So many times people get married without thinking about what type of relationship they will have with their spouse. While most relationships start out with a feeling of love in addition to getting to know each other, once the wedding ceremony and honeymoon is over with, either one or both parties find themselves lost. This seems to be especially true of women, who might feel that being married will give them an identity, although a superficial one. Making oneself into an appendage might be fine if you are a member of that religious movement known as Quiverfull, which regards women as the created helpmeet of man, and not an individual entity in her own right. Likewise, compromising your interests and intellectual values for your mate will only create an empty you, causing you to feel like a nobody with no control over your interests. Compromising these things can have devastating consequences in a marriage, not just on the woman alone. Treating your spouse as a piece of personal property is just as degrading, regardless if it is the wife or husband who is being tied down and nagged at due to control issues. There is no room in marriage for control issues if that marriage is to blossom into a mature, loving relationship.
A marriage that grows in the same direction will last for a lifetime. Since there is no room in a marriage for immaturity (in this case, immaturity includes the whiny, nagging wife or husband, a refusal to grow up, and expecting a wife or husband to do everything for you), individuals in a solid relationship that share the same basic values prior to being engaged will have a better chance of making a marriage work. Never find yourself saying “I do” just to please your partner, regardless if you love the person or not. Being coerced into marriage will not make it last long. Avoid self-denial and possessiveness when you plan on getting married, as this will prevent a real love from developing between the two of you. Likewise, avoid allowing others to interfere with your relationship once you are ready to get engaged. Interference usually brings destruction with it, no matter how well meaning the third party is. In a marriage, there is no room for a third party to exist.
Most importantly, never marry just because someone says he or she is in love with you. Having someone being in love with you is not enough; it is more important that you love the one you want to marry, instead of not loving the person back. Love is what really keeps a relationship together, as Neil Sedaka once wrote in a song (“Love Will Keep Us Together”, recorded and made famous by Captain and Tennille). Your marriage should be as it was during the honeymoon: when you are sweethearts, having that fresh feeling of love, and wanting to spend time together always, no matter where you might be. Being in love with your partner in marriage never means being lost to your mate, but rather being a whole person in your own right, and never as half a person, or constantly referring to your mate as “your better half.” Wisdom (reason) must always accompany love in a marriage if it is to work, and with that, having the proper view of yourself as an individual human being.
The Art of Selfishness, David Seabury. New York: Julian Messner. 1964.