Breaking News

Clarify BEFORE Choosing a Spouse!

By Patricia Omoqui
Iam  always fascinated at how the Universe guides me to write on particular topics.  In the past few weeks  I’ve received emails from  readers with relationship challenges.  Each wanted help in figuring out who would be the right long-term partner.  Inner confusion was the common thread.  Each had at least one potential mate, but neither was sure if the person they were with was the right one for them.

Many people in their thirties, forties or fifties would say, “If only I had known then what I know now, I would have chosen a very different type of person to move through life with.” As they say, hindsight is 20/20.  Why is it that we see so clearly what we want after the fact?

Life is a constant clarification process.  Each interaction and situation in life guides us to a better understanding of what we do and don’t want to experience.  This is certainly the case with relationships.

This week I would like to offer you two essential questions to guide you as you make choices in relationships.  The first is, “Do you know the core traits you want in a mate—the things that matter most to you?” The second is, “Are you clear about what kind of life (daily and long-term) you want to build with this other person?”

How do we begin to figure out what type of person we want to spend life with?  Sometimes the best place to start is by knowing what you DON’T want.  Knowing character traits you couldn’t live with (and the behaviors that go with them!) is a perfect place to begin.  Unwillingness to communicate, lack of cooperation, lack of dependability, unwillingness to share the load equally, and dishonesty —these are a few to consider.   I invite you to make your own list.

Be sure to leave room for a second column because the trick is to make a “switch” from focusing on what you don’t want to clarifying what you do want.  Here is an example, one I hope each of you puts on your list:  “I don’t want a spouse who disrespects me physically, mentally, verbally or emotionally.” In this statement I’m focusing my attention on what I wouldn’t want to experience.  The next step is to say, “Well if that’s not what I want, then what do I want?”

My answer would be:  “I want a partner who respects me and treats me with love and admiration through thoughts, words and actions.” It seems simple to clarify these things, doesn’t it?  IT IS.  Yet most people don’t take the time to go through a brainstorming (or should I say heart-storming) exercise to determine what they really want.  Maybe it is deeper than that.  Ask yourself the questions, “What don’t I want and what do I want?” Then listen intently and allow the answers to emerge from your deepest self.

Don’t stop with a general statement.  Instead, take what you want and put it into every day clothes.   Using a trait high on my list, what would respect look like in everyday life with another person?  For me it looks like a kind greeting or goodbye.  It looks like a willingness to stop activity and listen to my words, hearing what I’m saying and honoring my viewpoint.  It looks like being sensitive to my needs—noticing when I’ve had a hard day or something to celebrate and responding to help me or to celebrate with me.   When I go to this much detail, I get a clear picture of the type of spouse I want.

Try not to automatically accept the snapshots you are carrying from interactions between your parents or other couples.   The whole idea of human growth and development from generation to generation is that we stand on one another’s shoulders not trudge blindly follow their footsteps repeating dysfunctional patterns.  These relationships we’ve observed are excellent reference points.  Look for the beauty but note the pain.  Use your insights to form your own, unique ideals.

Just in case these guidelines seem vague to you, here are some questions to get your imagination going.
How do you want to be treated?  What will you tolerate?  Can your partner call you a foul name in an argument?  Would you permit your partner to berate you and put you down verbally?  Do you want to be with someone who would physically attack you during a disagreement?  Will you put up with emotional manipulation or the mind games of someone refusing to answer questions directly and turning situations to make you feel guilty?  Do you ever want to worry if a phone call coming in is from a lover?

I’m asking these questions to get you thinking.  The answers to these are obvious before you get into a relationship.  Yet many become resigned once they’ve become invested in one.  (If you are experiencing these issues right now in your love relationship, healing may be possible but it will definitely be challenging.  That is a whole other topic for another day.)

Once you have begun to clarify the basic traits you want in a partner, you are ready to clarify the kind of lifestyle you want to share.  Here are some additional questions to help you fill in more details.

1. What types of things do you have in common?  Are you from similar family backgrounds?  Do you share common religious beliefs?  Are you both introverts?  Do you both enjoy parties?  What is your idea of a good time?  Do you enjoy physical activities or would you rather watch TV?   It’s important to have enough in common that you are comfortable with one another in the long term.  Holding similar interests allows for you to spend time with one another.  If after the love potion has worn off you don’t like doing similar things, it may be very difficult to find ways to enjoy time together.

2. What type of lifestyle do you want to live?   Do you want to have your own business?  Will you have 6 children or 2?  Do you have the same views on nurturing children?  Is going to church important to you?  You want to find a spouse who shares a similar vision for family and lifestyle.  In sharing this vision, you can enjoy walking down the same path together.  If you don’t share this vision, you are asking for constant disagreement because you will want to head in one direction while the other person is determined to move in another.

If you don’t have a clear picture of what you want then guess what?  You are going to spend your emotional energy with anyone and everyone only later to ask yourself, “What did I ever see in this person to begin with?”
It is said that love is blind.  There is truth in this statement but it might be better stated that neediness causes blindness.

How do you keep yourself from falling blindly “in love”?  Do your homework before you jump into the dating scene.  Before you even consider “playing the field,” know the types of players that you’d want to have on your home team.
Your assignment this week is to take at least one full hour to write down your answers to these questions – I am serious about this my sisters and brothers – use this assignment to determine what you really want in a spouse.

By taking the time to figure out your answers to these questions BEFORE you are married you will save yourself years of headaches, heartaches and stomachaches.

You are worthy of experiencing a wonderful relationship.  You are a valuable gem and deserve to be cherished as such and this begins by loving and valuing yourself.

This article was geared towards those who are looking to start relationships.  For those of you who are already in committed relationships, it is never too late to clarify what you reall


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.