Before getting married, there are 2 crucial areas that every couple needs to pay attention to. Despite this fact, most couples rarely pay attention the them. However, 15 years later, these issues come and smack them upside the head with a vengeance. What are the issues?
The first issue involves family interactions. How does your potential spouse interact with his parents? Is there mutual respect? Pay attention to mother/son and father/daughter interactions. Are they close or distant? Very often how a son treats his mother is how he will eventually treat his wife when married, and how his mother treats him is how he will expect his wife to treat him.
Carol came from a home in which both of her parents worked outside of the home. They also both contributed to the chores inside of the home. Imagine Carol’s surprise after she married Steve. Not only did Steve expect her to stay home, he expected her to do all of the household chores. Why? Because Steve grew up in a traditional home where only the father was employed and the mother was a full time homemaker. This difference in expectations caused a lot of stress in their marriage. Had they paid attention or had a discussion before getting married, they may have decided not to walk down the aisle.
It is also important to pay attention to how your significant other interacts with the parent of the same sex. Is there any hostility or resentment present in the interactions? Are there control issues? These are also important to know. If there is hostility, it is important to know where it comes from.
The second important issue that is often overlooked is family dysfunction. Whereas most families suffer from a degree of dysfunction, it is very important to know if your potential spouse comes from a history of abuse, neglect, alcoholism or drug addiction. The reasons for this are vast. History has a tendency to repeat itself, and even if your spouse does not follow those tendencies, he has still been negatively affected in ways that could take years to work through.
Many times, you may believe you can help your significant other overcome his past. While you may be a help, it is rare that this is enough to heal those inner wounds. There is also a mistaken belief that just because a person gets out of an abusive situation, he will be fine. Emotional scars do not easily go away, and they manifest themselves in dealing with day to day life.
Alice and John fell madly in love. They dated for 3 years and decided to get married. One of their common bonds was the fact that they both came from abusive, alcoholic homes. They each felt they could offer understanding to the other, and they both vowed never to be like their parents. They both became Christians and made a vow to bring their children up differently than they had been raised. In many aspects they did…
But John was filled with an inner rage toward his father that led him to dislike anyone in authority. He got fired from over 20 jobs during the course of their marriage, leading to stress and financial ruin. John was stuck in the past and spent his entire life looking back as a result…wasting precious moments and causing heartache for his family.
Alice was filled with low self-esteem, resulting from a childhood filled with incestual child abuse. As a result of this, she developed an eating disorder which resulted in her gaining over 150 pounds in just a few years after getting married. She struggled most of her married life with her food addiction. What she did not know was that her addiction was a means of gaining weight in the hopes that no man would find her attractive. She saw her father in every man who touched her, including her husband…and this led to a lot of sexual problems in their marriage.
Couples need to make these 2 issues a top priority before making a decision to get married. They are just as important as the issue of having children, buying a home, or using credit cards. These issues may not seem important in the beginning of your relationship, but as the years go by…these things will creep up and poison your relationship.