How to Avoid Marrying the Wrong Person

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It seems a lot of people get married and then wonder if they married the wrong person. If you are still single and looking, you might wonder how to avoid marrying the wrong person, too.
The right person never uses force or emotional manipulation to get what he or she wants from you.
The right person, like all the wrong people, is not likely to change in the ways you imagine or plan. If that’s OK, he or she is the right person, and so are you.
There is a reason you are asked to agree to love, honor, and cherish through all levels of income and all degrees of health. If you want to marry for money, physical ability, or physical appearance, there is no right person, just the best deal you can make for the time being.
If you marry someone who appears to be the right person and you wake up one day to suspect he or she was not the right person, it pays to consider another possibility before you give up. The possibility? That you married the right person and he or she is doing exactly what the right person does, and if you stick around and try to understand, your life will blossom before your very eyes, just as it did when you first became convinced this might be the right person.

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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  • What happens when you married the right person and they have gradually become someone completely different? Is it possible you married the right person, who has then with time evolved into the wrong person?

  • It is possible, but not as likely as we expect. More often, what happens is that the traits we admired in them become the traits that frustrate us. The natural-born leader starts to look bossy. The spontaneous person starts to look scattered, not serious enough about long-term goals. The honesty we admired shows up as an unwillingness to encourage us in anything other than their own goals.
    We contribute to this by letting them handle the stuff they are better at, instead of tackling some of it ourselves, and by failing to see the good trait within the annoying behavior, so that we can find Third Alternatives together.
    It is also possible, as one friend found out, for personality traits to come from undetected brain tumors. Again, though, this is quite rare.
    And we do not remain stagnant through all these changes. At each point where we notice a growing difference, we can lean in or we can lean away. Leaning in can be difficult, because we don’t know where the change is leading. However, leaning in gives us the greatest chance of influencing the changes in our spouse.

  • “what happens is that the traits we admired in them become the traits that frustrate us.” this is a new concept for me, but now that I have heard it, seems likely.
    I think most of us are stuck on the “happily ever after” idea. We started out with this concept, and who can win from that starting point?
    Do keep sharing, learning is a requirement on this end.
    Thanks!

  • Thanks, laviera! When I married the first time, I believed he was responsible for my “happily ever after” and me for his. Swapping those roles has thrown open the drapes to let in the sunshine of abundant love.

  • For a long time I felt that my husband had turned into a completely different person, and not a very nice one at that. I’m pretty sure he felt the same way about me! We have spent the past several months consciously working on our marriage, and what a difference that has made. By improving myself, I inspired him to improve, too.

By Patty Newbold

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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