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Amy Winn

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What can we teach our children about marriage, using advice from our successes as well as our failures, to teach them how to be a good mate?

Why is it that with each passing generation of marriages, there is an increasing likelihood of failure? Why is it that our grand-parents and great grand-parents went through wars and the great depression, and stuck together? They had no cable, no interenet….so perhaps it is because they actually spoke to each other. In this “me” world, it seems that newlyweds don’t have patience, understanding, empathy and tolerance. These things are the necessary foundation of a good and long lasting marriage. Where have they gone? So my question to everyone, is how can we change this? What can we teach the next generation from our own experiences, good and bad, that may improve their chances of maintaining a long term happy marriage?

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    Aug 11 2013: I think that people often have a glossed over impression of 'the good old days'. Marriages may not have ended in divorce as often but I think that was more to do with the way society ostracised those people that separated. I don't think relationships were that much better. Considering the way women were treated like chattels not so long ago, it is unlikely many women would have left a marriage even if it was harmful.

    These days, society is more accepting of 'broken' marriages because they are more accepting of the realities of making it work.

    My parents are still together after 40 years of marriage and I think that is amazing. I also think that we need to stop programming young people into believing that marriage is the highest form of relationship. For many people, it is not.

    Staying in an unhappy relationship out of some kind of loyalty to an ideal seems an unnecessary self torture (and probably does not do others much good either).

    Advice to the next generation would be to make sure before you tie the knot. Getting married later in life would help, I think.
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      Aug 11 2013: Scott, What interesting comments. As I mentioned in my question, I was looking for people to comment on good and bad - and you covered so much. To go in with both eyes open is so important. There often seems to be so much more planning of the wedding than the marriage. When the honeymoon is over and the dust settles, you really need to like each other and have the communication tools to make it work. I get the idea from your letter that you have seen exactly that , people going in all excited, without a clue as to what it take to make it work long term. I am happy for your parents, but a little sad that a 40 year marriage has become "amazing" My grandparents were married 64 years and it seemed effortless. Likewise, my marriage very often seems effortless. My husband and I are happy that our son, who just got engaged has completed his education first, earning both an Aud and PhD, and had also lived on his own and dated before even entertaining the idea of marriage. He just turned 30 and knows who he is and feels secure about himself and about the relationship. I agree with you that waiting is a plus. Maturity takes time, and getting to know someone takes time. And finally, like you said, marriage is just not for everyone. Nobody should feel pressure from parents, or even their mate, to enter a marriage. It needs to be entered freely and wholeheartedly. Thanks for the input. Amy
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        Aug 11 2013: Well that is nice but I gotta tell you. I put career first and had children in late 20s early 30s. I totally understand why some people have kids at 18.
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          Aug 11 2013: Linda, I had my son when I was only 19. I kind of think that it was a blessing because I was still young and had lots of energy. Also, my husband and I were only 37 when he went off to college. However, I wish that I had some of the maturity back then that comes with age. On the other hand, if you wait until you are completely prepared financially, emotionally, and with full knowledge of what it takes to be a parent, you may find yourself rather set in your ways, and with a little less energy than you had in earlier years. There are very compelling arguments for both sides, but whether you are 19 or 45 when you bring a child into the world, I think that the same rules apply with regard to unconditional love, patience, tolerance, discipline, and all of the other characteristics that make a good parent. Best of luck with your children.

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