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What Every Person In Their Twenties Should Know About MarriageIn a recent article for Huffington Post, contributor Lindsey Ellison takes a look at the “6 Things Young Brides Need To Know About Marriage.” As a man who has had to file for divorce, in part due to age and inexperience, I find it to be must-reading, and a few of the points really cross over.

Point A: You Need To Be Best Friends Now For When The S**t Hits The Fan Later.

Ellison writes: “When you are in your twenties, you have yet to see job loss, mortgage payments, pregnancy scares or infertility, a sick child at 2 a.m., or having to take care of your elderly parent. You will endure stress you can’t fathom right now, and your relationship will be tested. As best friends, role play these scenarios so that you can mitigate any surprises later.”

My ex-wife and I never fought, but the first time any stress hit our marriage, it tore us apart, so I definitely hear what Ellison is saying here. Friends know how to deal with issues together. They’re going to be there for one another when the going gets tough. By not figuring out whether your spouse is your friend ahead of time, you’re setting yourself up for divorce papers later in the marriage.

Point B: You Should Never Complete Each Other.

Says Ellison: “Here’s a secret: No one should complete anyone. You should love yourself and be secure with who you are, as no man should ever make you feel whole. Without a strong foundation of your whole self, your relationship will be built like a house of cards. In marriage, 1+1 does not equal 2. It should equal two ones.”

Again very true, whether you’re a man or a woman. If you depend on someone else to complete you, you’re putting way too much of the pressure on them to perform. When they crumble on that pressure and the marriage goes south, you’ll be left with a giant hole where your identity should be.

Point C: Having Kids Will Not Make Your Marriage Better.

“The moment a child comes into your life, your marriage is no longer about each other, but about raising a human being,” Ellison writes. “Being a parent will bring you the most joy you will ever see, but it will also bring you agony, heartbreak, and lots of work. I see unhappy couples have more children to fill the void that is in their marriage, only to find them divorced after the baby novelty wears off. So don’t expect children to improve your marriage because for a while, it will feel like they are tearing you apart.”

Here, here! In my marriage now, our daughter takes up a lot of time, and we find it difficult having “us” time. We’re new at this, and feel completely snowed under from time to time. Luckily, we’re both wiser and more mature than we were 10 years ago, so we’re able to understand the marriage needs balance, and we’ve started forcing ourselves to find time for it.

If you make it “all about the kids,” then don’t be surprised when divorce forms pop up in your future.

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