We All Married the Wrong Person

Couples in crisis often reach the point where they decide they are just two poorly matched people. This precedes the decision to leave the relationship and go in search of that “right person.” Unfortunately, the odds of a successful marriage go down for each attempt at a new marriage. Psychiatrist and author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men and The Secrets of Happily Married Women and The Secrets of Happy Families, Scott Haltzman, MD, says in truth, they are correct; we all married the wrong person. I found his comments from TV interviews so intriguing that I requested an interview with him to delve into the topic.

Dr. Haltzman says even if we think we know a person well when we marry them, we are temporarily blinded by our love, which tends to minimize or ignore attributes that would make the relationship complicated or downright difficult. In addition, both individuals bring different expectations to the marriage, and we change individually and as a couple over time. No one gets a guarantee of marrying the right person, says Dr. Haltzman, so you should assume you married the wrong person. That doesn’t mean your marriage can’t be successful, however.

“Most of us spend a lot of time filtering through possible mates in hopes that we will end up with the right match. Some people believe it’s an issue of finding a soul mate … the one true partner. Whether or not you enter into marriage believing your partner is THE one, you certainly believe he or she is A right person for you,” says Dr. Haltzman.

He explains that if the success of a marriage were based on making the right choice, then those who carefully chose a good match would continue to sustain positive feelings the majority of the time, and over a long period. The theory would be proven correct that choosing well leads to success.  “But the divorce rate in and of itself stands as a great testament to the fallacy of that theory,” says Dr. Haltzman. Even the couples who remain married don’t describe themselves as completely happy with each other, he adds, but rather committed to one another.

“If we believe we must find the right person to marry, then the course of our marriage becomes a constant test to see if we were correct in that choice,” says Dr. Haltzman, adding that today’s culture does not support standing by our promises. Instead, he says we receive the repeated message, “You deserve the best.” These attitudes contribute to marital dissatisfaction, he says.

Dr.  Haltzman shared some research with me about the negative effects in our consumer society of having too many choices—which may lead to increased expectations and lower satisfaction. A book called The Choice Paradox by Barry Schwartz shares research that flies in the face of conventional wisdom. (I will have another post about this topic soon, because there is much insight to glean.) I’ll cut to the chase and reveal that people are happier with the choices they make when there are relatively few choices from which to choose. With too many choices, we can become overburdened and regretful and constantly question our decision. Today, individuals may feel they have many choices of mates, and fear lost opportunities with potential “right” partners. This may happen even after a person is married, as he or she questions the decision to marry with each bump in the road.

“My basic philosophy is we have to start with the premise when we choose our partner that we aren’t choosing with all the knowledge and information about them,” says Dr. Haltzman. “However, outside of the extreme scenarios of domestic violence, chronic substance abuse, or the inability to remain sexually faithful—which are good arguments for marrying the wrong person on a huge scale, and where it is unhealthy or unsafe to remain married—we need to say, ‘This is the person I chose, and I need to find a way to develop a sense of closeness with this person for who he or she really is and not how I fantasize them to be.’”

That choice to work on the relationship can lead to a more profound, meaningful experience together. Dr. Haltzman offers the following tips to help us reconnect or improve our bond:

  • Respect your mate for his/her positive qualities, even when they have some important negative ones.
  • Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person.
  • Be a loving person, instead of waiting to get love.
  • Be considerate instead of waiting to receive consideration.

To underscore the last couple of points, Dr. Haltzman says many people will put only so much effort into a relationship, then say, “I’ve done enough.” But very few of us will do that with our children. “Instead, we say despite their flaws, we wouldn’t want anyone else; yet, our kids can be much more of a pain in the ass than our spouses.”

Finally, he advises, “Have the attitude that this is the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with, so you must find a way to make it work instead of always looking for the back door.”

For more information on Dr. Haltzman or his books, visit DrScott.com or 365Reasons.com. Many thanks to Dr. Haltzman for sharing his time, wisdom and advice.

Read More on Marrying the Wrong Person. (A new post to continue the discussion and share insights.)

Lori Lowe is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage.  Find it on Amazon.com or in your favorite e-book format.

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Photo Credit: ©Aliaksandr Zabudzko/PhotoXpress.com

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475 responses to “We All Married the Wrong Person

  1. Love this. Although, I have to say, that my husband does feel like Mr Right to me NOW, even though I thought he was Mr Wrong a few years ago. It’s all a matter of perspective, and of not even giving oneself the option of trading the spouse in for a different choice. I love seeing our spouses through the same lens of love and compassion as we see our kids. So meaningful.

    • Thanks, Alisa. I know what you mean. I will be celebrating 15 years this month, and I feel like I married the right guy. BUT, if I’m honest, there have been days when I felt like we didn’t understand or even know each other very well. The key is to keep moving forward. And, yes, if we cut our spouses half the slack we give our kids, we’d be destined for success!

    • Hmm. My right person. http://www.forantonia.com A mom with triplets and cancer. George Clooney where are you when we need you?

      • You are right!
        I got married when I was 16 years old and stayed married for 12 years with a guy just like Clooney: rich, handsome and selfish.
        Then I got married with another very “nice guy” for 10 years that turned out to be worst than the first one.
        Now I am finally happy and SINGLE!
        Kids are the best thing in the world but ex-husbands are the worst and they are forever!

      • Glad you finally found happiness. Research shows marrying that young very rarely results in a lasting marriage.

    • Yep, I did marry the wrong person. I blog about it a lot. I am envious it doesn’t garner the same overwhelming responses that you get. Thanks for the positive spin…
      The Reverie of Asher Kade

    • I struggle with my partner each and every single day. I thought as we aged he would be more compatible however this is so far from the truth that I am dismayed at his level of selfishness and insolance for our family unit. I would like to run away more often than not from this person. He has the best of intentions however never ceases to let me down. Someone said that I should have no expecations of my spouse…can that be realisitic? I am unsure that marriages can run or function like that. I have tried patience, I have tried accountability, I have tried silence, nothing has left me content. I have come to the point where parenting my teens is far easier than managing this marriage. :(

      • This is very interesting response to a fascinating article.

        I’ll pass this along to some friends of mine.
        Thanks

      • I don’t think the article was suggesting that you truly could be married to the wrong person. You could very well be. I think it is saying take a step back and make triple sure you’re doing everything you can be doing to make it work and not having unrealistic expectations. It could be better for you to go, or not. ONLY you can truly know that for yourself. Regardless I do hope you find peace and a happier life whatever choice you make regarding your marriage right now.

      • Joni Fornelli

        You may benefit from reading a book called Nonviolent Communication. It is by Marshall Rosenburg. The book has given me a fresh new framework to operate from in terms of expressing my needs and requests and hearing my spouses anger and criticism coming from his needs so it opens up responding from a different place in myself.

      • Thanks for the book recommendation.

    • Wow! Very powerful message! I love it!!

  2. I remember reading the line “be the right person …” while engaged and finishing my final year in school. It came back to me during the first 1-2 years of my marriage. Marriage is designed beautifully. I think of a quote by Albert Einstein: A person can start to live when he can live outside himself. Great post and topic; one of my favorites. Take care!

  3. Love this post! I need to send this to all of my divorced friends who are now eyeing marriage #2.

  4. This is a good perspective. It makes me feel sad for the places my marriage has been… but I can be hopeful too!

  5. This is a refreshing blog article and one that looks like it took more time and consideration than just a morning cup of coffee. I appreciate your effort and the insightful topic very much!

    Good luck in your relationships and keep me posted on your entry covering the Choice Paradox (as that, too, sounds very interesting).

    Most Appreciatively,

    Dorian Wacquez

    • Thanks, Dorian. I expect to have that post for you in about a week. If you sign up for the updates, you’ll be sure not to miss it. Take care, and have a great day!

  6. Pingback: Dang, Did I Really Just Marry Mr. Wrong?! | Project Happily Ever After

  7. Thank you for posting this! When I was single, I had to get to the place where I was happy with me and I didn’t need another person in my life. When I got there, I met my husband who was in the same place. Our relationship isn’t perfect and there are days when I wish I hadn’t gotten married at all, but I think that it is normal and as long as you communicate your feelings it all works out. It also helps to remember that you’re not perfect either (which isn’t hard for me to remember, lol)!

    • Indeed. Being happy before marriage far improves your likelihood of being happy after marriage! We have to remember we are human and imperfect also, and that helps us be more forgiving, don’t you think?

  8. I just commented as my husband!!! More proof that I’m not perfect and neither is Word Press! ;)

  9. This is a great post. I think that so many things from culture tell us that a relationship shouldn’t take work. It really, really does. I think it’s satisfying work when you have someone willing to work with you.

    I have what I would consider an advantage. Since I’m gay and can’t legally get married in my state, I never feel tied down. Sure, separating our things would be tedious at this point, but every day is a choice that has nothing to do with legal obligations.

    Thank you for this. It makes me appreciate what I have and give me some clues for where I can head!

  10. I like your post. I really like Dr. Haltzman’s tips. “Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person” is important.
    I have been happily married for 11 years and have 2 kids. Marriage takes a lot of work because people change over the years and difficulties do come up. You need to treat each other with respect and not take each other for granted.
    http://www.moneyprovidesfreedom.wordpress.com

    • Thanks, Jackson. Dr. Haltzman didn’t take credit for making that up, but he believes in sharing that message. So true. If we could focus more on ourselves, we would all improve our marriages. Great advice based on your experience–respect is key, especially for men. Best to you.

    • It’s to hard for me to be the right person, instead of looking for the right person! ))

  11. Lori, thanks for this outstanding post. It is by far one of the best I have read in some time. You always do such a good job. You are singing my song, teaching my message and preaching my gospel and you do it better than me.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

  12. I think what you have written is true,some poeple my realize that they married the wrong person but cant find it in themselves to admit it and they end up living a miserable life..

  13. really great post – very insightful! Will have to add you to my blogroll to keep coming back for marriage advice :)

  14. Thanks for sharing.

    My wife and I were together for hmm… about 12 years before we actually tied the knot last year. We’re about as different as apples and oranges yet we do have quite a few similarities, likes and tastes. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Having those differences keeps us both intrigued with one another – even after this many years. We always find out something new about one another all the time and try to understand each of our differences. I’m truly lucky to be with her. :)

    Cheers!

  15. Great post, really interesting! Especially as someone who’s been quite wary of marriage, throws up some good questions. Thank you!

  16. Really interesting article but not one I will be forwarding to any newlyweds!

    • Alex,

      Never fear! I am a newlywed, and upon reading this article I felt only relief and affirmation… since I did get married on the basis of a lifetime commitment between two imperfect people, not on feelings of romantic love that aren’t trustworthy and may not last. I think the sentiments in this article are important for people to consider BEFORE getting married. Stephanie Coontz, a family historian, wrote a book about how “love conquered marriage” and subsequently led to unrealistic expectations, unhappiness, and divorce. If we go into marriage with expectations of work and commitment, we won’t be surprised when our marriage requires just that.

  17. I am not married, but I noticed that what you say is right as I watched couples around me. A lot of people tend to look for the “grass is greener” thing and overlook what they have at home. This is a certain key to dissatisfaction. Of course no one can be “the right one” 100% of the time, I am sure both parts of the couple feel that one day or another. But I think communication is key and trying to keep at page with the other person and most importantly not to take them or the whole marriage for granted.

  18. This post really resonated with me. I have been with my partner for nine years, and we are finally getting married next year. There have been times when the going has been really tough – we have been through a lot, and at one time we honestly didn’t think we would make it. But as bad as things were, neither of us doubted for a second that we loved the other, and we stuck it out. This is a great time for us to be getting married – we know just how much we can survive and how resilient our love for each other is. Are we “right” for each other? Probably not. Would either of us want to be with anyone else? Hell, no!

  19. “Have the attitude that this is the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with, so you must find a way to make it work instead of always looking for the back door.”

    This sums it up for me. I really like this quote. I’ve only been married 1.5 years- We dated for 4yrs prior to getting marrid, and we were broken up for 6 mths. That 6mths was the hardest time of my life (thus far), yet the best time for us. We grew up, I became a more independent person, and he decided that I was “the one.”

    We don’t believe in Divorce, it’s not an option. Of course after only 1.5yrs of marriage that is still easy to say.

    There are days when we both aggravate the living hell out of each other, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t want to be married to any other man. He is the love of my life, and every day I think of how lucky I am to have such an amazing husband.

  20. While stranger things have happened… I needed to hear exactly this. Thanks. :)

  21. Marriage isn’t all puppies and rainbows – you have to work at it. And like life, it’s made up of moments. The good moments, the ones where you and your partner are smiling and laughing and enjoying one another, those are the moments that make it all worth while. And those are what keep you wanting to work at it.

  22. We can never know a person as well as we would like to, we will never be sure about the person we are married to, things change, people change. I feel for example that my man is the right one for me, I already know his negative qualities, I don’t expect him to change as long as he doesn’t expect me to change. Both parties must work together to make a marriage work and last, until they should work harder, then obviously sth is wrong.

  23. Your article reminds me of a post I read a few days ago saying, “You cannot expect anyone to love you, but you can let yourself be loved…”

    Jess B. Hinkle

    http://jesshinkle.wordpress.com/

  24. Great post and SO important. I’ve asked divorced people why they married the person they did, and often, the answers are really idiotic. I always wonder what were those people thinking?

  25. Great post, very interesting. Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  26. Thanks so much. Very interesting!

  27. Loved the tips provided in this article. I strongly believe that’s the key to sustain a long term relationship.

  28. I just got married, and my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents all gave me very similar advice. :)

    My dad always says love is a verb, not an emotion. You can only stop loving somebody when you decide you no longer want to show them love through actions.

