Marriage Project: Part 1

Do we agree about the roles that men and women play in marriage? In marriage, I would not expect the stereotypical women tending the house and man going to work type of relationship. I certainly would like to work, however I would also encourage my wife to pursue a career. If she chooses that she wants to live a life raising our children at home, I would be more than supporting of that as well. I would do the same thing if I were to be put in her position; I find more value in leisure and enjoying life’s wonders, such as our children and each other. I would not be work crazed, but rather use work as a means to support the life of leisure we would enjoy. The housework should not need to be done entirely by the woman in our relationship; it is simply unfair to treat a woman like a maid to tend to her husband's every wishes. The day to day to housework would be split between the two of us, making sure to always be equal and fair. The stereotypical roles that are seen by men and women in marriage wouldn't necessarily be upheld in our relationship. Rather, our relationship would be one of pursuing our passions and interests, whether that is having the man work and the woman staying at home or vice-versa. Our children, however, need to be cared for and loved by both myself and my wife, regardless of the situation. Children would always take precedent in our relationship, making sure that both of us raise them with our values equally together. Do we have the support of our families? On my side of the family, my immediate family would undoubtedly support my marriage. I know that all five of my siblings would always support me, no matter who I marry. My mother and father are probably the most accepting people I know, so I have no doubts they also would support us, both emotionally and, if need be, financially. I have no reservations that my family would fully embrace my future spouse into their lives, with open arms. I hope that we would gain the support of her family, but I do not feel as if this is really a question in my mind. The person I will share my life with one day will be open and patient, so it follows that her family will be in the same regard. With the same openness as their daughter or sister, I cannot see her family somehow rejecting our marriage and each other. I only see all the love and support that would be equal to that of my own family. If there were to be any type of problem between myself and her family, or her and my family, I would be sure to clear the air through communication as soon as possible. This is essential so that there are no feelings of betrayal or dislike between our in-laws. Are we too young? Whether we are too young for a relationship as deep and meaningful as marriage depends on our life experiences up to marriage. Both of use would need to have

dated people before, looking for someone that really fills the initial void in one's life. We would need to be competent, mature, and responsible without each other, ensuring that working as a unit we would be unbreakable. With this being stated, our marriage plan for four years from now is what I feel is not enough time. Four years ago, I was in eighth grade, and while I have grown immensely, I am not sure that continuous amount of growth would get me to a position where I am ready to accept life's greatest responsibility and maturity. If I were to be engaged four years from now, I feel we would be too young to experience all of life's wonders and mysteries as well as grow to a self-dependent state. Waiting would definitely be a viable option to ensure a proper amount of time to learn, travel, immerse ourselves in new experiences, and ultimately prepare for a huge life dedication. Can we both tolerate genuine intimacy? I do not feel I would be marrying someone who felt that they could not tolerate intimacy. I personally feel as though intellectual and emotional intimacy is of the most important kind. Without any feeling of intellectual expression or a strong emotional connection, I would not be marrying this person, whoever it may be. I need a very strong emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and ultimately sexual connection and oneness with this woman to be able to go down on one knee and propose to her. Any reservations on her or my part would mean we are not ready to immerse into the married life, and that these reservations could translate into a divorce in the future. I would need to feel that both I and she are on the same page to be able to marry. If we feel a need to always group date while never having a personal one on one date with each other, this would show a reservation of intimacy and therefore that we are not ready. The same is true for if we cannot share with each other our deepest and most personal life experiences. The conversation should be able to come easily, with no need to struggle; everything should flow smoothly with no effort needed. I envision talking for hours with my future spouse, and being completely comfortable with it. If there is a struggle to make conversation and if it is hard to talk to each other for more than half an hour, it shows distance between us and that we are unprepared. We should also be able to just sit with each other, not saying anything, but rather viewing something and enjoying life together. If there is awkwardness between us, or a feeling of having to leave or start some type of conversation, it again shows a lack of intimacy and that we are not ready for the walk of marriage. The feeling of closeness that I would feel for her would need to be reciprocated back to me, and vice versa. Any holding back of ourselves shows that we are not ready to spend our lives close together forever. Can each of us accept change in the other? In general, I am very open and nonjudgmental when it comes to when a person wants to change. The same should be true with regards to my future wife. Anything that she wants to be, I am fine with. Obviously, if she changes very suddenly and

