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Waiting to marry can tell you a lot

FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2012

Dear Carolyn: My last relationship was several years ago. We’d been together for four years and engaged for one. Right before we were supposed to do the deed, he informed me that he never wanted to marry me, never wanted to be in a relationship. Quite the shock.

I’m in a new relationship now, of only a few months. We’re already talking marriage. A lot of my friends think this is too soon, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that if something bad is going to happen it will, regardless of how long we’re together. I did the standard waiting periods last time, but it didn’t shield me from anything. I’m trying to find a good reason to wait this time, but as you’ve already said, bad things just happen, which is out of our control, right? – Seattle

Here’s what you’re essentially saying: “Since a car can run a stop sign and kill me at any time, there’s no point in looking both ways before I cross a street.”

If you really think there’s no point in taking basic care of yourself, then please consider good counseling or even grief support. A refresher on what you can and can’t control can have a surprising, calming effect.

You can’t prevent all harm, and, you’re right, waiting till you’ve known someone a couple of years before getting married won’t inoculate you.

But you can take basic precautions against completely foreseeable problems. Waiting a couple of years to marry can tell you a million things you can learn no other way – including whether you even like the person after the initial attraction wears off. It can also tell you, if you’re paying attention, whether he handles his job, family, friends, money and bills, his health/sickness, your health/sickness, other challenges and other typical variables well.

If this relationship is good for you, it’ll still be good for you two or three years from now. It won’t cost you a thing, emotionally, to wait.


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