    My uncle says “marriage isn’t 50/50. It’s 100/100. If your husband stops giving his part from time to time, you have to pick up the slack. and vice versa.”

  29. I totally agree with this theory. I wrote an entry about settling, and got a lot of flack for it, but I really feel like this is the essence of what I meant by settling–not running from person to person in search of ‘the right person’, but accepting someone who’s a good person as ‘good enough for me’.

    http://theblindleadingtheblonde.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/making-love-to-you-was-never-second-best/

    That’s the entry I wrote.

    • I don’t believe in settling; I believe marriage can be ultimately fulfilling and joyful. However, some people’s expectations may not be based in reality as you suggest. Thanks for your thoughts.

  30. Love this! I am on my second marriage (10 years) and my view and commitment to my husband are so different this time around. He is not perfect (of course, neither am I) but I am committed to him and our relationship. I truly believe this changes everything. Hard times will come, but this time, instead of looking for a way out, I’m confident we’ll find a way to work things out. Thank you.

  31. Thank you for posting this. My husband of a year and I recently went through a rough patch, and many of your points sum up beautifully why it’s so important to me to work with him to improve our relationship, instead of bailing to find something “better.”

  32. Parabéns gostei do seu blog!
    Abraços

  33. Quite an interesting post. My husband and I got married after not knowing one another for very long, due to a surprise baby, and now we are going through some relationship problems after less than 2 years. I can’t say that I’m really surprised, on some level I always knew that it was a bad idea to rush into things, but neither of us wants to get a divorce. He doesn’t believe in divorce, and I come from a divorced family and so want to avoid it unless there’s no other way. It seems like the easy way out, divorce, and I agree that finding a way to live with the person you married, trying and trying some more, is the only way to make a union work.
    I’ve also read some reports about monogamy and primates, that sheds some light on the problems of marriage (basically it’s not really a natural condition for any other primates, and the divorce rate would indicate that it’s very likely not for us either – all the more reason to resolve yourself to lots of hard work).

  34. tonight at 8:00 pm. Telethon with George Clooney. I wonder if he will ever be aware of us? http://www.forantonia.com

    A husband in Love

  35. What a wonderful blog post. This really is an insightful way to look at marriage that blames no one and takes a realistic look at things without making it sound, well, depressing. Very well written. You have a new follower!

  36. Next week is my 15th wedding anniversary with my husband, Patrick. We are both Psychologists, lead our Marriage Prep 101 Workshops together and consider ourselves “Happily Married”. Usually. Engaged and newlywed couples in Marriage Prep 101 are often surprised to hear that although we are both “Relationship Experts”, our marriage is far from perfect. In fact, we teach them about the importance of a “Good Enough Marriage” and in reality, all relationships go through different chapters and phases. At times, I too have felt that I married the wrong person especially when I experience him as too critical, or not sweet and loving dovey enough. However, I am well aware of the “grass is greener” phenomenon. All relationships have issues and challenges. At least I know our challenges! And, my husband is reasonably open to my coaching! Great article Lori. Thank you for all of your contributions.

    • Thanks for your comment, Michelle! Of course you’ve heard that when husbands are open to their wife’s “coaching” it makes for a better marriage! Thanks for your honesty in admitting that even with all your training and expertise, you also have challenges. Have a great weekend!

  37. I agree with the focus and points made in this article.
    Although women tend to be more nurturing than men, both should understand that kids are not your life. They are part of your life. Without a good relationship for the kids to observe, how can kids emulate as young adults those same successful traits.
    As they grow into young adults, making kids the central priority of the home and life can give the wrong message. Your partner should be a best friend, companion and lover first. That takes time, attention and care. Often to, we have the conception that after marriage, the one factor is what exist. Two people are healthier when they learn to walk through life together as two individuals and a couple. Just because you get married does not mean that you as the individual cease to exist. If you partner values this in you as much as you do in them, good for you. Like some of you, I speak of these things from experience as well.

  38. Thanks for this post, helps a lot..

  39. I really enjoy this. Not being married myself, I don’t really know what it’s like, but I do know that so many people try to find Mr/Miss Right, then are disappointed when he/she has unexpected flaws. I feel like the right attitude to have towards this is to look out for red flags while dating, make sure this person is firstly your best friend, and then when you marry them, go into it with the knowledge that by marrying them, you declare them the right person for you, and its a permanent bond that you’re willing to stand by and fight for.

  40. Lately there’s been statistical/anthropological research into how many people you need to date before picking a mate for life in order to have a good chance at success. Out of a local dating pool you’re suppose to reject your first 32% of dates before picking a committed relationship. (Or was the number 42% – aha! the meaning life, the universe and everything!) Statistically this proves that it’s easier to find a good match in a small town vs. the big city. Or some such thing.

    In the end I believe it is about how much two people are willing to commit themselves to a relationship. When one partner withdraws their commitment by just a little bit it makes it easier for the whole thing to fall apart.

  41. interesting points you have there. a couple of friends just separated after a 6 months marriage and that affected me a lot, since me and my husband got married a month after they did. in fact, they didn’t come to your wedding because they were on their honney moon. and now they split. maybe if they had read your post soon enough, things could have turned out a little different.

  42. Thats funny I got married so i wouldn’t be homeless and I had to get a residence permit. I’m glad these doctors and scientists have figured out that when I signed some papers I was thinking in my heart hes the right one. I love science, it rules. Oh another words, go to hell.

  43. Great article! My husband and I just celebrated our anniversary on the 8th. We both acknowledge and accept how difficult marriage can be AND how worth it is (at least to us) to work through it with love and respect. Nothing worthwhile in life comes easily. We are up to the challenge and its great to hear that others feel the same way.

    Joy

  44. Great research. Keep up the great work.
    <3 Milieu

  45. Great piece. The title grabbed me right away. I was thinking, “WHAT?” A good read with great ideas I can try in my own marriage. This is a topic that can be revisited over and over, while opening up new pathways of thought and understanding each time.

  46. Over 31 years my Mr. Right and I have realized that, on any given day, either of us can be the “wrong” person for the other. Those are welcome-to-the-human-race days that can spring from selfishness or even personal growth. But on those “wrong” days the glue of our marriage has always been a commitment to the Commitment. That requires us to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of our life together, rather than look at the shortfall of the day (or season of life). Perspective can be a wonderful thing. When feeling affronted by my man, I retrench by saying to myself, “Hmmm, will I still feel like calling a lawyer about this in three days?” After three days I’ve usually had ample opportunity to be Mrs. Wrong with a bullet. Then, not surprisingly, the playing field is level again.

  47. When things start to go wrong in a relationship, it can be difficult to figure out who caused it. Are you doing all you can, but your partner isn’t pulling his weight? Or is the opposite true, is she doing everything to make you feel loved, but you don’t do anything in return? Many people seem to rush into marriage for one reason or another, but if they perhaps stepped back and thought about some of the things Dr. Haltzman said in this interview, perhaps they would end up living happily ever after, after all.

    I definitely agree with the ‘too many choices’ scenario, as well. I’m a horribly indecisive person anyways, and now I have thousands of options in front of me…

    Thanks for the post, and congrats on FP.

  48. If only we could all realize how important Commitment and Keeping our Word is.
    It seems we no longer take any Honor or Pride in Our Word.
    Once, that was what a person was measured by. Not the Trivialities of Consumerism…
    Think we can start engraining that once again?? I do!
    And yes, Marriage is a great way to start.

    Thanks for the Post and Congrats!

  49. It has been my experience that after the romance has worn off the true foundation for a long-term relationship is friendship. OK – OK … I know how trite that sounds, but stay with me. The friendship cannot be based on mutual interests alone because interests will change, A stronger relationship is built on a mutual understanding and respect for how each other think, how we process information, our sense of humor, and our sense of right and wrong. I love my wife’s brain!

  50. Some days my boyfriend is great, some days he is a pain in the ass. I can be both as well, which is why I try not to judge him for it.

  51. Too many people are looking for a quick fix. Our concrete society is partly to blame. If more of us had forests to clear and houses to build and food to grow and clothes to mend we wouldn’t have time to find fault in our mate. If your mate is mean or violent then leave.

  52. Pingback: When Grief and Marriage Collide « Three Cups of Coffee Later

  53. Love this post and couldn’t agree more! I am forwarding this to everyone I know!

  54. Thank you for this, this is refreshing advice, I think it’s wonderful that so many people are thinking about their families and not just thinking about themselves as individuals. I come from a divroced family and I have seen how focusing too much on individuality can bring stress and trouble for everyone, wherease, I agree, focusing on your role in the family is far more productive for everyone involved, and I’ve often thougth that both my parents would be happier and better off had they made a committment to working on their relationship. Thank you again!

  55. graphicdesigninfo

    I like your post. I got married a few weeks ago to a man that I’ve been with for 6 years. I’ve never believed in soul mates, but I do believe in living together for a time before you get married. My ideas aren’t for everyone, but I like the testing-ground before marriage. It tells me whether or not I can live with that person happily. Relationships are work, we all have faults and we need to work on our relationships. Marriage isn’t for everyone either – we all need to do what’s right for ourselves and monogamy doesn’t work for everyone either.

    Thank you for the informative post and all the commentator’s opinions. It’s a very interesting discussion!

  56. Love, love, love it! This echoes so much of what I have realized to be true over the years. It’s nice to get confirmation that I’m right!

    I suck at making decisions in general and the choice of a mate is rather terrifying to me.

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

    • Crystal, then perhaps it is liberating to learn that your decision itself is not the basis for your success. All marriages will result in some major differences and will require forgiveness and commitment. That being said, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly, particularly if you see any “red flags” like controlling or abusive behavior, addictions, etc.

  57. When I married for the first time, I did so for a lot of wrong reasons, but I was completely committed to giving our relationship my all. I didn’t believe that divorce was right, so I was absolutely determined to make it work. I also believed the people who told me that it is never possible to be completely sure that someone is the right one, and that no one was really all that happy with their marriages anyway.
    The day after the wedding I discovered that my husband was a totally different person than the young man I had dated. He had put his best foot forward, as we tend to do, but the pretence was dropped as soom as he was sure that he had me, hook, line, and sinker.
    I stayed for over 17 years. We had two children together, and he was cruel to our son, and spared no effort in convincing our daughter to hate me. (She confirms this now as an adult.) I was miserable, and literally walked around with my teeth clenched all the time. I dragged him to four different rounds of counseling with three different counselors. He told all of them what they wanted to hear, then went home and did whatever he darn well pleased. He later admitted that he hadn’t tried to make our marriage work.
    You can’t make a marriage work all on your own. Both have to give it their best efforts.
    A year after the divorce was final, I met a wonderful widower. He treated me like gold right from the start, and has never stopped. When I walked down the aisle, I knew with 100% certainty that this was a man that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I wanted to run down the aisle!
    Ten years later, we are still very much in love, and very happily married.
    I have told my daughter never to marry until she is absolutely sure, and that has already saved her from a great deal of heartache. She has met a guy who makes her incredibly happy who treats her extremely well, and it looks like he is “the one.”
    I certainly hope that couples who find themselves in less than perfect unions do their best to weather the storms and make a life together. I am very pro-marriage!
    What concerns me is that people may read into this blog that they should settle for less than a great person who treats them well when they marry, and that no matter how miserable and abused they are, they should stick it out, because that is just the way life is anyway.
    Some behavior is just plain unacceptable, and some situations are nothing short of unbearable. Give your relationship every possible chance, put in all the effort and time that you can make it work, and get counseling if you need it. If your spouse won’t go with you, go to therapy alone — you can use all the support that you can get.
    All that being said, divorce is not the unforgiveable sin, and life is too short to spend all of it miserable and imprisoned in what amounts to a life sentence.
    Let’s all do everything we can to make marriage all that it can be!

    • Jodi, I’m so sorry that you had to endure an abusive marriage and that you found true happiness! I hope people caught the part of the article where I mentioned abusive behaviors (let me say physical or mental abuse, controlling behaviors, serial infidelity and the like) should not be tolerated. There are certainly cases where a marriage should not be endured, when it causes harm. However, most divorces are not as a result of these situations, but are rather variations on “growing apart.” Thank you for your thoughtful input. Many more years of happiness to you.

  58. Marriage is less likely to work as time gets older and society advances. First and foremost; two people could be relatively happy for a wide amount of years without marriage… marriage is none but a social construct with a sexist backbone.

  59. Four stars. A good piece.
    Modern observation shows that commitment matters? Fancy that…

  60. Great post, Its good to also realise that a ‘soul mate’ is NOT actually someone who has everything in commom with you, a true soul mate is someone whom actually encourages you to explore all the other wonderful things in the world, they will encourage you to see different points of veiw and will encourage you to really achieve your goals and dreams and not hold you back because it may be something that they dont agree with or dont understand…a true soul mate will open your heart to everything new and is open to everything new themselves.

  61. That is a very interesting concept about marriage. I am only 21, so I am still single, but I think alot of the things mentioned are very true.

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  63. This post is great. I think too often people are looking for the “backdoor” and even if they don’t cheat they don’t put their all into the marriage and blame the other person for their unhappiness. I have definitely had days like this and this post makes me think about the things I need to change in myself!

  64. When we engage the SOUL (or highest essence) of the person we love with our words, thoughts, and actions, THAT person invariably shows up. Instead of reacting to behaviors, focus your full attention on the very best of that person. Often, without conscious awareness, the very best of them is what they present. Without understanding why, they respond energetically to the pure vibrance of love that beckons the qualities that reflect and represent their highest self.

