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Miley Cyrus Tries to Figure Out Marriage

As I read it in the second-hand press, Miley Cyrus is pretty sure she'll be with Liam Hemsworth for a long time. I definitely hope so. But I don't buy her reasoning.

Her interview in Marie Claire is being widely quoted before it hits the newsstands. In it, she talks about her recent engagement to the man with whom she shares the house and bedroom her parents recently moved out of.

She says, "Life is too short not to be with the person you want to be with. I don't really care about the wedding or the piece of paper as much as I do the promise we've made to each other. And we want to have a long engagement."

So many couples wander backwards into marriage, and here are a couple of young role models showing how it's done. Live together, then make the promise, then take a long time with the engagement.

When you do it backwards, the engagement, short or long, does not give you any time to get to know the character of the person before making a promise to them. You run the risk of being forced to choose between the integrity behind your promises and the freedom to choose again.

When you share a home together before you make the promise, especially at 19 and 22, you run a real risk of becoming parents of children who sense very early that you two chose each other with no concern for their long-term security and trust.

Miley adds, "Liam and I have a really good relationship... neither of us is super-jealous. We know each other and would never do anything to hurt each other."

Dear reader, know this if you haven't yet discovered it: You will do things to hurt each other, even though you adore each other. You will also sometimes be super-jealous of the time or attention your partner gives other people. Don't make the mistake of assuming there is something wrong with your relationship when it happens. If you want a really good relationship, learn how to handle those times and feel close again.

And if you want an even better relationship, never, ever delude yourself into thinking you know each other. People are always changing. What your partner believes is changing. What you're capable of understanding is changing. And getting to know each other, over and over and over, marks the sort of relationship that will sustain you and delight you through decades of marriage.

I wish Miley and Liam--and you--many wonderful years of marriage.

Comments

Great post here Patty, ain't the truth. The part about changing constantly and also unwittingly hurting the other is a gem.

Brava! That is fantastic advice. Most of us don't even know ourselves. How can someone else know us?

Becoming better known is a delight. Actually becoming known, if it were possible, would be dull as roof nails. No?

I *do* agree that living together before marriage, and seeing how you interact in your daily lives (rather than on dates and sleepovers) is important. However, I've met people with different levels of maturity at different ages.

I don't think a couple should become engaged until they are ready to be married - because engagement means that you are, yes, going to be married. As odd as it may sound, when my husband proposed, I imagined myself being his wife the very next day. If I couldn't be his wife then, why should I SAY that I could?

To make an odd example: should a person buy a new car, but let it sit in the driveway for 3 years because they don't feel ready for a car?

Robin, that is an excellent point about not getting engaged until you are sure you want to be married to the man. When you thought about being his wife the next day, what parts of your life or relationship did you picture changing?

@Patty - I actually didn't predict any particular changes. What I mean is that I was grateful for what we had before marriage and was open to going through changes together. I fell in love with the man I had. A lot of women, sadly, seem to think they can shape a man into their customized fantasy version of him. They don't love the true person at all, they love the man who they want him to be.

Mighty helpful advice about learning how to handle the inevitable hurtful times in order to feel close again, instead of assuming something is wrong with the relationship. After three decades of marriage, I am only recently discovering how much change actually takes place. I don't really know my partner or myself, for that matter. Due to my husband's preference to keep the status quo, I surreptitiously work on the two of us getting to know each other again. I hope my efforts lead to the delightful relationship you mention in your post. Your writings and teleclasses are much appreciated during this process.

Remember when you were dating and did not know this man? Approach it the way you did then, as opportunity instead of crisis. A lot of what looks to us women as an effort to keep the status quo is actually a perfectly normal male effort to avoid being criticized or even judged. It's really tough to want to be known (as we all do) but to fear being found not good enough.

So true, Robin. And so foolish. I suspect the people we'd create if we actually could shape them or choose them off a menu would bore us silly within the first year.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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