Way back in 1858, a chap called William Farr started to look at the effects of marriage and whether being married was beneficial to your overall wellbeing.
At that time, he determined that being married was the best state in which to live – it led to increased life expectancy, less illness and better temperament. Since then many studies have taken place but it appears that if you are in a happy marriage the benefits go way wider than romantic fulfilment.
Perhaps it is about having someone to share the load, perhaps you feel someone has your back or maybe you make more of an effort in your overall health because you care for another person and visa versa. But the facts show that individuals in that happy (important word there) relationship with a committed partner have lower cases of heart disease, live longer and can fend of illness better than those you aren’t.
Of course, the important word there is happy. back in William’s day marriage was still very much for life and there is no record of whether a difference as found between those that were happy and those that were not. Nowadays times have changed and there is a lot of research on the effects of wellbeing and mental health when a relationship I unhappy or unhealthy. We know now that ongoing periods of stress can have a physical effect on the body and if a relationship is not fulfilling or at worst abusive in any way it has huge impacts on a person’s confidence and sense of wellbeing.
.. But with my Celebrant hat on (rather than my therapist hat on) I am staying in the positive zone for this blog and enjoying the fact that the perks of making a commitment to another person are clearly visible…. and of course, in these modern times marriage it not the only option available – it would be interesting to see if research has the same findings for those that choose to make a public declaration of commitment through ceremony without the legal marriage part. For many people nowadays, this means just as much in terms of their commitment to the relationship and they do not feel the need to be legally binding to put the work in.
But what is being seen is that people do want to make that commitment to each other in some way – declaring their new life and bringing family together.
So what can you do to give your relationship the best start and create a platform from which to build your commitment to each other?
One thing I have learned from marrying second time around and from my work in the therapy room with individuals and couples is the need to really learn about each other. In the early days of the relationship we are caught up in the romance and the physical attraction – heady days in which we don’t spend much time exploring each other’s mental states or needs.
In a while this dies down slightly, and we start to get curious about the other person ... but what do you really know. It’s the details that can make all the difference if you decide you want to be together long term. Previous research has said it takes around a year to really get to know another person – to see how they act in different situations and what pushes their buttons... because it takes time to feel comfortable around someone and truly be yourself.
So here at Be Celebrational work with couples prior to their big day to help them understand each other’s values and beliefs, talk about what is important to each other and lay a foundation on which to build their long-term relationship.
.. What Values are Important to you?
.. How will you work through an argument (because yes you will at some point do this!)
. What are you views on monies in the relationship?
. What about extended family and friends?
.. How you talked about whether children are in the picture?
...If you are a blended family coming together what challenges might be faced and what are the rules of engagement with previous partners and co parents?
So much of this is left to chance and when it rears its head the road to communication is not truly clear. Working through these together will open a whole new path of conversation for you, bringing you closer together and able to focus on the joy of your special day and your life together.
Why not drop me a note and ask about the Celebrant services on offer at Be Celebrational… it seems commitment is so this season now ... join and join in the celebrations.