73. Marriage: Do You Know Why Some People Fear Marriage?
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Why do some people fear marriage? There are 3 main reasons that I have observed:
1) Emotional Fear.
Marriage involves a long-term journey of commitment. It can involve many ups and downs, friction, arguments, forgiveness, grief, laughter and much happiness. And if it becomes a vessel for rearing children, marriage often teaches a child about relationship endurance, tolerance and resilience – and this often filters down into all other areas of their lives as well.
If however, parents offer this ‘journey of hurdles’ as a bleak, damaging and destructive experience, then children may tend to veer away from it.
If there is only heartache, pain, possible violence, abandonment or even emotional smothering, then this may turn a child away from ever wanting to emulate their parent’s relationship.
If a child has witnessed parental intimacy as hostile and destructive – this usually becomes their relationship blueprint. Sadly, they may even act out what they have seen and endured for many years, as any other behaviour may seem foreign. This may lead to further unhappiness and heartache.
Also, if they have experienced or observed a parental relationship leading to either divorce or separation, this too may make children more wary of having long-term relationships.
On the other hand, it is evident that a child growing up in a reasonably happy family, with reasonably happy parents – often go on to develop good self-esteem and self-confidence. This observation, usually helps a child gain an understanding that becomes their ‘relationship backbone’.
If this is missing, then some adults may flounder and struggle to make relationship choices that best suit their life goals and this could lead to disappointment, anger and feelings of failure.
Knowing this, many prefer to stay single or unattached – either consciously or unconsciously.
It is therefore important and it is important that we teach our children this too:
There are people out there with intimacy issues. And it is sad that there are so many people who are very unhappy as a result. This unhappiness can lead to career and relationship failures, along with depression, suicide, drug, alcohol, even gambling addictions; issues with food, debt, money and so on.
Knowing this, it is important to learn how to ask the right questions, so that a life-long partner is chosen with careful consideration – so as to avoid making grave relationship mistakes.
But how do you know when to walk away?
Often just by asking the right questions and through careful observation, you will begin to sense if things are right or not:
Ask the person you are interested in, about their relationship with their parents and whether their parents stayed together. Ask them about their previous partners. Then watch their reaction. If they become cagey and uncomfortable, this may the first signal that the relationship might not be what you are looking for – no matter how good looking they are, no matter how charming they may be, no matter how rich and successful they may appear to be – watch out!
Many jump at the opportunity of love and possibly marriage – without truly understanding exactly what a long-term commitments or marriage entails. And once children arrive, any negative issues can become even more complicated.
So before embarking on a relationship journey that may land you in an emotional crisis, it is best to remember the words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau who wrote, “ Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet”.
And trust, trust that the right person will come along – but only after you have kissed a few frogs first!
2) Financial Fear.
Nowadays many men are beginning to fear not marriage as such – but the financial consequences of a divorce or separation especially if children are involved.
Men are reporting that after a divorce they are being taken to the ‘financial cleaners’, and that for many, marriage and what it may entail, is just too emotionally and financially crippling.
Consequently, many men are beginning to rethink marriage – as they have become wary of some women’s motives.
As a relationship therapist, unfortunately I too have seen how difficult it is for some men to survive and this is truly worrying. I have witnessed many feel emotionally beaten and suicidal, especially if they feel they have also lost their children too.
This of course, is not an attempt to negate how difficult divorce or separation is for BOTH partners. There are men who don’t feel it necessary to contribute a penny towards their children’s upbringing – leaving some mothers destitute and fearful. In these instances, women have to find work and look after their children – and this can be extremely difficult.
But this brings us back to the important topic of money.
I have already written about the importance of money within relationships. I urge you to read this previous blog, as it has important information with regards this topic.
It is however suffice to remind you, that before entering a relationship it is vitally important that a conversation about money is had.
Marriage is an expensive event.
Who will earn what and where the money will come from – needs to be discussed early on.
And in the event of a divorce, contracts need to be drawn up so that both parties are clear from the beginning of the marriage what their roles will entail.
Addressing these issues from the start often leads to a more successful alliance.
George Bernard Shaw once wrote that, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”.
Do not let this happen to you as it can be an expensive lesson to learn.
3) Fear of Failure.
For various reasons already written about, many fear relationships and often this is linked to self-worth. Many feel that they are not worthy of a successful marriage or a long-term relationship. As a result, they can push people away, believing consciously or unconsciously, that they re not worthy of another’s attention.
This has crippled many potential relationships and it is very sad to see.
If you have experienced this, it may be worth your while to find a support group, therapist or life coach to help you shift issues that are getting in the way of you moving forward.
As the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “In Life one is condemned to live life forwards and to understand it backwards”.
This route isn’t easy – but at least it’s a start.
© 2017 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
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