I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago. She is a young lawyer – about 25. She had taken a new job and was about to move to London to be nearer her boyfriend. But she was depressed. She was desperate for him to pop the question and she suddenly became even more depressed when I told her that I’ve been married twice.
What bothered me wasn’t that she wanted this guy to pop the question – it was the feeling I got that she wanted ANY man to pop the question and that I suspect she just wanted to get to “happily ever after”.
I do believe that some women can be fixated on the wedding day as the be all and end all of life. Even intelligent career-minded women seem susceptible to a kind of delusion that life will be fulfilled on that magical date. Love will conquer all.
Now, what I’m going to say may shock you BUT the important bit about the wedding day isn’t what you wear or what vows you take but WHO you are going to spend the rest of your life with. Take it from me, it’s a mistake rushing into a marriage with just anyone.
So, here are some top tips for making sure you’ve got the right one:
- Laughter. Giggling is a necessity rather than a nice to have.
- Respect. Sometimes that means agreeing to disagree. You don’t have to support the same football team. You do have to be able to laugh at the end of a grudge match.
- Communication. I’m not just talking about the first few months of a relationship when you’re going through your dim and distant past and setting the world to rights. No. I actually mean when one of you thinks that you’re about to lose your job and you both need to sit down and discuss finances without pointing fingers. You need to be able to listen and discuss problems and then work through solutions without judging each other.
- Honesty. I suppose that this also comes under the heading of communication, but you have to truthfully be able to say when you are hurting or when you are feeling a little delicate so that you can be supported by one another. Also, you cannot take offence at every little misdemeanour – you are both different and you will accidentally step on one another’s toes from time to time.
- Common goals. It’s no good marrying someone who, in 5 years time, sees himself the father of 3 in a 7 bedroom house and he works 12 – 16 hour days to put these dreams into place when you would prefer to wait a few years and see the world and not spend every weekend and vacation painting, building, roofing, gardening, paint-stripping, door hanging, kitchen installing and never having any fun. Obviously if your idea of having fun is painting, building, roofing, gardening, paint-stripping, door hanging and kitchen installing then you’ve got your man! Needless to say, if you’ve got wanderlust and have found a home-improver, you need to examine your priorities and have serious conversations about where you’re both going and how you both can get what you want out of life…
- Common interests. You have to be able to enjoy life together.
- Outside interests. You have to be able to have a little life outside one another otherwise you’ll wind up suffocating each other.
- Sex. Yes, last but not least you have to tick all the boxes. Get someone that is actually worth having. In this way I mean someone who is a good listener wants to know what takes you all the way.
While a wedding day is all very romantic – it is after all the day when you state to the world that you are committed to spending your future to one another – it is only one day. Thereafter you have to spend the rest of your lives together.