Choosing the Right One: 16 Questions to ask yourself before you marry
By David Sunshine
Other Points to Consider
Here are some other questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to marry someone:
Opinion of Others
Question #9: What do other people say about the person?
When youíre in a relationship, itís easy to be blinded by love and physical attraction and to overlook negative aspects of your partnerís personality that others can see readily. So if people donít think highly of the person youíre dating, consider their opinions carefully.
On the other hand, if others think your mate is a great choice, donít rely on that, either. Make sure you think so, too. Someone can be very appealing, yet still have a personality, temperament, or value system that conflicts with your own.
Question #10: Do you come from similar social and ethnic back-grounds? If not, how do you think the difference will affect your relationship?
David was raised in a poor home and learned the value of saving money. Judy came from a wealthy family and had wasteful habits. She would buy expensive clothing and jewelry, throw out chipped appliances, and dine in fancy restaurants. Even though marrying Judy would allow David to live at a much higher standard, he knew heíd feel uncomfortable with her way of life, since heíd be disturbed by extravagant spending.
David raised the subject of money with Judy and was sur-prised to find that she was unable to relate to his con-cerns. David didnít think heíd be able to change his values, and rightly felt that unless Judy could learn to see some merit in his point of view, they shouldnít marry each other.
Question #11: If you expect to be raising children together, can you visualize your partner as the father or mother of your children, someone who will teach them the right values to follow?
If not, ask yourself why. You may find that you have little respect for the personís value system, in which case you shouldnít be marrying each other.
Question #12: Will your partner be bringing children into the mar-riage? Do you get along with them? Will you be bringing children into the marriage? How well does your partner get along with them? If there are two sets of kids, how well do they get along with each other?
If your partner has children that are openly hostile toward you, think twice about whether you want to become their stepparent. When making this decision, consider how supportive you think your mate will be of you in ongoing conflicts with these young people.
On the other hand, if these kids are not belligerent toward you but just distant or unfriendly, donít take it too badly. Itís perfectly normal for youngsters to behave this way because they see acceptance of a step-parent as disloyalty to their own parent. They may also have hopes that their parents will get back together, and they view your presence as an obstacle to that. Their negative feelings toward you will dissipate over time as you build a relationship with them, and as they get used to the idea that youíre married to their father or mother.
Also, bear in mind that blending two families together is not an easy task, and getting it to work well often requires professional family therapy. So if things get rough, donít get discouraged ó thatís perfectly normal. Instead, focus on whether you and your partner are able to solve whatever problems arise.
Question #13: Is your desire to marry your partner based on your partnerís beauty or wealth?
Physical attraction and economic security are important, but they donít override practical or emotional considerations. After the wed-ding, youíll have to live with that person every day, so make sure the two of you get along well and share the same basic values. Thatís whatís really important.
Are You Escaping?
Question #14: Is your motivation to marry based on your desire to get out of a difficult situation or fix some kind of problem ó for example, to avoid the embarrassment of being single, to move away from your parents, or to overcome the pain of a divorce?
If so, be careful. The decision to marry should be based on the desire to share your life with someone you love, not on the need to escape a bad situation.
Question #15: Are you able to clearly evaluate whether your partner is suitable for you, or is your mind in a fog because youíre in ďlove modeĒ?
Many people fall in love very quickly and, once theyíre in love, are unable to notice indications that their mates arenít suitable for them. As author Sarah Bird puts it, ďLove makes intellectual pretzels of us all.Ē We have difficulty viewing our partners objectively when weíre in love.
So see if you can identify at least one of your partnerís faults. Your being able to do so will show that youíre at least somewhat grounded in reality.
Reacting to the Past
Question #16: Is your choice of your current partner based on a negative experience youíve had with your previous one?
Some people fall into this trap. If their former mates were alcoholics, they make sure their new ones donít drink at all. If their previous spouses couldnít hold a steady job, they make sure their new partners have an impeccable employment history. On its own merits, such reactions are not a bad thing. Thereís nothing wrong with look-ing for qualities a previous relationship lacked. The problem starts when people put too much emphasis on redressing a past mistake, as the following story illustrates.
Jim was a bore, and Barbara couldnít stand his dull personality. Throughout their marriage, she berated herself for not noticing this aspect of Jim during their courtship. After their divorce, Barbara wanted to find someone a lot more interesting to be with.Soon she met Larry, a fun-loving, high-spirited kind of guy. Barbara was thrilled with him, and when he proposed, she immediately said yes. Unfortunately, she was so pleased with Larryís exuberant personality that she didnít notice his alcohol addiction until after their marriage. Barbara soon discovered that being married to an alcoholic was even more painful than being married to a bore like Jim, who at least had a stable personality.
If youíve had a bad experience in a previous relationship, be sure to take a good look at your new, potential spouse. Donít focus solely on avoiding the traits that bothered you in the past.