Wis­dom for cou­ples con­sid­er­ing mar­riage

Manteca Bulletin - - Comics - An­nie Lane

Dear An­nie: Wed­ding sea­son is upon us. I have been mar­ried for over 30 years, and I would like to share some wis­dom and hard truths with any prospec­tive brides or grooms.

The man or woman you are mar­ry­ing will not change. Many things are hard-wired by the time we are in our late teens. To avoid a life­time of re­gret and dis­ap­point­ment, please pay at­ten­tion to the warn­ing signs and your gut in­stincts.

When we are young, we be­gin with hope and en­thu­si­asm. These are good traits, but they can also blind us to re­al­ity. Take your time en­ter­ing into this com­mit­ment. When dif­fer­ing at­ti­tudes arise on oc­ca­sion, it’s a chance to see what your fu­ture would look like with this per­son.

No amount of love or sac­ri­fice can change a per­son. Please take my word for it.

If your prospec­tive hus­band does not be­lieve in call­ing when he is out late, you will spend many nights ly­ing awake, won­der­ing where he is and wor­ry­ing. If your prospec­tive wife does not cook or clean and has no in­ter­est in do­ing so, you won’t have many home-cooked meals or a tidy home.

I have spent most of my life try­ing to adapt to the mar­riage I am in. This is my fault. I don’t blame any­one but my­self. I wish the 57-year-old me could talk to the 24-year-old me and tell me how it is. If I could have seen into my fu­ture, I might well have been much hap­pier.

Now I find my­self ab­so­lutely bro­ken­hearted -- de­feated, ashamed, lonely. My bad. The signs were there. I ig­nored them. I can’t be­lieve I am al­most 60 and un­hap­pier than I can ever re­mem­ber be­ing.

I have re­signed my­self to this life. There are too many lit­tle ones who rely on me for se­cu­rity. To di­vorce this man would wreck our fam­ily. And be­cause he shows a com­pletely dif­fer­ent per­son to the rest of the world, no one would sup­port me. To leave this mar­riage at this stage is not an op­tion. I have lost the will to even stand my ground.

If you are con­sid­er­ing get­ting mar­ried and have a lit­tle nag­ging voice that is try­ing its best to be heard, lis­ten. Please. I have learned to be my own best friend and get through each day. And that, peo­ple, is no way to live. -- Do­ing a Life Sen­tence With No Pa­role

Dear Do­ing a Life Sen­tence: I whole­heart­edly agree with your ad­vice to heed in­tu­ition and think care­fully be­fore en­ter­ing a mar­riage. And you’re right that no one should ex­pect mar­riage to change or “fix” a per­son. But I have to ask you to please con­sider not re­sign­ing your­self to such un­hap­pi­ness for the rest of your life. Just think: The 77-yearold you might write an­other let­ter, wish­ing the 57-year-old you had made a change. You still have decades ahead of you. They could be the hap­pi­est years of your life.

If you feel trapped in the mar­riage be­cause of fi­nan­cial de­pen­dency, con­sult a lawyer and look into your op­tions. There may be more there than you think. If your hus­band is abus­ing you phys­i­cally or ver­bally, call The Na­tional Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Hot­line at 800-799-7233 for fur­ther guid­ance or just some­one to talk to.

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