“We thought it would get better when we got married.”
I will never forget the enlightening day in class when my professor told us these famous words she hears in her counseling sessions. She devoted that day to taking a break from the textbooks and instead sharing stories of couples she had worked with. The words, we thought the problems would get better, spelled doom for every couple who had brought them into her office.
Do Not Marry Someone Expecting them to Change:
Some people get married thinking their spouse will turn into a great communicator. Maybe they will become more organized with money. Of course they will stop playing video games until 2 AM. Without a doubt they will want to have children. It is possible that some of those things may change. You will both hopefully become better partners, build a more stable home life, grow out of some annoying habits or tendencies, and be called to bring your attention to some lacking areas. But marriage does not solve your problems.
There is No Altar Switch to Fix Problems:
I promise, I’ve seen the sacristy and the choir closet and whatever else is behind the scenes at Catholic churches. There’s no switch someone can flip on your wedding day to make you a perfect couple. The issues we have while dating will not go away overnight when we get married. Our selfishness will not disappear overnight when we have children. We will not get married and become perfect spouses.
When a friend confides in me they have an issue with their significant other, whether it be they are a poor communicator, they struggle with an addiction, or they fundamentally disagree on an important aspect of life, I ask, “can you live with this for the rest of your life?” That’s really the question. You do not get to marry someone expecting them to change. You have to be prepared to face this conflict forever.
Many of us will change and grow when we get married. Some of us will struggle. We are all individually on our own spiritual and mental journeys of life. That’s why it is so critical to form how you are going to grow through your problems while you are engaged—because marriage does not solve your problems.