When you hear someone say the person they’re dating is perfect, you might be happy for them. Me, I’m happy they’re happily in love—but my second thought is, please don’t get married. At least, not yet.
Because no one is perfect. Someone might be an awesome person and an excellent fit for you, but they are not perfect. Until you can see their flaws, it’s better to hold off on making a major commitment like getting married or moving in together.
Head Over Heels
In the early stages of romantic love, everything about the person seems wonderful. Whatever not-so-great things you might notice around the edges are easy to gloss over, because your honey is just great.
This stage is a lovely, exciting place to be. Enjoy it! Savor the head-over-heels feeling and the magic of being with your special person. Just remember that being twitterpated is a stage. No matter how awesome your boo, it won’t last forever.
Over time, even in the best of relationships, the beloved starts to look less perfect. You start to disagree more. Their formerly endearing habits start to become annoying. You may begin to wonder whether they’re “the one” after all.
And that’s the point where your brain kicks in. You shouldn’t give up on a mostly-good relationship when you realize it’s imperfect. But you should start to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the other person and how well you suit each other.
Heart and Mind
Before you make a long-term commitment, consider the information you have from both your heart and your brain.
Do you love this person? Feel tender toward them? Feel physically attracted? Want to spend a lot of time with them? Are you happy being around them?
And: Do you want more or less the same things out of life? Are their values and priorities similar to yours? Do they treat you well? Do they have any major flaws that might make your life hard? (A possible addiction, maybe, or a lot of debt, or a tendency toward dishonesty or anger?)
If you love the person and there are no major negatives, consider the smaller stuff. What are their potentially annoying habits, and can you live with them? What are the friction points you’ll have to negotiate? What are the not-great realities you’d have to accept?
So, yeah, this isn’t very romantic. But marriage is a legal and financial commitment as well as an emotional one. Even living together is a big deal (and complicated to undo). No potential partner is perfect, but your sweetie may still be a wonderful partner for you. Just wait to commit until you can see beyond the illusion of “perfect.”
Marcia Whitney says
All great and valid points, Jill. Thanks for another poignant post!