Published on December 16, 2008
Marriage 101 Things you need to know and questions to ask before you get married Javed Mohammed Writer-Producer Writer- firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2008
DISCLAIMER DUE TO SUBJECT MATTER VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED “Marriage is part science, part art, part what you make it, part what you get, part blessing and part luck. No one owns the patent or the copyright to a happy marriage. No one is immune to problems in marriage. But there is wisdom, history and traits that can tell us which marriages are likely to work and which ones will fail. Marriage doesn’t guarantee happiness but compared to the alternatives it’s the best option. This Presentation is just a resource, of trying to identify a process you can follow as you navigate the journey to getting married. It will hopefully get you jumpstarted and identify questions you need to ask. Let the journey begin. (This is the small print and sorry I’m no lawyer)
What is marriage? Marriage is a social, religious, or legal union of individuals. In finding potential spouses it is important for both parties to know themselves, the other, and the common vision and goals.
Why Marry? On average married people are twice as happy as their single counterparts. Have better health, better self-esteem Increased longevity More financially well off Live fulfilled lives OK!! these are relative terms, but its proven.
Marriage brings and produces Almost every culture has an institution called marriage which brings together not only a man and woman but also their families. The resulting union typically produces the next generation of children who are provided a nurturing upbringing with the support of the parents and family.
Commitment In different cultures there is If both partners see a version of “till death do us marriage is for life and part” divorce is not an option, Under current “no fault” then they will find ways to divorce laws it is easy to get make it work. a divorce compared to older When problems arise the times . number one priority has to People are not as committed be the survival of marriage to marriage as they used to (We are not talking about be. chronically ill marriages filled with physical or emotional abuse etc)
Couples considering marriage need to explore subjects like Life’s overlapping circles Life Goals Values Culture & Values Career Future Expectations Appearance & Personality Education Friends & Intellectual level Roles in Common Goals home Religion & Spirituality Financial responsibility In-laws & Children Family background Yes it’s a lot but take it ahmm, in small circles!
Like all great projects, Marriage Needs Good intentions Exploration of each spouses Goals, Values, Strengths, Weaknesses, Expectations Fundamentals Integrity, Forgiving, Flexibility, Forbearance Consultation Yourself, Family, Friends, References Prayers “Most people spend a life time preparing for the wedding which lasts a day but don’t plan for a marriage which can last a life time.”
How do you view marriage? quot;...And they lived happily ever after.quot;
Is it love? I don’t know what the definitive definition of love is but people interpret certain emotions to be love. If you enjoy being with someone and feel a bond that may be just “liking” or certain “intimacy”
Is it love? I don’t know what the definitive definition of love is but people interpret certain emotions to be love. If you enjoy being with someone and feel a bond that may be just “liking” or certain “intimacy.” If you have nothing in common, your legs become jelly and you have an intense physical attraction, or sexual desire and not much in the way of communication that’s “infatuation”. If you enjoy the long term relationship and want to be with your partner for ever through the ups and downs that’s “commitment”.
Top 5 Reasons marriages breakdown: 27% - Infidelity 18% - Family strains (+ Poor Communication) 17% - Emotional/physical abuse 13% - Mid-life crisis (+ change in priorities) 12% - Addictions (Workaholism, alcoholism, gambling, etc.) 13% - Other (communication problems, growing apart, business, sex ) Source: Marriageabout.com
Stages of Marriage Honeymoon Stage (We were made for each other) +Energy -Energy Liking Passion Or Infatuation (confused with love)
Stages of Marriage Honeymoon Stage (We were made for each other) +Energy -Energy Reality (Remorse: What did I get myself into?) Kicks in Liking Passion Black Hole Or Infatuation (confused with love)
Stages of Marriage Honeymoon Stage (We were made for each other) +Energy Accommodation Time Stage (We can work it out) -Energy Reality Kicks in (Remorse: What did I get myself into?) Liking Passion Black Hole Intimacy & Commitment Or Infatuation (confused with love)
Stages of Marriage Honeymoon Stage (We were made for each other) +Energy Accommodation Stage (We can work it out) Time Transformation -Energy (There’s nothing more important to me than My marriage: what can I do for you?) Reality Kicks in (Remorse: What did I get myself into?) Liking Passion Black Hole Intimacy & Commitment Or Infatuation (confused with love)
Stages of Marriage Success Stage (This is like heaven on earth) Honeymoon Stage (We were made for each other) +Energy Accommodation Stage (We can work it out) Time Transformation (There’s nothing more important to me than -Energy My marriage: what can I do for you?) Reality Kicks in (Remorse: What did I get myself into?) Liking Passion Black Hole Intimacy & Commitment Or Infatuation (confused with love)
How do people find mates • Fall in Love: we marry people we know (meet school, work, place of worship) • Arranged Marriage: We are introduced to them (very common in the East) and in traditional Western culture in history • Internet (eHarmony.com, Match.com, Shadi.com, Zawaj.com) • Dating/Marriage Agencies
In the good old days We are constantly changing society. It is hard to believe that at the turn of the last century and a good way into it courtship and not dating was the common way that potential spouses were introduced. So what is courtship? “Courtship: system of rules, common practices, and roles that guide young people into marriage.”