    I find this a much better approach than nagging, complaining and always being the voice of how someone else is wrong, inadequate, or inferior. Honestly, it’s insufferable! What would be the reason to remain in such a situation if you were the one on the other end of this unkind and unloving behavior? And why would we do that to those we say we love? Yet, it’s so prominent. Fortunately, the power to change today is within you!

    Try the counter-habitual thing that provides peace, profound joy, deep fulfillment, mutual satisfaction and the rock-solid foundation for a long-lasting, love-infused connection: silently address the well of potential of the soul and miracles will unfold before your eyes!

  65. I definitely feel for those girls/women who seemingly find the perfect guy only to have him break her heart or to somehow lose her trust.

    Some issues can be worked out and, sometimes, it’s just best to move on as harsh as it may seem.

    Best wishes to those struggling but who still have hope:)

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  68. There are some great ideas here. I love the part about being a loving person. We can improve our marriages and homes by truly trying to be the best person we can.

    Sherri

  69. Great post! When people live with the understanding that divorce is not an option, marriages will last longer and people will strive for happiness with their spouses. Also giving your spouses half the slack you give your children will lessen the tension a bit.

  70. Great post. I’m a happily married wife and have loved me husband for many years prior to our matrimony but I realize that there are hundreds of other people out there who I’m equally (and probably more) compatible with. I discussed this with my husbands a few months ago and he agreed. He put it in a sweet perspective: “Yeah, in truth I CAN picture myself being with another woman but I really can’t picture life with Angella (that would be me).” Also, we have to realize that mortality puts a strain and time limit on finding the right person. It’s impossible to travel the entire world and meet each and every person, so we’re limited to locale and cultural preference as well.

  71. I have to say I love your post!!! I am engaged to a great guy who I love very much. But despite that, I sometimes wonder if I’m making the right choice in marrying him. I mean there are so many different options! And we have our differences…but your post confirmed in my mind what I already know. Love is not a feeling, it’s a choice, which is basically what you’re saying.

  72. “Dr. Haltzman says even if we think we know a person well when we marry them, we are temporarily blinded by our love, which tends to minimize or ignore attributes that would make the relationship complicated or downright difficult”

    can’t agree with this more was in a relationship where it was constant fighting and bickering and just when you are out of it you see everything so clearly when you look back

  73. Great post. I loved the idea that we work so hard in our relationships with our kids, so why not with our spouse?

    • Yes, why don’t we give our spouses more of the benefit of the doubt? Probably because we realize they are still learning and developing. But we as adults are also still learning and developing and should offer one another grace. Thanks!

  74. Thank you so much for this post. My husband, who I love dearly, told me 10 days ago that he wants a divorce. I’m determined to do everything I can to save the marriage, I think he’s frightened and worried that he’s missing out on something better. No matter what happens, marriage has been a wonderful experience for me, and I will be in a happy marriage one day. I’m a great believer in everything you have said here!

    • I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m sure you have having a difficult time. I would suggest divorcebusting.com for some useful resources. Best wishes to you!
      Lori

  75. very interesting.

    I like, “Be considerate instead of waiting to receive consideration.”

  76. Being a military wife adds something more to the marriage and that is seperation but we do pretty well. I think for me and my friends the ones that are not divorce is that we knew exactly what we were getting into. There was no rose-colored glasses, my Marine sit me down and told me the ulgy truth and said can you handle it? I said yes and we have been married for eight years now; yes it has been difficult but we have looked at ways to solve our problems and not look at ways of getting out of the marriage. I think marriage is not for the faint-of-heart but for those that can weather the storm.

    • Kudos to you and your husband for being strong through your struggles. I’ve interviewed some military couples who have shared the unique challenges. We should be grateful as a nation for your sacrifices. Best to you.

  77. Dont compare
    appreciate wt u already have

  78. This was an interesting post, and I really appreciated Jodi Edwards Wright’s reply about it. I have the same concerns – that if only one partner is being the right, loving, considerate partner, s/he will be exploited. Both partners have to follow those rules for it to work.

    • Fear holds us back in many relationships. There is a risk that our partner won’t return our love, but life is not without risk. With the exception of abusive or neglectful spouses, I think most people tend to want to return the love and show gratitude. It may take time, but if both people have right motives, being loving is the way to go.

  79. You are absolutely right.

    My mom always told me that once you get married, that IS the “right person” for you. My husband and I have been through our share of troubles, but since both of us were brought up with this attitude, and because we believe our marriage reflects something higher than ourselves, we stuck it out. It’s been almost 10 years, and I can honestly say I’ve learned what love really means, and it has nothing to do with who I chose to marry.

    I don’t believe in “soul-mates,” in the traditional sense of the word. I believe “soul-matedness” is made – it doesn’t just happen. I have MADE my husband my soul-mate, and he has made me his.

    Regardless of our BIG differences.

    Thank you for speaking the truth – because it is, indeed, the truth.

  80. Hey Lori”

    You should be justifiably proud of your post today. You hit it out of the park and you really touched a nerve with a lot of people based upon the avalanche of comments. What a great day for you. You are going to have a tough time topping today.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

  81. Made me think of Judith Viorst, who said that the cool thing about marriage is that, when you fall out of love, it keeps you together until you fall back in again! Of course, I read that several marriages ago –;)

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  84. Fantastic post Lori!!! I have always believed that there’s no perfect ‘one’ for you… but whether or not you’re perfect for each other. Everyday is not sunshine and rainbows, I’ve learned that… but its the bad times, in my opinion that make you appreciate the good ones. And there’s always a bad day or a bad moment… learning to understand one another and respect one another is what helps us get through it. Don’t you think?
    I think our spouses help us understand who ‘we’ are, the good , the bad, the ugly… lol. I could talk forever and a day about relationships!

    Nice job and Congrats on freshly pressed!
    ~Elle

  85. Thank you for an encouraging, down-to-earth post I agree with 100%. I am not married, but having seen so many married people around me go through really good times and absolutely awful times (my parents are a perfect example), it is refreshing to hear someone say that I won’t find Mr. (or Mrs) Right, and that’s exactly how it should be. I always second-guess my choices and wonder if I’m with the right person … Good to have someone else reinforce my own belief that love isn’t always something you feel; it’s also something you do.

  86. Very nice post.

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  88. Everyone does not marry the wrong person, if you trust in God that he will send you the right person, then you’ll know when its the right person. After all God does give you the desires of your heart, which does include finding the right person for you.

  89. I believe all of this & have always given this same advice! finally it is backed up by a Psychiatrist! Love this post & I will share it with everyone :)

  90. you should have a “Tweet This” button so that we can tweet this post to our followers :)

  91. Good post, especially the part of our current need to always have the best and throwing off a marriage just because it may not be the best. Good marriages take effort and finding joy in the everyday. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  92. Really good article. Love the human approach: the one that explains our own and individual needs and expectations, against the ones of the couple… in the end we are all human, with mistakes. What I get of this is that we can learn to love WITH the mistakes because in the end no one is perfect.

  93. great post…thanks for the reminder in a slump…it makes a real difference, and I love the title.

  94. Very interesting read

  95. Some relationships >= betrayal, lies and vanity. Great article!

  96. This was a VERY good post. Thank you for the confirming insights!

  97. Cynthia Matos-Medina

    Great post!
    We live in a society where patience and endurance has totally lost their meaning. If something doesn’t go the way we think it should we don’t want to wait or work hard at it, we automatically want OUT. The sad part is that we bring that mentality to our marriage too. I’ve been married for 10 years and it hasn’t all been great; however, I wouldn’t change it. I learn something new about my husband everyday, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Things don’t always go my way, but they don’t always go his either ;) it’s all about compromising because you LOVE that person. Keep the great advice coming. Im a fan.

  98. Alisa, most people who consider divorce and don’t divorce after a couple of years are happy. And today’s environment is horrible for marriage – do away with no fault divorce, alimony, child support, redistribution assets, welfare for divorcees and so on and the divorce rate would plummet.

  99. interesting read, I’m a therapist & getting married in Jan. lol.

    http://www.island-art-therapy.ca

  100. Oh, to add something – this isn’t that much of a problem in my country since women don’t have ridiculous expectations like always putting the toilet seat down, a wedding ring worth 6 months wages and the whole entitlement princess attitude.

    Besides, men and women with careers aren’t compatible since they don’t complete each other. If I was a man, I wouldn’t really need a professional woman – that’s the sad truth, what we do for work as women is irrelevant to men. We make the mistake to think that because we care about what men do for work, they do too – if I was a guy, I could care the less my wife has a PhD or not, I’d care more about her age so that I have a family with her. Also, men aren’t really innocent either since they began acting like effeminate boys, not men. I wish men still were like they were 150 years ago. :(

  101. I want to like this, but it doesn’t display the like button for me!

    SOB. It’s probably just me.

    Love this post. A wise doctor once said this very thing to me: “It’s not about marrying the right person, it’s about BEING the right person.” I’ve remembered that for decades, and it’s helped our marriage. I blogged about it and called it “The Day the Wise Doctor Spoke”.

  102. Wow!! I loved reading this! As a woman who is definitely looking forward to one day being married, I totally needed to read this! I have a lot to learn!
    Thanks!

  103. Wonderful post! It really hit a nerve, especially since following my years invested in pondering the wonders of relationships and marriage following a fairly topsy turvy 10 years of relationships all with different levels of unhappiness and pride and fear all turning something wonderful into vicious circles.

    Personally I think divorce, unhappiness in relationships etc is the sum of many fears we all have relating to commitment (mainly the fear of allowing yourself to be vulnerable as well as the risk of being hurt ), and hence as well the whole discussion of who is the right partner. I have had a tendency to fall in love with being in love instead of falling in love with the real person behind this possible love story.

    In the end, this post just summarizes the situation so beautifully, its not about how what you have compares to everything else, its about what you make out of what you have.

    Thanks again for the lovely post! And to finish off, this is a lovely TEDTalk by Barry Schwartz about the paradox of choice.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO6XEQIsCoM
    Enjoy! :)

  104. Great post, I agree with a lot of what was said. This culture is so big on FINDING the right person with some vague almost superstitious idea of a “soul mate”.

    My wife and I have what I consider a perfect marriage even after 4 months, it’s like we are still on our honeymoon. I attribute this not to our ability to find the right mate but to God bringing two people together at the right time. We let God be our match maker and that’s the best way to do it.

    I especially love these:
    * Respect your mate for his/her positive qualities, even when they have some important negative ones.
    * Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person.
    * Be a loving person, instead of waiting to get love.
    * Be considerate instead of waiting to receive consideration.

  105. Very interesting perspective. I like!

  106. I just posted something similar a few weeks ago. We would not dream of getting rid of our kids due to irreconcilable differences. There is a lack of committment overall, thinking that the loving feeling trumps all. Great post and congrats on getting freshly pressed!

    MonTrice

    http://montrice.wordpress.com

  107. Great advice about how to reconnect. Very well written piece!

  108. So funny to see this pop up. I just said to someone the other day that I think over 90 percent of people are poorly paired (and I’m not just talking marriage). I think over 90 percent of people are poorly paired and just deal with whatever is dished out to them because they don’t realize a better partnership is indeed out there for them.

    People need to know each other much, much better than they usually do before they pair up. How does their potential partner deal with death, job loss, family illness, their own illness or yours? How do they deal with extreme stress or emergency situations? And have you had a chance to truly know their moral character? And yes, are you really turned on by that person?

    I am not married. Not now. And I am in a completely committed relationship after nearly 15 years together and I still dig that man. And yes, after two marriages, I know I have it right. How do I know I have it right? I actually do, as an unmarried woman, have opportunities present themselves often. Very often. And I have absolutely no desire to pursue them, unlike what it said towards the end of this post,. When the only thing holding you together is your love for someone, that says something. We could walk away from each other at any time. With barely a kerfuffle in our relationship, EVER, for me, what I’ve got is way better than any marriage I’ve seen.

  109. She was the right woman, I was the wrong me.

  110. I’m impressed, very good advice. I’ve found it to be more than true in the last 14 years of marriage. Anyone, can walk away when things get tough, and they will, but it takes commitment to stick it out. And I think that most of the time that’s the difference between a marriage that succeeds and one that fails.

  111. great post!

    and yes, I agree with most of it..

  112. To my mind, the points Dr. Haltzman makes offer a compelling arguement as to why “arranged marriages” in India and elsewhere rarely end in divorce.
    Partners realize that they will eventually fall in love, which they mostly do; each focuses instead on the responsibility he or she brings to nurturing the union.
    This may not be an attractive idea to many people, but it offers food for thought.

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  114. It really hit me be the person you want him to be, it helped me realize what I need to work on.

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  116. It is interesting and thought provoking to read the points made in the context of the arranged marriages in India. May I add a line to what Rupa has rightly observed. The deep-rooted thought with which one enters marriage is that it is an enduring relationship – this seriously motivates, prompts, pushes people to adjust to each other.

    Of course, a romantic that I am, I often see in my wife the girl I married 30 plus years ago. Penned a few lines at: http://ksriranga.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/the-girl/

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  118. don’t keep on searching for the perfect love…but love the person you found!!!

    • I am agree on this one. There are no perfect people in this world, and we should learn to live with it. Here it is a book I wrote about a relationship:
      Fire and Ice

      http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007HG21ZC/ref=

      In Fire and Ice, Nancy, a naïve but resourceful, kindhearted woman, marries her high school sweetheart. As a working wife and mother, Nancy perseveres, despite having an abusive, alcoholic husband.

