'Why do weddings succeed, but marriages fail?' - 7 things you need to know before you say 'I do'

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What you need to know before you say 'I do'.
What you need to know before you say 'I do'.
Photo: Giuseppe Cammarata / EyeEm/Getty Images
  • Marriage therapist Lehlohonolo Mazindo asks: "Why do weddings succeed, but marriages fail?"
  • He shares seven things you need to know before you say, "I do." 
  • Marriage does not solve relationship problems. "Maybe if we get married, things will be better" is one of the biggest lies people tell themselves.

Getting married is not about the wedding day but about two people spending the rest of their lives together and accepting each other's flaws. Transitioning from being in a relationship to being in a marriage can be challenging, especially when a couple doesn't understand what marriage entails.

Marriage therapist Lehlohonolo Mazindo asks: "Why do weddings succeed, but marriages fail?"

"Because we spend more time preparing for the wedding than we do preparing for the marriage. We fall in love more with the wedding idea than we do with the reality of the marriage. Weddings are for all, but marriage is for two. It has become far too easy to feed hundreds of people with food at the wedding than to feed one person's heart with love in the marriage. We enjoy the attention of the crowds at the wedding, but we struggle to pay attention to one person in the marriage."

READ MORE | Couple waits until marriage to have their first kiss: 'This standard of purity is possible'

Here are 7 things you need to know before you say, "I do," according to Lehlohonolo

1. Marriage does not solve relationship problems

"Maybe if we get married, things will be better," is one of the biggest lies people tell themselves. They will not stop cheating or being abusive once they get married, or the disrespect will not stop.

Getting married does not solve relationship problems. It only makes them permanent. Not every relationship should lead to marriage. After all, it's much easier to dump a boyfriend than to divorce a husband.

2. Marriage ages in minutes, but it grows in moments

We fall in love by instinct, but we stay in love by intention. If you are not intentional about getting closer to each other as a couple, you will instinctively drift apart from each other. Marriage is not about counting the minutes. It's about making each minute count.

People brag about how long they have been married, but if you ask them, they can't remember when last they were happy in their marriages. Successful couples spend less time counting minutes and more time creating moments that make the minutes count. Remember, tomorrow's memories are today's actions. Use every minute of your marriage to make good memories.

3. The adult in you can't succeed in marriage if the child in you is still bleeding

Often, many of the problems in marriages are not marriage problems but childhood problems. Sometimes husbands hate their wives for what their stepmothers did to them when they were children, or wives resent their husbands for what their uncles did to them when they were little girls.

There are times when couples' marriage problems date back to when their parents thought they were too young to understand certain things. Their parents ignorantly did things in their presence that traumatised them and adversely shaped their perception of love and marriage. If you don't heal the broken child in you, the adult in you will have to deal with a broken marriage.

What has made your marriage work? Tell us about it here.

READ MORE | Married to a serial cheater? Psychotherapist reveals 5 types of unfaithful partners

4. Be willing to change, but never lose yourself in the process

They say marriage is about giving up '"me" for " we" but, in all honesty, you don't have to give up yourself for the marriage because, in reality, there's no "we" without "me".

Once you lose yourself trying to find the person you love, you might end up losing the person that the person you love fell in love with. If you have to walk out on yourself to enter the marriage, maybe that's not the marriage you should be walking into in the first place. No marriage is worth losing yourself for.

5. The only person you can control in the marriage is you

One of the things that makes marriages fail is the illusion of control. We think we are responsible for controlling what our partners should think, feel, say and do. You can influence your partner, but you can't control them, because the only person you can control in the marriage is you.

You can never control their actions, but you can always control your actions and reactions. The underrated secret to a successful marriage is your ability and willingness to work more on yourself than you do on your spouse. If you always complain about your partner's inability to change, maybe, just maybe, the person who needs to change is you.

READ MORE | 'Our marriage sabbatical will contribute to our deep love' - Couple on taking a 'break' after 7 years

6. Never avoid conflict or confrontation

Many marriages fail, not because couples fight too much, but because they don't fight enough. They rather sweep things under the carpet for the sake of peace. Every time you avoid today's fight, you are investing it into tomorrow, and it will come back with compound interest when you least expect it. Never pursue immediate peace at the expense of your relationship's future. Sometimes as a couple, you need to fight for your peace.

7. Get over your ex before you move on to your next

Many marriages also fail because people tend to project their hatred for their exes on to their current partners. Believe it or not, if you don't take time to heal from your ex, you might end up bleeding on your next; and in that way, you will be turning your next into another ex.

Lehlohonolo Mazindo is a HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa) Registered Counsellor, Marriage Therapist, and Mental Health Practitioner in Private Practice since the year 2006. He has 16 years' experience in the psychology, counselling and psychotherapy profession.

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