Why Are Couples So Unprepared For Marriage?

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This past weekend I was discussing marriage with two female friends. One woman was older (her children are college age) and one woman is younger, in her first year of marriage. Interestingly, they had similar points of view on marriage. They felt marriage puts too much pressure on a relationship, and allows you no "out". They opined marriage changes things, but didn't know the reason why. My biggest question is why marriage is such a change if you've been in love for a long time.

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The older friend said she never intends to be married again. In fact, she lives with her boyfriend and her daughters don't call him a stepfather officially. They call him "the man my mom is living with." Sometimes they call him "my mom's ski instructor" which is my personal favorite nickname. The younger said she would probably not have gotten married if he had asked at this point in her life (versus a few months ago).

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries punctuated this conversation by splitting after just 72 days of marriage. What was the point of their marriage (other than making a huge production out of it)? Do you mean to tell me that, 72 days into marriage, two people can't commit enough to work on it?

Why do couples seem caught off guard after they get married? I figured taking time before marriage: dating, living together, learning not to take each other for granted, learning to solve conflict, working together as a team, mimicking marriage as much as possible gradually limits the "shock" after wedding day.

The lack of "marriage practice" must mean that people in committed relationships feel they can leave at any time, cheat, move to another country to pursue a career...until they are married. Maybe marriage wouldn't be so tough if people practiced beforehand, to the point where the ceremony was just a fun formality. Listening to successfully married elders is helpful as well.

Is there a way to prepare for this shock? And what is the shock exactly? Is it the realization that there's no turning back? Is it the realization that you've lost yourself? How can crossing to the other side from committed relationship to marriage pry two people apart?

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/richravens

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