completely, it may show that she is not the person I thought she was, and that she was not being her true self around me. I would expect the same acceptance for any change that I go through. I feel as though change within each other is something that keeps making marriage exciting and fulfilling. I would not only accept any change she makes within herself, I would embrace her changes if they are for the better. I know that if I were to be very judgmental, resentment would ensue and there would be strain in our relationship. The same is true for if she would be judgmental; this would leave me seriously unsettled and wonder if the marriage is truly legitimate. It is therefore crucial for me and my future spouse to be able to accept any change for the betterment within each other, for remaining the same and static would lead to a monotonous and non-fulfilling relationship. Can each of us stand psychologically on our own two feet? I find it difficult, at this point in my life, to stand psychologically on my own. It is difficult for me to get through a week without seeing my parents, but because of many of my life experiences, I have had to grow up and can honestly say that I can stand on my own two feet, something that many teens cannot do. Being isolated from my parents is very tough, but doing so has made me very independent and has taught me valuable life lessons. Later in my life, once I have found my wife and settled down, if there is a strain coming from my parents or friends, I may not be able to realize it. I would most likely realize if her parents or friends were too attached to her, but in order to discover this from my own parents, I would need to look at how they interact with my siblings; if it is very much the same as my own, my marriage does not have a problem. If they are constantly intruding on my marriage, I would need to communicate this to them as soon as possible. This not only applies for our parents, but friends, bosses, and any others we have close relationships with. Ground rules would need to be communicated to these people, whether it is my own or her own relationships. The most important relationship, we would have to realize, is that of our own, and that we have to be selfish in order make our relationship work out. This means having to cut other relationships in some aspects to stand on our own two feet psychologically. Do we give each other time and space to be on our own-alone or with our own friends? Obviously, with marriage there comes no obligation to completely change oneself, and one spouse cannot try to force a change onto the other. It simply leads to anger and resentment, for the spouse will feel like their partner is trying to change their own identity. In my future marriage, I am looking for my future partner to not only accept who I am, but to enhance my inner self. I feel that my wife would have to encourage me to pursue my own interests and mine hers, for the type of person I am looking for is one who embraces change and life's experiences. One person's interest should not dominate our relationship; rather, we should have each other share and

support each other's interests. We would both have to find our needs important, not simply throwing them to the side and selfishly focusing on our own. We would also need to learn to not be jealous. If my wife wants to have a night out with her friends, I should feel some possessiveness, but certainly nowhere near enough to tell her to stay home, and the same goes for her to me. There should be no resentment felt between each other; we should not be angry for the other doing something to another. Smothering should not be a problem; we will have to realize that each person has their own identity and this is expressed at times by leaving with friends or being on their own. Every person needs some kind alone time, and if I were to take this from my future wife, she would end up resenting me, leading to a strain in the marriage. Strain should be avoided at all costs, meaning that my relationship will have to have personal space built into it. As stated before, it is important to be our own person, and to not lose out individual identity in our relationship identity. If my I or my future wife feel as if we cannot live to be separated for more than hour, there is definitely some possessiveness in our relationship that we need to work on. We need to clearly have a boundary of being two separate beings that are united through marriage, not of being a single unit that thinks, acts, and does everything together. It is important to keep your personal identity in a marriage and to realize the fullness of the people we are. Marriage is not some type of biological event that combines two people into one; rather marriage keeps each person's individual identity while coming together to demonstrate the ultimate love given to us by God. What part would children play in our marriage? Having children is definitely one of the biggest responsibilities that one person can possess. To raise a life into one’s views and attitudes and see them come into a person of their own is a very tall task to handle, but luckily two people are usually paired to help get through this challenging but rewarding responsibility. In my future marriage, the first requirement to even begin to talk about having a child would be whether both of us even want a child. If there are any doubts by one person, we know that we truly are not ready yet. Both my wife and I will need to be fully willing to take on such an immense responsibility; to have any doubts will eventually lead to serious conflict within the marriage. The number of children we have is also very important in a marriage. Through my own experiences, I absolutely love being in a large family. There are so many people to lean on and a sense of unity within the family that is something to marvel at. Many believe that the more children one has, the more love is divided amongst the parents to the children. Through my experiences, I have learned that love is infinite, so to divide it is to give all of one’s love to each of their children. I would want no less than four children, and preferably more, for I love having more people to look after, seeing more of the good qualities of mankind in them every day. I do not really have any doubts that my future wife and I will have any issues in the raising of our children. I would marry some person that I see many of the values and qualities that I see in myself; rearing of children would transcend into this. I would just like our children to be raised in an open minded, non-

