While you’re taking an honest look at your relationship, take an honest look at this. How long are you planning for it to last? When most people let a partner into their life they assume it’s for life. One of the best things about love relationships can be their longevity. You’re sick of the whole dating scene and want to be done with it, forever.
There are other arrangements, however. There are summertime romances, the fling you had when you were away in Europe, the one-night stand, the hook-up at the conference. But it’s not just the kids with their promiscuous ways. There are plenty of middle-aged couples who have a tacit agreement to stay together until their children are grown. There are couples on a five-year plan. Some are together until someone better comes along. There are all kinds of relationships. It’s only the usual ones that come out of hiding and meet the parents.
I once heard from a very practical person, who thought everyone should marry three times in a lifetime. The first, at age twenty, to a forty-year-old, to get started and be maturely guided during a foolish time of life. The second at age forty to a twenty-year-old to add some excitement, feel young, and provide spouses for those twenty-year-olds. The third at age sixty to another sixty year old, for the companionship as they grow old together. You might be the very people to try this and start a new trend. Future generations may thank you if you did. But, what do I know? Something like this has never been tried.
You may not be that person. You may truly intend to mate for life. If so, why? Is it because of what you want, or is it what you think you are supposed to want? Please understand, I am not necessarily advocating the end of marriage as a lifetime commitment. After all, I believe serious relationships are eternal. I am advocating that people get honest about what they expect from one another and alter the terms and conditions of their relationship to fit their realities.
Even when a relationship is meant to be lifelong, what would it be like if the terms and conditions had to be renewed every year or two, as are many leases? I intend to remain in my present office, renting from my present landlord, until I retire; and I don’t plan to retire. Nonetheless, the lease is renewed every year. This gives the landlord and me an opportunity to take a look at the terms and conditions and make adjustments, if needed.
What if you did the same in your marriage and rewrote and renewed your vows every year on your anniversary? You may very well, for one reason or another, at some time, decide not to renew your commitment. But there might be less broken china, broken noses, and injured feelings. There may be more newly-re-wed bliss. You just might be more happy.
I am a licensed mental health counselor and certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor in private practice with more than 30 years experience.
What I'm working on now:
I'm writing a self help book, titled, The Road to Reconciliation.
I recently published a self help book, Constructive Conflict: Building Something Good Out of All Those Arguments.
Experimenting with new ideas and characters in fiction under the pen name, S Harry Zade, in the blog, thenarrativeimperative.com
A busy mental health counseling practice in Rochester, NY: Keith Wilson - Counseling.
Writing about mental health and relationships at keithwilsoncounseling.com.
Taking photographs and sharing them at keithwilsonphotography.wordpress.com
Other Books I've Written
Two novels: Intersections and Fate's Janitors: Mopping Up Madness at a Mental Health Clinic