Here at the home of the Girth Mother, age rears it’s head even higher. My first daughter, Horace(Ontal), is to be married in May. I will be Mother of the Bride, and also, to the consternation of Kerching, a Mother-in Law.
I have mentioned before, my quantity of experience negotiating the mountain pass of marriage. I know some the many challenges a married couple must overcome to achieve that distant goal, the Diamond Wedding. I will never make that enviable state although I do hope to make it to my Silver Wedding Anniversary in 2025, when I will be 70.
I have listed a few things here for Horace that I would never have thought about as I launched with supreme optimism into my first couple of relationships. Starting off with the right person is clearly the most important thing but after that…
THE INLAWS/PARENTS: That tricky relationship with the each other’s parents, and being/having a spouse who doesn’t quite match up to their expectations.
ADAPTING: The realisation that simply because you love someone, does not mean that they will behave the way you expect. How you deal with this depends largely on communication skills – yeah, yeah, we all know about those but do we think ours are the only valid ones or do we listen and speak out in the knowledge that we are both entitled to a point of view, and that someone will have to back down? Sometimes it is hard to recognise your shortcomings. Just know that you have them.
TEMPTATION: Many of us have vices or obsessions. It is important to make a life for yourself, but not at the expense of your other half. Interests such as sports, can leave a ‘widow/er’ at home. Flirtations that may seem harmless can lead to damaging extra-marital involvements. Social drinking can lead to dangerous habits, likewise gambling, computer chat rooms, social media, on-line gaming. There are many things that can hurt your partner if they take over your thoughts.
BOREDOM: After many years, marriage can become routine, communication sporadic and interests divergent.
CAREER: Being on the ladder and having to make choices between job and family. Being too tired or preoccupied to give proper attention to your spouse. Getting irritable, working late, not making time for a home life.
MONEY: Apparently the number one reason for conflict.
Then there is the biggy: CHILDREN: Nobody can be prepared for the impact of those: squirming bundles, determined toddlers, belligerent adolescents and ungrateful and untidy teens. The changing roles of parents and the way they share duties can be game changers. On the other hand, there are the pressures of not having children, whether by choice or otherwise.
So I say to my first-born, very special and much loved daughter, I hope and pray that you have a wonderful marriage and that you and your lovely husband are strong enough to face the inevitable challenges that come your way. You seem to know what you want now, but in my experience, what you want can change several times in a lifetime, and changing together, that is the tricky bit.
Be happy, be lucky and know that I am here.