“First comes love, then comes knowledge. And that’s the whole problem: You feel before you think. You drink from the glass before you know what’s in it, and you only begin to taste it once it’s down.”_By Walter Kirn
Recently, it was brought to my attention that “Nancy”, an aquaintance that I remember as being very vibrant and happy, is choosing to remain in a marriage that has not only stifled her personality from the beginning, but controlled her every move from it’s onset, and finally dictated who she could remain friends with. Unfortunately, those closest to her, the ones that encouraged, advised, and comforted her, were not among the chosen ones. We began to see less and less of her. Eventually, we stopped hearing from her at all. Nancy became only a fond memory in more ways than one. I have no clue who she is now, and I doubt she remembers who she is either.
I think it’s the worst sort of sin against ourself when we allow another person to decide our life for us. Of course, marriage is about compromise, but certainly not about having to become an entirely different person to accomodate the significant other in our life. To go a step further, any person who would demand that you do so was never in love with “you” to begin with. They merely wanted someone that they could control and any person would certainly do.
It’s become almost common place to see people in relationships that certainly do not make them happy. Yet, most of this could have been avoided if enough time had been taken to truly know the other person. It’s easy to become mesmerized when someone enters our life and they are so full of charm and they shower us with attention. It’s even easier if we are lonely and this person now fills that void in our life. We can be too quick at these times to leap before we look. Hence, not taking the necessary time to really know what we are really getting into. We cannot know a person in a few weeks or even a few months. It’s important to take the necessary time to do your homework. Find out the following:
Do you even know how this person behaves when they are angry? In an argument, must he always be right? Does he apologize quickly or does he hold a grudge for days? It goes without saying that if you witness violent outbursts in a heated discussion you should walk away from this man and never look back.
Have you had the opportunity to witness the dynamics in his immediate family? How does he interact with his parents and the other elders in his immediate circle? Is he respectful? Is he kind? If not, this is a red flag that you should not ignore.
What kind of relationship did he witness between his parents as he was growing up? Like it or not, it might have some bearing on how he will treat you. Notice especially how he feels about his mother. If he has nothing but a list of complaints and resentments, this is also another red flag.
Jealousy. Have you met his green eyed monster? A tiny bit of jealousy is normal, but do not mistake it for some geniune sign of his undying love and affection. Jealousy to the extreme is a manifestion of insecurity, trust, and control issues that will reek havoc on your life.
Have you taken the time to note how he treats children and pets? Not just his own children and pets, if he has any, but children and pets in general. Children and pets are at the mercy of those who are bigger and stronger than they are. This should also be a clue for you!
Have you noted his spending style? Money is often the rock that many marriages crash upon. Is he open to discussing finances with you? Will you share a joint checking account, and if not, are you going to be ok with that? Will large purchases be discussed first, or will he just spend as he sees fit? There are many financial things to take into consideration before jumping the gun and making a lifetime commitment.
Do you have a common goal, vision, or shared purpose for the future? It takes a lot more than passion for each other to hold a marriage together. What will you build together? What is your mission statement? What else will be the glue that holds you together?
The questions above are meant to serve as springboard to get your mind humming about what’s important to you for the long haul. I am sure our readers have suggestions of their own that I hope they will add in the comment section. The main thing is to brave the waters now to ask the important questions, and you will save yourself a lot of problems later.