-The Sexy G
I’m directing this article to mainly women because they seem to be a tad more at fault in this area. But since it does apply to both genders, both men and women – listen up.
Okay. You’re a woman or a man in a relationship. There are red flags cautioning you to beware. There are irritating personality traits in the person you’re with and you’re not even married yet. Sometimes the red flags are so numerous it looks like a hemorrhage.
But still you marry. Why?
The reasons are numerous, but here are some of the ones I hear most often; your family expects you to marry him, you’ve been together so long that starting to date again is repugnant, you think your love will grow stronger after marriage, all of your friends are married, you think you’ll change those irritating habits once married, and/or your biological clock is ticking. These rationalizations are insidious.
Here’s how it works. You weren’t totally happy during the courtship, but you feared that making too many demands would drive him away. Now, armed with a wedding band glinting up at you and waving a little piece of paper in your sweaty hand, you think you can safely proceed in trying to fix that faulty man of yours. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact he’s established a style of living during the courtship that he thinks is perfectly fine, and you haven’t contradicted that notion. Based on that, he figures you accept him as he is. He isn’t usually about to change.
Fact and fantasy intermingle into a muddied pool of misconceptions when one looks to marriage as a cure to problems in the relationship. That sort of thinking will drop you into a quagmire of quicksand, something detrimental in the long-term. Somehow, we think that there is something magical in becoming “legal” in the eyes of the law and we will be protected from all that is harmful in life. All that was wrong will turn right. Ha!
Once you declare, “I do,” many develop new expectations in addition to attempting to alter your mate. Maybe in the back of your mind you have some romanticized ideal of what your spouse should be – kind of like kissing a frog and turning him into a prince. You may expect your guy to morph into this idealized notion of what a husband should be. And your husband may also have a new set of expectations for his blushing bride. In the real world these expectations can’t be met.
Attention! Neither one of you isn’t about to change.
To all you who have fallen into this trap we know that if a partner was amenable to change, chances are you would have spoken to him before the big bang. For instance, if a woman waits until marriage to make changes, you probably sensed that it would be near impossible to get him to suddenly pick up his underwear from the floor, help with domestic chores, stop eating in bed, convince him children are necessary when he already said he didn’t want them – or whatever it is that you want to achieve in a relationship but haven’t gotten there yet.
So, despite those warning bells clanging in your head, telling your the man that you are dating, living with, engaged to or about to become engaged to isn’t for you, you shove that aside and marry him. You might even be fully aware that divorce is somewhere down the line. Often, when a woman hits her late thirties to late forties, and hasn’t been married she will think that being divorced is less stigmatizing than never having been married. She’ll even marry the wrong man. But divorce is too traumatic to take so lightly. It’s up there on the list of the major top 10 life stresses.
In an article published online taken from USA Today and written by Sharon Jayson, entitled, ‘With this doubt, I thee wed’: Some know marriage will fail, updated 10/14/10, she talks about real characters who knew they were going into marriage with a strong sensibility it will probably fail. Jayson says: “Stories of people entering marriages they felt were doomed from the start intrigued Carl Weisman of Torrance, Calif., whose book, So Why Have You Never Been Married? 10 Insights Into Why He Hasn’t Wed arrived last year. He says a divorced woman he knows said something he thought was quite profound” ‘ “I didn’t listen to my inner voice. I knew I was going to divorce him before I even married him.” ’
That’s startling. She knew she was making a mistake and still felt compelled to marry. Why didn’t she listen to her inner voice? It’s absolutely necessary to heed the warnings of every red flags or whatever you want to call it.
Someone I know said to me she resented a marriage counselor telling her how to behave in order to improve her relationship. She was thoroughly annoyed that the counselor didn’t address what she called the marriage, and instead she felt that he picked on her. Why didn’t she see that the marriage should be about two people seeking a deep friendship within a union – two people who are willing to compromise and find ways to engage in meaningful listening and conversation that go below the surface.
This friend talked about the marriage as though it were some mystical pairing that was supposed to plug in the missing pieces within her. That is flimsy thinking and buys into the smoke and mirror myth that you are desired and important if someone will commit to you in marriage, and it happens without a lick of work.
So, how do you avoid this disaster waiting to happen?
You must have in-depth conversations before getting married, ones that dredge up all that is in your mind. Tell each other about your notions of marriage, expectations and what it means to you. Only then can you start the process of coming to grips with reality.
Delaying honest conversations by thinking you’ll change him after marriage is perhaps the most significant reason for a break-up later. You’d better be upfront, hear what he’s saying without second guessing him, and both participate in laying ground rules for the future. If you don’t, you have inadvertently given him the impression that he’s fine the way he is. You must parade all your cards out in the open.
Every time I talk to a woman who is divorced I ask what she saw in that person prior to marriage that might represent some barrier to happiness. Many admit to having seen one to one hundred or more issues that might impede the relationship. That’s where reasoning has to supersede the heart (or call it outfoxing your own chemistry). You intervene beforehand.
One needs to get past the old bugaboo of denial and use some rational thinking like asking yourself – are there personality traits here that aren’t working for me? Will I be able to live with them or will I attempt to change them after marriage. That’s where the mental stop sign comes in. You can’t go into wedded bliss with blinders. If by some chance you have married an accommodating or compromising male who actually listens and wants to change, indeed, you have a bonus. But don’t count on it. You need to discuss these niggling problems prior to marching down the aisle, and it’s imperative that you do.
The love between you has to be strong to withstand a myriad of marital issues that will arise under the best of circumstances within a marriage. There must be stability and strength between you to make it for the long-term. Put a questionable relationship into the mix and there is big trouble unless you both face the facts. It’s easy to depend on some vague notion that romantic chemistry will sail you through the major barriers of a relationship. Not so. Like it or not, you have to roll up your sleeves and work on it.
You also need to make sure you don’t duplicate the mistakes in choosing a mate like you did with all the past dudes who were so wrong for you. It takes fortitude and courage to dig deeply into oneself for insights into your own behavior, but do it you must!
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