Chapter Four: Before Marriage
Matching is the process where you compare a potential spouse with yourself to try to determine just how compatible you are with each other. It can be methodical or haphazard, conscious or subconscious, but the more attention you give it, the more likely you are to avoid a breakup later on when you finally discover some serious incompatibilities.
You want someone to love you for who you are. But do you know who you are? If you're starting to fall in love with a man, do you know if he wants to have children? Do you know if you do? If you're starting to fall in love and you've always had a strong desire to have children and you learn the man you're interested in is determined never to have children, or isn't able to father children, you'll either have to forsake him or forsake your desire for children.
This is the time for Grandma to tell you: Don't try to change yourself for a man. If your character and desires don't match a man without changing yourself, you don't match each other. No matter how hard it may seem, no matter how painful, no matter how many dreams you've already invested in him… he's the wrong man. Get over him. He's the wrong man. Don't change yourself. Get over the wrong man and start looking for the right man.
How do you know if you and a particular man are a match for each other? You don't have to share the same characteristics, but the most important characteristics should at least be compatible. If you want 3 children and he wants 4, is that something one of you is willing to compromise on? It may not seem like as big a deal as one wanting children while the other is opposed to any children, and for most couples, a decision whether you might have 3 or 4 children might be put off if you both agree to see how things "work out." And if just one of you is willing to compromise on the number, then that can work out. But if both of you are unwilling to compromise on the number of children, and your numbers don't match, then that's a very bad mismatch. And it may reflect an even bigger mismatch if you are both determined to make the other person compromise.
There are many characteristics that can be matched other than those we list next, but these are some of the minimum characteristics you should consider:
This may be the least familiar issue to you, but it may be the most important. There are 5 ways in which men and women show their love for another person, and the way in which they show love is also how they naturally expect others to show their love.
- Words of affirmation
- Physical touch
- Physical gifts
- Quality time
- Acts of service
Take a questionnaire to find out what your love language is, and what your potential spouse's love language is. If your love language is physical touch, but your guy's love language is acts of service, how satisfying will your marriage be to you if you rarely get the hugs you crave? How satisfied will he be when he doesn't see you showing your love for him by doing things for him?
There are many combinations of love language strengths that are highly compatible, but there are just as many that are incompatible, and the incompatibilities can be HUGE.
For some folks, age is nearly irrelevant, but for others, it's a big deal. Have you been truthful with each other about your ages?
Are you compatible in issues of honesty, diligence, and how considerate you are of others? For example, does one of you think it's okay to lie on your tax return while the other thinks it's always wrong? If the person you're considering marrying is not considerate of others, don't expect that person to give you many orgasms. Can you live with that? Can you thrive with that?
How openly do you share your feelings and thoughts with each other? If one of you is talkative and the other isn't, will you both find that acceptable for the next 20 years? Is one of you so talkative it's hard for the other to get a word in edge-wise? In five years, is that going to be endearing or driving the other crazy?
Desire for Children
Do you both want children? Do you both want the same number? Are you both willing to play-it-by-ear and see how well your contraceptive methods work?
Do you each know the other's career plans? Do you know what the options are if things go badly in a career? Can you really commit to the worse part in "for better and for worse"?
Are you compatible in your outlook on life, in your friendliness, stability, open-mindedness, and willingness to compromise? For example, do you like to attend and host parties while your intended strongly prefers to just have quiet nights at home?
Physical appeal isn't everything, but it's something. Do you like the each other look now? Does one of you look the way you do because you've been working very hard to keep the weight off? If so, what happens when they stop working at it quite so hard and the weight comes rushing back?
Some couples get along with very different political beliefs, but for most couples political differences are a constant source of tension. Politics can be different and yet compatible, or they can be a nail in a relationship's coffin.
Ditto on the comments for political differences. Some couples get along with very different religious beliefs, but for most couples religious differences are a constant source of tension. Have you discussed this? In detail?
Does one of you have a sexual disease that the other doesn't? Are you willing to get what the other has? Because if you get married, you will almost certainly get each other's STD's.
Sex Compatibility Questionnaire
Views on contraception
Does either of you hold the views of the Catholic Church while the other doesn't? Once you have as many children as you want, does the man want the woman to get her tubes tied instead of him getting a vasectomy when vasectomies are so much safer?
1Dr. Gary Chapman, Northfield Publishing, Chicago, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate (1995)