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How Do You Do "Happily Married"????

I've been married twice.  I am still married to husband number two.  Husband number one was my college sweetheart.  That marriage lasted five years.  The marriage ended because my husband couldn't keep his pants zipped up.

Waited a very long time before I remarried.  This second marriage has lasted 14 years.  We knew each other for about 14 or 15 months before we married.  Our marriage was the second marriage for both of us.  In my husband's case, he was widowed.

When we met, I was a professional making good money.  I have a Master's degree and I was very self-sufficient financially.  I've never been a person who had to have "somebody" to feel okay about myself.  In fact, I prefer to live alone.

Neither one of us had children from our previous marriages.  Due to our age when we we married, we weren't interested in having biological children.  However, we both loved kids.  Several years after we were married, we adopted two older children.  We adopted our older son when he was five years old.  He is now sixteen.  Our younger son became part of our family when he was three years old.  He is now nine years old.

Basically our marriage was over about seven or eight years ago.  At about that time, I started going to counseling alone in an attempt to figure out how to stay married to this guy.  I was extremely committed to staying together for the boys' sake.  Coming from a divorced family, I believe that it's important for kids to have a mom and a dad.

The past seven years have been really rough.  We ended up going to marriage counseling together.  That was absolutely worthless.  My husband could talk a good story in the counselor's office.  But that's all that it was: talk.  He simply wasn't interested in doing anything that was inconvenient or a hassle to him.

My husband is a high level technology consultant.  In the last two years, he took a position which requires that he is out of town about 90 percent of the time.  It has helped tremendously to have him out of the house.  I love not having to deal with him on a daily basis.  In fact, I dread it when he is coming home for a few days.

As I mentioned earlier, for me, there were a lot of years between marriage number one and marriage number two.  Between marriages, I dated extensively and had long-term relationships with several men.  

Although I have thought about divorce for a very long time, my priority is my children.  I don't want their lives disrupted in any way.  My boys adore their dad and that is important to me also.

Since I have quite an extensive history of dating and several close, long-term relationships with men prior to this second marriage, I don't have any romantic illusions about a "soul-mate" or a wonderful man out there who would make a delightful husband and make my life complete.   

I'm not interested in looking for somebody else.  In fact, if my husband died tomorrow, the last thing that I would want to do in this lifetime is to get married again.

Whatever...at least for now, I've decided to stay married.  For the past 7 or 8 years, I've been driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to "make our marriage work."

Now I've decided that the smart thing to do is to take my focus off of my marriage.  Why?  Because my marriage doesn't work and it's not ever going to work.  Why waste my time over a bad deal?  I made a bad decision when I decided to marry this man.

However, since I don't have any plans to replace him, why should I disrupt my life and my kids' life by wasting all of that emotional energy divorcing him and having to spend enormous amounts of time and effort to build a new life?  I'm fine with my life the way it is.  I just wish that my husband wasn't part of my life.

My strategy is to minimize my husband's effect on me.  I refuse to fight with him about anything.  We've already had all of those same old stupid fights and not a damn one of the fights solved anything.

I've moved him off of my radar screen.  I'm focusing on the things that make me feel good about myself and the things that I enjoy.  I'm making myself a new life that doesn't include my husband.  He has always been one of those immature types: a kid dressed up in a grown-up suit.  Everything has always been about him anyway.  He won't miss being left out of my new life.  In fact, he probably won't even notice!

So that's where I am right now with my "unhappily married" situation.  So what?  I have finally come to the conclusion that our culture promotes a totally unreasonable view of marriage. 

We are led to believe that marriage is supposed to be based on a profound, deep, soul-stirring love.  We are led to believe that our partners should be totally in tune with our every need.  We are led to believe that there is one special person out there for all of us:  our soul-mate.  We just have to find the soul mate. We have been led to believe that our marriages should be "fun" and entertaining. 

Sorry, but I've decided that we have been seriously duped.  We all must be far more stupid than we ever thought to have bought into what is probably an unattainable "marriage made in heaven" fairy tale.

At least that is my take for now.