  119. I am getting married soon and get plenty of advice… this is some of the best. I might even work Dr. Haltzman’s 4 tips into the ceremony!

  120. A very healthy, productive perspective. I like!

  121. I heard something when I was younger:

    Don’t marry the one you love, love the one you married.

    Love is something that grows through action, thought, and service.

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  123. One of the most intelligent articles on marriage I’ve ever read. Also this is frighteningly more honest than most poeple (especially family) are seemingly able to be about the subject and its important life-long effects and repurcussions. Thank you for the post Lorilowe.

  124. The best way is to take what has been proposed to you. I have seen it in my 60 years. People who are adamant about their preferences got the worst. People who fall in love – particularly in offices – with co worker, end up in divorce, people who gave much much importance to marriage are now advising others; people who looked down, treated the wives like servants – now cleaning the floors; Be aware, that as you have not seen all the positive traits in your most beloved friend, you will not see what you are looking in your wife. Th compromise, adjustments and amendments are the best policies. What you have got without asking or without much fanfare is the best suited to you.
    visit : careerandresume.wordpress.com

  125. Of course there is an element of choosing when it comes to partners and ultimately, deciding whether you want to marry someone. Otherwise what you’re essentially saying is that anyone should be able to happily pair up with anyone else, so long as there was no abuse or cheating, because all that matters is that you ceaselessly toil away at it to stay together. We shouldn’t have any aversion to arranged marriages if this were the case.

    It’s easy to trivialise the idea of a “wrong” mate when the idea that there is only one right, perfect person out there for us is such an simple one to tear down. A person can be neither completely right nor completely wrong for us and still be someone with whom it can be very hard to live and communicate with. Relationships of varying sorts require more effort at some points more than others, but does there not come a point when having to work on it so much suggests it’s not really good for your well-being and a drain of your energy?

    I guess I’m trying to say that I believe that there are still some basic issues of compatibility that matter.

    There is a difference between:
    “You’re not going to be content if you hold onto unrealistic expectations that there is one person who can be everything you need and want at every single moment in time.”

    and

    “Don’t divorce if you feel like your spouse is not right for you because duh, no one is.”

    I would agree with the former and not the latter. Of course no one is completely right for you. But there are probably some people with whom you find it easier to work through your differences, there are probably some people who would make you smile or laugh more often, some who are more open to you, reliable or trusting than others. Having a good understanding of yourself and knowing honestly how to weigh the good against the difficult is to me more important than simple stubbornness. Not being able to predict the future or having all information available to us doesn’t mean there’s no way we can ever choose wisely for ourselves. If there wasn’t good choosing in the first place, then it would be silly to apply rigid stick-to-it-ness to a relationship.

    There are a lot of people who are entitled and think they should be able to get what they want without any work or self-awareness, but there are also people who struggle and struggle and no one is happy throughout it all. We shouldn’t assume that we all know exactly why our friends/relatives marriages imploded, and judge them for simply being greedy or lazy. We only know what is right and makes it worth it for ourselves.

  126. I love, love, love this post. Just today I was thinking that I married the wrong person & consequently have been considering divorce. This article totally put things into perspective. I am ashamed to admit that I have not been giving my marriage my all. The only thing I could say was “OUCH” as I was reading this. Thank you so much for writing this post.

    • Mrs. P, your note made my day. I’m so happy the article touched you in this way and gave you a more positive perspective on your marriage. I wish you and your hubby the best.

  127. hi, nice article. i believe that we are the ones who can make the person we married the perfect one. it is true that nobody is perfect and there are times that although couples love each other very much, they still end in misunderstanding. our marriage can be perfect if we will love each other deep in our hearts, forgive and understand each other in their mistakes, accept each other who they are and not what you want them to be. there are many things that affect a successful marriage and we are the key to make it happen. my wife may not be perfect for other people but i believe that she’s the perfect one for me. :-)

  128. Capt. No-Marriage

    All this does is raise the question, why get married in the first place? If airlines crashed at the same rate as marriages, would you fly knowing that each time you flew the chance of a crash increased?

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  130. If you married your best friend, you didn’t marry the wrong person.

    Marriage is about conflict and complementarity. Most problems in marriage have to do with outside factors (e.g., a comic strip I saw a few years ago: “My wife and I never fight.” “Really?” “Yeah. We live in an apartment. We don’t have a car. We don’t have a computer. We don’t have kids, and our parents are all dead.”)

    My wife and I are best friends. We fight. We’re sometimes tempted. But we know when it comes down to it we mean the world to each other, and any other problems are problems that *we* need to address *together.* Divorce isn’t an option, not just because it isn’t an option for us but because neither of us could conceive of living without the other.

    It’s not about being “Perfect”; just being the people you can count on the most.

  131. This post offers a fresh perspective on marriage. It is so true we spend so much time after the fact wondering if we made the best choice instead of placing our efforts into making the best of the choice.

  132. I have a hard time with marriage, and how it works, though I think it’s true that you need to work at a marriage, or even a relationship, and not just be looking for other options out there instead of being happy for what you have all ready and making it better.

  133. You had me until this part:

    “Dr. Haltzman says many people will put only so much effort into a relationship, then say, “I’ve done enough.” But very few of us will do that with our children. “Instead, we say despite their flaws, we wouldn’t want anyone else; yet, our kids can be much more of a pain in the ass than our spouses.””

    See, the reason we don’t say “I’ve done enough” with our children is that they are our CHILDREN, our responsibility, and relationship that cannot be dissolved. My spouse is not my child, not my responsibility, and in this society it is a reltionship that can be dissolved. It is a partnership. Children require sacrifice, and we have that expectation from day one of morning sickness. Marriage also occasionally requires sacrifice, but if it requires daily continual sacrifice year after year, it is only human for the result to be resentment, because in my opinion, a healthy marriage is a partnership, not an endurance contest to see how much one or the other can “take.”

    And while my children may be a pain in the ass, they will grow up and move out if I do my job right. “Doing the right thing” in marriage, on the other hand, ensures that I continue to live with a spouse who may be less of a pain, but is a pain nonetheless.

  134. Adventures of Austin Girl

    Thanks for sharing this article! My husband and I “connected” intellectually… that and I laughed at his jokes!! We weren’t out hunting for the right partner. Our meeting simply happened as nature intended. Over the years, we’ve come to respect one another, he respects the fact I don’t cook, and I respect the fact he has three shoes closets: garage, living room, and kitchen.

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  137. Im young so I have plenty of time to choose but this helped a lot thank you

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  139. Wow, your post really resonated with so many people today. Way to go Lori Lowe & Scott Haltzman. I am so impressed how many people in long term marriages get the concept of “Working on their Marriage”. I wrote a post myself: Why Work on Your Marriage or Relationship:
    http://drmichellegannon.com/2010/08/why-work-on-marriage-or-relationships/ and I certainly know that happy marriages are a work in progress!

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  141. nothing works out when you think about it too much. thats what happened to me and my boyfriend… the sad thing is, i still love him out of my wits, but i just know we are intrinsically made not to change for each other.. so its pretty difficult, especially when it gets in the way of your career. i think i’m making a sacrifice… not in search for the ‘right’ guy, but to win back the right i had to make my own decisions…

  142. “Respect your mate for his/her positive qualities, even when they have some important negative ones.
    Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person.
    Be a loving person, instead of waiting to get love.
    Be considerate instead of waiting to receive consideration.”

    Awesome. Thank you for this! Finally relationship advice that is practical and realistic but not pessimistic.

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  144. hikz, I always wait for right person. I don’t know whether I am a right person or not. I’m such a silly girl. Great post!! Wish I can be better person.

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  146. Strange. Never asked myself if I am marrying the right person. I always though I am marrying the only one…

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  148. Interesting subject. I never believed in marriages or in any relationships, just because I see so many broken relationships and I have never seen a single happy marriage. Everybody ends up unhappy. Though I still hope there is something around and there is something possible. But overall the unhappiness happens all the time around us and only tend to see this, not the happiness. It’s kind of hard to even discuss about or think about, in real life dealing with this and yourself and your partner and other people and so many things, it seems very complicated and confusing. I don’t even know what I am trying to say, because I don’t think I even understand this situation, but I still think it’s the most interesting subject in the world. Weird, huh?
    For people that agree with me and for anyone to see, I have just posted an animation about the same subject (inspired by your post) :

    http://thinking.marettt.com/2010/09/11/triangle-1982/

    It is quite interesting and creepy at the same time.

  149. I just had my 21st anniversary and agree entirely. Great post!

  150. Don’t get married then! Who needs a piece of paper (i.e the marriage certificate) to show everyone that you love each other?
    If it doesn’t work out it doesn’t work out, though this shouldn’t mean that you have to go through the hell of divorce settlement because of it – though I wouldn’t know as I’m not stupid enough to amrry in the first place.

  151. Thanks, but I am single :)

  152. well for me i am not married yet i just hope to meet the right person.but meeting the wrong person some times have a better benefit as it helps us to grow together as we live and find out more of each other.

  153. Very insightful!!!. Loved reading it.

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  155. Margarita Corazon

    Now I know I’m not alone. =)

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  157. I think it is true when people say that they grew together (as opposed to growing apart) in a relationship, and that is the ingredient to a lassting relationship in my opinion. To find a like-minded person, rather than the “right person” is the key…

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  160. newauthoronamazon

    Its a mistake to believe that somebody can be on their best behaviour all the days of their life. We all go through the various emotions we are capable of – happy sad naughty wicked moody temperamental etc etc after all these are human emotions and it stands to reason that when we are married for an x number of years we will be going through all the said emotions. So it is upto
    us to be able to take the rough and tumble of life along with the smooth…after all I beg your pardon…I never promised you a rose garden.
    Another important aspect….allow the Law of Attraction to work for you in your life. Remember you create the life you desire with your thinking. So think beautiful thoughts . It is possible you know.

  161. I love this article!! I have been reading this blog for quite sometime now, and this is my first comment. I would like to tell you that I enjoy reading this blog, and that I love thought provoking articles like this!

  162. Loved this post! I heartily agree that our consumer/throw-away society has a bad influence. I went through years of “the grass is greener”, but hesitated to divorce, as my parents had an ugly divorce and I didn’t want my kids to suffer as I did. A year and a half ago I opted for a “time out”. That gave us a lot of time to think, to find ourselves again after living together since 1985. During the past months we began to rediscover each other, which is quite a process! What helped is that we separated, but neither of us ran into another relationship. We worked on ourselves and enjoyed the quiet time. When the commitment is there, I have the energy to work on the relationship. Wondering if I should leave took up a lot of energy! I am happy that we are finding our own way and what works for us. Last weekend marked our 20th wedding anniversary. No, he’s not perfect. But neither am I. We respect, love and accept each other — and are grateful. After focussing on the negative for so long, I now find the positive aspects. What a nice surprise!

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  165. Oops! I go so caught up reading the comments, that I didn’t say what I wanted to. I think we generally marry the right person. The crises and difficulties are a wonderful growth opportunity. My husband and I have learned and grown alot since we met 26 years ago. Our childhood hurts have healed/are healing. A big problem was/is that I generally preferred the “easier” way and viewed disagreement and conflict as negative. I don’t see it that way any more. I believe a long-term relationship is a wonderful opportunity to reach one’s potential — as an individual and as a couple, but it is up to me to be willing to step up to the challenge. We humans are creatures of habit and many of us are not exactly enthusiastic about change. It takes courage and willingness, but the rewards far outweigh the apparent security of the familiar old patterns.

  166. The point about our commitment to our children vs. spouses is very good. I couldn’t help thinking that is so true. Well … I also thought the kids are kids. If a 35 year-old chooses to behave like a 12 year-old, it’s easy to lose patience for him/her (I think). Very good post.

    Empi

  167. i loved this! thank you for posting this. i’m glad i came across it. being in a position where i’m soon to be engaged and coming from a culture where divorce is not an option. -excluding the circumstances which you mentioned (abuse, etc..)- this has been both an exciting time as well as a very nerve wracking time. as “the one” theory seems to distract most of us these days. especially as you and most other readers have said we are constantly being reminded not to settle. gosh…is having the right partner/spouse who has the same interests, shares the same values and beliefs that you are attracted to not just physically but intellectually settling? i don’t think so.

    the grass is certainly not always greener. i agree that a marriage takes work…every successful relationship of any nature at some point will require work after the honeymoon phase has passed.

    so simply…thank you. it certainly was a good reminder that although there will be times we may not like each other very much. loving each other and wanting it to work will help us overcome most obstacles.

  168. I’ll give you an answer to that – because we were in love and wanted to be together.. no big suprise eh? There ARE people these days who marry for economic reasons which I find questionable, but it’s their life, good luck to them.

    However my marriage ended this year after 10 years (3 living apart), it was an amicable split, we were of different nationalities and neither of us were happy living in the other country.

    Was it the right thing to do? I don’t know.. it was necessary at the time.

    After the divorce I felt free and unconstrained. I was happier in myself because an enormous weight had been lifted from my shoulders. We tried very hard but there were too many tears, depression and uncertainty.

    My only advice to folks is to stay in the present – enjoy your life as it is now don’t go fantasising about some perfect future or dwelling on the wonderful past. You can’t change it.
    I

  169. Great post ! You explain with words what I just felt :)

  170. If I do get married (which I really hope so) – I am praying that the guy that I find would be my Mr. Right-and-will-never-leave-me type of guy. But I also believe in the saying: “If it works, don’t fix it, if it doesn’t try to fix, if it’s beyond repair, dump it” I don’t want to be in a situation that I push myself in a situation won’t work. An FYI – here in my country, we do not have divorce, so couples who get tired of each other just “separate” which complicates more. Anyways, that’s another topic. Thanks for the post, I just felt I really need to comment on this. Thank you for reading and more power!

