||SHOULD I MARRY A PERSON TRUSTING HIM/HER TO
- Thursday, August 17, '00 - Parshas Aikev 5760
A marriage should be composed of two
people who: * get along for the most part compatibly and healthily, * are focused on
pleasing and respecting each other, * communicate, * effectively and responsibly handle
the practical functioning required by adulthood and * bring each other to eternal life
through cooperatively and maturely achieving their potentials and meritorious goals during
earthly life. They should be able to come to a clear and confident decision to marry each
other within a few weeks or months.
Some couples have questions about their
suitability for each other. Sometimes, they can work their issues out, with communicative
cooperation or the help of a counselor; and they proceed to productive marriages. Often,
these days, the picture painted by couples is not so simple or pretty.
When their are major, disruptive and
unresolvable problems or concerns; don't marry on the basis of expecting major change
(e.g. religiously or psychologically). Expecting change can lead to disaster. Marry or
don't marry on the basis of the way the person NOW TRULY is. People often promise to
change because they want something (to be married, to have security, benefits that you
offer, etc.) and they * do not make the change, * make a partial or temporary unreliable
change that does not really satisfy the promise - or the disappointed spouse, or * change
into something else unexpected.
If the person is "worth waiting
* work with the person for a reasonable
period of time to enable him/her to make enough change or to demonstrate that this change
may be relied upon, or * separate, giving the person the option to present him/herself
later in the changed condition, if you both still happen to be single then. For the sake
of your sanity, DO NOT figure on the person making satisfactory changes; MOVE ON WITH YOUR
LIFE. In actuality, it is rare to the point of insignificance, that the person actually
makes those needed lasting and trustworthy changes, so it is healthiest to forget him/her.
I have seen relationships drag on a year,
two, three years. There is generally something fundamental and essential missing, so it
does not escalate to marriage. Both parties have some profound and unhealthy emotional
need, dependency or lacking. The relationship often offers something that one or both
parties would like to have received from one or both parents, an older sibling and/or some
other significant adult who effected the single as a child with deep emotional and mental
impact; or the relationship compensates for some trauma, deprivation, neglect or
rejection. Either way, the relationship has a foundation in * something unhealthy that is
there, or * something healthy that ISN'T there. In either event, the relationship has no
healthy foundation. In time, it often can degenerate to rocky, adversarial, punitive
behavior. Always, or often enough, such basics as warmth, respect, peace, tenderness,
supportiveness, kindness, patience, responsiveness, adaptability, principle, humility,
responsibility, maturity and consistency are gone. One of my sayings is, "If you have
to fight for basics, there is no relationship."
The relationship provides comfort, is
convenient (at least emotionally) and is difficult to break. One party tends to get
frustrated or impatient, but can't seem to make the break. Instead of a straightforward,
mature or responsible break, one party will provoke the other or sabotage the relationship
often, so the fault and the blame for the break will be the other person's. The end of
this pattern is generally unpleasant (if not downright vicious), and it seems surprising
that something that was once so nice and valuable degenerated to something so low. But the
trouble was there since "day one."
My marriage and "serious couple"
counseling experience shows consistently that when there is a serious problem at the
start, it does not get remedied in a workable time frame. One or both may need individual
counseling on a deep and long term basis. As a rule of thumb, if you can work out within
yourself to accept the shortcomings of the person; and you both basically get along,
communicate and please each other; and you can handle as a couple the practical
functioning required by adult life; and the relationship is stable; then you have a
"candidate." If your discord, non-attraction or incompatibility does not get
ironed out within the couple or few months designated for a Jewish dating relationship,
then my experience says that chances are you are going to be ENGAGED IN FUTILITY - NOT
ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED!
There is a Biblical verse that indicates that a
relationship which drags on is going to end up a futility, "A wish that drags on
sickens the heart (Mishlay 13:12)."