 

 

 

 

 

Shazz Shazz 56-60 50 Responses May 24, 2008

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I think that marriage isn't for everyone.
I know lots of friends who preferred to stay single and alone then get married. It just depends on the type of guy you find.
It's not your fault. Just do what makes you happy.
Marriage only works if both people would make the effort. But then what do I know, I'm not married. Heck I'm not even dating.
I just have an example of marriage from my parents who made it work this far, for about 21 years now.
It's rare for someone to actually find 'the one' that they want to spend the rest of their life with.
I think there's just too many people in this world and not many have even been taught many things that need to be learned. These days there's so much divorce rates because of most of them not knowing how to commit or even knowing much else.

It would really be hard for me to "stay" in my marriage knowing that he doesn't want to try to make things work. You are a strong lady. I admire your effort. Does he feel left out of your new life?

you nailed it then, what's going on now?

I think you should re-assess the purpose of a relationship, which it honestly seems you already have. Love or passion ba<x>sed relationships tend to fail because they aren't ba<x>sed on a rational decision but rather on feelings (which tend to change over time). Find a rational reason for your marriage such as financial, new opportunities or anything that benefits you. Likewise, there should be something you have that benefits your husband. If you both have something of value you will respect each other because you don't want to lose that valuable thing. I can see you already came to the conclusion that there is no soul mate. I agree. However, if you are going to stay with this man for the rest of your life it is essential that you both agree on the terms and why you have a marriage to begin with. After living in Asia for a long time, this is what I have learned. Divorce here is much lower, marriages might be less passionate and mistresses more frequent but the mutual understanding is normally that husband and wife build a life and economic entity together and it is more about expanding the family that love and passion.

I was married three times. Never again!!! I agree with you. I was 30 when I got married the first time, to a man I still love today. Love was not enough. We do get mislead about a lot of things. It creates unrealistic expectations. Hope your life gets better.

Add a response...

I disagree with you both. Marriage was a plan that started with God, so therefore it is a good one, since He is a genius, His marriage plan is one too.
It is designed to work on love. Since God is love, all His plans work on love.

Another article on this board I wrote in to, was about how sex wasn't working in marriage.

Sex as well as marriage was designed by God, a genius, so you must be doing something wrong, for it not to work right.

Marriage and sex are designed to give you opportunity to improve in character as a Christian. They give you opportunity to give when you'd rather get, and to put other's needs ahead of your own. You can do both and still remain selfish and self-focused, but this would be a shame, since you have every opportunity to 'improve your serve', like in tennis, you start first, your step toward 'laying down your life' as Christ did for the Church, and 'dying to your own wants and wishe' and instead putting someone else's needs and wants in the place of your own, is a form of 'taking up your cross and following Jesus.'

How does this effect the other person? It looks and feels, sounds and smells, like Real Love, and...guess what,...it actually is,...and what happens? They soon will find a time and a place, to 'practice their own serve' on you,...and what will this feel look smell sound be like? It will be like being loved by another, and it will be, real love.

Real love is what made Jesus leave all that He had and come to earth like one of us, and to deeply care, care enough to put our needs ahead of His own,..and the result? He now has worldwide lovers, all eager at the chance to 'serve' Him by laying down their lives for Him and His purposes.

Any two people can love each other,...forgive all and start over, treat your husband as if he was Jesus Himself, and serve him like Jesus deserves to be served, not just in life and the home, but especially in the bedroom.

Your rewards will be many and great, not just in this life, but in the one to come.
grin. (especially in the bedroom.) Praise your husband for all his good points,
remind yourself of all the parts of his body that please you especially, and give them some special attention.

Jesus Himself said, (this is a promise,..with an attached reward..."Give and you will receive, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will others give to you, and into your bosom."

big smile...

good read

I agree with you on this idea that marriage is "a big lie" that people have bought into with very little thought. Having come from a home where my parents basically couldn't stand the sight of each other (but somehow had SIX [????????] children with each other), I can tell you that this idea of "staying together for the kids" is complete nonsense. Just because you get a divorce doesn't mean the kids lose their parents. Is it better for the kids too see the two of you miserable together or happy apart? The answer is very clear to me, having seen first-hand almost two decades of miserable together, and having to deal with it from afar for a decade more. That crap doesn't do anything good for the kids.

Maybe you would be doing both him and you a favor by sitting down, talking it out, and just simply going your separate ways. Try to find a way to part not as enemies.

