Last Monday my wife and I celebrated our 34th Wedding Anniversary. There are many couples that have been married much longer than we have. However, there are also many marriages that have not lasted more than a few years or in some Hollywood marriages only months.

Why do some marriages succeed while others are destined for divorce court?

The Marriage Fear

There are some people who are fearful of marriage. Living together is fine for some, but once the “I do’s” are exchanged they feel trapped.

As far as marital advice goes that should be the biggest red flag of all to run in the opposite direction and never look back. That person is definitely not for you. After marriage that relationship will only get worse not better.

Anyone who says they don’t need a piece of paper is not someone you’ll want to spend one more day with. They already have one eye on the exit.

The Pecking Order Changes When You Marry

From high school to your wedding day there are a string of past relationships, broken hearts, and some probably some bad blood from a few past loves.

But you’ve finally found that special someone and are ready to commit to your life partner in Holy Matrimony or civil ceremony. This can be problematic.

What if your family is unhappy with your decision? Then what do you do? It’s this single decision in my opinion that marriages fail before they ever start.

The Commitment

What does that even mean?

It means that when you marry you place your life partner ahead of everyone else in your life — No exceptions. Mom and dad, brothers and sisters all move to second place in the pecking order. No one — and I mean no one — comes between you and your chosen partner in life.

Mom and your significant other are hanging off a cliff and you can only save one, you save your life partner. Sorry, Mom.

That’s Why Those Vows Are Important

I’m sorry to tell you that living together and exchanging daily "I love you's" is not a commitment. It’s barely an agreement. At best it’s a roommate situation.

Without those vows you’re no different than all the relationships you had before this one. There’s no real commitment, because there are no consequences if one decides to walk out the front door.

Without a legal commitment, that person is free to hook up with anyone else with no problem and no consequences.

If you really take your vows seriously, as an unbreakable bond, then you really have something — not a pie in the sky imaginary undying-love-for-all-eternity, half-assed, fingers-crossed promise.

Some Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, marriage is becoming passé in the eyes of many younger people and that a very sad thing.

Without marriage, what’s to keep you there if the going gets rough? There have been a few years that there was nothing under our Christmas tree. We had some tough times together during our 34 years together. But we never once considered calling it quits.

The only reason we even had a tree was we bought an artificial one when times were better. Why put it up? Why not skip Christmas you ask? Why keep a bad memory?

Because it’s a reminder that even though there was nothing under the tree, we still gave each other the greatest gift anyone can give another person — each other.

From this day forward, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. We have the 34 years and the piece of paper to prove it.

We’re heading for 50. Comments below