Why would I be dating, and considering marrying, someone I don’t like? We date people we like… right? It seems like the answer to this question would be an obvious “yes,” but more often than we realize, relationships can form based on other factors. Factors like what?
When we find someone incredibly attractive to us, we can find ourselves trying to like them for who they are, while the driving force behind the relationship is really their incredible good looks. In other cases, we can be so enamored with their high moral character that we ignore the other aspects of their personality that we honestly can’t stand. Maybe she seems like she would make an incredible mother and homemaker, but you share very few of the same interests. Becoming a couple often happens for many reasons besides genuinely liking someone – and genuinely liking someone can only happen when you genuinely know someone.
One reason many people fear their loved ones or friends jumping into marriage after an incredibly short period of dating is that they know how long it takes to really get to know someone. While floating through a happy dream in a new relationship, your view is obscured from everything that needs to be seen before committing to a lifelong marriage. There is nothing wrong with a fun period of floating and butterflies, but that is not the time to be making a decision that will affect the rest of your life.
During this time of incredible happiness, looking for flaws may seem insane; but, I would caution you not to become engaged to someone until you can see someone for who they really are, warts and all. If you can be realistic and name most of your potential mate’s flaws and annoying habits and still like him or her, then you are on a far more stable road than if you chose to only focus on his or her positive aspects.
Some couples, out of fear, choose to ignore anything perceived as negative or unpleasant. It can seem noble at the time, as if you are choosing not to allow negativism into your relationship; but, what is really happening is a delayed negative reaction. Trust me, knowing your partner’s flaws before marriage is far less shocking and mind blowing than finding out after the wedding. When you realize who they really are before there is a lifetime commitment, you have time to work through them – or decide to part ways. If you do work through them, imagine how much more stable and calm your marriage will be. “Stable” and “calm” may not be the most exciting words to someone in a new relationship, but after marriage, many couples crave them!
Thankfully for me, Eric is not one to hide any part of his personality. In fact, I knew more negative aspects than positive ones early in our friendship; but, after spending more time with him, I began to see so much good in his life. Before long, I really liked being around him. I looked forward to our time together, even before there was any romance blooming. When we became a couple, I knew that I liked him. Because the love I have for him grew from a realistic view of him, it is a much deeper love than it would have been if we had simply found each other attractive and then jumped into a relationship. Liking your future mate may seem like a given, but it is not. When a marriage begins to fail, the like leaves long before the love.
Do you like your boyfriend/girlfriend? If you were not dating him or her, would they be someone you would want to be around a lot? Does he make you laugh? Do you look forward to talking to her as much as you do your non-romantic friends? If she gained 50 lbs, would you still like her as a person? If he lost his hair, would you still like him as a person? If he or she lost the ability to do the activity at which he or she excels the most, would you still want to be with that person every day with what remains? This is an honest question that needs an honest answer before moving forward into marriage. Take some time to write a list of all the positive and negative traits of your future spouse and consider the traits as a whole. You can grow to love anyone you genuinely like; but, you may not be able to grow to like someone – even if you love that person.
What do you like about your boyfriend/girlfriend?