Very sad. I think it is time to let him go - and be totally responsible for whatever new situation you put yourself into. As a child that was cuddled and played with every day of my life - my affection and body language requirements are very high. The partner for you might be rare - so you might have to work too hard to find him.
It is good not to make your partner wrong for not being right for you.
A woman of about 60 told me how distressed she was that her boat loving husband was always working on his boat and was cheating. She was so so distressed - as if this should never happen after 40 years of good marriage and kids. She wanted confirmation from friends and church that this guy was being bad.
I did not have the heart to tell her that he was just fine and that she needed to understand and accept him more.
She was dead of cancer 6 months later. Sad to see a lifetime marriage have a bad year near the end.
He continued happy with his floozy and boat for years - now he is dead too.
You like continuity. Many folks are very pleased with their relationships and they last a lifetime. But realistically - there are usually things each would change about the other. I would try dating and keep part of your identity all your own. Your situation is sad compared to the situation you fancy. Maybe you will find what you want - but not by hanging around in a dead relationship.

Very well said...but what about your sexual needs and pleasure?

I presume you did love your husband when you married him. What is it about hime that you dislike so greatly? Does your husband fully understand your feeling regarding him? And finally how honest are you being with yourself?

Im currently separated from my husband. The divorce proceedings start this October. I cry almost every day. At times I experience extreme loneliness, fear, and depression

This is probably to old for you to even read. Oh, well. I was in that sort of relationship for the last 10 of a 25 year marriage. The bedroom for those last 10 years was for sleeping and nothing else. If the two of you have slipped into this pattern, he likely is getting that need serviced somewhere else. I was. When I went to a meeting, one to three times a month, out of town, I would find someone to have sex with. You women never believe us when we tell you how important sex and holding you is to us. You can do serious research on the net, and you will hear over and over how sex is what makes a man feel that connection, and is our way of showing you how much we love you.

Now, if you're still reading, in my mind you have two choices. If you plan to stay married for the kids sake, next time he comes home, even if you dread it, treat him like a returning war hero. Meet him at the door with a kiss and hug. Fix his favorite home cooked meal, and when you go to bed, practice anything and everything you ever liked doing for him. Come right out and ask him to do your favorite thing to make both of you scream loud enough to wake the neighbors. If a man is getting that treatment at home, he will likely be too damned tired to look else where.

I know a lot of woman are going, typical male response, they expect us always to be the one to change. All they ever think about is sex and themselves. Well, you're not to far off. Deal with it. If my wife had done that we might still be together.

Second choice, Find a male friend that you can have a discrete Friends with benefits relationship. You let him do whatever you wished hubby would. At least it would keep your mind off your problems with the marriage, as you say you want, then if hubby doesn't want to touch you or what ever else it is you want him to do, Its ok. You have satisfied that need, then stay for the kids and make the best of it.

nice read, it is.

its been quite awhile since this was posted, are things better now?
chappeeeee

I know what you mean when you say you don't need somebody else to feel okay about yourself and live alone. I'm the same-I have no dream to have kids or even get married. I doubt I'm the right person to give you advice on how to handle this situation-I am only 20 after all-but if I ever find myself considering starting a family despite the fact that that's not who I am for some reason, I'll think of your story.

I wish you and your kids the best of luck with your lives, however they go.

ITS CALL HEAD YOU SHOULD TRY IT THE MORE YOU DO IT THE BETTER YOUR RELATIONSHIP WILL IMPROVE..THATS MORE THEM 99.9% THE PROBLEM WITH A MARRAIGE AND RELATIONSHIPS...OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND USE IT ONCE YOU DO YOU"LL SEE A DIFFERENT MAN/WOMAN ITS CALLED "HAPPY" AND PLEASED....

Please reply with authenticity, support, and respect

Must say reading these stories makes a man feel extremely depressed. I am in a similar situation with my marriage but unlike all the husbands portrayed I realise that my wife seems to be unhappy. I am not perfect but I do try and do the right things i.e I enjoy cooking and make all meals, help out with lifts for the kids, exercise the discipline with the kids when asked, earn good money, but she still seems constantly unhappy and I am at the point of giving up trying to make her happy. My wife used to enjoy our intimate life but it seems that some demons from her past have come back to haunt her and she is no longer interested in intimacy. The sexy lingerie has gone and she seems to deliberately try and look unsexy if there is such a word. She has been for counseling for depression and was hospitalised for sleep therapy which seemed to help for about a week. The therapist actually told her to actively improve her physical appearance. I do dot know what to do anymore. Since we have been married she has always had the option of either working or staying at home. Maybe you ladies could tell me if this could all be because of the tighter financial situation we are now in. Kids still get all they want and attend private school etc. but money is not as freely available as it was. Who knows. As others have said we can't seem to have fun together anymore. We are going away for a weekend in the mountains for our 20th anniversary in a few weeks and I am hoping to be able to connect with her once again.

