Did you enter into a love relationship with your significant other believing that your love would transform your partner’s character or habits? Did you assume your love was capable of filling their hurt and empty places? Perhaps at the time it seemed superfluous to you that your partner really wasn’t interested in being your personal renovation project.
After years of marriage counseling I want to go on record with a warning to all of you who are contemplating marriage.
“Don’t marry anyone for their potential!”
If you do, you will be setting yourself and your mate up for a lifetime of misery and heartache. Neither of you will feel loved or valued as a separate person in your marriage.
Instead I want to challenge you to take a good hard look at where your significant other’s feet are firmly planted today. Then ask yourself this extraordinarily important question,
“If this never changes, can I live with this and do I choose to live with this (character flaw, habit, or tendency) the rest of my life?”
If you choose to be married in a house of worship chances are you will be walking down an aisle. Don’t trick yourself into thinking, “I’ll alter him or I’ll alter her.” The person at the altar will be the person you face daily.
If your partner happens to be blind in one eye, you wouldn’t say, “After we get married, she will be able to see with both eyes.” We’d be realistic and say, “I am marrying someone who can only see out of one eye and I am choosing to proceed.”
Yet when it comes to marriage, we pretend that our potential partner who may be cruel, addictive, boring, spiritually empty, controlling or selfish is somehow going to be transformed by our love.
If love makes no impact on our mate, then we carry the misbelief that we can pressure, nag, beg, or force them into changing.
One day in marriage counseling, I actually heard these words, “Honey, I know you’re bothered by ________________(addiction in his case). I’ll change as soon as we get married and settle down.”All I could think of was, “Run woman run!”
We can be deeply affected and influenced by one another, but we are incapable of forcing change in our LifeMate.
Love will not change your partner, but learning how to love will change you.
Marriage is an adult covenant.
The trouble is none of us have achieved maturity whether we marry in our 20’s, 30’s or well beyond that age. So the million dollar questions are…….
- Am I on a daily basis moving in the direction of maturity?
- Do I submit to a Power higher than myself or am I all that I need?
- Do I take personal responsibility for my part when I run into a relationship challenge or do I consistently blame my partner?
- Am I open to the concept that I need to grow?
- Do I place myself in a growth setting, be it therapy, having a mentor, a sponsor, a small group, or someone in my life to hold me accountable?
- Do I have one friend who loves me enough to confront me when I see myself as a victim?
- Have we agreed as a couple that if we hit a bump in our relationship, we will refuse to go to our friends to gossip about each other, but together we will seek counsel?
If you and your significant other cannot personally answer all 7 of these questions in the affirmative, perhaps you need to face the reality that personal growth is not a cherished goal of one or the other of you. If you are engaged, press the pause button and find out whether you choose to live with someone who assumes they have it all together.
If you are married, grow yourself. Your spouse will benefit as you will, but prepare to grieve the loss of someone who is interested in challenging themselves and therefore bringing new energy and life to your relationship.
Until the next Conscious Lover’s Blog…