It was published in 1968, and was presumably bought for when my mum or my aunty got married. I don’t know if they ever got given it or were made to read it, but seeing as Mr TOPP and I tie the not eleven weeks tomorrow (EEEEEEEEP!!!) I figured I might read up and get some advice.
Marriages are made
Marriages are made in Heaven – so the poet says. And this may, indeed be true. But even the most ideally suited couple, no matter how head-over heels in love they may be to start with, have no earthly chance of keeping their marriage heavenly – unless they are prepared to work at it.
Lets take for example, one perfectly ordinary young couple. A young man and a young woman. They meet, fall in love, marry and sincerely intend to live together happily ever after.
But as we all know, it isn’t that simple. Marriages in Heaven just don’t stay that way, unless both husband and wife start planning to make their marriage a complete success, right from the beginning. There’s a lot to agree about and plenty of decisions to be made.
Oh crikey, really?
It starts with where to live – country, town or suburb? This question is generally settled by which is nearest and most easily accessible to the husband’s place of work. After all it’s not much fun owning a mansion in the depths of the country when the man has to travel 50 miles to work in the centre of a busy town!
But I’d own a MANSION! And presumably a nice car. I’d make it work. Still, as it happens, we chose to live a mile away from his work and 13 miles away from mine. And we don’t own a mansion.
What kind of home to make together? Eventually, our young couple may perhaps own that mansion in the country. But it’s much more probable that to start with they will have to choose between a bed-sitting room, rented flat or mortgaged house.
What to eat for breakfast? A woman who starts her day on black coffee and a cigarette is asking for trouble if she marries a man who regularly breakfasts on porridge and kippers – unless she loves her man enough to cook the porridge and fish.
I used to be a black coffee and cigarette kinda gal, but now it’s just the coffee. And as much as I love Mr TOPP I’m pretty certain I would never cook him kippers. Porridge, yes. Just not on a work day because I have no time.
How to spend their leisure-time together? Many a domestic crisis has arisen over such choices as Beethoven or Brubeck on the record player, or Wrestling versus the Western on television.
The only time we argue about music is when the kids want their crap on in the car. We have developed a playlist for singalong car songs that EVERYONE can enjoy. As for choosing what to watch on tv – Mr TOPP know full well I’ll fall asleep half way through whatever we put on so he may as well choose.
Marriage is the greatest “togetherness” of all time and it is vitally important that decisions such as these – even the seemingly simple ones – should be made and known before the wedding, It just isn’t realistic to pretend that two adult people, no matter how great their love for each other, will agree on every single thing on every single occasion – and how dull they and their marriage would be if they did! But give-and-take forms a much larger part of marriage than any other human relationship and healthy compromise is a firm foundation to build one on.
I am almost, entirelysure thatwe have decided where we want to live before we get married. Think we’ve pretty much made a decision about kids too…
A good definition of a happy marriage is possibly this – a man and a woman who try to please each other as often as possible. This isn’t easy. But then, nothing worth really worth achieving ever is.
Yup, that’s true. We’ve been working at it for nearly twenty years. We must be doing something right.