Emily: How does marriage change an existing relationship?

Hi Emily,

The short answer is yes, your relationship will change!  It will change in many ways for the better and one central component, commitment, will make it all work better. Commitment brings trust and security and fosters beauty.  Additionally, it is often the one ingredient which will counteract betrayal. Think about this: over the years you will likely betray your partner, for example, by being disinterested in his concerns or by losing interest in being sexual. Of course, your partner will also almost assuredly betray your trust as well in one of the twelve non-sexual ways we betray the trust of our partner. 

Commitment is not solely the ring or the ceremony, commitment has greater meaning. Marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman states: "A committed relationship is a contract of mutual trust, mutual respect, mutual protection, and mutual nurturance." Commitment helps us to love even the worst parts of our partner.

This is one reason the Church insists on a thorough marriage preparation program. Potential partners must solidly decide if they, together, will commit to the values which will carry them through the trials which will certainly come in your many years together. Research (and common sense) shows that relationships without commitment will fail more easily in the face of the trials you will have over the years.

Emily, there are certainly other ways relationships change after marriage, most of them for the better, but commitment, coupled with trust is the foundation of every good marriage.  
Your question is a good one and I want to be certain I addressed your concern. Is there some other specific area you are wondering about?

Ron Kaufmann, MA, CO LPC #11336, EMDR Clinician
National Certified Counselor #267299
AASAT Certified Sexual Recovery Therapist
Recovering Hearts Counseling

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