Asking the Right Questions Now to Avoid Grief Down the Road
The selection of a life partner is one that affects the trajectory of our life — for good or for bad — unlike any other. If our partner is supportive of our goals, lets us know that they believe in us and provides a safe space for us in a world that can at times feel treacherous, we’ll be able to reach heights we never could have otherwise. And, likewise, we need to be there to support our partner’s dreams and assist them in living their best life. Together, we can form an unstoppable team.
On the other hand, if we get involved, engaged or married to the wrong person for the wrong reasons, life has just gotten far more difficult. We’ll be fighting both the world and our partner and often have little to show for either battle at the end of the day.
Of course, no one sets out to make a mistake in this critical area of life. We meet someone and become infatuated with them. As time goes on, if the relationship has any depth, we start to envision our lives with them. We might see potential issues, but we’re in love, and love conquers all, doesn’t it? Even if people around us notice what we can’t — or refuse to — see, we believe our love will be the exception.
Two people in love usually aren’t the most rational of beings. Before rings are exchanged, halls are booked or houses are purchased, we need to examine our relationship and see if it has what it takes to last.
Our Similarities and Our Differences
One of the best things a healthy relationship can provide for us is a different viewpoint. Having someone we trust be able to see life’s opportunities and challenges from a different perspective from ours is a strength that my mentors have urged me never to ignore.
We need to be honest with our partner and with ourselves, though, when it comes to our opinions, viewpoints and values. In the beginning of a relationship, we’re eager to please our potential mate. We might find ourselves agreeing with some positions they hold even though we might not actually feel that way. We might not even realize we’re doing it at the time. The longer we’re together, however, the more our “natural” positions will reassert themselves, and this can cause friction. We need to show our true selves early in the relationship; if there are dealbreakers —deciding whether to have children, for example — better to find out early than later down the road where it becomes true heartbreak.
There are couples who do have healthy relationships even if they have fundamental disagreements about things in life. If this is our case, we need to be aware of that going in. It can still work, but it’s going to require extra effort and understanding to keep our relationship beneficial for both of us. It’s best we know that early.
“Me” vs. “We” Mindsets
There are a small percentage of people out there who, no matter how much we give to them, will never be satisfied with what they have. They look on what they don’t have, what they lack, and never consider the blessings they do have in their life. These people have the “I, Me, Mine” mindset.
People with this mindset aren’t interested in being equals in the relationship, only what they can get out of it for themselves. Their partner is a means to an end rather than a companion. This is evident in all their desires — their financial state, their perceived status in their group of friends or community, their personal goals and on and on.
They take credit when they don’t deserve it. They minimize what they get and magnify what little they give. They’re envious of everyone, including their partner.
These people, since they are always focused on what they don’t have, are usually miserable — and the only way they can feel better about themselves is to tear down everyone around them and spread their misery. For them — and for their partner — this is a terrible way to live.
Clear Eyes vs. Rose-Colored Glasses
Being newly in love is exciting. It’s intoxicating. Our potential partner appears perfect in every way, and the future is bright.
If we’re getting serious about our relationship, though, we’ve got to make sure that it actually is as wonderful as we think it could be. It’s important to explore it with our would-be companion for both our sakes. Do we both hold a “We” mindset, or are their signs that our partner could be an “I, Me, Mine” type of person? And, just as importantly, do we have the proper mindset when it comes to our partner? Are we being honest with ourselves about what we want in a relationship?
If there are red flags, it’s critical to investigate what potential trouble spots there might be. If they can be addressed, we’ll agree to put in the work. If they can’t, or if we see our intended partner fits the “I, Me, Mine” description, it’s better to make a tough decision today for the sake of our tomorrow.