Marriage: Look before You Leap (into a Long-Term Relationship)!

1/16/2012 8:59:44 PM

This pointer appears in my book under the subtitle of “Don’t expect your spouse to change his/her ways.” I include it in response (and warning) to the many young people I encounter who stick with a troubled relationship WAY too long.
Not every dating relationship is meant to last. By nature, dating is a “trial and error” process, and you’ll soon realize that most aren’t a perfect fit for you.  When that happens, don’t force it or settle for less. And don’t delude yourself into thinking, “When we get married, things will change.” 

            It’s NOT likely to happen.

            When two people start getting serious, something bothersome inevitably surfaces. It might involve something major or something minor like irritating habits or disappointing attributes. The tendency, when blinded by love, is to either suppress these concerns or assume that the person will change after marriage. WRONG on both counts!

            One of the surest paths to marital disappointment is assuming you’ll have that kind of influence on your spouse. Yes, it may happen in the minor areas, but more often than not you’ll be powerless to change the other person. As the saying goes, “Old habits die hard.”

            I‘ve known many people who compromised on their spousal choice due to the naïve assumption that their partner would change after marriage. After learning their lesson the hard way, they became filled with regret and disappointment. The end result was chronic misery and one complaint after another—NOT fun!

            If you’re getting serious and troubling issues surface, be sure to address them in a kind way and see where the conversation goes. Is the other person flexible and open to adapting? If not, you need to ask whether you can live with these “flaws”—and be willing to walk away if they’re insurmountable.

            My advice: Abide by the wise old proverb, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”