judgmental, and ultimately loving environment, making sure that they learn to make decisions on their own according to what they feel is right. In regards to the female version of birth control, I feel I cannot truly have an opinion, for I am not a woman. If my future wife feels that it is permissible, I will support her. If she finds it a violation of the covenant of marriage, which is what I truly feel, I will absolutely agree and support her, not matter what. Even though I feel that it is not permissible, I will not verbalize this for I truly do not know what she is feeling or the situation she as a woman has been placed in. In regards to male birth control, most likely condoms, I do not feel that it is permissible, and would expect her to agree with me and respect my decision. I would rather push for natural family planning, in order to not violate the covenant of marriage. In the case of an unplanned pregnancy, I would definitely push her towards keeping the child. I would tell her that is probably a sign from a God, a gift that we should not merely push aside. No matter what her decision, though, I would respect it. If she chooses to give the baby up for adoption or even choose abortion, I would not condemn her, but support her for I do not know the situation she has been put into because I am not carrying the child. Ultimately, a child is a very great responsibility; the largest one will ever receive in life. I would need to communicate with my wife that we should only practice sex when we are absolutely sure we would like to have a child, and go down the natural family planning route in order to uphold the procreative aspect of the covenant of marriage. What role will sexual expression have for us? Sexual intimacy is obviously an integral part of marriage. The physical communication of love and oneness between man and wife is absolutely necessary for a healthy covenant with one’s partner. I would need to express to my future spouse that this concept of sexual intimacy is absolutely necessary for our success as a couple. I would tell her that primarily for me, sex should be a means by which we perform the miracle of life; creating life from love. To bring a child in our world is the most humbling experience of sex, and that we should not taint this pureness through casual notions of sex. When passion is occurring between both of us, I would expect her to respect my wishes of not having sex if we are not in the appropriate time frame for natural family planning. If the passion is only one sided, then we would have to communicate to each other that we really do not feel it is a necessary time to practice. Sex should not be only physical, but an emotionally strengthening experience for the two of us. I would expect my wife to know that sex is not only pleasurable, but so intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually unifying that it should not be tainted between the two of us. The unifying aspect of sex, I would communicate to her, is sacred and inherent in every one of us, and I would expect her to respect these views I have on sexual expression. I feel though, that she would have very much the same views upon sex and sexual expression, for the type of personally I would be looking for links to this idea of sexual expression. Regardless, I would respect her wishes on this subject matter as well.

Can both of us confront our problems head-on and then let bygones be bygones? My true hope is that my future wife and I will be spending over half a century together. In order to achieve this, problems must be solved as soon as they arise. In order for this to be able to happen, we must have a relationship were we can tell each other any problems that we may be having with each other, where we can clear the air for anything bothering each other about the other. This can range from easy problems to solve, such as not putting the milk away or leaving the toothpaste cap off the tube, to truly deep problems, where one feels that they are not being themselves around the other. The most important thing to realize is that any problem, whether small or severe, will lead to new problems within the relationship; a crack eventually leads to an avalanche. Therefore, the only option for my future marriage is to have a completely open air relationship, where we can say anything to another without fear of being judged or hurting the other. Simply being truthful to the other is a powerful tool, and almost any problem can be worked through in a marriage with truth. If the other feels different, most likely about a deeper problem, an outside mediator or counselor will have to be brought in in order to bring us back to the original state of love we felt for each other for all the years after our wedding. The most important aspect of our problem solving is to be non-judgmental and, as stated above, willing to change in order to make the relationship work.

