In answer to a question posed to me today, I think people should know 3 things before they marry:
- How to find a third alternative to any disagreement, an option that gives each party all they were looking for in their first suggestion without the drawbacks of the other person’s first suggestion, instead of arguing.
- That what you can expect from marriage is love, not any particular sign of it (like a certain income, a home-cooked meal, gifts on your birthday, an eager participant in your favorite hobby, or even fidelity), and you can miss an awful lot of that love while watching for your favorite signs.
- That our first story of why our spouse did something upsetting comes from a part of our brain that looks only for threats, so it’s a huge help to assume we still have our spouse’s love and see if there’s an explanation for why someone who loves us might do the same thing.
Whether you marry or not, it’s a very good idea to know how to earn a living, prepare meals, keep a home livable, stay within the law, repair (or get repaired) anything you rely on, and learn new things as you need to. Even if your spouse takes care of some of these while he or she can, expecting any of them just gets in the way of enjoying your marriage.