It has been said that the three most important events in a person’s life are his birth, his marriage, and his death. Of these, he has no control over the first and little over the third. With respect to the second, he may, if he will, exercise considerable control. But, alas, nature is often allowed to take it’s course with little thought of consequences.
Many a young person have asked, “How will I know when I am really in love?” And the answer is usually given, “When you really ‘fall’ there will be no doubt in your heart.” Thus young people have been encouraged to place undue emphasis on emotional factors and to neglect the exercise of sane judgment.
What is this love which a person is said to “fall”? Is it something supernatural, predetermined, infallible? No, it is not even mysterious. It is simply a state of emotional exhilaration which has been stimulated by social and physical appeal.
“Falling in love” is a pleasant experience. A couple in love seek each other’s approval. They avoid mention of unpleasant circumstances; they try to make favorable impressions; they are on their good behavior. Their time together is spent in recreation rather than in work. Their thoughts run to the future rather that to the realities of the past and the present.
A courtship experience does not always place emphasis on those traits that are most significant in determining eventual happiness in marriage. Occasionally even during courtship, one person will observe undesirable characteristics in the other. But usually the thrill of being in love prompts the false assumption that marriage is a miraculous procedure by which all the undesirable traits will be eliminated.
During courtship, the young couple hope that theirs will be the “perfect marriage” and that they will “live happily forever after.” But once married, they must take the bitter with the sweet. They must assume obligations. They must address themselves to work as well a to recreation. They must take life as it comes.
Actually, there are few marriages which can qualify as being one hundred percent perfect, and this should incite a young person to investigate those qualities which are known to have a bearing on the success of marriage and to make a studied effort to act wisely in his choice of a mate.
In considering the advisability of marriage, it is well for one to take an inventory of those factors which have proved to be reliable indexes of desirable adjustment. It is suggested that the person contemplating marriage ask himself the following questions:
1. Has your background been similar to that of the person you expect to marry? Similar living environment, religious affiliation, financial status, and social standing tend toward an easier marital adjustment. Dissimilar backgrounds tend to prolong the period of marital adjustment.
2. Have you maintained friendly relations with your own parents? Your chances of marital happiness are better if the answer is definitely Yes.
3. Was your parents’ marriage a success? If the answer is no, you may not understand just what it takes to make a happy home.
4. When spending time with the person you expect to marry, does your conversation run along lines of mutual interest and common goals?
5. Have you avoided making mental reservations with respect to your proposed marriage? The person who tries to keep his partner ignorant of facts pertaining to himself is running a definite risk of marital disharmony.
6. Will you be willing to defer to your husband or your wife rather than development a misunderstanding.
7. Are you willing to make provision for free discussion of problems of common interest?
8. Have you met the parents of your spouse to-be and are you willing to assume the responsibilities when they arise?
If the above questions can honestly be answered in the affirmative, then you need not hesitate to offer yourself in marriage.
With respect to the person you hope to marry, it is well for you to consider the next list of questions:
1. Is your fiance (or fiancee) usually happy, cheerful and optimistic?
2. Can he discuss controversial questions without indulging in heated arguments?
3. Are his emotions stable?
4. Is he conservative in matters of morals, politics, and finance?
5. Does he cooperate easily with others and work smoothly with his superiors?
6. Is he able to receive advice graciously?
7. Does he give careful attention to the details of his daily work?
8. Is he benevolent toward his inferiors and does he delight in assisting the underprivileged?
9. Is he willing to take responsibility
10. Is he fond of children?
11. Is he religious and is his religion the same as yours?
12. Do you love him in spite of his faults? It is not safe to assume his faults will disappear after marriage.
13. Do you take pride in your fiance? If you feel apologetic when seen in his company, there is evidence of a lack of suitability.
If your answers to the above questions are yes, you may conclude that your fiancé (or fiancée) possesses qualities favorable to a satisfactory marriage adjustment.
Blindness is a terrible handicap, but especially so in connection with the choice of a life partner. Love is blind for those who do not care to see. Early, proper attention to those factors which tend toward marital compatibility may easily make the difference between happiness and anguish.