It took me a long time to realize that the purpose of a marriage is not to make you happy. The purpose of a marriage is to make you married. It is your responsibility to make yourself happy: not anyone but you. Keep her in therapy and try to encourage her to start walking or exercising or doing something to get those endorphins back into her system (including having sex with you that result in ****** for both parties).

You say you're at the point of giving up trying to make your wife happy. That's a good place to be, since nobody can "make" someone else happy. If you're going out of your way to make her happy, or trying to change yourself to fit what you think will make her happy, you'll only end up making yourself miserable. She needs to figure out what's missing, or what she needs to be happy. You can offer to help the same way a therapist can: by talking about what she's feeling and what she's going through.

My wife and I have had plenty of issues, some of which started only a couple of years after we got married. We did everything we could do to stay together and make it work, even through three years of homelessness with two young sons. After about 20 years, some good and some not so much, we decided to separate. We finally realized that many of our issues are too deep-seated, some from long before we even met. We still love each other, but we just can't live together. We keep pushing each other's buttons to the point that our relationship has become toxic.

I wish only the best for you and your family. But remember that a relationship takes two people to make it work.

I guess the tragedy of our lives in these times is that we are too individualistic, we have our point of view and we rationalize it. The moment we start playing on our expectations trouble is round the corner. Guess end of the day its good to go with the flow. And live in a rationalized world view. all the best

Wish I was closer to help. My father is on his 3rd marriage, my mother had 2, I lost my first one, but don't plan on re-marrying without a DAMN good reason. But I have had 4 year relationships, living with, gov considers it almost marriage.. so I'd be on my fourth if it weren't for the papers..

I guess we want more than what our "spouse" wants, and pushing those limits with others is sometimes easier than trying to get your spouse to conform.. is that so bad?

Most of us there have the same story you are having. Sometimes, sacrificing is a must. But as you put it life is not always perfect.

I completely disagree that you should stay until the kids are grown. Kids are resilient and can adapt often times better than adults. In fact, you are probably doing them more harm than good staying in this situation. Not to Mention that you are teaching them that settling for s bad situation is the right thing to do. You're seeing them up for failure showing them that because societal views ( old fashioned I might add) dictate one must suffer through a horrible marriage because it's the right thing to do is such a cop out! Live your life , show your kids independence confidence and that it is on to be happy. They might surprise you and be Ok that toy want to be happy. Just because you're not with him doesn't mean he's not their dad. Stop giving up happiness for the"sake of the children" and really ask yourself why you're staying. If you can't find one reason that tires You emotionally to him. It's time to make a change. When your happy your kids will be happy!! My two cents. ... Good luck

You're doing the right for the sake of your kids. Once they are out on their own you and your husband can part ways.

Until then you should continue to stick with your marriage and do the best you can to have some kind of peace treaty with your husband.

Your kids are very lucky to have such a great Mom.

The best reason to marry is that you enjoy and prefer a partner's company, to being alone, or to any other. In my 45 year marriage, I have still prefer to spend my time with my partner, though we both have had separate careers and many personal friends.

Our son defines love as an "emotional conviction that, the other person's happiness is essential to your own." It doesn't appear that you have been there yet.

First, you have made it clear that you prefer being independent, though you like long term relationships. I don't think you are the marrying kind. Its OK...not a negative judgement, just an assessment of your stated preferences.

Second, it seems that you may have unrealistic expectations. "We are led to believe that our partners should be totally in tune with our every need...We just have to find the soul mate. We have been led to believe that our marriages should be "fun" and entertaining." And, there may be such a thing as "Soul Mates," but once bound to the work of marriage, that can become pretty ambiguous...and foster a lot of doubt after the fact.

I believe that for marriage to work their are three basic requirements.

1. Complete honesty and its resulting mutual vulnerability
2. Mutual accommodation of each other's flaws, annoying habits, and shortcomings.
3. Taking complete responsibility for one's own attitudes, feelings, and behavior, and not depending on the partner to entertain or make one "feel good;" and judging his or her failure to do so as a character defect.

