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How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-13-2007, 10:52 PM   #1
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How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

From the "if I knew then what I know now" threads, a common theme in the comments is the positive/negative impact of one's spouse. So as a 25 year old single guy, how do I decide whom to marry and when to marry them? I can meet someone that seems like the perfect catch, but everyone changes over time. I can't predict the kind of person I'll be in 20 years, and I have even less ability to estimate changes in someone else. Do you I the plunge, knowing the emotional and financial risks of divorce? Do I wait until I'm in my 30s, hoping that our personalities will be less likely to drift over time (knowing that the pool of eligible candidates shrinks every year)? My own parents split up, so I am a bit more gunshy than most.

A spouse is probably the largest "investment" in your happiness (or unhappiness) that you will ever make...how do you make a wise decision?
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-13-2007, 11:10 PM   #2
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupcxan
So as a 25 year old single guy, how do I decide whom to marry and when to marry them?
Typical "guy" attitude: what makes you think you have any input to this decision?!?

Spouse and I got married because we'd been thinking about it for a few years and wanted to wait until we were stationed together. Then it suddenly dawned on us that the Navy didn't particularly care to station us together unless we were married. Matrimony quickly followed, coincidentally a couple months before my 26th birthday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupcxan
I can meet someone that seems like the perfect catch, but everyone changes over time. I can't predict the kind of person I'll be in 20 years, and I have even less ability to estimate changes in someone else. Do you I the plunge, knowing the emotional and financial risks of divorce?
And thank goodness for that. Although everyone fantasizes about turning in their 44-year-old spouse for two 22-year-olds, would you really enjoy growing old married to someone who's perpetually emotionally & mentally 22 years old? I suspect the same answer applies to the 22-year-old hardbody, too, although I'd prefer to do some additional research on a wider & more varied sample size...

Everyone changes as they grow older, and it's a spouse's job to compromise (or collaborate) in that change. The longer you wait to learn how to do so, the more you'll become selfish ossify and find it difficult to change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupcxan
A spouse is probably the largest "investment" in your happiness (or unhappiness) that you will ever make...how do you make a wise decision?
There are at least two bromides:
- You'll know it when you see it.
- If you have to ask whether you're in love... you're not.

There's more than one kind of marriage. We prefer to pull as a team instead of the other types. But you'll know it's love when the other person makes you happy and their well-being is important to your own happiness...
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-13-2007, 11:31 PM   #3
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

I have had at least three perfectly fantastic opportunities in my own life, (we will ignore the 'also rans') and I decided to let each of them go from my life rather than 'commit' (after several great years per relationship), so I sure can't advise you, except to say that if there is a formula or secret, it clearly has eluded me!

I guess if anything, perhaps I can be a cautionary tale: If you want to make the plunge, and so does your SO, even though you only have a 50/50 statistical chance, I feel you are better off to try it relatively sooner than later. I know it may not sound romantic at all, but pre-marital counseling (yes, even for a relationship you think is perfectly healthy) may be a great choice, from what I have heard from those who attended such a camp or sessions.
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-13-2007, 11:54 PM   #4
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

From casual observation it seems like it might be a better bet to wait and mary your 2nd or 3rd wife instead of the first.

(I'm 36 and never been married, so ignore me.)
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 12:14 AM   #5
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupcxan
. . .So as a 25 year old single guy, how do I decide whom to marry and when to marry them? . . .
That's easy. My wife told me to marry her a few weeks after we met. She was right then and continues to be right about everything to this day. We got married when I was 21 years old in 1975. I'm sure we did everything wrong according to the experts and even according to our friends and relatives. I have no practical advice for you, but I do wish you the best of luck.
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 06:10 AM   #6
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

My advice would be to lease before you buy.

My wife and I were together for over 7 years before we were married. During that time I got to learn a lot about her family (LBYM types) It helped that she was a low frills frugal type because I was intent about avoiding money arguments.

You also need to be willing to break it off if you can't agree on the important things before getting married like kids, money, where you're going to live, who is going to work and when, etc. Try and settle those things later and you will be unhappy.