Do both of us show personal integrity? Personal integrity though actions is a very important aspect to consider in marriage. I will have to realize that the integrity of my wife is going to be the same before marriage as after, and communicate the same to her about myself. She would have to know that anything she does not feel comfortable about with me before marriage is not going to change after marriage; I am going to be the same person as I was before. This does not mean that I cannot change myself for the better, but rather that any habitual patterns or hobbies I exhibit will not change and the same for her. This is seen in other marriages, particularly with substance abuse. I would be sure to communicate to my wife that I in no way ever tolerate any type of drug abuse whatso-ever. Any discovery of drug abuse would lead to an ending of our relationship anyways, so this should not be a problem with my future spouse. The only paths that drugs lead to are prison or death, and if my spouse chooses to engage in those acts, I simply cannot see her slip away from her integrity. This is not to say that if I discover her doing these acts for the first time, I would immediately end the relationship; I would be hurt, but encourage her to quit what she is doing and get help. If she continues to get worse, than I would definitely have to cut her out of my life for good. In regards to alcohol, I would communicate to her that there is a time and a place for alcohol. We certainly should not use it as a relaxation method, but rather use different means to let loose and relax after a hard day of work. We should not have to turn to anything besides each other when problems arise, leaning on each other

over alcohol or drugs. There would be no need, in this way, to have several drinks a night or ever be drunk. In the same way, it should be permissible at a dinner or a gathering of friends to enjoy a drink or two, but to be sure to stop each other when one has had too much. I would make sure to make her know that if one does not want to drink, they should not have to drink and should not feel that they have to by the other. As stated before, there is a time and a place for alcohol and driving after drinking certainly will not be a time or a place. We should be able to tell the other to stop drinking without resistance from the other and ensure one does not feel they cannot stop drinking. Being able to show each other that we do not need or rely on any substance abuse will show great personal integrity shared between each other, and ultimately leads to a better marriage. Does one of us have to be the boss all the time? Bossiness is certainly not a quality I am looking for in a relationship. My future marriage, as stated before, will be very open, and I will be sure to communicate that with my wife. We should not have to fight for the attention of another, it should come naturally. We should know that we need to respect the other, not try to control them. Controlling another person ultimately only leads to unhappiness and strain within the relationship. Equality, I would ensure, is an aspect we need in our marriage to remain together. We should both be treated as equals, and be able to tell each other if the other is being too commandeering of the other. Neither should have to insist on having their own way all the time. Rather, compromise should be integrated in our relationship to ensure both myself and my future wife ultimately end up happy and satisfied. We should feel as though we can talk to the other with ease, not as if the other is always commanding us on what to do and how to act in order please them. Obviously, competition in a relationship can be fun and lead us to discover new thing about our partner that the other didn’t know. But when competition turns into rage or outburst, the other should be able to calm them down and tell them that they are being totally inappropriate. We must always be able to tell the other to participate willingly in our marriage. I should not feel as though my wife will do anything that I do, for that will lead to a weakness on her part of the marriage, and dependence upon myself. We must both be able to participate and try to get what we want without being totally outraged when the other disagrees with our own viewpoints. Ultimately, it comes down to balancing total dependency and outraged Independence. Do we share similar religious beliefs? While at first I did not see this as a very large factor, it soon became apparent that religious belief can become a very big factor in the functioning of a relationship. Truthfully and honestly, I have no reservations over whether or not my future wife is Christian or not. Being in an open and loving marriage means seeing past each other's differences to focus in on the love that we have for each other. More likely than not, my wife and I will be of different faiths. The important thing for me to