I think you know who you are, and are capable of working this through. I respect your understanding of your own needs, and your concern for the well-being of your sons. You certainly don't seem to need my advice. I only suggest that you still have a choice to end the relationship honestly, and release the bond on both of you. You are articulate and capable...you will help your children through this. Perhaps they will appreciate your strength and even become even better for it. Asking them to live this little deception, cannot be good for any of you.

I appreciate your dilemma an wish you well in it. And, thank you for the opportunity to share my take on love and marriage.

Marriages should be fun and entertaining; you said yourself you prefer to live alone yet you got married anyways...twice! You seem to know what you want but you choose another path then ridicule a husband who "only" does what he wants. All our trouble in life starts when we subscribe to what we're "supposed" to do, instead of what we want to do.

try to be "Friends" again. Date. Open up since the kids are grown up. Take a short trip - anything to see if it can be saved..

it sounds like you two grown apart, it was a happy beginning its a lot of work people tell me its not just magic......I gave up on the Marriage game/gamble I wanted kids but its too late in the game for that...

Wow you had a lot to say about something you care little about.
First maybe it would be good to define the term "love". What do you mean when you refer to the word? It is a feeling? Does one love to be loved in return? Are your children learning from you and your husband what they will eventually call love? Will your children also seek a relationship (marriage) patterned after your marriage?
Let me tell you that you children WILL follow the example you set. They will have a loveless marriage because they have seen it from you and your husband. I am sure it is all the fault of your husband that you have placed him "off your radar screen" Alter all you have been hurt enough by this **** head. You were the victim. Your husband stopped coming home to you. He took on another family and worked to support them, yes that is true. You appear to be a little spoiled girl that is acting to hurt your husband. I am sure after all this time, you know that you hating him is so very productive and has helped your marriage a great deal. Hay, If is ain't broke, don't fix it.
You remind me of a mentally ill person that lays in the hospital bed thinking that you are terminally ill, (and maybe you are) refusing even to be grateful at all for the beauty that is in your life.
There is none so blind as he who will not see.
You need more help that anyone can give you in a few lines of words. BUT, maybe if you changed the way you think, you might also change the way you behave in your marriage. Matter of fact, I know that this will be the case.
You are a pitiful, angry, lonely woman and you have chosen this for yourself and your children. Amazing.

Replying to tlindsey3417 - 'There is none so blind as he who will not see.' Maybe if you walked a mile in Shazzs' shoes you could a least feel a little of her pain and have some insight into her thinking. There are millions of people living in lonely, loveless marriages. It is part of the human condition. Those of us that have experienced such a relationship develop coping mechanisms. Those mechanisms often appear irrational to others, but they help us to get through.

I am a 68 yo male and lived in a loveless, stressful, unhappy marriage for 47 years. It impacted every aspect of our lives and I'm sure it had a less than positive impact on my two children.

like many posting here, I stayed for the sake of the children. My adult daughter loved her mother but recently told me she was so glad I stayed because she did not know what would have happened to her in the long run if she were left alone to cope with my wife's mental illness and various physical illnesses. I consciously created a separate life for myself in order to keep my sanity. This is a common strategy for people living in unhappy marriages. My wife passed away three years ago after a long difficult illness. I stayed until the very end and did all I could to help her through. The night she died I knew I had to move on and have not looked back even once.

I've been involved in two 'relationships' since my wife died. Both women are in my age bracket and both are divorced. The first relationship was local and lasted two years. It started out wonderful and ended not so well. Looking back I can see that my new found freedom and infatuation with the first woman clouded my judgment. Marriage to her would have been a disaster for both of us.

The second relationship has been in progress for 14 months. It is long distance ( over 2,500 miles separate us) but we have managed to spend about eight or nine weeks together so far with at least another four or five weeks more scheduled before the end of this year. We communicate every day by phone and sometimes Skype. After 14 months we know a lot about each other but we do not 'know' each other. Not one time have we exchanged a cross word or raised our voices at each other. But, I wonder how it would be if we were married. I know the dynamics of the relationship would change.

When I read about failed first marriages followed by a second failed marriage it makes my blood run cold. I do not want to live a second failed marriage.

To everyone here thanks for posting. The experiences you tell about are helpful to me as I evaluate my options for the future.

