It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child, but it doesn’t take one to keep a marriage together. While it’s good to have many well-wishers and people that love you, keeping them at a safe distance is always recommended. Love can often cause people to overstep their bounds and cause friction. And just because you were invited to the ceremony doesn’t mean you’re invited to the marriage.
There are a few things that must never be forgotten: The wedding is just a ceremony, the reception just a gathering, and the honeymoon a nice vacation. The real work of marriage comes in the days, months, and years to follow. Everyone isn’t in it for the long haul with your boo like you are. So while you can appreciate the gifts and all of the advice (both solicited and otherwise), when it’s time to get to work on happily ever after, you can’t bring everyone to work with you.
Here are a few things to consider both before the ceremony, and after the celebration is over and the hard work begins:
Get married on your terms – Times have changed and marriage has evolved. The age and financial circumstances under which people get married have changed as well. While there used to be an expectation about when and under what conditions one should get married, there is a new set of rules in place, and there’s nothing wrong with that. While it is wise and necessary to seek some counsel before you marry, the decision to marry still rests with the individuals getting married. Counseling was never designed to keep people from the altar. It was designed to shed light on things that are often missed when looking through the lens of love.
What works for two people getting married must be determined by those people. What’s ideal must be ideal to the people making the commitment. It must be understood that what works for others may not work for you, and that’s okay. Outline your own terms and conditions for happiness and live accordingly. Don’t spend your marriage trying to live someone else’s fantasy.
Work your marriage from the inside out – Everybody will have an opinion about what you’ve done with your life, some positive, many negative. The real surprise will come when it’s found out where the negative comes from. Those closest to you have the most to say, while perfect strangers seem to be more complementary and hopeful. While you can’t stop people from talking, you can do your best to keep them out of your business. There’s a difference between insulation and isolation. While isolation can be dangerous, as no one can get to you, but you can’t get to anyone else in a time of need, insulation provides warmth and protection.
Your marriage should be your insulation, not people outside of it. Your spouse is your safe haven. There are bound to be difficulties and rough days because we’re all human. But that isn’t everyone’s business. Well-meaning family and friends can often give bad advice because they don’t know the truth of whom you’ve married. They don’t know the little quirks, idiosyncrasies, and so forth of your relationship. They may not have witnessed how caring your partner can be because marriage goes deeper than any other relationship. This is insider information. Everyone doesn’t have access to it, nor should they.
Which leads us to our final thought…
Don’t let an opinion trump your knowledge – No one knows your spouse like you do (if they do, there’s a problem). Not even mothers have such access into the deepest recesses of a person like a husband and wife will. No matter what anyone knows or how long they’ve known it, there’s a side to a person that no one else sees but a spouse. Best friends, favorite cousins, and even siblings don’t rate in this, nor should they. For these reasons, you should never, ever let someone’s knowledge of what your spouse was 5, 10 or 20 years ago convince you that they aren’t the person you thought you married.
More times than not, when you marry someone, you’re marrying someone that has evolved from something else. They weren’t always what you’re marrying, therefore, you have knowledge of who they are at this moment. Again, you know the deepest recesses of this person. Everyone else has an opinion based on information that doesn’t go deep enough. Trust what you know more than what someone on the outside feels. People often fear what they don’t understand. Don’t make that your issue. If you trust them enough to marry them, trust what you know about them.