Last two blogs, I wrote about how one might better chose a partner for life, for marriage. This is a continuation of that conversation.
There are 3 crucial questions I ask all couples coming to me for pre-marital counseling.
- If you had a crystal ball and could see 10 years into the future and you saw your relationship was no better or worse than it is right now, today, is it enough?
- (Speaking to the female I ask) “If you had a daughter, would you want her to marry someone just like the person you are about to marry? (Speaking to the male I ask) “If you had a son, would you want him to marry someone just like the person you are about to marry?
- (Speaking to the female I ask) “If you had a son, would you want him to grow up to be just like the person you are about to marry? (Speaking to the male I ask) “If you had a daughter, would you want her to grow up to be just like the person you are about to marry?
If you answered no to any of these questions, a little more work or thought may need to go into the relationship.
Even before I became an MFT, I would meet people who after only a short while would tell me their story. I remember meeting this one young woman who, given her story, seemed to be dating and about to marry an abusive man. She was divorced and had two children. I asked her these three questions. To the first one she had made peace, given she didn’t seem to think she deserved better. However, she answered no to the last two questions. I asked her how it is she wanted better for her children than herself. She responded with “well that’s different”.
She said she wanted a better life for her children than she had and didn’t want them to follow in her footsteps. She did not want them to settle as she had so many times. No matter how I asked or what I said, she didn’t seem to understand that what we do and say, to and in front of our children, answers the same question; “What is it that we are teaching them?” How is it we think we can only model with our words and anticipate that in and of itself will be enough? More to the point, how is it we do not deserve that which we hope most for our children.
There was another time when I was talking with someone else about their relationship. This person made a very good point in relation to the first question about the crystal ball. She said “in ten years I hope there have been changes. I would hope each of us have grown, matured and learned form each other.” The response showed this person anticipating she and her partner had much to bring to the table in a way of being open and learning from each other.
While there may be no way to know for a “fact” a person is the right one for you, there are ways to increase the odds that you are making a good decision.
Have a wonderful week.