Wouldn’t it be wonderful for all couples to be fully aware of the demands and delights of marriage, and for them to willingly agree to commit to the required responsibilities? The expectations in marriage would no longer be such a surprise, and the transition from romantic love to real love would flow much more smoothly.
It might be helpful for couples to offer their hearts in marriage by agreeing to some kind of a mutual “Marital Informed Consent” pledge. This would indicate their educated understanding of the intricacies of marriage and the efforts that will be required of them.
Below is a sample of what couples might want to personally consider, accept, and pledge their souls to regarding the adventure we call marriage:
- I pledge to come to know myself and develop greater self-awareness by identifying my strengths and weaknesses. I pledge to focus my attention and efforts on overcoming my weaknesses and building upon my strengths. I commit myself to spend regular amounts of time and effort to search my soul and connect with God to teach me what I need to know about myself. I willingly and humbly receive this learning.
- I pledge to invest myself in an ongoing, internal self-development process where I put in the necessary effort to overcome my weaknesses, which will allow me to become more whole, as an individual, and to become more ONE with my spouse and God.
- I pledge to learn to love and accept myself without conditions, and to do the same for my spouse. I understand that unconditional love is the best environment in which I and my spouse can learn, grow and change.
- I pledge to focus on my own weaknesses and my own contributions to our marital challenges rather than on my spouse’s faults. As a creator of my life with God-given agency, I pledge to take full responsibility for my actions in any given situation.
- I understand that marriage is about meeting each other’s needs, even those needs that are difficult for me, or that require significant stretching on my part. I pledge to make changes in whatever ways are needed to be able to love my spouse and meet his/her needs in the way they need me to. I understand that by so doing I heal my own inadequacies and become more whole.
- I understand that I have naturally attracted someone whose needs are well suited to require the inevitable growth I need to become whole. This understanding will help me to see our marital challenges as opportunities for growth rather than as proof that I’ve married the wrong person.
- I pledge to remain attentive to the state of my heart and engage in those things that will help me maintain a softened heart, so that I will be able to continue to learn and grow throughout my life.
- I understand that should I decide to end this marriage relationship that the demanding personal growth necessary in marriage will still be required in any future relationships.
Happily ever after” in marriage is possible. It is within reach for all couples, but husbands and wives must understand and be willing to do what it takes to create “happily ever after!”