Don't Marry That Person! *

David A. Gershaw,Ph.D.

Many advice columns let you know what qualities to look for in a spouse. However, we are going to turn this around to give you warning signals for potential failure. If you or someone you know are planning to get married, it is important to be aware of potential pitfalls in relation to the prospective partner. Essentially we are saying, "Don't get married IF..."

This list is far from complete. Also, just because one or more of these conditions exist does not mean that your marriage will definitely end in divorce. You may still enjoy a well-adjusted, interesting married life. However, if you have several of the above conditions in your present relationship and do not deal constructively with them your chances of marital success are very slim.

In many unsuccessful marriages, it is not that one or the other (or both) of the spouses are bad people. Too often it is merely that they neglected to carefully examine the key elements of their relationship that will greatly influence their future lives.

If you and your partner can't deal effectively
with the relationship problems you have now,
it probably will only get worse after you are married.

If any one or more of the above problems exist for you, they need to be dealt with before you get married. If you can't successfully deal with them now, the chances of effectively dealing with them after marriage are slim to nonexistent.

* Adapted from Sol Gordon & Craig Shyder's Personal Issues inHuman Sexuality, Allyn & Bacon, 1986, pages 28-30.

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