June is perhaps the best time for love.
The sixth month of the Julian calendar traditionally is recognized as the premier period for couples to celebratetheir wedding nuptials.
And strong marriages come from couples who are willing to risk falling in love, willing to risk facing their disappointments and willing to resolve conflicts.
But somewhere in the back of couples’ minds, during all of their June wedding preparations, they’ve probably been wondering how to keep the passion, excitement, and attraction alive in their relationship after the honeymoon is over.
According to some Internet sources and counseling services, there are several ways to deepen the passion and keep the relationship thriving and flourishing after the honeymoon is over:
Communicate what is important to you—both in your relationship and your life; understand, embrace, and learn from your differences; listen with an open heart and not judge, appreciating each other’s gifts; don’t bring up old relationships, be a friend to each other, helping to heal emotional wounds; don’t run away when things get tough; practice using loving words instead of critical ones, and express your gratitude for that person being in your world.
After all, nobody said that married life is easy. Some would even say it is the toughest human arrangement ever conceived.
That’s probably why some say that the institution of marriage in the United States is in serious trouble becausematrimony has steadily declined in strength over past decades.
And for this reason, some demographers now predict that many young Americans in the future will never marry.
As marriage seemingly has faltered in recent decades, rates of divorce, cohabitation and bearing children out of wedlock have soared to record high levels.
While almost 90 percent of children were born to married parents in 1970, the number was less than 60 percent last year.
Among adults between ages 20 and 54, nearly 80 percent were married in 1970, compared with less than 60 percent a decade ago.
To be sure, marriage in America largely has gone from bad to worse in recent years, with fewer couples marrying and fewer still saying their lives together are wedded bliss.
In the early 1970s, for instance, some 50 percent of people in their first marriages reported they were “very happy,” according to researchers David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, authors of the National Marriage Project’s “State of Our Unions.”
By the mid-1990s, however, the number of “very happy” couples had fallen to about 38 percent; in 2010 the figure was 35 percent. In addition, researchers report that marriages typically fail because couples are devastated when their expectations are not met, or when mounting tensions threaten their emotional bliss.
Everyone who has the courage to fall in love hopes for the perfect partner, and during the honeymoon phase we are willing to forgive a temporary lapse in our loved one. But later on, into the matrimonial contract, couples may soon realize that some of these lapses are not temporary, and the recognition could awaken fears that they might not have secured the perfect, reliable, and endless love necessary to meet their expectations.
In other words, is he ready to see his wife in the morning without her makeup? Is she ready to deal with his snoring? Is he ready to deal with her “high maintenance” clothing, toilet articles, cosmetics, and dieting habits?
Even so, the honeymoon is a wonderful time during the relationship when we try to present our best selves to new lovers whom we tend to idealize and who idealize us.
Serious conflicts and disagreements generally are to be avoided. This is an important time for emotional bonding, for forging deeper relations and it typically lasts for about six months, although it could last much longer.
And even if couples find the honeymoon stage of their relationship inevitably coming to an end, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A new chapter offers a chance to grow in other ways, presenting opportunities for increased intimacy through family ties and home-making experiences.
Perhaps the key is to create a respect for him/her and celebrate each other’s differences—after all, differences are what attract us in the first place.
Marriage, for brides at least, has evolved over the centuries from force or capture to marriage by purchase or contract, and from there to marriage for mutual love.
In ancient times it wasn’t unusual for a tribe, in the throes of conquering and pillaging a rival tribe, to engage in a little rudimentary (and forceful) match making when a would-be groom, with the help of his “best man,” literally kidnapped the woman he desired to marry and carried her off, kicking and screaming.
In fact, the origin of the custom of a groom lovingly carrying his bride over the threshold is said to derive from tribal grooms hauling shrieking brides into their tribal homes.
Next came the (somewhat) more civilized marriage by purchase or contract—possibly as a hedge against the rival tribe waging war in retaliation for the stealing away of their women.
First in a marriage by purchase an exchange would be made.
The bridegroom would convey assets such as livestock, land (or even his own sister) to the family, and once the goodies were accepted, the bride, who was seen as property, was now…well, bought.
In the case of written contracts, the bride’s father and the bridegroom drew up a contract outlining the terms of the deal.
After the terms of the contract were deemed agreeable to both parties, the bride (who had no say at all in the matter) was passed along to the groom for the agreed-upon price.
But if the bride was lucky some of the purchase price was earmarked for her security should the husband die early, leaving her a widow.
In the meantime, we have come a long way from marriage by capture to reach the third stage: marriage for mutual love.
This phrase evolved gradually, and it wasn’t until the 10 century that women were (sometime) allowed to decide for themselves whether they’d accept or reject a man’s proposal of marriage.
As they say, all’s well that ends well. Marriage for love is the norm for most people these days, at least in Europe and the Americas, and that’s a good thing.
And as philosopher Bertrand Russel (1872-1970) pointed out: “Those who have not known the days of intimacy and intense companionship of happy mutual love have missed the best thing that life has to give.”
Top o’ the morning!