ve it ha rcing ab divo Changing Values op h oh o c ty of i le w babil , Pe h pro 51%) hig to 1 Casual premarital sex, % (33 Cohabit, and/or put off Se marriage. a s x be ss in soci for in e c ris rea ate e m k se d w arr pp d d it ia ivo h ge ha rc , un e l rita ma teen p regna ncies less dome stic vi commitment, olence more conflict
Don’t Delay Marriage There is no magic number in terms of age to get married Some people marry their high school sweetheart and live happily ever after Happiest marriages are between age of 23 and 27: couple is mature but not too set in their ways, or been getting into too many relationships (Virgins 24-37% less likely to divorce: more sexual fidelity in marriage and less infertility problems ) Source: Glenn 2005
Looking for your partner on the Internet. The various sites that have popped up on the Internet can be a useful tool in finding a match. Internet is a good tool for filtering, browsing and matching characteristics However, we are humans so proceed with caution. The Internet is anonymous so without checking into the backgrounds of people you are more vulnerable than compared to being introduced or meeting someone you know personally.
Why people marry? Pressure from parents, peers or society Fill an urge (sensual, sexual) or spiritual void To escape loneliness, or other negative life changing events. Get citizenship Financial security
How people marry? • One person trades a trait for another e.g. • money for beauty • experience or position for youth. • Or we find a complimentary partner • You are the quiet type, he/she is outgoing
How people marry? • Sometimes Opposites attract • But the danger is at some point they may also repel • Time and place play a role • When the timing is right or just by proximity, the closer you are geographically the greater the chance that you’ll meet the “right one.”
Positive Traits in a marriage Both partners come from a happy/stable family background. Honest and Open communication Empathetic listening Acknowledgement of feelings Constructive Conflict
More good traits: It’s not only important where you both are today but your ability to grow and adapt to change. There will be many challenges in life from financial to others. If you have the virtues of Patience, Perseverance, Thrift, fortitude, wisdom, loyalty, generosity You will not only be a good spouse but also a good father or mother, community member and citizen.
More good traits: There are so many problems that are far beyond us as humans We all need spiritual grounding Couples who have a common faith and pray together are more likely to enjoy a stable and blissful married life. Differences in not only faith but level of practice can compound marriages not only for the spouses but also for the resulting confusion that it causes for children.
Obstacles that can Cause Conflict in a marriage Divorce (Partner or parents) Having different religious backgrounds Marrying too young or delaying for too long. Rushing into marriage Children from previous marriage Living together prior to marriage & Bad Karma is angry, resentful families, low trust, judgmental, poor morals, infidelity, immaturity (wrong expectations), aloof, cold, emotional, pessimistic outlook on life
Obstacles: Adultery Adultery in many societies is the #1 reason for divorce this must be addressed head on. Watch out for men who are interested in pornography. These days with the Internet and DVDs etc it is very easy to fall into that trap. Find out what the attitudes are of your potential spouse to members of the opposite sex. Find out if they will agree to these: There are certain boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed when dealing with members of the opposite gender. Never be alone with a member of the opposite sex at work or travel or any other situation where one may become vulnerable to crossing the line. Deal with members of the opposite sex in a formal business like way.
