General Question

BBSDTfamily's avatar

What advice would you give an engaged friend to make sure he/she is making the right choice?

Asked by BBSDTfamily (6824points) April 27th, 2009

In other words, what makes for a sound marriage that you would give your friend as a checklist?

My advice would be to make sure the relationship has love, trust, and mutual respect of each other. Also to make sure they want the same things out of life, decide up front how they will handle their money, and agree on issues that are important to them (politically, religiously, morally, etc.).

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9 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

I would actually not give any. It would be beyond me to influence someone else’s choice of partner. I doubt that I would even try this with my sons. If it had any effect at all, it would be either to backfire or to alienate the other person, or both.

Is there a subtext here—i.e., that you think your friend has made the wrong choice, and you want him or her to figure that out before it’s too late?

If this is just speculative—real friend, hypothetical engagement—it seems like this would be a fine subject for the two of you to discuss in the abstract.

Likeradar's avatar

@Jeruba you sound like a really good mom.

If a friend came to me in crisis wondering if he/she made the right decision, I would probably ask my friend to think of life without the person and go from there. I would NEVER give advice about this without clear solicitation.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Jeruba I see what you mean and never thought of it that way. This is a little of both for me, hypothetical and real. Several of my unmarried friends talk to me almost daily about their relationships, and I just wanted other people’s opinions about what is a must-have in a marriage, and what is just nice to have.

Jeruba's avatar

Well, @BBSDTfamily, you sure have named most of the important ones. You’re doing fine. Keep talking.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Likeradar That’s respectful of you to not give unsolicited advice. I try very hard not to either, but am bordering on it with one friend. She is in a verbally abusive relationship and is very neglected and used. She has asked me several times what to do and I use it as an open invitation to point out things to her whenever I see them. Surprisingly, she thanks me for it all the time.

hug_of_war's avatar

Make sure you know their financial situation BEFORE you are married. I know so many people who married then found out their partner was swimming in debt. BAD.

Likeradar's avatar

@BBSDTfamily Abuse is a whole other issue, I think… I’m not sure how I would handle it, but I would probably break my no unsolicited advice rule.

Jeruba's avatar

I agree with @Likeradar that it’s a whole other question than compatibility. But I doubt that telling or advising would do any good. I would not want to risk causing damage by playing at therapy without the training, nor would I want to lose my place in my friend’s life (such as by being declared off limits by the boyfriend).

If I had a friend in that situation, I think I would want to help her think better of herself. I would probably try to focus on helping her build confidence, and not say a word that would trigger her defense either of him or of her dependency on him. I think I would believe that if she could increase her own sense of self-worth, then she’d take care of the rest.

Gundark's avatar

There is some good advice here. Your comment about “make sure they want the same things out of life” is excellent. I only once gave unsolicited advice to a friend who got engaged, and it was because I perceived that she and her intended did not want the same things out of life. After they got divorced, she came to me and thanked me for the advice, even though she hadn’t taken it.

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