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6. The Test-Drive Myth (and other myths about marital commitment)

As you think about this myth, consider the difference between couples who have made “conditional commitments” of cohabitation–hoping things will work out, but seeing the whole “living together thing” as an experiment in compatibility; and couples who have made the unconditional commitment of marriage–to stick together and develop the relationship no matter what kind of hard times come up. The first group will second-guess and perhaps give up when stress comes, whereas the second group will find a way to work through the tough times.

This is a particularly troubling myth because it is undermining society at large!

Myth: You wouldn’t buy a car until you had taken a test drive, and it is unwise to make a marriage commitment before you have lived together long enough to know if it will work.
Truth: It is the commitment that will make a marriage work. Real security comes from promising and implementing complete allegiance, not from conditional, tentative try-it-and-see.

Sub-myth 1: Formal commitments don’t matter. We don’t need some license or certificate or ink on paper to be in love and live together.
Truth: Formally married couples have twice as high a chance of being together in ten years than those without the “ink on paper.”
Sub-myth 2: The longer you wait and the older you are when you get married, the better your marriage will be.
Truth: There is no one-size-fits-all or one ideal age for marriage. It’s more about preparation and commitment than it is about how old you are.
Sub-myth 3: The more relationships I have, the more likely I will be to find the right one—the one that will last.
Truth: Several uncommitted relationships will never add up to one committed one.

For more on this Myth:

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