Also, it sounds really cliche, but find a woman who you would like to spend time with reguardless of the sex. I know so many people who marry pretty, well put together women and are soon miserable. They can't be with each other unless they're in bed, or going out with other people. My wife is seriously my best friend, and we have fun together and most importantly we were friends first before the romantic part was involved.

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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 08:09 AM   #7
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

I never could. 52 and still single. I love my dog tho.
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 08:17 AM   #8
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)



"How do you decide whom to marry?" is a chick question, not a guy question. However I'll take the credit for making that decision in 1972. My best investment yet
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 08:27 AM   #9
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

For women, the classic advice has been "watch how he treats his mother" with the more general version being, watch how they treat people who are serving them (wait staff, clerk at airport counter.)

I don't know about "leasing" first, but I do think it is a good idea to travel together so that you can see what the person is like when they are jet lagged and/or things have gone awry.

I would recommend a book "why marriages succeed or fail"
Gottman claims to be able to predict the future of marriages with an accuracy rate of over 90 percent, based on a very brief observation of the couple's interaction. This is the sort of premarital counseling you want....

You may still be plenty gun-shy, but based on research. I think it is worth reading well before you get to the premarital counseling stage. A fascinating, but quick read.

Good luck!

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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 08:30 AM   #10
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

Ha .. this is a better one over a beer or glass of wine ... or a few.


Warning ... blunt, male advice:

One bit of practical, though nerdy advice ... pay attention to her family, and her mom. This will give you some clue to the future ... it can also miss the mark entirely, but heredity tends to matter. Many women tend to look, and act like their moms, as they age ... just like us guys do with our dads (my laugh now sounds like my Dad's ... eerie).

And you sound like a guy who will avoid the "trophy wife" syndrome. Knockouts and wild ladies are fun to date (sometimes), but in my experience they aren't the quality package you're looking for. For me, I wanted a woman who was loving, intelligent, smart (not the same thing ...), good sense of humor (another intelligence indicator ...), sensitive, beautiful, sensuous and a good mom / caregiver. I ended up with a woman much better than I deserve, who became my lover, partner, mother to my children, and caregiver to our relatives.

But, she is my second wife. My first was a fine woman, but it didn't work. As the joke goes above, try to start with your final, best choice ... but you just have to take your best shot, and follow your heart and your head as best you can.

Sometimes trusted friends and relatives can (and probably will) give you their advice and comments as well. This isn't a committee decision, but if all advice is thumbs down, while you're charging ahead ... you may be thinking with the wrong part of your anatomy.

saluki9, interesting you mention the "friends first" situation ... same for me. In my case, when I met my wife she was actually married to another guy. She got divorced, I got divorced, and we eventually married ... no funny stuff ... neither divorce had anything to do with our friendship. As a matter of fact, we lost touch with each other over those years. [I still thought she was a babe when she was married though ... just kept a respectable distance. ]

OK, one last edit, though I really, really hate to put this in ... prenuptial agreement. Since you're here, you may already be accumulating assets. For me, I was just about stone broke when we married. But I've seen some very sad situations, that could have been avoided with a well drafted prenup ... and believe me, these were very sad, life changing (damn near destroying) situations ... in one, a woman took great advantage of a man and his son from a previous marriage. A good attorney can be worth their weight in gold in such a situation. I cannot begin to give you advice on how to deliver this to the bride ...

This isn't a dress rehearsal ... it's life. Just give it your best shot, and enjoy.

Best of luck.
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 08:42 AM   #11
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

How do can you tell who to marry.....I think that you'll "just know".

I met the perfect one when I was MUCH younger.....her and I both "knew" we were right for each other.....but because we were young & dumb, I didn't snag her, and she's the one that got away! There've been a couple of near misses....or is that "Mrs."......but they weren't quite up to snuff!

Now the last one....sheeesh!!......we were actually engaged......had we gone through holy macaroni....we would've been on the Jerry Springer show!!! She turned out to be a REAL "prize"!!! She was one psycho-b*tch!!! That engagement was terminated ABRUPTLY!!!

