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Are You And Your Partner Well Matched?

Dec 3, 2007
Without a doubt, the saddest refrain in all the world is the one so often spoken by the unhappily married: "Oh, if I had only known what kind of a person I was marrying, I would never have gotten married!" After one is married, however, it's too late to do anything about this factor. It's do or die. That is why courtship is such an important period. It is during this time that a young man and a young woman determine what they consider most suitable for an ideal life mate.

Courtship important

Education is essential in making a success of marriage. Just how much depends on the individuals entering into the union. It is hoped in this day and age that both partners possess at least a high school education. According to the leading marriage counselors, it is far better that the young man have more education than the young lady. The reason is obvious. It is man's role in marriage to be the head of the home.

Courtship, therefore, represents a very important step leading to marriage.

It is more advanced and serious than dating and implies that both parties are now thinking about marriage and its responsibilities, its societal expectations and its objectives. Serious courtship for most young men and women begins after graduation from high school. If they are contemplating college, courtship is delayed for a few years, although approximately 25% of the college and university population is now married. As two people make the transition from dating to courtship, they become more and more involved with each other and less and less involved and concerned with outsiders. To a certain degree they live in a world all their own and the whole basis of this unique experience is to please one another, each seeking to satisfy the emotional needs of the other. They prefer one another's company to that of anyone else. The feeling of belonging and knowing that she is loved brings great happiness to the young lady. To be considered worthy of love adds to the young man's self-esteem. This experience gives rise to intense feelings of happiness.

That is why courtship is such a serious period in one's approach to the sacrament of matrimony. Hasty decisions during this time lead eventually to divorce courts. Infatuation and exaggerated romanticism may make one momentarily happy, but they certainly will not make an enduring marriage. Courtship affords a testing period to determine whether or not the couple is really ready for marriage, whether they really love one another. It constitutes a discussion period to test each other's disposition and personality.

It is during this period that a couple should be able to determine whether or not it is wise for them to marry.
Consequently, a young man should have definite ideas as to the qualifications he expects in the girl he hopes to marry, and at the same time he must have an understanding of the qualifications he himself can offer. A popular writer on marriage has expressed this thought in a very positive way. "The young man who starts out on his matrimonial adventure by looking around for a girl good enough to be his bride is making a false start. The first thing for him to do is to make certain that he is good enough to be a fine girl's husband.

Narrowing Down the Choice

There is no foolproof way in which one can assure himself of the right mate for marriage. However, a number of studies have been made which could easily serve as guides in a more careful and less haphazard way of selecting a husband or wife. The first of these guides or norms is personality.

Personality

Marriage is never better or worse than the two personalities that go into it. The kind of personality one brings into marriage, therefore, is of utmost importance. It determines or conditions to a great degree one's success or failure in marriage.

Personality is one's inner self. It is you. It is you with all your powers, abilities, habits, and virtues. Very evidently, husband and wife can be happy together if each has a pleasing personality. Thus it is important to know the answers to the questions: What kind of person am I? And when you can answer that, you are ready to ask: What kind of person must I have in order to meet my emotional and other needs? How well one has learned to acquire and practice the seven great virtues of: (1) Faith, (2) Hope, (3) Charity, (4) Prudence, (5) Justice, (6) Fortitude, (7) Temperance; as well as the seven little natural moral virtues of (1) tact, (2) order, (3) courtesy, (4) punctuality, (5) sincerity, (6) loyalty, (7) caution in speech, will determine the quality of one's personality and its strengths, and will assure you of a happy and successful marriage.

According to the late Lewis T. Terman, a noted psychologist, the personality traits to look for in a woman are the following:

1. Kindly attitudes toward others.
2. Expects kindly attitudes from others.
3. Does not easily take offense.
4. Is not unduly concerned about the impressions she makes upon others.
5. Does not look upon social relations as rivalry situations.
6. Is cooperative.
7. Does not object to subordinate roles.
8. Is not annoyed by advice from others.
9. Enjoys activities that bring educational and pleasurable opportunities to others.
10. Likes to do things for the dependent and underprivileged.
11. Is methodical and painstaking in her work.
12. Is careful in regard to money.
13. Is conservative and conventional in religion, morals, and politics.
14. Has an optimistic outlook on life.

The personality traits to look for in a man are the following:

1. Emotionally, he is even and stable.
2. He is cooperative.
3. Has benevolent attitude toward inferiors and the underprivileged.
4. Respects womanhood.
5. Tends not to be self-conscious and somewhat extroverted.
6. Shows superior initiative.
7. Shows great willingness to give close attention to details.
8. Is willing to assume responsibility.
9. He likes to do things methodically and he likes methodical people.
10. Is saving and cautious in money matters.
11. Holds conservative attitudes.
12. Has a favorable attitude toward religion.
13. Strongly upholds the sex code and other social conventions.

In other words, the first thing that you look for in a mate is to find out if he or she is well adjusted, emotionally mature, a possessor and user of common sense. Pure, ordinary, unadulterated common sense is an essential ingredient in marriage.

For example, common sense would indicate that women who nag, are not affectionate, are selfish, inconsiderate, complaining, interfering, slovenly and quick-tempered are great risks in marriage. And men who are selfish, inconsiderate, unsuccessful at their jobs, untruthful, complaining, not affectionate and harsh are poor risks in marriage.

Desire for Children

The desire to have children is definitely related to marital happiness if both parties agree. Both parties should have a strong desire to be cocreators with God. The exact number of children need not be arrived at before marriage; but having children, if it is God's will, must be desired by both parties. Couples who want children are more successful in their marriage than couples who do not want children.

Home Life

A close study of a girl's home life will help a young man arrive at an exact picture of his partner. Good marriages come from good homes. That is why it is all important for a young man to meet his partner's parents far enough in advance of marriage to determine whether or not she is a "house devil" or a real "home-loving girl." The more desirable qualities a family has, the greater the chance that marriage with a member of that family will be successful. In looking at the family background of a prospective life mate, the following ten circumstances should be considered:

1. Superior happiness of parents,
2. Childhood happiness,
3. Lack of conflict with mother,
4. Firm but not harsh home discipline,
5. Strong attachment to mother,
6. Strong attachment to father,
7. Lack of conflict with father,
8. Parental frankness about sex,
9. Infrequency and mildness of childhood punishment,
10. An attitude free from disgust or aversion toward sex.

Occupation and Finances

Believe it or not, occupations have something to do with stability of marriage. A young man considering marriage should be settled in his work and have some money saved. Precisely how much depends on the economic standard which he and his girl set for themselves. This, of course, will be based on the kind of lives they are in the habit of living. The prospective husband should have a steady source of income one which can support a wife and a family.

Health

In your picture of the ideal mate, there should certainly be an element of normally robust health. Marriage and family life can take a great toll of one's physical resources. Bearing a child, though it is a normal physiological fact and by no means a sickness, is nevertheless not something to be undertaken lightly. Good physical condition is necessary to support a family, to keep a home in good order, to bear the strain and worry of sleepless nights with sick children, to get up at two in the morning for a feeding or to give a child a "drink of water" is not easy for even the most robust. It becomes almost impossible for those who are in poor health. Common sense, then, demands that you choose as your partner in marriage someone reasonably healthy, and that you give yourself to that partner with the health necessary for the performance of your functions as husband or wife, father or mother.

Education

Pope Pius XI stressed the importance of the careful selecting of a life mate during courtship: "To the proximate preparation of a good married life belongs very specially the care of choosing a partner; on that depends a great deal whether the forthcoming marriage will be happy or not, since one may be to the other either a great help in leading a Christian life, or a great danger and hindrance."
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