Thinking of Proposing? You’d Better Think About More Than The Ring!

A man in Fairfield, Connecticut bought his bride-to-be a $25,000 engagement ring.  This is not a news flash here; I suppose there are lots of well-to-do men buying their (hopefully) future wives and soul mates extravagant rings. The thing is; this particular bride-to-be didn’t want to marry the guy after being engaged for a while.

I have no idea what the laws are in Texas about this, but in Connecticut, apparently, you have to return the ring if you decide not to marry. But of course, if you do marry, the ring is yours to keep.  Hmm, maybe in some states there is a statute of limitations on that, say if you are only married a year or less you have to give it back. I don’t really know.

I do know that the divorce rate in this country is at 36% (2008 US Census Report) currently and that the average first marriage lasts only 8 years! In 1964, marriages lasted, on average 34 years.  The whole concept of a “Starter Marriage” has erupted only in the past ten years. 

This is not a rant against getting married. I am all for it, in fact I have done it three times. I like the idea of being in a complete partnership with the person I love. Problem is most of us don’t have a clue how to do it and would rather spend (or have spent on our behalf) $25,000 on an engagement ring than to spend a dime on how to make the relationship work.

Divorce or Work It Out?

Whether you are married or just in a committed relationship you will understand what I mean. Intimacy is difficult and a marriage partnership is even harder. Most of us have come from “broken homes” ourselves (about 5,000 kids a year are affected by divorce). So how in the world are we to know how to have a committed, intimate connection?

Most of us try to wing it and listen to love songs and romance movies and think we can make it. We hope we are different from our parents and others we know. We watch our friends suffer through divorce and blame it on either a bad choice or bad luck. We hope we will be different.

 

Fantastical Impracticality

What other project in our lives do we take on with such fantastical impracticality? Most of know we have to be educated to be successful at tasks we expect to succeed at, yet in the most important area of our lives we are searching the internet for ideas on how to enhance our marriage and have never spent an hour with professionals.

Now, I am not promoting the idea of therapy for everyone since its not practical for some of us. Not having enough money for it is one thing. Not having the ability to determine how to find someone qualified is another. My husband had a series of traumatic experiences with therapists.

But, just like there are differences in the quality of education you get as a professional in any field, the advice you get for your relationship can vary dramatically even if you get it from professionals.

The internet abounds with tips on sex, intimacy, romance and promises to “keep your man” or “prevent a divorce”. Some of them may be very practical and helpful. 

What to Look For When Getting Advice

Whatever you choose to do it is important that you look for a number of things before you jump in and take the wrong advice:

  1. What are the qualifications of the person? This can take the form of their own experience (been together and worked through their problems together, divorced and remarried having learned some things along the way,  are a professional with valid credentials, etc.)
  2. Do you know anyone who has tried their suggestions? Get some testimonials!
  3. Intimacy cannot be achieved with a quick fix and don’t believe any promises to the contrary.
  4. Don’t expect that just because it worked for someone else it will absolutely work for you, you and your circumstances are different.
  5. Don’t give up just because it appears to be hard work; anything worth having takes hard work to achieve.
  6. Do you have problems letting someone close and you know it, yet keep trying to make it work? Work on your own issues first. You don’t have to be “fixed” but you do need to have the ability to let some one in at least to some degree!

Basically it comes down to this; educating yourself about how to make your relationship work long term (if that is what you want) is more important than spending $25,000 on an engagement ring, on a wedding, on a wedding gown or a on a fancy honeymoon. All of that is romantic and fun but if the marriage doesn’t last it will be bittersweet in the end.


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