Relationships tend to start pretty well. Most long-term relationships start with at least one good date. They can be more casual, fun, and perhaps your primary concern is making sure your partner likes you, without taking a lot of time to think about whether you like them. You may spend a lot of time apart or be young enough that your responsibilities aren’t close to what they may someday become.
While there is no magic time period for when to consider making a lifetime commitment, I do get a bit concerned when couples tell recently met, are engaged, and have never had a rough time together. One of the first myths about marriage is that the honeymoon phase will last forever. Maybe not for other people, but definitely for the couple in the honeymoon phase. It is much easier to sail when the sea is smooth.
But what happens when a storm hits? Are you prepared? How do you weather the storm? Some couples are so shocked that they just bail. They never thought they’d see really bad weather. Some have an expectation that storms are just not a natural part of marriage, if they happen, something fundamental must be wrong.
The reality is rough times can make for better relationships. Perhaps if you are considering a serious commitment and haven’t experienced rough seas, you should put yourself in some uncomfortable positions and see how you do. It could be taking a vacation together, living together, working on a project together, or spending time with extended family. Pre-marriage counseling can help you prepare for what may come that you haven’t seen.
The smooth sea can also be a temptation when the sea is rough. Sailing through the rough parts can be tough. The smooth sea (infidelity) can be a quick and easy fix (until it gets just as rough or worse). This is often where people have affairs. They want things to be just like when they met, but that can’t happen. And if you cheat on your partner or leave your partner, things may be smooth for a while, but weather is what it is, and no matter where you are, it will occasionally storm.
Learning to have civil debates, make up after a fight, stay strong when things get really tough, and learn from your failures can make for great relationship partners who can whether almost any storm.
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