Did You, Will You, Do Your “Due Diligence” Before Marriage? It Can Save Heartbreak Long Term!

I see couples regularly who feel like they are “in love” and are thinking about getting married.  They are doing their “due diligence”. Such a term generally means a voluntary investigation of a person or business which you want to know more about, particularly if you are thinking of acquiring such an entity.  The investigation process either reassures the person that this would be a good choice or more thought/action is necessary before the final step of acquisition.

Since not enough couples take advantage of such a process I thought I would give an overview of factors involved with a couple doing “due diligence” with me.  (Feel free to cut this article out and send it on to anybody you know who may be thinking of leaping into the married state)  For those of you already married, it may be interesting to see what goes into researching factors that affect the probability of a success in a marriage.

When I meet with a couple I begin with them telling me how they have fallen “in love” – how they met, how long they have dated, when they contemplate being married.

After that the process begins:

1. What do you really like about your fiancee?

2. How do your 10Qs match up?  (Each person is asked to write the 10 qualities desired in the ideal partner, in priority order; and then write 10 qualities that are special about his/her self, in priority order, that s/he brings to the potential mate.)  This is a fascinating exercise that generates a lot of discussion.

3. What are things that bother you about your fiancée- things that you wish were different? Are alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, pornography, betting, eating, shopping a concern?

4. What are some of the typical issues or concerns that have arisen during your dating period?

5. Discuss the family that raised you.  Do the FAHG list in depth and discuss it individually with the therapist? What was your Father like?  Mother?  Step parent?

Did your parents have a good marriage?  What were the positives?  Negatives?  Would each of you want a marriage like your parents? How different?

6. What issues are you particularly sensitive to as a result of growing up in your family of origin?  How would you have changed your upbringing?  Do you have any particular wounds as a result of your family experience?  How close are you to each of your parents, step parents, siblings?

7. What is your previous dating/marriage history? (discussed individually) Any pattern?

8. How well do you communicate?  Any issues there?  When there is a thorny issue to discuss, what typically happens?   Who is the more aggressive?  Who is the more passive?

9. How do you resolve conflict?  Do you re-connect well when there has been a major disagreement.  Who usually initiates?  Who is the slowest to come around?

10. Does either person “fight dirty”?  How? Does either person bring up the past?

11. Are either/both of you able to forgive and move on?

12. Have you had in depth discussions about money, sex, children, parenting, spirituality, the kind of wedding you want, life style, career plans?  Are there any potential “deal breakers” present that are not being addressed?

This outline gives you a sense of how I assist loving couples do their “due diligence”.   As a result of this process some couples postpone their wedding, realizing they are not quite ready for the next step.  Some couples break up as they recognize certain things about themselves that don’t fit well for long term happiness.  Those that break up often bring back their next candidate for a “due diligence” examination.

This is some of the most important work that I do because it is preventative and educational.  Hopefully, it stifles a couple from going forward, having a poor marriage, and bringing an innocent child into the world to be emotionally hurt.  Also, it educates a couple and helps them grow individually and as a couple, thus more capable of marriage success.

I wish each couple contemplating marriage would do their “due diligence”.  Hopefully what is written here will be enlightening and helpful!

 

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

 

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