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The Man's View

FOR all those people terrified of commitment, I have news: your relationship will not be changed by marriage.

If, like most Irish couples, you've been together for some time, possibly even living together and not, for example, matched with a wealthy friend of your father's as part of a complicated land deal, your partner will not be transformed by having a nice day out.

Now, some people (stereotypically women) think marriage will improve the relationship and some people (stereotypically men) fear it will make things worse. It will do neither.

It will be the same relationship ... albeit with extra commitment. So if a strapping young buck fears his forthcoming nuptials he should maybe look to the relationship rather than the wedding and query whether he has anything in common with his fiancee.

Despite all the television programmes, books and films telling us marriage involves different species cohabiting, men and women aren't really that different.

And if a man and woman do get married, it would be helpful if they shared some hobbies (like, for example, nights out with their friends).

This can be a big issue for men who pride themselves on being really blokey and women who pride themselves on being really girlie, who marry each other in a bizarre opposites-attract breeding experiment then find that they have nothing in common.

(To be happy, blokey men should probably marry blokey women and girlie girls should marry girlie men). Luckily, most people's imperfect marriages aren't so extreme and they can negotiate their chores, nights out and emotional needs.

If a man really wants to be down the pub every night, he should be a grown-up and marry someone who's okay with that (there are plenty of female party animals out there), not keep quiet about his plans for post- nuptial drunkenness and then complain about the ball-and-chain afterwards (unless she fits him with an actual ball-and-chain -- that could be a problem). And for a woman who laments that he is not the man she married -- he is. He is the man you married. Sorry.

(This was meant to be a "man's view" response to Jennifer, but it turns out that I totally agree with her).