realize is to not have any preconceived notions of her because of this and to be sure to actively show support in her faith of choice, even if she does not have one. Being non-judgmental in a relationship means being able to look past any adverse opinions of my own. Therefore, I do not believe separate religious beliefs will be a problem for me. The role of religious practice would undoubtedly be involved in my future marriage. If she is of different faith and really feels as though I need to go with her to the church, synagogue, or mosque of her choice, I will follow her. It will not only allow me to experience a different faith, it will show me more about my own Catholicism. In the same way, I would ask her to respect my going of church and encourage her to join me, though if she does not want to it is completely fine. There is an extent to where we would compromise our beliefs. While we should be open and nonjudgmental, we should have some clear lines drawn on where we stop compromising beliefs. For example, I should not ever have to tell her that I do not want to convert to her religion or her to mine. If she feels on her own she wants to convert, I would make sure that she is doing it only for herself, and not for me. I certainly would not compromise beliefs to completely adopt her religion's beliefs; this is simply disregarding one's entire religion. Religious differences should not affect our marriage in anyway. Being open and accepting should be a key focal point to accepting the differences in faith and following. With regards to our children, our children should be able to choose which path they want to take, even if it is not one of our own. If my wife has a problem with this, I will be sure to try to compromise with her on this aspect. I can't see my immediate family being non-accepting of my wife's chosen religion. They simply are not that judgmental and tend to accept all people for who they are. I certainly would hope there would be no problems on her end as well, for her personality of openness should reflect her family’s as well. If my grandmother is around at the time of my marriage to a woman of different faith, I definitely see her being resentful, for she was raised to believe that Catholicism is the only religion to practice. Ultimately, religious belief in my relationship of openness should not at all affect my relationship between both my future wife and my family. Do we have enough in common upon which to build intimacy? It may be hard at first in a relationship to be absolutely sure exactly what the other person likes. Often times, one can observe that one partner will lie about their interests in order to gain closer to their other half. This clouds judgment; what one expects is not what one receives. If the husband loves football and the wife goes along with it, she may become upset with the amount of time the husband spends watching the game while the husband will become upset with his wife's complaining. Lying only leads to strain in the relationship. In the future, it will be rather difficult to determine whether or not I am laying a foundation for my relationship based on lies or inherent truths. The only way to depart lies is to simply ask for an open communication relationship where there is no judgment. I would try to convey to her that it is important not to lie, for lying in this way only leads to future arguments and quarrels that will leave each other full of resentment. If we base our relationship

based on lying to say what the other wants to hear, it will only lead to a greater gap that will be observed between the two of us later in life.. Can both of us articulate our feelings for each other? Many times, simply not saying an easy expression like, "I love you," can lead to a distancing between husband and wife. It may seem unnecessary, but actually hearing the words truly does make a difference in the relationship to a point where if it is not said, partners feel as if they are out of touch with each other. In my own future marriage, I feel that it would be extremely important for verbal communication of love between both me and my wife. I do not think just simple things like I love you are good enough; rather, I would want to express love through things we notice about each other that we love about each other. It would be easy; anything we see fit would be so easy to articulate. This not only leads to a calming effect between the two of us, it will lead to a better relationship where our love is not questioned; there will be no qualms as to whether we love each other or not. If it is difficult for my wife or myself to articulate our feelings for each other, I would make sure to remind her or myself that there is absolutely no shame in a husband and wife telling each other that they love each other till death; that is the very point of marriage itself. While actions speak louder the words, often times it is the words that give husband and wife direct comfort, and are therefore necessary in an intimate and fully loving relationship. What are our expectations about money and our manner of dealing with financial issues? Too many times does money play a factor in marriage, whether it is a starting of one or ending of one. Financial difficulties are often too much to burden, leading to a split in the marriage when in truth basic guidelines could have avoided conflict all together. In my future marriage, one of the first things I will do before the marriage with my wife is sit down to figure out financial matters as soon as possible. This will not only ensure financial success, but also that money has no influence in our staying together or not. Personally, I would convey that I do not even want credit cards, but rather only debit. This ensures that we will never buy on credit, so that we never buy what we cannot pay for. I have no problem with being frugal; it was the way I was raised. True, many material possessions, such as computers, need to be of top quality for working purposes, but I will mostly want to live a minimalist life, taking only what we need and not necessarily many luxuries. Later on in life, once we have developed true financial stability, material luxuries can be taken, but only after many debts, such as a home mortgage and college debts, are paid off. I want my family to live a life of saving not spending, and if she feels differently we may have a problem, but it can always be worked out by using compromise. I would also want a joint banking account with my wife. This will lead to a clear and transparent financial relationship where I hide nothing from her and she hides nothing from me. Laying down basic rules to live by, such as no credit cards and minimalism in material