    Cheers!
    ——

    http://stargirlsays.wordpress.com/

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  172. thinkingcoral, what a great balanced response. You put it into words better than I ever could.

    It is so easy for us the bash one extreme (selfishness and consumerism in marriage attitudes) by swinging to the other extreme (stay married at all costs). The fact is, in this country and culture we DO have choice, and all that goes with it. It’s all well and good to glorify “arranged” marriages, but that is just another hue of the “grass is greener” mentality . . . “if only we could be like the good old days where people were committed . . . . ”

    I believe the reason people divorce today is not because there is less commitment, but because there is more opportunity. More often than not both partners work outside the home and the wife is not economically dependant on the husband like she was a generation or two ago. And society has also come to be much more accepting of divorce. Take away the economic and social constraints and I have no doubt that my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents would also have considered divorce. As it was, all of those marriages were “functioning.”

    Today, I have the freedom to choose my own standards of acceptibility for myself. Someone else may have a different standard, and that’s OK too. Live and let live.

  173. JRR Tolkien once wrote this bit of wisdom in a letter to his son, Michael:

    “Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  174. When we marry, we don’t know what lies ahead. I walked out on my 27 year marriage after my children had grown, because I realised that my husband had never loved nor truely cared for me. ‘Proof of love’, I realised, had never existed, for myself or our children. Although I now live alone, I was lonelier when I lived with him. Without empathy, there is no marriage.

  175. Good post of themes we all need to reflect upon at times in our marriage …
    http://www.ashortguidetoahappymarriage.com

  176. That book “the Choice Pardox” sounds really interesting. this is an excellent blog. Every married person should read it.

  177. Thank you so much for this post. Although I am very committed to my marriage (divorce is not an option), there are times of struggling. Over the years, I have had to face some of these things and have come to many of the same conclusions, including the tips listed. In fact, with this being a second marriage, I believe following those tips have really helped in this marriage. The stresses of our living situation and my husband being out of work have made things a bit difficult lately. I really needed this very timely reminder.

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  180. Found the like button! Yay!

    Here is my blog post on being the right person, instead of “marrying the right person”. All the credit goes to that wise doctor, who spoke.

    http://stephanieswalk.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/when-the-wise-doctor-spoke/

    Also, the work of Dr. Henry Brandt turned our lives around in a big way. Without all of this, or marriage would never have lasted into its third decade.

    Love your post. Love your blog. Will be reading again.

  181. I don’t know whether I should rave or rant!

    I want to be a proponent for “always being in love.” I have heard stories or known people who are forever and ever in love. Stories past down from generations and generations on how love can move mountains.

    Unfortunately, no one in my family has experienced this undying love or even love affair. Yes we are all committed to our marriage but inside it does bite that that person your married has flaws. Loads of flaws.

    But then, everyone’s got flaws. I admit my flaws are immense. My husbands’ flaws are actually few. But somehow his flaws always trump mine only when I’m over burden and stressed out.

    Regarding marrying the wrong person, I think it’s not fair to my husband who I do and still love, that he is the wrong person for me. I think it’s up to the individuals to actually communicate their differences and compromise. Because no one is super perfect. There will always be a pet peeve lurking around.

  182. I’ve been married for five years to my high school friend. I understand that we may have had a better start than most married couples, but we still faced the issues of every other couple. Finances, disrepect, not enough communication. For us, we find that if both parties want to make a difference in their relationship, then it is easier to get along. And not to mention, God is the center and no one else. We talk to eachother. If we’re upset, we tell eachother about it. And that truly makes the difference.

  183. Great article! Wow, what a new way to look at this thing we call marriages! Great job!

  184. Great Post! Well this usually is the most common realization of a person, some people would conclude to this , but later on as the marriage last realize they did choose the right decision.

  185. A really excellent post. I completely agree with previous posters – my husband is the right guy for me right now, but heck for years he certainly was not. It does have to a choice in so many senses of the word, love changes – really excellent post and I forwarded it on to many :)

  186. I have to say, it is a little depressing to think that everyone marries the wrong person. After that remark, I didn’t have a lot of hope for the rest of your post in that I assumed I would disagree with it. However, there were some interesting points. Marriage is bigger than one person and is not about “me.” I heard once, instead of asking what will I get out of marriage, you should ask what can I give to this marriage…and never stop giving. Thanks for the post.

    • Hopefully by the end of the post you understood that “We all married the right person” is actually the position I take. That’s why Dr. Haltzman’s quote intrigued me and caused me to dig deeper. We may think they are the wrong person for certain days or events, but for the most part, we realize commitment and loving one another are the keys to success. We also must realize that the right person changes over time, and we change also. Evolving together keeps things interesting. Thanks for chiming in.

      • It is an intriguing concept, and I hope you explore it more. I would love to read more of your thoughts on the subject. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  187. Wow, you have a really nice site going here. This post is extremely thoughtful and well stated. We will never escape doubt in this life, especially when it comes to the biggest decisions of our lives.
    http://www.eduClaytion.com

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  190. “Have the attitude that this is the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with, so you must find a way to make it work instead of always looking for the back door.”
    That s exactly how I think about. Great post!

  191. i don’t think i should have read this today. i am in a middle of a breaking relation, the reason again being that i don’t know if he is the right guy, unfortunately i also have questioned myself if he is not who is? and for how long should i look? i never really got any real answers. this article indicates i should not question it at all, but at 25 it is difficult to settle despite knowing that there always will be compromises.

    • Choosing whom to marry is a serious decision. Yes, there will be compromises in marriage, but common values and goals are important to have going in. Good luck to you!

  192. excellent piece! would like to comment on the use of “fantasy” — It is my belief that we all have our fantasies, from time to time. We think of the fairy tales with their magical fantasy filled endings. I think it is important for people to realize that fantasies are “free.” (that’s how I like to frame them). People can be frightened by fantasies, thinking that they actually want something or some one else in their life. How about just allowing the fantasies to be there, without “going anywhere.” Also, they are personal, no other person can look into one’s brain, the fantasies are seen by no one else!

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  196. so inspiring! this post will be the inspiring thoughts for the married couples and those who are preparing to be married soon. thanks a bunch! :)

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  199. I agree with the Dr.’s view on the issue when the matters are small and trivial but I take exception to the fact that if, for the most part, the marriage does not come easy then maybe that backdoor is the best choice for both sides rather than living in a world of hate, toxic disrespect, and resentment. I have to wonder how many real situations the Dr. himself has been in? I would rather follow an experienced soldier into battle. Or rather someone who has lived through the problems and even failed as opposed to a Dr. who is coming from a stand point of education alone.
    I am not being passionate about this subject, just subjecting it to my analysis and first honest reaction. Definitely thought provoking!

  200. lol………..

  201. This is a very interesting article. Some of the comments remind me of a book I read years and years ago called something like “When Choice Becomes God” … it had some similar points about the difficulties inherent with too many choices. I’m going to recommend your blog post to some of my friends who’ve been struggling with their marriages. I think it’ll give them a fresh perspective. And congrats on making the Freshly Pressed list on the WordPress front page! :-)

    ~Debi

    http://thesimplemom.wordpress.com

  202. This is so true. There is no Mr. or Mrs. Right. More people need to work on making relationships better, instead of bailing and looking for the next best thing.

  203. thanks for posting this. it’s a really, really interesting topic.

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  205. Lori I think you hit the nail on the head when you say common values and common goals are important going in. Many people get married to someone who does not have common values or goals, and it takes several years of marriage and trying to be the “right person” to realize that there is such thing as irreconcilable differences. And it’s not just stuff like abuse or addiction or infidelity. Religious and cultural differences, or when one spouse wants a child and the other doesn’t. There’s marrying the “wrong” person, and then there’s marrying the truly wrong person.

    Someone once said that men get married believing the woman will never change, and women get married believeing the man will change. Both are wrong!

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  207. This is kind of a sad way to view marriage, but I guess its better to be honest with oneself. Good entry btw.

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  209. Couldn’t disagree more. I have known so many couples who married the wrong personal for the wrong reasons. After spending the time to get to themselves they have found a more suited mate. This was for both of my parents, who were divoriced when I was seven and still with their second marriage. Both my ex-husbands parents got divorced and found happier relationships. In fact, everyone I know who was in an unsuitable realtionship found someone better the next time around.

    The problem with most relationships is people look to find their answers in another person, without finding who they are and what they truly want. Once you are confident being who you are and comforatble being single – that is the time when you truly find the right personl – whether they are your first, second or fifth marriage. All the rest is hogwash.

  210. consumerism is ruining the world

  211. Totally disagree with most comments here…being married is a compromise in itself. Marriage is an age old process that does not work, but more then that…..if divorce is an option then most people take that road…marriage is more about friendship and sharing your life then finding a perfect match…….great post zman sends

  212. I’ve only been married for three and a half years so I am no expert but this is the most sensible advice I have read yet. Thanks for such a well-researched and written post.

  213. I think the hardest thing about marriage is all of the contradictory advice that you receive. On one side, when you explain certain behaviors you’re experiencing, some women will say, “You have to put your foot down and make it clear that this behavior is intolerable for you, or else it will just continue.” (And it usually does.) But then you have the other side that says, “Nagging never solved anything, and it’s important to not hurt your partner’s ego as a man.” Equally, I feel like your advice is part of this debate. I’ve celebrated three years of marriage, but, to be honest, I wanted to cry on some levels instead of celebrate. I couldn’t believe I had actually made it that far. I love my husband in many ways, but this relationship is exhausting. Doesn’t anyone ever get to the point where giving 100% 24/7 just feels like your entire body and soul is falling apart? I know my husband feels like he’s giving 100% too, but literally it’s just not happening. My husband is not abusive, and he doesn’t harm me psychologically in any way. If he had a major flaw, it would just be laziness and slobbishness. When I add it up in my head, it’s not enough to divorce, but I must confess that I’ve had my moments where I felt like saying: “YOU handle it all! I’m going to bed, and when I wake up, I’m moving out!”

  214. I AGREE WITH CHRISTY YOU HAD ME UNTIL THE “PAIN IN THE ASS KIDS PART” HOWEVER AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO REALLY QUESTIONED THIS ARTICLE? WHAT DO WE HAVE IF WE DO NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO TRUST OURSELVES AND OUR DECISION MAKING SKILLS WHEN MAKING A DECISION ON OUR MATE IS PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION WE CAN MAKE? YES I BELIEVE SOME PEOPLE ARE SO STARVED FOR LOVE THAT THEY TEND TO MAKE MORE OF A RELATIONSHIP AND BE BLIND THEN IS RIGHT FOR THEM, HOWEVER MAKING ALL RELATIONSHIPS OF THAT NATURE IS WRONG! THIS TYPE OF THINKING PEDISPOSES THE INDIVIDUAL INTO LOWERING STANDARDS AND HAVING A GENERAL ACCEPTANCE THAT THEY CANNOT EXPECT TO HAVE A LASTING LOVING RELATIONSHIP. A WELL RESEARCHED ARTICLE WOULD HAVE COUNTERED THIS ARTICLE WITH AN OPPOSING SIDE.

    http://www.THEDIVIORCEMEDIATOR.WORDPREESS.COM

    working to keep families together…

    • I think we should maintain high standards, and I think we should be very careful in whom and whether we decide to marry. However, once you have chosen your mate and married him or her, second-guessing the choice is not useful under most circumstances. Instead, we should offer one another love and grace, as we do (or should) to our children when they are being difficult or having a bad day. Hope that clarifies. Thank you.

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  217. I like it. I’m of the opinion that one should be what they require in a lover and expect to make certain sacrifices and alternations as needed. I think that we woman are often either too quick to sacrifice too much or not at all, and both actions guarantee disastrous results. I find this an American issue. Being an American of mixed national heritage, I find that it’s mostly my American friends and family members who suffer from love. That’s not to say that my other European relatives haven’t contemplated or gone through divorces or separations but that divorce/separation and overall unhappiness with love seems to be an American trait. American woman and men do not put a lot into their consideration for marriage, communities where arranged marriage is prevalent notwithstanding. Consider people who choose to never marry and date instead, it isn’t that they lack commitment but that they found it is easier to have “harsher” requirements for love when your not legally bound to a person; that way if they do not agree with or meet the standards you’ve presented you can simply leave them and be happy elsewhere. In America, marriage is presented as a means to an end, which we have no real control of, so the choosing of spouses is not high on a young Americans list. For example, my closets friends have had arranged marriages. When the average American hears the words ” arranged marriage” they automatically think of third world countries where woman have no rights and people are forced into loveless marriages by parents who only consider monetary gain and not their child’s overall happiness and well-being. For the most part this stereotype is totally untrue. Most couples know more about their partners in a few weeks/months than we do in years. Also, a third party is needed to contract the marriage and to basically “sign off” that the two are a good match. There are even more considerations and inputs from various sources depending on the family. I’m not advocating arranged marriage but the way that people go about it. The questions they ask, the background checks they do, the information they require before the potential bride and groom lay eyes on each other. The important characteristics that must be considered are configured prior to any emotional attachment. It is my belief that if more Americans approached marriage as a legally binding life-term commitment, which can be broken via divorce rather than a fairy-tale come true, there would be less divorce and (more importantly) unhappy married couples. It goes without saying that I do not believe in soul mates. LOL. I do however believe that prior to one signing on a dotted line they should consider the following about a person and inquire as to rather or not they questions are truthfully answered:

    1) Will this person be with me if I am sick? And I don’t mean sick like the flu but cancer and other circumstances that can take a dramatic toll on a relationship. Likewise, the person who asks should consider rather or not they can be with someone through hard times like cancer or physical impairment.

