As you are making the decision to marry somebody, you’re going to run into things about your partner that you don’t like. And then there will be things that you really don’t like!
What I want you to remember is that, while you don’t need to agree with your boyfriend or girlfriend about everything, but you do need to be honest with each other. Let’s talk about it.
Hey! While you’re here, check out my video on You Don’t Need To Agree But You Do Need To Be Honest.
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Rule #1: Be Honest
While you’re evaluating a person as a potential mate, you don’t need to agree with each other on everything that you will discuss (and there will be many things that you will discuss). You just need to honestly communicate.
So what does an honest marriage decision process look like?
Whoa, what the hell is that in English buddy!? Let’s break it down.
This is how you feel about what your partner is telling you. It’s subjective to you- your feelings, your thoughts, your emotions, and your values. You don’t need to justify them to anybody (as we’ve talked about in almost every marriage post on this site). This is what YOU think.
Here’s your honest answers and your partner’s honest responses. Hence we go back to the point of this post. You have to be honest with each other. You have to be honest with yourself. You have to really look inside.
Give honest answers to your partners questions (we’ll cover a number of topics for discussion, including religion, children, education, and the roles of you and your boyfriend or girlfriend). You need to get these honest answers back from your partner so you can put a value judgment on them. YOUR value judgment, not anybody else’s. Certainly not your partner’s, because they’re going to make their own judgments about you.
When you come up with these questions, you need to be able to say, “This is how things are with me. This is how I think”. You can’t filter that. You have to give the raw, honest truth.
You can’t be like, “I really think this… but society doesn’t like that so much”. Or “I know my partner doesn’t like this very much”. Or “I haven’t told him this about me, but I really hate old westerns! And my boyfriend is a big John Wayne western nut and I don’t want to tell him because then I think he might not like me”.
You need to tell him. He’s got to know so that he can make his own value-based judgment. If he decides not to get married to you because you don’t like westerns, then you probably did a good job winnowing out that guy.
Examples Of Honest Discussion
Let’s talk about some examples. These are things that I’ve seen in my own life.
I’m a pilot. I have one of those jobs where I go away for days at a time. Pilots have a much higher rate of divorce than a lot of other industries. Why is that? I’ll tell you why (and I’ve really thought a lot about this).
I have a bunch of friends who are pilots. I fly with pilots all the time and they give me all these stories and the stories are the same. It all comes down to this- they didn’t have a real, honest discussion prior to getting married about the fact that they were a pilot and what that meant.
Here’s what it means:
- I’m going to go fly airplanes
- That could be dangerous
- I could die doing that
- I am going to be gone away from home for long periods of time
- I’ll miss your birthday
- I’ll miss our anniversary
- I’ll miss the kid’s things
- I’ll miss Christmas
- I’m going to have to leave, that’s how I make money
- So you’re going to be at home, by yourself, for chunks of time, and if you can’t have an independent life that’s not wholly-dependent on me being around, this isn’t going to work.
Now that sounds like a very simple discussion to have.
You would be amazingly shocked to know how many pilots can’t have an honest discussion like that with their wife still and they’ve been married for decades. I can’t tell you how many pilots I’ve talked to where they get married, things are going great, then three years down the road their spouse gets amazingly bent out of shape one day when they’re walking out the door to go to on a trip- because they’re a pilot.
And they’re like, “What are you talking about!? I’ve always been a pilot! I was a pilot before I met you!”
“Oh, well! I’ve always hated your job! And you’re always leaving me! And now, I have these kids, or I have this problem, or I have this thing, and I really resent you, and…”
Then they say, “Why didn’t you bring this up before?”
Get It Out In The Open
So be honest. Put your big-boy pants on. Be honest with the person about what it is that you do.
Say, “This is what I do. If you don’t like it, I guess this isn’t going to work. I’m not changing this.”
Here’s another exampl:
Say your girlfriend has cats. I hate cats. I’m allergic to cats. They ruin all your furniture, they cost money, and they leave hair all over the place. I see nothing whatsoever redeeming about cats.
When I met my wife, she had two cats. I didn’t like the cats, I didn’t want the cats. When we got married, guess who got two cats living with them? This guy. It wasn’t my choice, but I had to tell her I didn’t like cats.
I wasn’t going to go around and hold a grudge against her and several years down the road blow up at her like, “Why do you have these cats!?” And then she would say, “What the hell!? You don’t like cats? Why didn’t you tell me?”
That’s stupid. Just be an adult and say, “I don’t like this. I like that. I prefer things this way.”
This whole marriage decision process is about airing out the laundry- getting it all out. Get it all out now, as much as you can think of. Let’s talk about it so we don’t have surprises down the road.
Your major decision depends 100% on honesty. You don’t need to agree, but you do need to be honest.
What are you having problems being honest about? Leave me a comment. Maybe if you’re honest in a third-party way like this, then that will be a rehearsal for you to go talk to your spouse or your loved one about it.
If you love them and they love you and this is the real deal, then being honest with them will only make your relationship better in the long run.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. There’ll be more.