Nowadays, people are tying the knot later and the rates of marriage are going down, yet the divorce rates are still high. This is because waiting to get married may help some grow emotionally and become more stable financially, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll choose the right partner. Contrary to what many think, our unconscious mind plays a big role in this decision.
From my work with couples, I’ve seen that the problems in a marriage often stem from the choice of partner. We like to think we consciously choose our partners, but really, our subconscious has a lot of say in the matter. Experts like Freud, Jung, Bowen, and Whitaker all believed that our partner choice is predestined. If they’re right, then we must be aware of what we’re really looking for in a partner to truly have a choice.
It’s not easy to bring the choice of a partner to the conscious level. Many don’t even believe in the power of the unconscious, and those who do often have defenses that hide their true selves, as Winnicott put it. However, understanding ourselves can save us from emotional pain and costly divorce fees. Although professional help is often needed for this process, I want to share five key factors to consider before getting married based on my clinical experience.
1.Know what you want.
Take time to reflect on your needs and who can meet them. Some want a partner for deep talks, others want someone to spend lots of time with, and some want a more distant partner. Some prefer a partner with a high libido, others a low one. Remember, you’re going to live with this person, so don’t let family and friends influence you too much. Consider their input, but make your own decision as if it’s for life.
2. Make trust a priority.
Choose a trustworthy partner. Deceptive people are risky as you can’t be sure of their actions or feelings. This can leave you vulnerable. When investing so much in a person, you must trust them with your emotions, finances, and children. If they grew up with secrets in their family, they might keep secrets now.
3. Consider attraction.
Attraction is crucial, and I’ve written about it many times. You should be emotionally and physically attracted to your partner. They don’t have to be highly intelligent or model-like. Attraction is personal; what matters is what you find appealing. Ensure that your potential mate finds you attractive too, or you might end up dealing with infidelity.
4. Look for responsibility.
Choose a partner who is willing to take responsibility for their actions in the relationship. If they’re rigid and controlling, refusing to take responsibility, it can lead to difficulties in compromising. This can leave you with two tough options: either go along with it or leave.
5. Seek out similarity.
Opposites may attract initially, but similarity is more important in the long run. Don’t choose a partner to fill a void in yourself. Pick someone who shares your thoughts, appreciates the same things, and wants the same things in life. This can prevent power struggles in your relationship.
In conclusion, being thoughtful and intentional in choosing your partner can lead to a long, happy relationship and reduce the risk of becoming a divorce statistic.