Five problems to avoid for a Longer Marriage

1.     Alcoholism. Though classed as a sickness, a pattern of excessive drinking over a long time can result in an addiction to alcohol. This can lead to marriage breakdown. We all have a choice when it comes to drinking. My father was a wonderful man and husband while sober. After one drink he became extremely nasty and not a nice person to know. He verbally abused my mother and we children hated him for that. One positive result was that all five of us had a great respect for it. I personally became a teetotaler because I didn’t want to act in a similar way to anyone, least of all my wife and our children.

2.     Drugs. Similar to alcohol, drugs of any kind can lead to addiction. Taking drugs and/or alcohol are drugs of choice. You choose to take them. According to users, taking them make you feel good. If you feel bad, see a doctor. What do you really gain by ingesting drugs? A few moments of a high and then you come down. Nothing will kill a marriage quicker than a drug problem.

3.     Pornography. This must be the dumbest addiction of all. We hear it every day; so-and-so was arrested for pornography violations. My advice to anyone, married or single is to seek psychiatric help. There must be something drastically wrong with you. Think of how degrading this habit is to your wife. She married the man of her dreams and he gets his kicks out of watching freaky pornography on the television or internet.

4.     Smoking. If you smoke, even a few a day, you have an addiction. It is an unhealthy addiction affecting both you and your family. It is a habit that will cut years off your life and you will have a 50% greater chance of contracting heart and lung disease and many other medical problems. With stricter measures being introduced for smoking restrictions in public areas, fewer people are smoking. Laser treatments do work and everyone is familiar with the patch. It’s tough to quit, but the alternative is deadly. The only products you are able to purchase over the counter with a written guarantee that you may develop cancer and die are cigarettes.

5.     Cheating. Flirting. Infidelity. They are all the same. You had your chances before you married. Live up to your promise to love her you made at the altar before your peers. Certainly there are plenty of females “on the prowl,” so to speak. Leave them to the bachelors. If you are in the habit of hitting the bars before going home after work, you are asking for trouble. Reread the chapter on integrity.

When does Like become Love?

If there is any subject men are reluctant to discuss it is the subject of love. Love is hard to define. I believe we men start out in a relationship and suddenly think we are in love. Actually I believe we are in like. The hormones take over. Lust is described as an intense sexual desire or appetite. Other descriptions state it differently. We get into the relationship and we start to believe we are in love. My personal belief is that until we get at least the first ten years out of the way, we don’t have enough time to appreciate what love is really about.

I compare that time of a marriage to building the skills to perfect something you are extremely interested in. It could be a sport like golf, skiing or tennis, or a hobby such as painting or ballroom dancing. It takes a lot of time to do these things expertly. Take golf for instance. The first time on the driving range you realize how hard it is to hit the ball. You may spend hours and hours practicing and finally you think you are ready to play a game. Then you find out your shots are all over the place.

Tiger Woods got his first club when he was two years old. Today he is still learning and tweaking his swing. When he first came on the golf scene I liked to watch him. After watching him master the game and how he dominates the PGA today, I believe that fans everywhere love the way he plays and the way he interacted with his mother and father as well as his new wife and daughter. Now we are seeing the complete package. We have gone from like to love.

This is how it is with marriage. The first years are busy with setting up a home, from furnishing to decorating, then creating and raising a child or children. There are transportation problems, career aspirations, college bills to pay and learning how to interact with each other. These things take time to work out and are stressful to any marriage. You are not alone. All married couples go through this period. Sex takes place but often the fast pace and stresses of life keep the shine from showing through.

Stresses and strains must be overcome.

It is during this critical period in the marriage when cracks occur. Stress can be the killer. Just the same as stress can harm you physically, it can harm your marriage. If you can hold your marriage together for the first 10 years you are on your way to 50 and love will soon take over your life.

Over time, one by one, the stresses you face will be conquered. It is during the first 10 years that the power and intestinal fortitude of your wife will show her true colors. Women are really tough – strong as steel, much stronger than men. My wife and I have been keen observers over the years. We have watched single and married moms walking one or two children to the daycare centre before 8 am to allow them to get to their work on time. Rain or snow doesn’t stop them. We’ve watched them get off the public transit, holding the kids as they head home after work in time to make supper for the family. This is after leaving work and picking the kids up again at daycare!

She is one tough lady.

I recently conversed with a lady. She was born in India, married there and immigrated to Canada in 1969. A daughter was born shortly after arrival. Her husband died suddenly three years later. She worked at two jobs to survive. She left home at 5 am and it took two hours to get to the daycare and then to work. At the end of the day she picked up the child, arriving home at 7.30 pm. She worked stacking shelves in a supermarket nearby from 8 until midnight. She also worked on Saturday. Instead of heading home at 5 with her child she had to pick her up and take her back to work with her as she had to cover in the office until 11.00 pm on that night. Her daughter would play and fall asleep on a chair in the office during the evening. She finally saved $10,000 to purchase the home she rented so that her mortgage payment would be less than the rent. She is now about 60 years of age and doing fine. That is what I mean by tough.

Love – you’ll know when it happens.

How do you know when you are in love with your wife? This is a very deep question. Philosophers could make a lifelong study of this and possibly still not have the answer. I am going to suggest that you will know it when it happens. One day you will find yourself looking at your wife in a different way than you may have been doing. You see a beauty glowing from the inside, not the outside. You begin to realize how lucky you are to have a woman who truly loves you and loves what you are about. You begin to spend some time reflecting upon the little things she does for you and the family that you haven’t noticed before. You will tell by the ways she gets close to you, and likes to do so. For the first time you may notice little wrinkles at the corner of her eyes and realize they are made from a million smiles.  

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