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Stop! Don’t Marry Until

You Answer These 5 Questions

by Dov Heller, MA

When it comes to making the decision about choosing a life partner, no one wants to make a mistake.  Yet, with a national divorce rate of close to 50%, it appears that many are making serious mistakes in their approach to finding Mr/Ms. Right!   If you ask most couples who are engaged why they’re getting married, they’ll say: “We’re in love.”  I believe this is the #1 mistake people make when they date.  Choosing a life partner should never be based solely on love.  Rather, love is the result of a good marriage.   You can’t build a lifetime relationship on love alone. You need a lot more!!!   Therefore, since the month of June is a popular month for weddings, here are 5 questions you must ask yourself if you’re planning to marry.

Question 1: – Do we share a common life purpose?  Why is this so important?   If you’re married for 20 or 30 years, that’s a long time to live with someone.  What do you plan to do with each other all that time?  Travel, eat and jog together?  You need to share something deeper and more meaningful.  You need a common life purpose. Two things can happen in a marriage – 1. You can grow together or 2. you can grow apart.
50% of the people out there are growing apart.  To make a marriage work, you need to know what you want out of life!  Bottom line… marry someone who wants the same thing.

Question 2: – Do I feel safe expressing my feelings and thoughts with this person?  This question goes to the core of the quality of your relationship.  Feeling safe means you can communicate openly with this person.  The basis of having good communication is trust – trust that you won’t get “punished” or hurt for expressing your honest thoughts and feelings.  A colleague of mine defines an abusive person as someone with whom you feel afraid to express your thoughts and feelings.  Be honest with yourself on this one.  Make sure you feel emotionally safe with the person you plan to marry.

Question 3:  Is he/she a mensch?  A mensch is someone who is a refined and sensitive person.  How can you test?  Here are some suggestions: Do they work on personal growth on a regular basis?  Are they serious about improving themselves?

There are essentially two types of people in the world:

1.         Those who are dedicated to personal growth and
2.         Those who are dedicated to seeking comfort.

Someone whose goal in life is to be comfortable will put personal comfort ahead of doing the right thing.  You need to know that before walking down the aisle.

Question 4: – How does he/she treat other people?   Is this someone who enjoys giving pleasure to others or are they wrapped up in themselves and self-absorbed?  To measure this, think about the following:  How do they treat people whom they do not have to be nice to, such as waiters, bus boys, taxi drivers, etc.  How do they treat their parents and siblings?  Do they have gratitude and appreciation?  You can be sure that someone who treats others poorly, will eventually treat you poorly as well.

Question 5: – Is there anything I’m hoping to change about this person after we’re married?  Too many people make the mistake of marrying someone with the intention of trying to “improve” them after they’re married.  If you cannot fully accept this person the way they are now, then you are not ready to marry them.

Dating doesn’t have to be difficult and treacherous.  The key is to try leading a little more with your head and less with your heart.  It pays to be as objective as possible when you are dating; to be sure to ask questions that will help you get to the key issues. Falling in love is a great feeling, but when you wake up with a ring on your finger, you don’t want to find yourself in trouble because you didn’t do your homework.

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