Passionate Instigator, Dynamic Problem Solver
May 16th, 2014 08:00:00 am
It felt like the entire world was rocked by the news of George Clooney, America's Ultimate Bachelor, getting engaged. One piece in particular made me feel the need to weigh in on the subject. Clooney has said time and time again that he won't get married, or that he wasn't good at it the first time he tried, so one article went ahead and made snarky comments that his engagement and upcoming marriage would not work out.
For the past twenty years, I've facilitated couples counseling in my practice. I've helped people getting into relationships, people getting out of relationships, and people who want to be in relationships but aren't. Through my work, I've found that couples not only have to be compatible, they also have to have a joint vision of what marriage means.
Many of us have a limited vision of marriage; gleaned from television, films, and the adults that surrounded us growing up. A lot of kids these days grow up with single parents, divorced parents, or in broken homes, so their idea of what a marriage is becomes fragmented. Of course, some people are better off after a divorce or separation, especially if abuse is involved, but this leaves the children without any idea of the complexities of marriage. Television and film only show one facet of it.
We as a society often try to limit marriage to fit into nice little boxes. Marriage is not a box. Marriage is a growing, living organism. It is like an untended garden: naturally beautiful, but unruly at times. It is not meant to be manicured, pedicured, made to look pretty.
It isn't just about falling in love. It isn't just about the wedding. Too often people focus all their energies on the itty bitty wedding details and forget about the marriage that they're entering into. Although the celebration of a union is important, it's more important to create a joint vision of life that works for both people in the partnership. Only you get to define what you want your marriage to be, or not be. Every relationship is unique. There are many kinds of marriages, ways to get married, and make that lifelong commitment.
Also on the My Dr. Kevin blog: Conscious Uncoupling vs. Divorce