The following checklists can help you and your partner identify possible problems and talk them over. They will also help you get to know each other better. Ask yourself and each other the following questions.
Whether the problem is alcohol, drugs, gambling, or anything else, it leads to behavior that makes a person unreliable and untrustworthy. It will inevitably prevent the addict from putting the partner’s needs first. Feeding the addiction will always come first, not the partner.
If you feel as if your partner tries to micromanage every detail of your relationship and your life, neither of you will feel as if you have a relationship of two independent, mature adults. If he insists on having his own way more than you think is fair or she does not respect your independence, then it won’t be long before the two of you will experience conflict.
Good relationships are built on trust. Each partner has to be able to rely on the other telling him or her the truth.
If your partner treats you with contempt rather than respect and speaks sarcastically and condescendingly, it will be almost impossible to talk over your differences calmly and rationally.
If your partner has great trouble sharing his or her emotions or demonstrating love through affection and touch, in a way that meets your own emotional needs, it will be difficult to have a mutually satisfying relationship.
When your partner’s anger seems excessive, inappropriate to the circumstances, or occurs more often than you are comfortable with, he or she may have a problem.
If you try to bring up problems that you see in your interactions, and your partner seems unable to listen and instead gets angry, defensive, or completely denies your feelings, it will be difficult for you both to grow in this relationship. It also makes it difficult or impossible to fix problems as they arise.
Excessive criticism between partners is one of the most destructive behaviors in any relationship, and one most likely to lead to divorce.
If your partner repeatedly criticizes and insults you, he or she is not showing you the respect any marriage partner deserves.
Unfaithfulness is one of the most fundamental betrayals of trust, and one that will jeopardize a marriage. If your partner is unfaithful before you get married, and you cannot agree that both of you find such actions unacceptable, chances are it will happen again.
Someone who is intolerant of you or others, or who is excessively rigid, will not be likely to have the forgiving nature or the flexibility and resilience to roll with the ups and downs that any long-term relationship requires.
Once two partners agree on what they find to be a fair distribution of chores around the house, based on time and preferences and skills, it is not acceptable for one of the partners to repeatedly slack off without discussing it thoroughly with the other.
If your partner is repeatedly rude to you or others, or if his or her bad manners make you feel as if you would not want to be seen in public with him or her, your relationship cannot possibly become great without some major alterations in behavior.
Be careful if your partner puts his or her interests above yours on a fairly regular basis. Such behavior is likely to encourage you to behave in a similar fashion, if only to protect your interests. When two people behave selfishly, they will likely grow farther apart over time.
Physical violence and verbal abuse are never acceptable in any relationship. With counseling, some individuals may be able to over-come this behavior. But if the person is unwilling to seek outside counseling, you shouldn’t expect to see significant change.
Though psychological and emotional problems may not be fatal flaws, they are conditions you must be aware of before you marry. If your partner is suffering from conditions such as depression, anxiety, obsessive fears, or other worrisome emotional issues, he or she should receive professional help before you make any decision about marrying. Of course, he or she should continue with that help, if necessary, after the marriage, should you decide to go ahead with it.
It can be very difficult to look honestly at the person we think we love. We may feel we’ll spoil the romance, or discover things we wish we didn’t know. But the reverse is more likely to be true. Having honest discussions many of them about religion, money, sex, children, recreation, and acceptable behavior can be a great way to discover how much you really have in common. It will also build trust and a strong foundation for your future life together. If you don’t agree at first, this discussion offers a chance to learn what you need to continue working on. If you still aren’t able to agree on all of these six basic issues, you will find it much wiser and less painful in the long run to part ways so that you can begin, with optimism, your new search for the right person for you.
This article was adapted with permission from WONDERFUL MARRIAGE Copyright © 2008 By Lilo J. Leeds and Gerard G. Leeds. BenBella Books, Inc. 6440 N. Central Expressway, Suite 503 Dallas TX 75206. For more information about this book or information about
Other articles from the book Wonderful Marriage: