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03/01/2005 - Before I address the next two myths of marriage, here are the first 4 myths we have discussed: 1) The purpose of marriage is our personal happiness, 2) The goal of married life is to get my mate to submit to my way of thinking, 3) Love is what holds a marriage together, and 4) Love is a feeling. The reason I think it is so important to look at these myths ties into my approach to life and to counseling: what we believe determines how we think, how we feel, and how we behave. When beliefs are either untrue or are distorted, the result is personal and relational dysfunction. With that in mind, let's continue with myth #5 and myth #6.

5) Only minor changes are needed to adjust to marriage and the other person. I was recently asked to complete a questionnaire for a college student who was conducting the survey as an assignment for her marriage and family class. Several of the questions referred to the area of what adjustments were necessary when a person gets married. My responses indicate that I believe marriage is a lifelong series of adjustments. There are adjustments related to personality and temperament. The very qualities that attracted you to your spouse in the beginning can become irritations as you live with that individual over a period of time. For example, a fairly unstructured person (like me) may be attracted to a very structured person (like my wife). She may like the fact that I am "laid back"; however, I have to be willing to move her direction and make lists so that I don't forget important things in order to keep the peace. In the same way, she adjusts to me by being patient when I don't remember which cabinet or drawer a certain item belongs in the kitchen. There are many such adjustments that need to be made in marriage. In addition to the differences in personality, there are differences in family background, life experiences, attitudes toward finances and sexuality, and a multitude of other issues that need to be addressed. It is a major life change for both people to say "I do" and requires a willingness to sacrifice, compromise and adjust.

6. It takes work to make a good marriage. It does take work to make a good marriage, but McManus suggests that the more fundamental need is time. It is so hard to make room for an intimate relationship when both partners are working and basically trying to keep up with the demands of life. When you add children to the equation, it becomes overwhelming. Boundaries to protect family life are difficult to set in a culture that suggests that you can and should "have it all". I have been very encouraged to see that some parents are limiting their children regarding the number of activities and outside interests they can participate in. People who run constantly from one activity or sporting event to the next do not have time for relationships. In the marriage relationship, some adults have trouble realizing that marriage will alter the types of activities or at least the amount of time spent on the activities that an individual enjoyed when he or she was single. An individual going into a marriage relationship with the idea that nothing is going to change in terms of priorities and commitments, is in for some conflict and disappointment. It's comparable to a person believing that a child is not going to substantially alter a couple's lifestyle and time commitments. If the child doesn't alter a couple's life, there is serious neglect taking place! The same is true of "married singles" individuals who want to have all the benefits of being single with the comfort of being married.

In the final segment, Part Four, we will look at the final two myths of marriage. If you would like to make comments or suggestions, please contact me by mail at Highland Park Community Church, 411 S. Walsh Drive, Casper, Wyoming 82601 or you can email me at rkirk@hpcc.cc.

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