned above, though often seen in early marriages, do not hold true for only biologically early marriages. A marriage can be termed an early marriage if you are marrying with a Mills and Boon idea of romance in marriage, and if you live in a Utopian world believing that marriage is the panacea to all your problems in your parental home. The disease of living in a make-believe world with unrealistic expectations from marriage can afflict people of any age.
For marriages to last longer, both partners need to be equipped with life-coping skills, both intra-personal and interpersonal. They need to know the art of constructive communication and problem-solving. They also need to find personal gratification in vitally fulfilling endeavours other than the relationship, so that both can bring value and joy to the relationship. This will also help to strike the right balance between a shared and mutually nurtured space and the individual space for both to pursue their journey of personal growth. It is such maturely managed relationships that last longer, and it is such a marriage in which you can truly be declared 'man and wife'.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Douglas is a marriage counselor and a relationship expert. He has written several articles about love and relationship. Refer to his advice on building trust in relationships and follow these tips to re-ignite the fires of passion in your marriage and relationship.