    2) Do we have the same beliefs on sex? If not, can I handle that? I was going to marry a man who wanted to wait until he was married before he had sex.At first I was okay with it but deep down I knew, I wasn’t. What if he were gay and using our relationship as cover? What if he was impotent? What if…. So I ended our relationship. Thank God, he wasn’t impotent or homosexual but physically abusive in the bedroom. I found this out via his new wife ( soon to be ex-wife) .

    3) Credit score? Financial savvy? and etc…

    4) Criminal background check.

    The above are some of the questions asked by a matchmaker. I think that regardless of rather or not someone is getting married they should deeply consider the hard questions and if the ” love of their life” actually fits into what they want. It’s incredibly important.

    Wow, that was soooo much longer than I expected it to be. My apologies.

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  219. marriage is a hard work.. great post..!

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  221. Really liked your blog post! On my blog http://www.relationshiprealities.wordpress.net I talk a lot about expectations & illusions usually falling apart years 6-10…there’s usually a lot of struggle & problems for everybody. Lots of marriages fall apart then. Thanks again for getting this information out there. Rhoda

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  224. Mr. Mo and I will soon celebrate 21 years of “marrying the wrong person… and lovin’ it”! :)

  225. As I was reading this I was thinking how affirming this would have been two and a half years ago when I was trapped in a miserable marriage. However, two years ago I left my husband for the “greener grass” and I have never been happier in my life. Sometimes you just have to admit you were wrong and let go – I now have a relationship where I don’t have to “work” to be happy and my life is so much better!

  226. I definitely married the wrong person and got divorced. The man I thought I should have married rediscovered me 40 years later. It’s lucky I didn’t marry him, because now it’s apparent that he would have been wrong, too. My mother told me, “You have no luck with men.” I think that’s what it takes to find the right partner.

  227. I liked your post. I´ve got divorce 9 years ago and now I have a new, good and beautiful wife since 3 years ago. And I think these 4 tips (■Respect your mate for his/her positive qualities, even when they have some important negative ones.
    ■Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person.
    ■Be a loving person, instead of waiting to get love.
    ■Be considerate instead of waiting to receive consideration.) are very important and will help us to be together for many and many years.

    Thanks for letting me express my opinion.

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  230. Great Post! I’m sending this post to someone who needs a little advice right now. It will help them put things in perspective. Very helpful. Thanks for posting. :-)

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  232. Wow. This is most definitely true. I totally agree with the fact that having too many options in front of you will do more bad than good. I am a very indecisive person, and sometimes regret the decisions I make and this is especially true if I have a lot of options to choose from. All in all, I love the article and hope everyone finds a compatible life partner!

  233. I definitely agree with the tips Dr. Haltzman gave. Better treat your husband/ wife as a real family (like your parents and siblings) you can’t escape from. The thing to do is to accept that someone and to help each other to be a better person.

    Or better yet, don’t immediately marry someone.

  234. A very interesting and insightful post. Congrats on making it onto freshly pressed.

  235. Capt. No-Marriage

    @JuicyCharmFan, you are exactly right. The more you have to compromise and work at a relationship the more likely you are in the wrong relationship.

  236. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Great article!

  237. great article! will it be ok if i share this in my blog? completely siting that its yours, of course!

    best reagrds :)

  238. Women who think (and believe) they are going to find Mr. Right are just wrong about that, and those who *only* will accept Mr. Right Or Nothing are living a delusion. That kind of wishful thinking is a root cause of a lot of heartaches and broken lives.

    You’ll never know if he is Mr. Right. You should be looking for Mr. Wise, not Mr. Right.

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  240. This post was great. I’m kind of going through the finding Mr. Right journey right now. It’s hard thinking that I’ve found THE ONE when my family is telling me he is Mr. Wrong. This is a great article to help us out before and after we get married.

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  242. i love this article…
    and i put it on my blog (dont be mad plz, im begging *plz )
    thank you very much for sharing here, brotha . . . :)

  243. Thank you so much for this post and bringing these books & authors to our attention. I have often wondered why it is so hard to make relationships work in these modern times. I tended to think it came down to 2 things: too high expectations and instant gratification syndrome which so many seem to suffer from these days. When looking for mates, we should remember the closing line of the classic movie Some Like It Hot – “Nobody’s perfect.”

  244. Great article and title “We All Married The Wrong Person,” Lori!
    i wish i would have known this years ago… i am thrice divorced and there are so many excellent points here.
    i especially like (and finally take to heart) these points:
    ~Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person.
    ~Be a loving person, instead of waiting to get love.
    ~Be considerate instead of waiting to receive consideration.
    i am cross-posting this link to an article i recently wrote on my blogsite since it might be interest to readers of my blog & facebook posts.
    “What a modern womans wants & seeks in a 21st century relationship”
    (hope you can read mine, too)

    http://sarahneanbruce.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/what-a-modern-woman-wants-and-seeks-in-a-21st-century-relationship-part-1-of-3/

    many thanks!

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  246. I really enjoyed this post. I completely agree with Dr Halztman’s tips and feel that it is important to appreciate what we all have, instead of wishing for something else. I personally feel so lucky to be able to lead the life I do, and this post has reaffirmed that.

    Thank you for such lovely and thoughtful words :)

  247. Thank you for posting this! I just celebrated my 1 year anniversary and have been thinking about marriage a lot. I totally agree with the point you made that it’s a choice that we make to work on our marriage and to make it work – proactively! I wish more people could hear this message! Thanks for sharing!
    http://www.erinspens.wordpress.com

  248. Was just left by someone who let me know that I didn’t meet all of their 20 “must haves” criteria. Feel foolish for feeling sad.

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  250. It is not that we all marry a wrong person. We are mature enough to judge. So, when we marry a wrong person it means our judgement is wrong and nothing else.

  251. Amen! That’s all I have to say :) Excellent article!

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  253. I avoided this when it came up on Freshly Pressed Friday. I wish I had read it sooner! I think the four bullet points nicely sums up the type of attitude we should have. Our society (in the U.S.) all too often teaches us to expect to be served rather than to serve others. I don’t mean to criticize when I say this, but a majority of divorces (not all, there are obvious exceptions) among people I know come down to one or both partner being selfish. MY wife and I have been married for 12 years. We’ve had ups and downs (and other moments), but we stand by the promises we made. Thanks for the post.

  254. Big fan of the correlation that no one ever wishes they had another kid instead of their own. Nice article.

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  257. Never married a person whom you love madly deeply truly – daily needs and normal work schedule will ruin your fantasy – let her/him live in your dream.Always marry a person who loves you ,care for you and can stand for you at your bad days. :)

  258. …Priceless post!
    Thanks for sharing.

    :)

  259. This is a great post and kind of a fortunate fluke that I came across it. Until yesterday, I didn’t even know what Freshly Pressed was until I got Freshly Pressed. One thing someone may have mentioned in the comments…the chances of a second marriage ending in divorce sky rocket and the 3rd is like 90-95 percent chance. I like the bullet points here. Personally, I try to remember that we are only as good as our worst moments. So I try to stay away from those. Thanks for the post again. ~Mike

  260. Great post!! I’m single and in a relationship of almost 4 years. Yet, lately can’t stop thinking “I’ve done enough; or I deserve better”. Fear that I may have lost the opportunity of finding Mr. Right. Yet, in the other hand, also fear that I am indeed have found my Mr. Right, though he is not as perfect as expected.

    With all my friends are getting married, the pressure is on. And, I’m all the way from Indonesia, where marriage is seen as the most sacred institution, in which the ceremony can involve hundreds of people. You do bad on your marriage, then your whole really big family will loose their face. Yet, I just can’t make up my mind on whether I have found the right person or not.

    Your post has really touched in the right spot. Hope that I can start be the right person, instead of always searching for the right one.

    • u r not alone, hilda. but still luckier than me. even for a bf, i’m not sure to starting a new relationship for now. especially after saw so many people get divorced or betrayed by their husband.
      time’s running out
      n our country i guess still not change. d perseption about married thing still d same. me in my age now, always often got a same question about when i will married. then when someone get failed in their married, they will asked for d reason. seems like too many people too busy with another business n other people life
      no mean to say a bad things about our country, but its d fact as far as i know

  261. no bodys perfect..if you married some one..love him or her like u love your own

  262. Very good post. Since I blog about issues germane to GenXers, I may explore this topic in more detail. Many of us don’t marry at all because we’re afraid of making the wrong choice that eerily resembles the choices of our parents. Thanks for giving me some practical inspiration today.

  263. Great advice. Stay with someone you are not compatible with. Marriage is a sham.

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  267. Loved your post! Very insightful and well written…also… so true! My favorite quote, “Be a loving person instead of waiting to get love,” holds true for my marriage of 17 years. If you put yourself and your love out there, the world (and most importantly , your spouse) has no choice but to love you right back!

  268. Jesus Christ give me my true love.. He knows better than me.

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  270. i married the right person. no doubt. i didn’t marry in my 20s…or ‘settle’ for the guy i was dating when all my fireinds started having kids. i waited.

    it was worth the wait. and I am grateful every day.

    Amy Parmenter
    The ParmFarm.com

  271. Even though I’m unmarried still.. but I understand the depth of your observations and of this post.. Nice one..

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  274. My husband and I have been married for 10 years. While we generally enjoyed being married in the beginning, it took a few trips to The Crisis Dept. for us to really, truly realize we had each married the most incredible person on the planet. That was at year 7. It was such a game changer for us we rewrote new vows and went back to the park we were married in to recommit with our 2 boys as our only (but most important) witnesses.

    Great post! And I’ve equally enjoyed the comments from your readers. My favorite part: “yet, our kids can be much more of a pain in the ass than our spouses.” I laughed out loud! Oh, if spouses only got as many do-overs. I mean really. My husband has never puked on me and I can not say that about the kids!

  275. nice posting
    although im still have no experience about married yet, its a good things to learn n know. new knowledge about that ;)

  276. very nice post
    i like it so much
    although im not married yet, it gv me new things to learn

  277. i never really thought of it like this. but i guess we cant go into a relationship demanding it be perfect. nothing is perfect. you have to work at it.

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  279. Interesting post. The doctor has valid insight into the scope of marriage and partnership. I think part of the problem is that we don’t neccessarily know who we are when making a marriage choice. Often times it is through an errouneous coupling that we encounter who we really are and what we need out of life and partnership.

    I also married the wrong person and we are happily divorced. I attended his wedding last October and his new bride is a much better fit for him.

    Hmnn, maybe I need to do a post on this as I have a lot more to say on the subject….

    ;)

    ivonne

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  281. Lori, I really appreciate this article. My husband and I went on a Marriage Encounter weekend years ago- one of the first things I saw when we arrived was a sign that said: “LOVE IS A DECISION.”
    I hated that message. However, it is SO true. We CHOOSE to love and we choose to keep on loving. Wow…there’s so much that could be said here, but I’ll leave you with another one of my now favorite quotes on marriage and love: “LOVE IS A VERB.”

    • Thanks for your comment. My previous post “Is love a decision or a feeling” was the most-visited post until this one: http://wp.me/pgTZD-1z and has some interesting points to consider. I will give a caveat that based on what I’ve seen in my own live, I’d say some individuals are narcissistic and not interested in loving others. So while their spouses can make every effort, it is never returned. However, the vast majority of people want to be happily married and want to stay in love, and being loving and giving helps us do just that.

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  283. It is too late for me and my second marriage of 5 years. I am heart broken we are apart and considering divorce. It was both our fault, we took each others for granted and now..Cherish every day with your loved one.

    • Katia, it may not be too late for you. I wish you and your husband the best. I will have some resources on my blog next week. Divorcebusting.com is a good one. Take care.

  284. Very interesting remarks indeed, especially on the necessity of acknowledging that the choice is MADE forever. But the author does not say what happens if the overabundance of “choices” continues to exist in the subject’s life? Faced with the overabundance of incentives even the ethical souls (see: the divorce of Mel Gibson, which was related to the female glamour of Hollywood) may fail. Statistically, one would say this happens because one’s peculiar circumstance causes the dice of “choice” to be rolled restlessly. This makes the critical “fail” more probable to occur.

    • If you’d like to learn more about the issue of causes/effects of an overabundance of choices and the solutions to this modern dilemma, I recommend The Choice Paradox. You can also see the author on YouTube giving a 20-minute talk. One of the commenters here provided a link. TC.

  285. Quite interesting.

  286. Wow. This is a great blog post. Thanks so much. I’ve been married 26 years to the right man, even if there were times it didn’t “feel” like it. :) (and many more times when he didn’t feel like I was mrs. right. God love him, he’s so patient with me!)

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  289. This hits home! Only my ex walked out on the kids and me.

    I thought about being remarried and ran all the numbers, both positive and negative and concluded that if I found a person whom I truly had a serious distaste for, I would save all the steps and just buy her a house.

    Cheers

  290. Pingback: Reason #8675201934861 true love doesn’t exist. « LOUD NONSENSE

  291. I agree that “I married the right person” is a key start and continuation for success. But nowadays the consumerism played the trick. People tend to search for something more satisfying. However, marriage is the commitment. And this means that both have to commit to the idea of the right choice. Second, which I believe is more vital is to recognize each other roles in marriage. Couples tend to overlook the division of roles, and many times ending up doing partner’s job instead of the ones assigned to self’s. Many times woman tries to do what initially assigned to a man and vise versa. Marriage is not about two horses in one harness, it is more likely to be described as bow and string, locker and its key. That way you make sure you need each other, and both are very important in the marriage you are involved in.

