Saturday, January 26, 2008

Let's talk about the M word
A dear friend of mine sent me this article via email. She told me it may or may not apply to my relationship but thought it would serve as a good reference for the future should issues crop up. I am sure they are bound to rear its ugly head sooner or later in the marriage. I decided to post an entry about it and include my comments in italics because I always have something to say about anything and everything. It is a slow news day after I've noticed a remarkable drop in opportunities coming my way. By opportunities I mean the paying kind and not opportunities in general.

If you're engaged, you're likely busy with a plethora of logistical details - planning the wedding ceremony and reception, arranging the honeymoon, looking for a place to live. Amid all that busyness, however, take the time to talk as often as you can with your future spouse. The time you invest talking now should pay you great returns once you're married.

Here are some ways you can talk with each other to prepare yourselves well for marriage:
*** PRAY together, asking the Holy Spirit to help you begin a lifelong process of growing into unity mentally, physically, and spiritually. ***
We always hear Mass together on Sundays and if he doesn't have classes during the First Fridays of the month, he tags along. Several times D has openly mentioned to me what he specifically prays for in terms of our relationship and our marriage. He is deeply religious. I have to admit that he was the catalyst for my 'return' to hearing Mass every week.

*** ACCEPT the differences in the ways God has wired each of you, and seek to complement each other. Realize that no two people will think exactly alike, but that they can work to understand each other and build agreements that are mutually acceptable. Respect each other, and be willing to set aside your personal agendas in favor of God's will for you both as a team. ***
I always point out that we are really not compatible in many ways. He stresses that we are compatible as far as the important matters are concerned. I always support him whenever he talks about his work. He is my biggest supporter and cheers me on whenever I tend to underestimate myself.

*** TALK about money issues. Do you each have full access to information about the other's income and expenditures? Have you devised a joint budget? ***
I talked about my 2 year plan in a previous post. It was meant for us both to be more financially responsible. I am the 'kuripot' one. I always save up as much as possible which I guess is easy to do when my share of the bills in this present household is quite minimal. This is actually my biggest concern going into the marriage. With the declining dollar, the economic recession in the US affecting the global economy and the raising oil prices - I figure it is really going to be crunch time for everyone!

*** TALK about each other's family. Have you met your future in-laws and other members of your future spouse's family? Have you each shared your family histories, including both positive and negative information, and considered how that might affect your marriage? ***
Well I haven't met my future in laws and D's siblings. But D talks about them all the time. I was really surprised when D actually opened up about his family's history on our very first date. I was surprised he was very open about his past. In turn, I have shared many anecdotes about my own family with D as well as the eccentricities of my dysfunctional relatives. So he knows what he is getting himself into!

*** TALK about each other's friends. Have you met each other's closest friends? How do you expect to forge new friendships as a team with other married couples? How much time do you want to devote to friends, both separately and together? ***
My social circle is rather limited and confined to a select few friends whom I hardly see anyway. My bestest friends don't even live in this neck of the woods. I have met some of his friends. They seem decent and grounded enough so I don't anticipate any conflict with any of them. D and I are basically homebodies who rarely socialize but I understand the need to be more sociable and build new friendships along the way.

*** TALK about the talents God has given each of you. How would you like to use them to serve others, and how can your future spouse encourage you to do so? Remember that your marriage isn't just about your personal happiness; it's a vehicle through which God can work in awesome ways to bless others. ***
D has expressed several positive aspects about my talents. He is my most ardent fan. We have discussed how we intend to further enhance and hone our strengths and eliminate our weaknesses.

*** TALK about fidelity and commitment. Strive to approach your marriage out of purity, and pray for God's grace to help you do so. Don't live together before marriage; that decision erodes the love and respect God wants you to have for each other before your marriage even begins. Have you discussed how committed you are to following God and relying on His strength in your marriage? ***
Our commitment to each other is the number one factor of our relationship. We are deeply devoted to each other. He respects my person more than I ever thought it was possible. It took some time for me to truly understand this certain characteristic of D. But now I get what defines him as a person. His good moral values are his best traits.

*** TALK about sexuality. Can you both distinguish between love and lust? Do you know how your future spouse feels about his or her body, and what desires he or she has? What are some ways you can celebrate the love God has given you for each other through the wonderful gift of sex in marriage? ***
Ah well I won't elaborate on this aspect. Sex for me is a deeply personal matter which is best expressed within the confines of the bedroom or which ever room you want and not discussed for public consumption.

*** TALK about children. Do you both sense a calling to have children, and if so, how many? If you have children, how will you adjust your priorities to fully invest in them? Do you want to use birth control, and if so, what type? Will you both get a complete physical exam before marriage? ***
I have spent many hours on the phone thoroughly dissecting this topic to bits and pieces. His family have been hounding him that he should start a family right away while I have other ideas. I know I am not exactly in the position to bid my time, I am no longer a spring chicken so to speak. I like to say that making babies is the easy part, raising them is another matter. I admit we still have to talk more about this subject matter.

*** TALK about faith. Have you fully shared with your future spouse why your faith is important to you, and how you've experienced God working in your life? Where will you attend church? Will you pray together regularly? How will you support each other's spiritual growth and ministry efforts? ***
I told D the real reason why I stayed away from Church for many years. He understood and didn't judge me for it. Due to his positive influence, my spirituality has increase ten fold and I am certain it will continue to strive in the years to come.

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