possessions, will lead to a more stable and loving relationship, not worrying about frivolous matters such as money, but rather focusing in on the love between the two of us. How dependable is each of us in our work? Quite honestly, the people who I tend to take a liking to be not those who are lazy, procrastinate, and cut corners, but rather those who show integrity and pride in their work, and those who work hard to go the extra mile. The same is what I am looking for in a wife; someone who is not one who always uses the short cut but takes the long route to ensure everything is done properly. If I truly feel that I love and want to marry someone who is a procrastinator or who does cut corners, I would make sure to tell myself that this would be the way it is after the wedding and that marriage will not suddenly change her. I would want to tell my future spouse this, and also communicate that I expect her to accept that the faults I portray now are going to be the faults portrayed after the wedding. The best thing for us to do will be to write down anything we do not like about each other in each other’s work and see if the other can complement this fault; if I do not work well with a certain thing, she may be fine with it, and vice versa. This will ensure that all work in the relationship is completely covered and that we are seen as a very dependable couple, both on others and on each other. Do we like each other’s friends? Often times, our friends can say more about us than what we actually say. With this being said, I have always surrounded myself with friends of similar nature. I have always seen my wife starting as one of my friends, coming from a friendship that eventually leads to an intimate relationship. Therefore, I expect many of my wife’s friends to be many of my own, and I would also expect the two of us to be one unit when it comes to meeting new people. If I do marry someone who’s friend I am not acquainted with, it may become a difficult situation trying to reveal whether I like them or not. If I cannot be comfortable around one of my wife’s friends, the best thing to do is always to communicate with her. Many times, this will simply lead to some type of explanation for the personality this friend possesses and why my wife is friends with this person. If there is friend that I truly do not find is a suit to my wife and that she simply make me uncomfortable, the first thing to do is again to communicate and then most likely to distance both of us from this person. I would tell her that the most important relationship is between each other, and that we have many other friends. If she insists that this person is still one of her very good friends, the best thing for me to do would to accept this person for who they are and embrace them for it. In the same aspect, my wife can talk about whether she likes my friends or not and communicate to me her feeling towards this person. Doing so will again ensure that there is no future conflict or strain from an outside factor like friends, a factor that should not contribute to a couple’s separation.

Do our dreams for creating a life together complement each other? Dreams can be seen as the true hope for the future that one can possess, even though it may seem unrealistic. For my future marriage, my true dream is for a healthy family that all grow up in an intellectually stimulating environment as well as an environment full of life. After all the children have gone off to college, my dream for my wife and I is to travel from one country to another once a year, developing a deeper love with her than ever before. In the end, her dream and my dream will most likely conflict with each other, yet the important thing is to draw from the things in common and compromise on our differences. If our dreams are different at the beginning of our marriage, it is important to discuss whether their dream has changed over time, and whether our two dreams can eventually merge together. While it may be difficult to achieve our dream, especially mine, due to financially difficulties, it makes it better to envision a goal for working hard and creating a life of saving, not spending. Ultimately, if the two of us lose contact with our dreams and with each other’s dreams, there becomes no end game for the marriage; no purpose to work towards. This sometimes results in an unsettling in the marriage, a wondering of where the marriage it going. There can be benefits to the marriage in the making of our dream together; the differences we find can be used as a highlighter for what we have to work on in the marriage. I believe it is important to always keep in touch with our dream as couple because it always gives us something to go out and reach for.