Brevity's benefits often trump comprehensiveness's. So I’ve been offering short-form answers to commonly asked questions.
The first installments addressed career issues. This installment addresses a core relationship question: Should you marry? Of course, that subsumes two questions: “Should you marry that person?” and ”Should you marry at all?” I’ll address both here.
Should you marry your partner?
Love can be blind so it’s helpful to evaluate your potential spouse on these factors:
Your projected sexual relationship. Consider your sexual relationship’s trend. Has your desire for each other become more compatible? Less? Has your and your partner's sexual pleasure increased or decreased? Project those trends forward. What does that suggest about your likely long-term sexual relationship?
Your projected non-sexual relationship. A marriage’s connective tissue is deep caring: Even amid life's slings and arrows, both of you support each other. Does the trend in your relationship suggest that will be true?
Freedom from serious liabilities. We may be less malleable than we wish. If your partner has a hot temper, an addiction, significant mental illness, is phlegmatic, etc. the chances of timely improvement aren’t great. Again projecting forward, do you see a serious liability too-damaging the relationship?
The pedestal factor. Love is beyond rational. In the good marriage, even long after the infatuation stage, both partners viscerally elevate each other beyond the clear-eyed. Do you project that likely in your relationship?
Should you marry even a high scorer?
Let’s assume that you your partner scores high on all those factors. There’s still the question of whether to add the ethical, legal, and perhaps religious commitment and complexities of marriage.
On the rational dimension, marriage’s encumbrances enhance the relationship’s stability. That may deserve particular weight if you contemplate having children. That advantage need be weighed against marriage's adding an artificial factor in deciding whether to stay together. That decision may wisely be based on your assessment of whether your next chunk of life is more wisely spent with that person, not because you’ve added a fear-inducing legal or religious barrier.
Of course, emotions matter here: the fact that both of you are proclaiming to the world your eternal fealty to each other for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part. That can, for some people, make the relationship feel spiritually loftier than if not you're not legally betrothed. And if you’re religious, marriage adds yet more loft. On the hand, for some people, that's simply too much of a commitment.
So, should you marry?
Other installments in this Short Answers series can be found HERE. Feel free to email me a question you’d like me to address in a Short Answer. It can be about career, education, relationships, recreation, even a philosophical question. My email address is email@example.com.
Dr. Nemko’s nine books are available.You can reach career and personal coach Marty Nemko at firstname.lastname@example.org.