THE SOCIAL ASPECTS OF MARRIAGE
There are certain aspects of marriage that I'd like to call the "social" ones. Such aspects are not necessarily related to money, or the actual bringing up of children, although these are implicated indirectly.
It is very important that the partners have a clear understanding of certain habits, likes and dislikes, and see that they fit into the general structure of the family circle.
It is essential that you talk these matters over in depth well before marriage. Of course, for those who are already in the wedded state, this is simply not possible. Just the same, it never does any harm to air views, express opinions, and arrive at decisions. It gives everything a clearer concept in the minds of the contracting parties.
There are many sub-topics under the very broad classification of marital social factors.
First and foremost, of course is a brief consideration as to how you came to be acquainted. Probably it was on some social function. This is the usual way in which boy-meets-girl. It may have been at work, when travelling to and from work, at church, at a church social function or work or club event. Or it may have been at the home of a friend, or at a sporting fixture. Meeting while on holidays is a popular one. I've seen couples meet on pleasure cruises, and make very stable, happy lives, despite what most would think to the contrary.
This all brings me to the next part. How do you each measure up to the social interests, customs and habits of your partner? These are extremely important considerations, which should be talked over in your serious premarital discussions. One thing, however, is quite certain. Whatever you are like before marriage, you are destined to remain that way after the wedding knot has been tied.
Are you happy with the interests of your partner? Do you like the type of friends he/she has? Are they the sort of people you would be happy to associate with for many years? Does he do the kind of things that you feel you could put up with for the next fifty years?
It's very important to make a decision on these things, for they will play a major part in your future.
Is your partner sport-mad? Does he want to jump in the car at every opportunity and race off to the surf, cricket, football, tennis? Does he prefer active participation sports where he is involved bodily? Or is he more keen on sitting and watching others play?
Is he race-mad? Does he like rushing off to the races each week-end or to the dogs every Friday night? (Where I say he I also mean she, for this applies with equal significance to both parties.)
Does he love parties? Are his friends loud-mouthed, bawdy, rude, uncultured and uncouth? Or are they pompous, over-refined, egotistical bores?
What is his attitude to alcohol? Does he regularly ''get on the grog'' and go on a bender every Friday night? Is his week-end usually a lost one, spent in drinking till he passes out cold? Or is he merely a moderate social drinker, having a few glasses with the boys after work each night? Or is he a total abstainer?
Once more, it is essential that you know, for these factors may have deep-seated repercussions for you both later on.
What about his smoking habits? Does he smoke at all? These days with increasing medical evidence indicting cigarette smoking as not only an anti-social custom but a definite health hazard and one of the prime causes of premature heart disease and lung disability, anybody who still smokes at all (worse still, heavily) is extremely unwise. What about your partner? What is his attitude to cigarettes?
"They haven't proved a thing. I enjoy my cigarettes. See, nothing wrong with it, and all this talk about making it illegal on public transport (in theatres, restaurants, whatever) is ridiculous." Are these the reactions and complaints you hear from him (or her)?
The point I wish to make is that there are many aspects of everyday living that will affect a person, as well as the person to whom he is married for the rest of life. It is important that these conditions are accepted—and willingly so.
If you are happy for your husband to whizz off to some sport as a regular on-going incident every week-end, that's fine. You may enjoy it, too, and go along.
If you both have similar attitudes about cigarette smoking (but I hope neither of you smoke), that's all right too, if this is what you desire.
Alcohol, whether it be at the social or high-pressure level, is a personal matter. There are numerous points against alcoholic consumption, such as the risk also of premature and more probable cardiac disease, but if you both have the same attitude toward it, that also is a personal matter.
However, over the years I have seen so many marriages come unstuck simply because the partners do not agree with their respective "social standards."
It is incredible how many women will happily marry a man, and then set about to try to change him. It is not funny; it is pathetic. We have all witnessed this tragedy.
"Everything is fine," you hear a starry-eyed fiancée say. "Jim is really a good guy deep down. When we get married, I'll straighten him out. He'll see his mistakes, and soon change."
Heard words like those before? Probably not in such a stupid form, but in principle. We have all heard them, or at least have seen the sentiments in operation.