This Valentine’s Day, many couples will ignore the statistics, the advice of others, and their own better judgment, and become engaged. More power to them. They may even stay married if they remember one thing. The person they plan to marry in no way resembles the person they’ll eventually be married to. Put another way, people in the dance of courtship are nothing like people in the shuffle of wedlock.
Don’t despair, those of you who are about to become engaged. These changes do not signal the end of love. They simply mean “in love” has blossomed into “unconditional love” a more durable, if less interesting condition. Have children, go into debt, visit the in-laws a few times and you will finally begin to get acquainted.
Before long, you will become acutely aware of every flaw in the one person you once thought had none. Brides, you will see him with the stomach flu. Grooms, you may see her in labor. It’s hard to have any illusions after events like these.
To improve your chances, it’s best to marry someone who feels as we do on subjects of major importance such as religion, politics, child rearing, and the use of garlic and onion in family meals. But there are many smaller but still troubling issues, and while you may not be able to come to an agreement about them, you should at least agree to disagree before you walk down the aisle. I recommend you take the following Marriage Test with your intended then compare your answers.
1. Are you A) A Hot Little Body or B) A Cold Hands/Warm Heart kind of person? Differ in this important area, and within months of making your vows, one of you will be sneaking down the hall to turn up the heat and the other will sneaking up the hall to turn it back down. Eventually one of you will get the cold shoulder.
2. Are you A) Early B) Right on time C) Fashionably late or D) Unfashionably late? I know of an “early” woman who married an “unfashionably late” man. Often they arrived in separate vehicles and often she left in a huff before he got there. Of course, that was back when they were still married.
3. How do you feel about a clean house? A) It’s essential. B) It’s necessary only if we’re having company. C) It’s more important that my truck be clean.
4. Are you A) A night owl or B) A morning dove? Either can turn into an old buzzard if they aren’t allowed to sleep when they want to.
5. Do you feel A) Television is the center of family life or B) Television is the real opiate of the masses? Many married non-watchers have discovered that they could walk into the living room wearing nothing but Saran Wrap, and the love of their life would still say, “Move! You’re blocking the TV.”
Well, how did you do? Do you still think the two of you have what it takes to make the transition from “in love” to “unconditional love.” Keep in mind, unconditional love is just a polite way of saying, “I know you’re less than perfect, even FAR less than perfect, but I choose to love you anyway. So there.”