  292. I agree completely because I do not believe in soul mates. There are compatible people, but not just one designed for another. Marriage is a contract, a promise to be committed, and, while love is involved, marriage is more about loyalty and trust. I agree with the message “today’s culture does not support standing by our promises. Instead, he says we receive the repeated message, “You deserve the best.” These attitudes contribute to marital dissatisfaction”, because it’s true. Today we want the “best” and when we see a flaw in someone, that makes them not the best, so we go out in search of a better version of them, an upgrade. Instead of wanting an Iphone we now want a an Ipad. People do not work like that though. You can’t upgrade a person, the one you chose is the one you get (except in cases of substance abuse, domestic abuse, and other extremely harmful situations.) This blog reinforces the message, “marriage is work.”

  293. Pingback: I May Have Married the Wrong Person, But He Is So Right For Me « White Lily At Home

  294. I’m just wondering what it is that people expect in the first place.
    Ask any heterosexual couple about a “happy marriage.”

    Put a husband alone in a room, where his wife can’t hear him, and ask him what his idea of a happy marriage is.
    Put a wife alone in a room, where her husband can’t hear her, and ask her what her idea of a happy marriage is.

    You will NEVER get the same picture, because men and women think very differently, and because men and women don’t experience the same kinds of things at the same stage of life.

    So again I ask, what exactly are people expecting?

  295. I don’t agree with this notion that we married perhaps the “wrong” person.

    There’s no such thing as ‘the one.’ There is no such thing as the ‘right’ person. Falling in love is easy.

    Getting married is acknowledging that yes, you’re IN love with a person, yes, there are many potential people in the world you could be happy with for life, but now you’re CHOOSING to love your new spouse forever, even when the ‘in love’ part of things ebbs and flows.

    The grass is always greener on the other side, and will it always WILL be greener if you think there’s “the one.” If you subscribe to this philosophy, and let’s say you’re having issues with your spouse, you’ll question yourself. You’ll wonder if you married ‘the right one.’ If in your frustration with your spouse, you meet someone of the opposite sex that you can talk to and you feel like understands you, you’ll question yourself and perhaps think the new person might REALLY be “the one.”

    Don’t question it. When you realize that marriage is a choice, not a feeling, this whole nonsense with being fixated on “the one” goes out the window. You’re married, you’ve made your decision. (Of course I don’t advocate sticking with it in the face of violence and such, but I think you get my drift.)

    Just my thoughts. Take ‘em or leave ‘em.

  296. So many woman I know are verbally abusive to their husbands. They get away with it because custody battles favor moms, it’s not manly to say you’re being abused, and (justly) men can’t respond with abuse in kind.
    Marriage is not a promise to live together forever (unless you’re Catholic, I suppose).

  297. So many women I know are verbally abusive to their husbands. They get away with it because custody battles favor moms, it’s not manly to say you’re being abused, and (justly) men can’t respond with abuse in kind.
    Marriage is not a promise to live together forever (unless you’re Catholic, I suppose).

  298. After 35 years of marriage I am resorting to the suggestions made in the post. Thanksg. This post will save many lives.

  299. After 35 years of our marriage I am consciously resorting to the suggestions made in the post. Thanks so much. This post has a potential to save many married lives.

  300. • Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person
    I wish these bullets were huge, bold and bright red! So much to be learned from this. I’m a believer in falling in love, but staying in love is what has kept my husband and I together for over 15 years.

    We were starry-eyed once and it’s fun to look back on that. But we had both been in love before. Looking back, I could have married once or twice before him, but I did not fully understand or love myself in all those relationships. I always had lingering doubts about the person, or where we lived, or the type of life we would have. The love was there but so were the doubts. The difference for this relationship, and the reason we can now say we are with the right person is that we were both fully aware, happy and confident in ourselves.

    Love the post. Love the bullet points at the end. Hard to be loved if you are not very loving!

    • Great points, particularly that you have to be fully aware, happy and confident in yourself first. Then, you can be open to love and be loved!

  301. Good stuff. So many go from relationship to relationship looking for ‘real’ love. ‘Real’ love is a verb, though–and we have to make it happen and keep it going.

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  304. I agree that there are many ways to marry the wrong person, but I disagree that if we limit our choices or simply follow the four points to look at our mate’s positive traits, be the right person, loving, and considerate we can have happy marriages. While our culture’s push to get the best and that consumeristic attitude could lead to divorce in some cases, I believe we are much more apt to get divorced because we weren’t taught to ask the right questions about marriage: do we have the same values and do we want the same type life?

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  306. Interesting the too many choices thing… Sure, in my grandmother’s time and mindframe (Catholic), divorce was simply unthinkable, it was not a choice, neither was adultery. Commitment came with marriage.
    It is true we are stirred by the media to satisfy every craving instantly! Fast food, instant download, fast love. :)

    Thank you for the interview!

  307. This is great blog. I really like a tips of Dr.Haltzman. “Be the Right Person, Instead of looking for Right Person” is important.
    I have happy marriage life for 6 years. Behind the unsuccessful marriage life “we got wrong person” is not true.But sometimes in begining of love, we are temporarly become blind and we just show good point and ignore bad point. But over time of period this all bad point comes one after other and fill that I marry with wrong person
    No one give guarante of marry with wright person.but we do try for our marriage life become successfull. So on my thought instead of looking bad habbit of our spouce, respect our mate for his/her positive qualities and love them.

  308. Great article. It’s good that you are able to talk to an expert. I’m glad I’m happy with my marriage.

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  311. This is awesome. My dad recently got remarried and my two brothers and I believe he married the wrong person. It is difficult to have a step mom living in my house whom I do not know. It bothers me to the fullest. =[

    • Try to give your step mom the benefit of the doubt. Now that your dad is married I’m sure he would truly appreciate your support for him finding someone special to share his life with.

  312. Well said. This is the reason we have a way to find the better life partner in our life through Vedic Astrology methods. Few traditional rules just focus on Gun Milan utilities but the right way to marry the person who is having a jolly nature, good sense, behaviour, interests and who will give you freedom. This all can be checked through the horoscope easily and the right way is to go for Horoscope Matching (http://askganesha.com/services/matchmaking.asp)
    Our astrologer also goes through the horoscope of both the girl and as well as the boy for 6 major things:
    1. LONGEVITY:
    Our expert astrologer checks the Longevity of the boy and the girl and if there is a major difference then it is not worthwhile to go ahead with this match.
    2. MENTAL COMPATIBILITY & LIKENESS:
    This is again an important part in which we analyze the mental make up of the boy as well as of the girl for their behaviors, their temper, their willingness to promote their married life, their affection for each other.
    3. CHILD BIRTH:
    The horoscopes are analyzed separately to confirm the promise of at least one child in both horoscopes.
    4. HEALTH:
    THE horoscope of the boy and also of the girl is analyzed for any major health problem or accident which could bring distress to the family.
    5. SEPARATIVE TENDENCIES:
    In this we analyze the horoscope for any long separation between the boy and girl or for any sign of divorce.
    6. FINANCIAL STABILITY:
    In this we analyze the horoscope for financial stability and growth for the boy and girl individually.

    AskGanesha.com

  313. this is a good post!!!

  314. now married yet, but I know what it is.

  315. Ha! I am not married so therefore I have committed no foul! I love my life…..

    http://factingfun.wordpress.com/

  316. Pingback: They All Married the Wrong Person (via Marriage Gems) « Ajitox

  317. it was a refreshing read. much gratitude. sometimes i forget who and why i choose to get married to my wife.

  318. this can be summed up 1 sentence. Don’t be an asshole.

  319. Have you also got the wrong leg out of bed first – or in this matter “into the bed”?
    One thing first – you have to start your marriage right wedding location and here I am talking about the wedding. Choose the right and you have had a very good start. The rest is solely up to you!

  320. Thank you for sharing!

    Kelly from Singapore

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  324. Good article, I try to translate into Indonesian, I hope you don’t mind. Thanks. It’s like the problem that I face now…

  325. Great post! I’m currently engaging in a little “research” of my own although it’s less scientific and involves going on 30 first dates in 3 months. I’m afraid I’m probably going to fall into trap of having too many choices now… eek!

  326. And then… why we continue marring each others ?

    Good article

    Eye on the door

  327. Great post — kind of reaffirmed how I feel after 31 years of marriage — we love each other, for sure, but not with blinders on. We still drive one another nuts, and have had our share of ups and downs, but we hung in there, worked on it and now have what I proudly consider a pretty great marriage. thanks for the great read.

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  329. I think they key to marriage is this, trust and friendship.

    Two key things.
    Trust – if you don’t have trust you have nothing.

    Friendship – what better person to marry that your best friend?
    You will grow to love each other, care for each other and always share the same interests and ideas.

    When choosing friends we often choose people like ourselves therefore, a perfect match.

    Marrying someone you ‘love’ is marrying someone that you ‘lust’ after… be it for their looks, their charm, their wit… that may disappear but friendship never will.

    This is an interesting article and I may pingback to you.

    Thanks

    Babble

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  332. Lori, you say: “However, once you have chosen your mate and married him or her, second-guessing the choice is not useful under most circumstances. Instead, we should offer one another love and grace, as we do (or should) to our children when they are being difficult or having a bad day.”

    I agree that second guessing is not useful. However, most people who have gone through, are going through, or are contemplating going through a divorce have gotten beyond the point of simply second guessing. Anyone who says that divorce is the “easy way out” or easier than staying has obviously never been through it themselves. It is an agonizing decision. It is like willingly choosing death, or at the very least, willingly choosing failure.

    It is one thing to encourage us to give our spouses love and grace, the benefit of the doubt, on the bad days. But when the bad days start to consistently outweigh the good days, then it’s time for some serious discernment on the part of both spouses, for their own health and the health of their children. There are such things as irreconcilable differences. Money, sex, children, religion. Ideally the couple can come up with a way TOGETHER to live with the conflict without mutual resentment. But sometimes this is not possible, even in cases where there is no abuse, alcohol, etc. Sometimes people choose to end the marriage BEFORE it gets to the crisis point. Who are we to judge in those cases? How are we to know what someone else can live with?

    I agree with the spirit of your article. I agree wholeheartedly that it is best to focus on ourselves and BE the best person. But marriage takes two who are willing to be willing. If one or both parties lack the willingness, then it really isn’t a marriage, regardless of what vows were said, regardless of what a piece of paper says.

    The only thing worse than making a bad promise is keeping a bad promise. JMO.

    • There’s a point Christy made here that brings up something I was concerned about when I posted my earlier comment to this post.

      “But marriage takes two who are willing to be willing.”

      What happens when you’re willing to keep going, to stay committed to having a happy relationship together, to constantly work and compromise, when your spouse doesn’t want to put in the effort? Does that mean you stay in this unbalanced “partnership”, forever carrying the entire burden of managing your conflicts, misunderstandings and your spouse’s moods? Or does that mean that you then have to revise your wishes for your own life and your definition of a happy relationship?

      I so agree that it will help a lot for people to work on being the “right” person themselves, and that simply wandering around being dissatisfied with your spouse for myriad reasons does not constitute actively taking care of your marriage. My concern with this post is that people who are in severely inequitable partnerships, who have already worked so much on mediation in their relationships and on being compassionate and understanding of their mate, will use this as fuel to keep letting themselves betread on. That this will encourage them to keep saying “maybe I haven’t worked hard enough” and cause them to re-doubt their perceptions of something being off in the relationship. Especially, that it will cause these people to doubt the validity and even benefit of ending a relationship. Alcoholism and physical abuse are not the only forms of harmful behaviour in humans, and there is still so much harm that can be done in the absence of these two things.

      Yes, let’s be more reliable, loving, compassionate . But let’s also take care of ourselves enough to know that we don’t have to stay in exploitative or unthinking, unloving relationships, with anyone. In the end, we can’t pull the other person into it. I can try to be a more considerate person as much as I want but I only own my life, I can’t force this change on my spouse. (*my hypothetical spouse*)

      There are a lot of people who are committed to marriage, but not to working on a happy marriage or to real teamwork.

      Someone who is happy being married simply to keep the label or the status quo then doesn’t really need to do anymore work to care for their partner or improve on themselves, because “marriage” happened when the papers were signed. For people like this, who evidently don’t need or want or are too lazy to strive for anything more, or who consider their personal relationships a lower priority than say their work, the only thing that will really rouse them is the threat of divorce. Because that is what cancels the effect of the first lot of signed papers.

      I am wary here because I suspect that it is particularly the givers who will seize on this message of “Keep trying, keep trying, keep your marriage going at all costs. Think of the other person rather than yourself.”

      • I certainly appreciate your point and the difficulty in these situations where one partner is willing to work, and the other is unwilling, lazy, difficult, etc. You are correct in saying that having the “working” partner do more, love more, and sacrifice more is not the answer to finding a happy union. Please read this article called “Is there an imbalance in your relationship?” http://wp.me/pgTZD-rz in which I addressed some of these points with a marital therapist. I’ll also add that well-known author and therapist Michele Weiner-Davis states in her writings that it takes only one person to change a relationship. It’s true that we all have the power to change a relationship in one way or another, for example to ensure that we respect ourselves and expect resect from others. I hope that answers your question. If not, feel free to comment more. If needed, I will have an expert chime in to help. Peace,
        Lori

  333. Nothing is life is perfect
    we have to learn to live with a lot of ‘wrongs’

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  340. Nice read and a wonderful perspective towards understanding how couples can improve their relationships. I agree that when partners have relationship troubles or have too many choices, we often wonder if there is something “better” out there. Congrats on Freshly Pressed! LB

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  343. I agree with the agruing, that love temporary blinds people, but I disagree with the conclusion, that we all married the wrong person. That is why people usually date for a while to see if they are compatible. Before we marry we must keep our eyes wide open to find the right person, but once we are married we cannot continue testing the other person and make some sacrifices to make things work, because “perfect” does not exists.