So if I ever run into that first one again, or one like her, I may hitch the wagon. Otherwise, I'll remain thoroughly content & single.....and FI!!!


Good Luck!!!
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 09:00 AM   #12
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DOG52
I never could. 52 and still single. I love my dog tho.
Plus, you never have to "ask permission" to play golf............
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 09:09 AM   #13
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgeeeee
That's easy. My wife told me to marry her a few weeks after we met. She was right then and continues to be right about everything to this day. We got married when I was 21 years old in 1975. I'm sure we did everything wrong according to the experts and even according to our friends and relatives. I have no practical advice for you, but I do wish you the best of luck.
From my observations of those who married - the happiest or at least those who lasted the longest are those where the woman asked/told the guy they were getting married.

Don't read any further if you like the above because I'm going to give you my rational.

We humans in our current form have been around for about 60,000 years. And although we like to think of ourselves as celeberial beings we are still motivated by basic instincts. So a powerfull motivation for a man in picking a woman (wife) is temporary physical attraction. For a woman it is for longer term nuturing. It is thought that the reason many marriages don't last beyond the 4 - 7 year period is because that is the period (when we lived in the cave) that was needed to raise children. The man would help to nurture the wife and children and then move on.

So a woman may be better at picking a good mate for long term mariage than a man. Again we humans have gotten it backwards. Women should be asking men out for dates!
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 09:23 AM   #14
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9


Also, it sounds really cliche, but find a woman who you would like to spend time with reguardless of the sex. I know so many people who marry pretty, well put together women and are soon miserable.

That sounds like a possible song title, something like "Never make a pretty
woman your wife".

I violated that idea, and report it for two reasons: It's true, and my wife
occasionally reads the board.
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 10:04 AM   #15
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

I thank my lucky stars I never married the first two men I was engaged to. The first one wanted complete control of everything including me, big mistake on his part, fought him tooth and nail constantly until I left. I was labeled an independent *itch by him and his friends, I now wear that title proudly. Next one was mentally abusive and couldn't keep his pants zipped, he's lucky I didn't do a Bobbit on him before I threw him out. After two tries the third one was what I was looking for, I didn't have to tell him we were getting married, he said to me "tell me when and where and I'll be there."

My husband is my best friend, we've been together almost 20 years now and still happy. Do my stories help someone pick a mate, who knows but I think they show that if it's not right get out while you can and find someone you can be happy with.

And for the record, I've heard through the grapevine that the first two are now very envious of dh.
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 10:14 AM   #16
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

Flip a coin.

I say this because, according to some, the success rate of arranged marriages is higher than non-arranged.
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 10:19 AM   #17
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

Jarhead*, love your sense of humor. I'm not sure I'd want my wife reading over my shoulder on this board.
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 10:44 AM   #18
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

While I am normally skeptical of "pop psychology" books, there is a book called "Are you the one for me?" by Barbara De Angelis that was suggested to me by a counselor. It talks about the different ways people make the wrong choices, why they make those choices, and how to know if you and your significant other are right for each other and entering into the marriage for the right reasons. It sounds obvious, and maybe it is to most, but I found it enlightening.
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 11:08 AM   #19
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

Often, its not who you meet...it is WHEN you meet them. I had an incredible, and serious girlfriend in college - I am quite sure she would have been a great wife - but I had wanderlust(a motorcycle,guy friends and a whole country to explore) and let the relationship drift.
When I got settled in CA, I met my wife and was ready to commit and fortunately...so was she.
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)
Old 01-14-2007, 11:18 AM   #20
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Re: How do you decide whom to marry? (Re: if you had only known...)

I was pretty sure that 95% of men just married the first woman dumb/drunk enough to sleep with them. If that didnt work, then go with the first one you knock up.

Having waited until I was 40 and having looked at the couple of prospective Mrs. Bunny's I knew in my 20's and 30's....I'm dang pleased I waited until I was 40.
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