Monday, March 23, 2015

Preparing for Marriage

When children grow up in a home where parents love and respect each other the memory of the relationship is their reference point, and the blueprint for their marriage. On the other hand, when you have divorce, separation or children living with a parent who has remarried they have many different models of married life. 

A priest who is working in pastoral work for families writes about the topic in a diocesan bulletin. Children who saw love and joy in the lives of their parents,  becomes the blueprint for their own marriage; when they did not find this in their own family they will look for another blueprint: they will vow to do things differently. Depending on the maturity of the children  they will internalize their experience as an example to follow, or not.

Since husband and wife have different experiences of family, this can result in family squabbles.  Mother may have not liked the way the father was authoritarian, and the father may have disliked the mother's sentimentality and fragility. They both may want to work against what they did not like in their own upbringing, but this is not always easy to do.

Not always surprising is when the parent ends up imitating the very things that they didn't like in their own home life. The conditions of the work place can influence the workings in the family and this often  unconsciously.

Family experience will be a great help to the young couple; they will also look for an ideal of family life  from the popular culture. Those with a strong spiritual life will look for answers from their faith life and the family of Nazareth.

Young people have been exposed to family life from an early age in the popular culture as seen on TV, movies, popular songs etc.. They did not understand all they saw and heard but has been absorbed.  Often what they have received is not going to be helpful, and forms their convictions that will influence their married life.

Common ideas about marriage the young have heard are many: a spouse should be this kind of person--  satisfaction in marriage should be of this degree-- married life is something to be endured-- married life is heaven, is hell-- these and many other expressions have been heard and remain with the young.

Married life brings changes and the environment  changes. This is part of the married journey. Much of the common expressions are false, and this has to be understood. He concludes the article by asking: are not the common notions that have been accepted about marriage going to prepare for the hurts that are experienced?