Saturday, June 11, 2011

Danger Signs for the Not Yet Married: Expanded Version - Part II


11. If your partner is constantly complaining about unreal aches or pains, and going from doctor to doctor. Of course we have compassion on those suffering from hypochondria. The word "constantly" is key. Your marriage will be miserable as it battles the nonexistent and jousts at windmills. This is just a reality check. Note: if your doctors and caregivers consistently find nothing clinically wrong with you, be open to the idea that there is nothing physically wrong from you. That leaves the emotional, the psychological, and the spiritual. Seek help in these areas.

12. If your partner constantly makes excuses for not finding a job. You don't want to marry someone who is going to live off you. I have seen this happen, in the extreme! This intensifies when the couple has its first child. The working spouse is then raising, not one, but two children. You do not want a life of doing this.

13. If your partner is in debt financially. But who isn't in debt? Answer: not everyone; some are debt-free. The greater the financial indebtedness (let's call this "financial bondage"), the more pressure on the marital relationship. Do not underestimate this! Every marriage book ever written has a chapter of financds and money management. Debt-freedom equals less marital tension and conflict.

14. If your partner talks like they are a victim. Warning: one day (if not already) you will be their victimizer, the cause of all their problems. You will be blamed. You will be "the problem" in your marriage. This will not be a fun marriage to be in.

15. If your partner is overly suspicious, jealous, questions your work all the time, and feels that everyone is against him or her. If your partner does not trust you, LEAVE THE RELATIONSHIP IMMEDIATELY! If you are not a person to be trusted, if you flirt with unfaithfulness, then please, please, please release your friend from the relationship, and get help for yourself.

16. If your partner is a perfectionist and is constantly critical. Perfectionists are very angry people. They are angry because of their perfectionist expectations. Everything must be perfect, in relation to their own self-centered selves. But of course everything will not be perfect in relation to their selves. Therefore their expectations will constantly be unmet. The result is: constant anger (where "anger" is defined as the emotion we feel when our expectations and demands are unmet). Note: I never critique Linda, and she never critiques me. Unless permission is given to do so. Do not try to change your spouse-to be. You can't, and you won't. ACCEPT THAT!

17. If your partner puts you down, and uses a lot of sarcasm. Linda and I never put each other down in public, nor do we make fun of them in public. Sometimes, when I preach or speak, I use a story about Linda with her permission. Usually, my stories are about me, my failures, my own faux pas-ness. If the main way you comunicate with one another is via sarcasm you have a problem. It may seem funny now. It will not be funny later. Marry someone who consistently builds you up, makes you feel better about yourself, is your cheerleader in life. You want to be able to say: "I am a better person because I am married to _______."

18. If your parents and other significant people are strongly against your marriage. Listen to them. Maybe they are right! Of course some parents are so screwed up that their counsel is worthless, myopic, wrong, and ignorant. But if you have parents who love you, and some good friends who love you, and they express concern about the person you are dating, you need to take this into consideration. If your significant other does not take this seriously and blows it off, or is angry about it and will not constructively address it, then that will be proof that your parents and friends are right.

19. If you don’t like what you see in your partner’s parents’ marriage. Because "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." In general, and for the most part, this is true. That's why the best pre-marital screening devices always include "family of origin" issues. Like FOCCUS, which I have used in pre-marital counseling for many years. How do their parents deal with conflict? Probably, that's how they will deal with it. If you don't like what you see there, or in some other area, then don't marry into it.

20. If there is a lack of spiritual togetherness. Warning: NEVER marry someone you are trying to spiritually rescue. This is called "missionary dating." NEVER MISSIONARY DATE! And: DO NOT BE MISSIONARY DATED! Do not use your significant other to spiritually rescue you.

NEXT - 8 more to come.


• Gary Chapman, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married.