    *** From the words of a different psychologist regarding divorce: “The person you married is the person you were supposed to marry. If you divorce and marry again, then you will marry the same person, just with a different face and a different name.”

    http://peetbrits.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/when-should-people-divorce/

    We must be honest with ourselves: Do we really want to marry, or do we simply want to have fun in casual relationships?

    • Thanks, Pete. Good points. The headline was a teaser not a conclusion. It’s meant to attract all those who are thinking, “I might have married the wrong person” and to convince them that what they really mean to say is their mate isn’t perfect (true), their mate has changed since they married (true) and maybe it isn’t exactly the relationship they expected or envisioned (true). However, neither are they perfect, they have also changed, and their expectations may have been unreasonable. The conclusion you came to is the same as the post’s conclusion essentially. I agree, perfect does not exist, and testing doesn’t work. Thanks for your thoughts.

      • Yes, well, I was a little hasty when I responded :-)

        I looked at the choice paradox on wikipedia and there are a few good points. I now have three points screaming for the need of simplicity in our culture: a) as you mentioned, increased expectations lead to lower satisfaction; b) over stimulation leads to boredom (e.g. see “http://blog.marcusrowe.com/2010/03/22/sometimes-boring-is-best/”); and c) over exposure leads to a lack of sensitivity (and who knows what other dark habits).

  344. Thanks for posting this. As someone who is about to get married in a few months and sometimes has doubts and fears about it, I think this is great advice. The movies only tell part of the story. It’s not always happily ever after. As your post says, the commitment factor is really a make or break point.

    http://joshsuds.wordpress.com/

  345. Peet B, I love your comment and agree with you.

  346. Pingback: …don’t be mad ’cause you’re broke « relevé

  347. I am about to get married to a man that I have been with for almost 10 years and love this! I love the direction it makes your mind go. No marriage is perfect, and no marriage is better. There is no one person, it’s about total trust and commitment! Thanks for the post~\
    http://www.dineindash.wordpress.com

  348. Excellent post and very challenging! It’s so easy to second-guess our decisions, but once they are made, my wife is the right person for the rest of my life.
    As Ruth said in the Bible (1:16-18), “‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.’ When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.” Sounds so beautiful at wedding but so hard to then live out!
    Or as a friend says, “Anyone can get married, but it takes true character to stay married.”

  349. Very nice post. And this could speak to why the divorce rate is the way it is currently–people are ready to opt out because marriage wasn’t the fairy tale that they thought it would be. One thing that I’m curious about is that in a society where people are often striving to find Mr. Right, how does one stop himself/herself for questioning the person they married and if their marriage is healthy? More importantly, if issues such as abuse, infidelity, drugs/alcohol, don’t exist, but your just miserable–do you still stay? What if overtime you find that you and your “so” are no longer as compatible as you once were? I wonder in those situations if it’s better to stay even if you are miserable and feel no connection OR if it’s just better to find someone that makes you happier. People do change overtime and I can only imagine that sometimes that change can drive a couple apart.
    Interesting thought.

    http://paperforgood.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks for the comment. I do think we all deserve a healthy, satisfying relationship. However, when things go south, or when a couple “grows apart” too many couples fail to realize they can more easily rekindle the love they once had with each other than find it with someone new. Moving to a new relationship will merely cause the problems to follow you. I know couples who “fell out of love”, reconnected and later were extremely grateful they had given the relationship another try, because it became more than they ever dreamed. We often think a mate can and should “make us happy.” It’s not a realistic expectation. Instead, we may need to find our own meaning and purpose in life and support our mate in pursuing their life goals as well. By getting to know each other again at a deep level and by learning to love the person for who he or she is and not the person in our imagination, we can often rekindle our affections. Trusting the feelings we have today can be a mistake when your entire future is at stake. Feelings are fleeting. That’s why I think Dr. Haltzman’s advice to focus on the positive attributes of our spouse is helpful. We married our partners for a reason, so putting the positive aspects back in the forefront can help our feelings toward them change. Feelings follow actions. Actions should not follow feelings. Take care.

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  356. in my own opinion, no one exists as a perfect partner for another person. no matter what one does, there will be something in him that will not be okay for his partner. all it takes is deep understanding, love and concern for one another that ables a relationship to last for a lifetime. =)

  357. I love the Dr.’s four points near the end. It really speaks to loving yourself first, which so many women sadly forget to do.
    I also firmly believe we all have several “soul-mates” in the world, and with each one we would find faults, however with hard work and communication, we could also have long happy marriages!

  358. Interesting thoughts on the impact of “too many choices”. Yes, there are a lot of choices–but so often we don’t actually explore the options–we settle in with the first person who comes along, acts interested, meets our “criteria”.
    I stayed married because I thought I had no choice–I was a prisoner of a decision that had been made years earlier. I felt trapped and depressed. Finally I realized that I was wrong–that I DID have a choice–and I was choosing every single day to be married.
    I think people should be together with someone because they want to–because they are happy and living their best life–not because they are kept solely by the force of a decision made long ago.
    Yes, there are a lot of choices. And I think there would be more healthy marriages if we remembered that one of the choices is to not get married–an option that seems to often get lost in our desperate search to find and possess the “right person”. Go find yourself first.

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  362. well i am single and no near to marriage
    but this a really interesting post! :)!

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  365. There’s some good advice in this article. For example “develop a sense of closeness with this person for who he or she really is and not how I fantasize them to be.”

    • Yes, if we could all stop trying to make our partner into the “ideal mate” and instead focus on what they bring to the relationship, we’d all be happier.

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  367. Hey Lori:
    For the record, Michelle Weiner Davis is another therapist who has adopted the coaching paradigm and teaches coaching and offers certifications in marriage coaching.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

  368. Hi Lori,

    I have to say this is one of the most important, beautiful, and relevant posts I have read in my life. I know this may sound over the top, but that is how I truly feel.

    I read this post when I was having a really bad day, and was very angry and hateful toward my significant other.

    But reading what you wrote gave me a very different perspective, which helped me deal with my issues, and most importantly my anger… It made me relook at a lot of things, including myself. And the perspective is working toward positively changing my life.

    I will not take up more space here, except to just add a “huge thank you” and that I wish you all the very best in everything you want and do!

    • I’m so glad the post had a positive impact on you. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m overwhelmed by the positive feedback on this particular piece. In fact, Dr. Haltzman and I plan to collaborate more on this topic in hopes of helping to inspire others as well. Peace,
      Lori

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  371. This is a truly excellent read, I highly recommend it to married people:-)

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  373. I happen to be commenting to let you be aware of of the fabulous encounter my friend’s child gained checking your blog. She noticed some details, including what it’s like to have an excellent coaching heart to get the mediocre ones without hassle grasp several extremely tough subject matter. You undoubtedly exceeded visitors’ expected results. Many thanks for giving those insightful, trusted, informative and fun tips about that topic to Emily.

    • Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. It helps motivate me to continue writing those kinds of stories. Best to you. Lori

  374. I’d should verify with you here. Which isn’t one thing I normally do! I get pleasure from reading a post that may make folks think. Additionally, thanks for allowing me to remark!

  375. Thanks for sharing. It is so meaningful: “‘This is the person I chose, and I need to find a way to develop a sense of closeness with this person for who he really is and not how I fantasize him to be.” I’ll memorize this sentence and remind myself every day.

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  378. I am recently engaged. My fiance is my best friend and someone I trust completely and respect. I have been engaged twice before, but never married. Prior to now, I have always been enamoured of the idea of marriage, but with my current fiance, I feel like it’s more of a reality and
    I have no illusions that everything will be perfect all of time. Perhaps that speaks more to my readiness to get married than anything else…

  379. Pingback: Have You Ever Thought You Married the Wrong Person? | Marriage Gems

  380. Reblogged this on The Project Me and commented:
    Nice read!

  381. I really appreciate Dr. Haltzman’s point of view regarding marriage. I agree that our consumer society has really warped our idea of what we are entitled to. I think it is bizarre how many people believe that they deserve the very best, even when they do not provide the very best for their partner. I think we all deserve what we put out there and nothing more. I think if we better define and communicate our expectations of each other there would be a lot more content marriages.

    • Communicating expectations could help, unless they are unrealistic. And I think many of us aren’t always aware of our expectations, we just know when they haven’t been met. ;-)

    • I am agree with lorilowe, very often we do not know what we want our partner to be as a person. This creates confusion and the marriage becomes very often a nightmare.

  382. I want to say so much…………but by all these comments I am truly speechless.

  383. What about if you let the right person go and think there will never be someone else quite as right for you? Would you then be settling….

    • The question is whether there is just one “right person” for each of us. And I don’t think that’s true. If there’s a relationship that is impossible (i.e. you let them go and they chose to marry another person), then they are not the right person for you. You can choose to love and to be loved, but no, don’t settle for a relationship that doesn’t feel like true love to you. Best to you.

  384. But what if we really did marry the wrong, wrong person? Is there any hope for a marriage like this even approaching tolerable?

    After 20+ years of unhappy marriage I can tell you my wife and I are incompatible in almost every area. So much so there is not even a “middle ground” for most things. For me to enjoy something, she has to compromise to the point of not enjoying it. For her to enjoy something, I have to compromise to the point of not enjoying it. This holds true from the bedroom to recreation. Even friends…I don’t really like the type of people she likes and vice versa. So we don’t have any strong “couple” friendships. We have my friends that she puts up with, and her friends that I put up with.

    The obvious question is “why did you two ever get married in the first place?”. We were horny youngsters, and fooled ourselves into thinking lust was love.

    • I’m not a therapist so I can’t answer your question directly. I can say that I have interviewed many couples who were previously unhappy and who created a happy, satisfying marriage together; they are grateful they did not give up. However, only you two can determine whether you choose to love one another. You make a good case for careful engagements and taking plenty of time to get to know one another prior to marriage. That being said, compatibility is an overused term, IMO. Men and women are often “incompatible” in the ways they think and act. I do hope the best for you both wherever your paths lead.

    • I think a lot of unhappiness in relationships is because of expectations and resentments about our expectations not being met. And of course, this happens in every marriage. I totally understand getting married because of mistaking lust for love. What I personally don’t understand is staying together for twenty years. I know in my case, I knew I’d made a mistake within the first four months of marriage. But because of pride, fear, and being very good at distracting myself with new baby, new house, and another new baby, plus new jobs, and ANOTHER baby, it took 7 years for me to finally get the courage to say to my now-ex, “I can’t do this anymore.” I thought about “staying together for the kids” but I felt that I would be living a lie and lying to him, and I didn’t want to waste so much of his life, not to mention my own.

      My point in saying this is that if you stayed together for a whole 20 years, then it’s probably something that gradually got bad, and you can’t expect it to get better immediately, even if both of you are totally committed to working on making the marriage meaningful for you both. I think any healthy relationship starts with acceptance of ourselves, and the other person. Accepting other people, especially someone who seems to be “incompatible” is a very difficult place to begin. It makes more sense to start with accepting yourself.

      I know, you probably already think you DO accept yourself. But I’d be willing to bet that you don’t even really know who you are, especially if you got married young. Take time to get to know yourself again. Be VERY VERY VERY careful not to spend time with anyone of the opposite sex, because you are very vulnerable to having an emotional or even physical affair. Just work on meeting your own needs, and developing friendships with other men that are more than just surface. Find older men whose lives you admire, and ask them to mentor you. And do everything in your power to avoid contributing to the incompatability or hurting your wife’s feelings. Every human being has the same basic needs of love and understanding, and you don’t have to be “compatible” to give that. As you begin to accept and love yourself, you may find it easier to accept and even love her, and she will notice the difference and trust you more.

      • Thanks for your insights, Christy! I especially agree with your last paragraph. Great wisdom there.

  385. The most common source of problems in relationships is that the couple misinterpreted their mutual feelings of attraction as love. This normally results in the couple trying to keep up appearances after about 5 years, and wondering where the love went.

    It is important to know that attraction is an emotional feeling that may fade, while love is a promise that has nothing to do with attraction. Love is a promise to do 4 things.
    1. To accept everything that you know and do not know about her now.
    2. To accept her regardless of what happens in the unknown future as you both age – for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness or health for as long as you both shall live. Even if she is disfigured by an accident or crippled by illness, you accept her.
    3. To forgive her later. Since neither of you is perfect, you both depend on each others’ forgiveness.
    4. To encourage her to improve. This 4th one gives purpose to your relationship – otherwise it will get boring.

    If you are both ready to make and keep these promises to each-other, then you are ready to love. When you keep them, you demonstrate your love for each-other. After you formally make your promises at your wedding, you complete or consummate these promises with sexual intercourse. Every time that you subsequently have sexual intercourse, you reinforce your promises – it is truly a wonderful and mutually satisfying experience.

    If you have sexual intercourse before making your promises, then you show her that you are capable of justifying forsaking her for a younger, shapelier rival when she gets older. If you are able to restrain yourself when your attraction for her is at its highest, then you show her that you are capable of resisting the rival that will inevitably come.

    Source: Attraction is a feeling. Love is a Promise. by Grenville Phillips, president of Walbrent College. (LoveIsAPromise.wordpress.com)

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