Know your own Expectations What is important for me in life? What are the things that I absolutely want in a potential spouse? What are the things that I absolutely cannot tolerate in a potential spouse? Where am I willing to compromise on?
Make a Checklist Criteria You Spouse Appearance, Age, Race (External) Personality (Internal) Education & Intellectual level Religion & Spirituality Cultural Background & Interests Career Goals Family Centric and Make a list of the Characteristics, qualities, values and values you desire in a marriage partner. Social Class & Economic status
Checklist continued Criteria You Spouse Serious vs. Lighthearted Interests and hobbies Zeal and Energy Picky or Easygoing Meticulous or Sloppy Grooming & Cleanliness Make a list of the Characteristics, qualities, and values you desire in a marriage partner.
Grade it What: Must you have? (otherwise deal breaker) You can live with Don’t care Put a “+” for anything positive, “-” for anything you would rate poorly You can make it as simple or as complex as you like. The value is not in the numbers, it’s in the exercise. If you have too many criteria the pool of potential candidates will diminish. Remember you’re spouse won’t be perfect and neither are you.
Make Deposits often Couples who show Affection, and empathy are more likely to have marital bliss But you can never take it for granted. It needs constant work and change with time. Make deposits in the emotional bank account. Acknowledge and respect your differences and give each other space. Play to your natural biological roles.
Getting to know each other is like well; peeling an onion There’s only so much you can discover before marriage, the rest is a life time process Real Your Real Spouse’s self image You Image of you Spouse Your How spouse perceives Image of others others How others How others Perceive you Perceive spouse
Explore commonalities and differences Are your goals aligned? Do you have enough in common to hold you together? Can you live with your differences in mannerisms and temperament Are your social, educational, spiritual levels and family backgrounds fairly well aligned? If not will that be a problem down the road or maybe even a non-starter
Marriage isn’t a 50:50 Venture Just as in business 50:50 ventures rarely survive. Why? Any institution whether it be a corporation, partnership or marriage can have one CEO or head or arbiter of decisions. Although consultation is a must in all major (and depending on what your pet peeves are minor ) decisions, someone has to make a call. Each spouse needs to feel like the other is making a valuable contributions to the marriage Keeping score is not a good way to run a marriage Each spouse has different strengths, and interests; play to them. Strive towards mutual dependency. Be the first to forgive, forget and move on.
Seek out your family and friends: You are only as strong as your social group For all major decisions see the advice of family, sincere friends, and knowledgeable people For religion: Your Minister/Imam/Rabbi For money matters: A financial advisor For health:….
So are you ready for marriage? Hopefully the answer is yes, we want to help you along, but there are going to be many many questions along the way that you have to ask yourself, your potential spouse and those people around you. The questions included in the Reference section are meant to be a guideline. Some may make sense for you, some may not. Some you will think of your self. Go with the flow. The questions center around Why are you getting married, i.e. your motives? Finding out your partners history, and looking at your common goals and expectations.
Reference Slides Questions to Ask
Questions to ask a prospective husband What is the biggest change he has to deal with? Has he ever lost a job? How did he deal with it? How does he relate to other women and what are his expectations of his versus wife’s role at home? Does he want a traditional wife who will be a stay at home mom or does he want someone with a career? What makes him happy, angry. What does he do when he gets emotional? How does he handle a crisis?
More questions to ask a prospective husband How does he deal with money matters? What does he expect from his wife and children? What is his family like? What is his medical background? Where does he want to live? How does he view Parent-in- laws and what is their role in marriage?
Questions to ask a prospective wife What are her expectations about gender roles? How does she relate to other men? How does she deal with money matters? What is her family like? What makes her happy, angry. What does she do when she gets emotional?
More questions to ask a prospective wife What are her career versus family plans. Does she like children, would she like to have them, if so when would she like to start a family? What is her medical background? Where does she want to live? How does she view Parent- in-laws and what is their role in marriage?
