It seems that being married and being part of a loving, supportive family is a key ingredient in the secret of being happy.  So, Big Decision.  Best to get it right.

One problem is that being in love is almost a form of temporary madness – are you really equipped to make a decision about marriage when you’re in love?  At the other end of the spectrum some societies have arranged marriages in which elders select two young people as being compatible – and, strange to westerners who have grown up with Hollywood romance as their model, this seems to work.

A great piece of dialogue from a James Stewart (JS) western.  Young man (YM) comes to ask JS for his daughter’s hand.  JS: “Well son, do you like her?”.  YM: “Like her?  I love her sir”.  JS: “I know you love her son, but do you like her?”

Being in love is wonderful.  But that frenzied need to be with the beloved all the time doesn’t last.  But it turns into a comfortable slipper kind of feeling where you just know you’re loved, that your partner cares for you more than anything.  But you can find time for separate chores.

And, as people are now marrying later than they were in earlier generations, it is quite likely that people will have been IN love several times before they meet the one who is the right marriage partner.  So the intensity might be less than Rock Hudson and Doris Day but that doesn’t mean anything for the potential for a good marriage.

So, ask yourselves some level-headed questions about whether you are likely to make it through to the comfortable, liking each other stage.  Do you both have the same views on children – how many, how they should be brought up?  And about money, particularly spending and saving.  And about each other’s parents.  You’re unlikely to be able to tick all the boxes but don’t neglect the most important one – do you both share a commitment to making it work?  It is known that children of divorced parents are more likely to divorce themselves.  When you hit a rocky patch, when you are maybe throwing furniture around, are you both nonetheless determined to work it out and remain married?

Children are, of course, a fundamental aspect of marriage.  Is it fair on a child, who had no say in the question of being brought into this world, to deprive them of a loving and caring mother and father?  It’s not unreasonable to suggest that if you are not in a stable marriage, best not to have children.