I am not concerned with "how she feels". I am only stating the obvious. She wants to remain in the marriage for her children sake (she cares about her children) She is arguing with husband, (who is right and who is wrong is not important, the obvious thing is that she does not honor her husband) I am not writing to him because he did not spill his soul for help, She did so shall I tell her the truth or try to make her feel better? She already tells her friends and everyone that will listen all about how "she feels". What is the point? fix it, or shut up about it. It is like beating a dead horse, NOT PRODUCTIVE and certainly NOT HELPFUL). The real answer is her ability to change her marriage. She has all the power to make it better or she can continue to beat that dead horse. If she can redeem her marriage, Why not do it?
Her husband has no power to heal the marriage, only she has the power to make it a great marriage. Of course she has the options of beating the dead horse in hopes that the horse will suddenly come alive, or perhaps she will somehow feel better about her marriage. NOT. I know what I am talking about. I help families weekly and the most rewarding part of all is that I get to see the children go from hurting to happy. I help people change. This was written to a wise person, I hope that you are.

Any tips on how u stayed sane all that time..???

I like your way of thinking,

So much of what I've read here reflects my story. I am currently sticking out my unhappy marriage. I'm doing it to avoid disrupting the kids lives, for financial reasons and to avoid the trauma of divorce. I've been with him so long, that ending it feels almost impossible, and I'm scared of jumping out of the frying pan into the fire: single motherhood in straitened financial circumstances just doesn't look like a good alternative.<br />
<br />
I've tried to adopt some of the coping strategies Shazz describes, i.e. I try to keep engagement with him on most levels to a minimum, to avoid strife and angst. I try to run my life separately from him as much as possible. For some years we've had separate beds, separate rooms, separate friends. For a long time we had separate meals, although he's recently changed that. That was part of a drive on his part to avert the divorce I have previously asked for. To be fair to him, he has tried to fix things within his lights, but it's too little, too late, and he just isn't capable of playing nice for long. He refuses to divorce, and has made it clear he will make it traumatic for us all if I force it. So I leave him to control his world. That suits him on many fronts, as long as I don't get in the way of his plans or routines. He can be very controlling and bullying. He does the 'fun Dad' stuff with our two boys, or the bits of the kids routine he enjoys. leaving me to do the rest. By default, that tends to be the drudge work. He will try to control my social life as much as possible. For instance, there are certain friends and relatives of mine whom he doesn't like, and he will give it to me in the neck if I want to make time for those people.So right now, I have decided to just get on with it, suck it up, make the best of things and keep off his radar as much as possible. Much of the time, it's not actively nasty. There's cooperation. I get my emotional satisfaction from my children, my social life at work and the work itself. He doesn't quibble over my giving time to my work these days. That wasn't always the case, though. He initially expected me to be a 1950s housewife servicing his career from a position of domestic drudgery. The truth is, though, it's hard to sustain. I get very weepy, and there are days when it's very hard to get up in the morning, and hard to sleep at night. I'm pretty depressed about it all, and very, very lonely. Until I leave him, there will be no possibility of love and romance. No room for a significant other. I wonder how people who posted on here have been managing? Is it possible to carve out a contented life from within an unhappy marriage, or is it better to go through the pain barrier of a split? Is anyone making this work for themselves? I would love to know how Shazz and others got on.

Sometimes the only way out is through. Tell your story here. those who have had similar experiences can give you support and offer information that might be helpful.

Wow. . there are so many people out there just like me! Wish that made me happy but it doesn't. . makes me sadder!

Marriage for the most part is a silly institution that we join thinking that because we are human we can truly be happy with one person.
People grow apart, most of the unhappiness is sexual or money. and pray my children never get married,

Isn't it interesting that our "saving grace" is often also our "fatal flaw?" This is also true of marriage. Sex, money, children...blessings and curses.

After 45 years of having the respect and unqualified positive regard of the best person I know, I am inclined to disagree with your premise. I don't think marriage is silly. It is a promise we make to each other that we will always give our best efforts to solving conflicts and problems; and seeing what the next successful solution will bring.

There are however a lot of silly reasons to get married, many of them not terribly sincere...i.e. it is expected, I can't live without him/her, I would rather not work...and think I can play stay at home mom (an increasingly acceptable choice for men, financial security (marry wealth), etc.

You appear to be very disillusioned. Please try not to pass on your hopelessness to your children. They have the right to make their own happiness or despair.

You understand the concept of marriage. I am proud of what you have learned and what you are able to share. Way to go