While diligently working away, looking for a job today, after returning from my job search support group, my dog let me know that she wanted to go outside. Tuesdays, I don't always go to the dog park, so I took her for a little walk around the capitol. Whenever I walk, I listen to my music, and I think about what I am going to write about. I think it's time I share my theory on how to have a successful marriage. (This - coming from someone who has never been married)..... I have had this theory for ten years.
Something I noticed when I was about eighteen, was that people I knew who were divorced/getting divorced had married young, and hadn't experienced more than one long term relationship. I decided then that if you don't live with someone who you think you are going to marry, and then break up, and marry someone else, your chances are less likely of staying together. I would love to do the research on this, and I know there have been studies done on this topic. Looking back, I am impressed that at eighteen, I picked up on this.
Talking with a girlfriend recently, she told me that her sister, who is about my age, is unsure if she wants to stay with her husband. Here is how the convo went:
Me: Let me guess? She married her first boyfriend?
Friend: Sure did. How did you know?
Me: Just a guess. Is she going out with her girlfriends a lot, and flirting with other guys?
Friend: Oh my God, how did you know?
Me: She was too young when she got married. She likes the attention she gets from other men. It sounds like she is going to get divorced.
Friend: No, she wants to make it work.
Me: She's doomed.
At twenty-two, in 2002, I had a short lived romance with this hot guy, who I thought would be a keeper. He was around my age, and he was a hottie (I will call him "Chad"). I was visiting family in New York, when I told them my theory. This is exactly what I said:
"I am convinced that I will have two more relationships after Chad, where in each relationship, I will live with the guy, and I will assume that we will get married, only to break up. It's important to have this, so that you "live" a little, and increase your chances of marrying the right person."
My family laughed at this, but I think they thought it was a good plan for someone like me, who is always unsure of things, and always ready for the next chapter.
I really hoped I was wrong. Especially when I was in these relationships, where I thought maybe they were "forever." But, unfortunately (or fortunately), I was dead on.
It wasn't long ago that I spoke with someone's Dad from elementary school. He is about my Dad's age, and he went on about how much he loved his wife. I could tell he was genuine. Now, there is that old joke that once you marry, your sex life diminishes, if not vanishes completely. In his situation, he begged to differ. So, I asked him if he had been married before, or perhaps had lived with another woman before he married. Yes, he did. He was engaged to someone before he married his wife. His wife had dated a lot, and she had lived with someone. Theory proved with one sample....
I can't imagine marrying my first serious relationship. If I did, I would be on my third marriage by now. I cannot understand those people who marry their first long term boyfriend or girlfriend. I am proud of my decisions, as far as relationships are concerned.
If you ask me, I don't think I ever said I was going to marry anyone I dated, anyway. I was always scared and hoping that my theory was wrong - but I suppose I knew deep down, that there were more men in the pipeline.
Would you know that at my ten year high school reunion, there were maybe five women there who had married? I don't know how many out of my class are married, but not many. Our school emphasized the importance of becoming a trailblazer and a career woman, before settling. Maybe out of the fifty-two women in my class, I am guessing five of them have had children? Way to go, ladies! I bet my class will have a low divorce rate.
And so, the lesson to be learned here is to not marry your high school sweetheart (unless you took a little break from each other, and found that God wanted you to be together), and date as much as you can before you settle down. This will increase your chance of a long marriage (maybe forever).
And on another note - I would like to add that I am not ashamed to say that I will always look at other men, because Lord knows that we were not meant to be monogamous. Anyone who says that they can't look at another guy is crazy. It is unhealthy. I have no problem pointing out a beautiful woman to "Mr. Right Now," and he has no problem with me eyeing a handsome man. I can look..... I just can't touch.