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Before Marriage
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Before getting married, there are a few things that I wish an older, wiser, experienced friend had shared with me. If I had known then what I know now, I very likely would still be single.

1. Family expectations and patterns are strong and passed down from generation to generation. If you want an idea of what stresses (and good things) you can expect, listen to the stories of the other members of the exended family. Family history repeats itself.

2. I was raised to be a pleaser, an enabler. I know that now. I wish I had had time and insight to learn that before getting married, because my desire to enable led to some undesired outcomes. If I'd understood myself better, maybe I could have created a healthier relationship.

3. Bad behavior will get worse, especially under the stresses and strains added when married. I wish I'd known that. A controlling partner would only become more controlling, for instance. Is that what I wanted? People don't change for the better just because they get married.

4. I wish I had paid more attention to existing financial situation, rather than finding out 10 years later. My husband had an IRA that I didn't learn about until I got a letter from the IRS saying that over 70 people have to withdraw a certain amount each year. Huh? What IRA? Makes me wonder, even now, what else I don't know.

Apart from consideration of tax breaks and medical coverage, I'm wondering why people get married at all. Can't we love one another, live together, without marriage? Does the lack of a license make a loving relationship any less real?

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