Questions to ask either spouse How is your relationship with your siblings (past and present)? Describe your childhood? Was it a happy one? If not why? What values of parents would you like to keep and which would you change? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses (This is not a job interview so people must be candid) Have you ever failed at anything? How did you react? What did you learn? If I met your best friend what would they say about you? In your last couple of reviews what were the areas your boss said needs most improvement?
Questions to ask either spouse What is your philosophy of life? What role does culture play in your life? How forgiving are you? Do you have any strong political views? Do you or your family have any medical history which could cause an illness to be passed onto the children (e.g. heart disease,….) Are there any past relationships you have had that could impact our marriage?
Explore commonalities and differences Are your goals aligned? Do you have enough in common to hold you together? Can you live with your differences in mannerisms and temperament? Are your social, educational, spiritual levels and family backgrounds fairly well aligned? If not will that be a problem down the road or maybe even a non-starter
Family What do you think parents/extended family’s role should be in making important decisions: wedding planning, child rearing, vacations, where you will live? What do you do if there is a conflict between your spouse and your family? Are you comfortable living with extended family, particularly as they age? Are other accommodations possible? How much time do you anticipate spending with your extended family, in person or by phone? Would you describe the character of your family members? What have you learned from observing your family that you do or do not want to incorporate into your marriage?
Profession What career path do you plan on taking? Will both husband and wife work outside the home? Under what conditions would you be willing to move to further your or your spouse’s professional growth? How much time do you spend at work? How do you plan to balance time at work and time with the family? What kind of business functions will you ask each other to host/attend? Would you encourage/support the idea of me going back to school for advanced degrees? How would we support ourselves if we both had to be in school?
Not to be ignored! SOCIAL LIFE How do you like to spend your free time? Who do you socialize with now. How will that change going forward? How much time do you want to spend time with friends? By yourself? As a couple?
Not to be ignored! WHERE TO LIVE Where do you want to live? Why? Near family?
Not to be ignored! CHILDREN Would you, When, How many children? What kind of parent do you think you will be? What is your parenting philosophy? Will one of us stay home after we have children?
Not to be ignored! HOUSE How do you feel about cleanliness, neatness and housework? Who is responsible for work around the house? If we were both working and we both got home about the same time, would you expect the wife to always be the cook?
Character not just chemistry Response to criticism: defensive or active listener How they deal with financial hardship Courtship is about marriage: open and honest exploration of each others lives and families leading up to engagement and marriage Conflict Issues How will we make decisions together? Are we both willing to face into difficult areas or do we try to avoid conflict? Are we both willing to work on our communication skills and to share intimately with each other? What are your pet peeves?
Reference check Check out References not only from people your spouse refers you to but anyone you can find through your network. Ask their peers, friends, at place of worship, their work (discreetly). Let them know this is regarding marriage so their should be no secrets withheld or surprises. How long have you known prospect spouse and their family? What are they good at? What should I watch out for? How do they handle pressure? Have you seen them angry? Do you trust them? Are they reliable? How are their manners? How do they behave with members of the opposite sex? Have you ever travelled with them?
Reference check Do they have strong opinions? If so about what? Do they pick fights or what do they do in a conflict situation? How do they express difference of opinion? How do they treat their bosses, peers, and junior people? Are they a leader or follower? Are they tactful? Do they get bothered easily?
Conditions you put in marriage contract: If a dispute can’t be resolved who and how will it be arbitrated, e.g. parents, counselor, Priest/Imam/Rabi. Both spouses agree that if one of them needs to seek any type of counseling or consult, the other one has to follow. To live in separate housing from the in-laws. To remain in a residence close to her/his parents. No one has the right to physically/emotionally harm each other. The husband agrees that the wife will work outside the home. Any other prenuptials
The Final test 1. Are we compatible? 2. Do I feel satisfied and at peace with the level of my readiness for marriage? 3. Does the whole idea of getting married to this person feel right and comforting to you? 4. Does this person make you a better person? 5. Would you rather be with this person than with anyone else in the world? 6. Can you picture yourself living for the rest of your life with this person “as is,” , with his/her known shortcomings? 7. Are you both committed to practicing your faith and drawing on help from God.
The End And they lived happily ever after with a few bumps here and there. References: There are so many places I got information from the public domain it Is hard to list. I have adapted it for the benefit of this presentation. Thank you.
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