Is this the person you should marry?

by Rod Smith

If you are in love and feel you have met the person you want to marry, it would be wise to ask a few questions:

Does your relationship have the necessary ingredients required for permanence?

Are you courageous enough to ask if you will become a divorce statistic?

It takes courage to look at these kinds of issues when you are planning marriage. It seems disloyal or negative and most engaged couples avoid asking such questions. If your relationship cannot withstand the pressure of asking several penetrating questions it is unlikely it will survive the rigors of marriage, of childrearing, the long-term management of assets and finances and all else that is entailed in establishing and enduring stable family.

When you have gone to the expense of wedding preparations, it is very difficult to face family, friends and the future, and also express any doubts about your decision to marry. It is easier to get carried away by the love and the excitement that escalates around weddings, to believe that love will be enough to carry the day and be sufficient to make possible, a lifetime of shared happiness. Keep in mind that love really is blind.

Please consider some of the following:

1. Unless there is a very unusual agenda, like immigration possibilities, every couple thinks and feels “in love” when planning a wedding. Couples that have endured bitter divorces, at one time, said they were “in love.” Love, alone, will not sustain a marriage.

2. If, within this relationship, you have had ever to engage in sex, or a sexual activity you did not want, then this is not a good sign at all. No person should ever be expected, at any time, to engage in any sexual activities that they, themselves, do not welcome and want. If you ever have sex you do not want for the sake of the other person it is a signal that all is not well within the relationship.

3. Family history (for both families) over the last three or four generations will wield a more a powerful influence over your marriage than you might be willing to admit. Family history seldom remains silent. If your prospective spouse has gaps in his or her history with a “keep out” sign warning you from trying to better know his or her history better, these are matters for deep concern. Like it or not, sharing a future will involve sharing the past.

4. What you do know about each other is helpful and useful. What you do not know is probably more powerful, likely to have a greater impact upon your marriage. It is not what we do tell each other but rather what we do not tell each other that can powerfully to modify people’s futures. What we keep secret fashions our lives more than what we make known. This said, it is also important to understand that not everything has to be told.

5. While love, and feelings of love are very important, the skills of negotiation, the ability to be kind and honest, the capacity to stand on one’s own two feet, are probably more useful in maintaining a successful marriage.

6. Planning for marriage and designing a wedding is enough to make people “not themselves.”

7. It takes many years to fall (I love that word – giving the suggestion that meeting someone and finding love is something that happens to a person and is totally beyond their power to control) in love, and the love you feel for your spouse-to-be will be very different from what you will feel in the future.

8. Count the number of marriages and remarriages on both sides of each family (include aunts, uncles, step, half and every combination). Total the number of divorces within the same group of people. If the number of divorces total one third of the marriages, this is a red flag worthy of note.

9. If it is difficult to engage your prospective wife or husband in an adult manner about any one of the following: finances, sex, children, time apart, time with friends, extended family, alcohol, faith, further education, issues of race and politics, then you might find marriage to each other difficult.

10. If it feels as if one person is doing all the work (in any area of your relationship) you have cause for concern.

11. If you have felt pushed (against you will) by your prospective spouse into saying things you do not believe, doing things you’d rather not do and siding with him or her when you’d rather not, then it is likely that you have agreed to a degree of control that will not always sit well with you. Such control will only increase after the wedding. Many prospective brides and grooms think a partner is controlling before the wedding because they do not yet have the “security” of the marriage. If she is controlling before the wedding it will only increase over time. A marriage certificate will not remove anyone’s feelings of insecurity.

12. If the wedding preparations had not gone as far as they have you’d call the wedding off. If getting married (the wedding day) has gotten more attention than being married (the next 50 years), this is cause for concern.

13. One or both of you has had a previous marriage and one or both of you cannot be civil to the former spouse.

14. If your future spouse is not paying child support or behaving in an honorable manner toward his or her children this is cause for deep concern. If a person doesn’t care for the children he or she already has he or she is as unlikely to be honorable to children yet born.

15. People whom you know well, and who have loved you well for many years, have tried to talk you out of getting married to this person.

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