A cigarette to relax after a hard day? A glass of wine?
Aleve for that nagging headache – or just some water and a nap?
These are some questions which may seem unimportant before marriage but may, in fact, cause endless conflicts in your day-to-day life if you and you future spouse disagree.
Some of you don’t even need to think about or discuss the role of certain substances in your home. If you are convinced alcohol in any form is wrong, you probably won’t marry someone who does not share your views. If you do, you’ll be continuously angry when he or she brings alcohol home, drinks in public, or exposes your children to it. Even if your future spouse never once gets tipsy, you will bristle at the idea of him or her drinking if you consider alcohol sinful (or maybe even just unwise). So, it is important to discuss your views on alcohol. Be honest with yourself and each other.
To some, smoking is no big deal. A few cigarettes a day to relax or just to enjoy with friends may seem completely normal to you; but, to your sweetie, smoking might be akin to infidelity or involuntary man slaughter. If your views on smoking create an impasse, get ready to rumble. If you don’t smoke, but you don’t mind being around smokers, it could still cause problems with friendships or family relationships if your future spouse has no tolerance for it at all.
There are several sides to this issue. Some potential mates would consider smoking, even socially, to be a complete deal breaker. Others may consider marrying a smoker, but only if he or she agreed to smoke outside. There are some who see absolutely nothing morally wrong with it, but are allergic and cannot live around the smoke.
If you smoke, or your close friends and family smoke, and your sweetheart does not, it is important that you and your love come to an understanding about how this dynamic needs to play out to keep harmony before getting engaged. So, it is important to discuss your views on smoking. Be honest with yourself and each other.
We all have to eat. In the past several years, what to eat has become a hot topic. Sugar or fake sugar? Fat or chemicals like Olestra (i.e., Olean)? Organic or non-organic? Free range chicken eggs or eggs from captive chickens? Junk food or health food? Meat-eating, vegetarian, or vegan?
If you think you and your sweetie will have no trouble working through differences in the food department, I’m going to level with you. If you don’t agree, you’ll probably argue about this – and maybe even continue arguing about it for years. When one person is adamant about ingesting healthy food (whatever he or she determines “healthy” to be), and the other is not nearly as strict or defines “health food” differently, it’s going to make preparing a meal, eating out, travelling, and teaching your kids about proper nutrition difficult. No free spirit wants to be nagged incessantly every time he or she wants to splurge on an ice cream cone, and no health guru wants the task of convincing his or her partner to eat properly every night.
We all have to eat. It’s going to be a huge part of your marriage. Your marriage will flow more smoothly if you and your love are in agreement about what to eat, how strict to be, when to splurge, and how to train your children. So, it is important to discuss your views on what to eat. Be honest with yourself and each other.
Last but not least, let’s talk about drugs. Not illegal drugs, but Tylenol, Excedrin, topical creams, or doctor-prescribed medications. I once sat beside a girl in chapel who pulled out four to six pills of some sort and was about to pop them all into her mouth. It freaked me out and I tried to stop her. Maybe her family popped six Tylenols at a time and that behavior was just normal for her. Me? I took medication when I had a headache, but was a stickler for following the directions. If Eric decided to pop four Aleve at once, I am sure I’d have something to say about it. ~smile~
However, some people do not believe medication should be taken, period. They choose to find other ways to deal with headaches, body aches, and general pain. They use food as their medicine. Or, they drink water and lie down when their bodies betray them. Or, they avoid doctors because they don’t agree with how modern/Western medicine is practiced and how drugs are the primary route to health instead of natural remedies.
Imagine a naturopathic-minded person entering into marriage with a pill popper. Somewhere down the road, one will eventually end up irking the other.
“Are you going to take another pill? Maybe you could try this juice instead? Do you know what that medicine is doing to your liver? I wish you would read this research I found for you.”
“Oh my goodness, would you just go to the doctor already? You’ve been in pain for weeks! I know you don’t like going, but you’re getting worse and your natural remedies don’t seem to be helping. If you’re not going to get help, stop complaining!”
Two people who approach health and the use of doctors and drugs differently can easily wear on each other, especially if one or both persons are passionate about his or her views. So, it is important to discuss your views on over-the-counter drugs and painkillers. Be honest with yourself and each other.
It’s true that opposites attract, but when it comes to food, health, relaxation techniques, and home culture, it’s important to be in agreement. Personally, I think it’s better to marry someone with a different personality than someone with the same personality who disagrees with you in several major areas of daily living.
Eric and I have opposite personalities – and that has been an incredible challenge; however, we see eye-to-eye on the role of smoking, alcohol, medications, and nutrition. I think we would become exhausted if we were in a continuous power struggle regarding what to put on or in our bodies.
If you haven’t already, discuss these four categories together. Be honest with yourself and each other. ~smile~
Do you and your sweetie agree on the role smoking, alcohol, drugs, and food will play in your relationship?