Sunday, February 6, 2022

 100 Things I Want To Tell My Children And Grandchildren, #41

(This photo, just sent to me by a niece, and which I'd never seen before, made me miss my sisters and mom so much, L-R, Dorothy, Mom, Gloria, me and Honey)

10 Things You Should Know About Someone Before You Consider Marrying Them

1.      Do they have a history of substance abuse?

Maybe you already know the answer to this question and are in denial because you love them. Regardless, a relationship/marriage will suffer from, and may not survive substance abuse, because addiction is almost always stronger than anything, including love. If you don’t know, ask his/her friends/family. Ask them to please be honest and frank with you because they are not going to want to say anything bad about someone they care about. If there is the slightest pause before they answer you, or if they laugh it off, you probably already have your answer. 


2.     Is there a history of physical and/or psychological abuse with them or in their family?  

Children learn from their parents, and if physical/psychological abuse is common in the home, the child may also adopt those behaviors. If the person you are considering marrying has already “blown-up” with you, or been abusive with you – even if it was just one time, that behavior will probably escalate under the pressures of bills, work, children and marriage. 


3.      Are they financially irresponsible? 

Financial problems are the #1 cause of marital discord. If the person you are considering marrying has demonstrated financial irresponsibility, frequently runs out of money, tends to borrow money from you or others, misses paying bills, or has any significant debt, this is a pattern that will probably not change, and will most assuredly cause problems in a marriage. Even if you are financially responsible and make a good living, is your spouse going to have low self-esteem because of their lack of ability to contribute equally to the financial demands of a household, or resent you for your financial acuity – or are you going to resent them?


4.     Do they take responsibility for their mistakes?

People who blame everything that goes wrong in their life on someone/something else will never improve on or learn from their poor decision-making and behaviors. Not only will negativity dominate their life, it will dominate yours as well, which is a huge drain on a relationship.


5.      Do they and/or their family have a history of discord?  

I’ve seen so many families fall apart when assets are at stake. We never seem to learn that money comes and goes (mostly goes) and NEVER really buys happiness. In strong families, family members are the only people in the world who will “take a bullet” for you.  Some families have nothing but toxic, hateful relationships, and you do not want to become a part of that. 


6.     Do they have serious hereditary medical problems?

It’s kind to think health shouldn’t matter, but is it kind to subject your progeny to devastating medical problems? At least consider getting a DNA test to rule out the probability of serious inherited medical problems, or perhaps adopting children or getting a healthy sperm/egg donor if there are genetic propensities and you want to have children.


7.     Are they industrious and reasonably ambitious?

Do they willingly and reliable work/create? It’s not so much about how much money someone makes, as long as what they make adequately supports a lifestyle that is comfortable to you both, but if the person you are considering marrying hates working, consistently complains about having to work, misses work, and changes jobs frequently, they are probably never going to have a healthy sense of personal accomplishment and/or self-esteem, which will negatively affect the marriage and/or relationship. 


8.     Do they have a healthy self-esteem? 

I’m not sure what constitutes a “healthy” self-esteem, but I do know when people have low-self-esteem they tend to try to bring everyone around them down to lessen the contrast between their worth and the worth of others. Furthermore, people with low self-esteem look for affirmation where ever they can – sometime in very damaging ways – infidelity being a prime way. Low self-esteem also often leads to substance abuse, which may provide temporary, albeit further damaging relief.


9.     Do they ask/expect you to give up things that are important to you?

If you feel pushed into giving up something in a relationship, you will eventually resent it. Same goes the other way around. If you expect your partner to give up things they love, they will eventually resent that expectation. Resentment is a hard thing to get around in relationships.


10.  What are their expectations about marriage, sex, children, work, finances, where to live, vacations, holidays, family…. EVERYTHING! Talk over everything, and if you feel the slightest pain over anything you hear, you better talk it over extensively because marriage magnifies every possible problem. 


Not that there’s anything wrong with marriage. It can be a supportive, comfortable, exciting, enjoyable partnership. But eventually you’re not going to have sex every day, or you’re going to pick up too many pairs of underwear off the bathroom floor, or your partner is going to tell you they hate your mother, and when you arrive at that point in your relationship, sensitive, deal-breaking issues become serious. 


Talk it all over now. Live with someone for at least two years, then make a list of pros on one side of the page and cons on the other, and make an intelligent, honest decision – because you will live with the consequences. 


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