Couples in therapy often accuse each other of changing after they were married. Well, the accusation is debatable if you consider that neither one of them bothered to examine nor scrutinize the other’s behavior during courtship or engagement-ship. I wonder if both simply did not allow themselves to see and hear anything that might have implied that the two were meant for each other. In short, they saw the behaviors but simply decided (on some level) not to address it. “Besides, nobody’s perfect” they console themselves. Until the very same behaviors magically appear some 6-months later after the rose-tinted glasses of premarital bliss clear-up.
I’ve suggested above that we don’t see certain faults because we really don’t want to see them. Other reasons, as suggested above, have to do with our justification that nobody’s perfect, so we ignore that small invitation to investigate the matter. Both responses boil down to the fact that the couple is so in love that they don’t want to consider anything that could mean that they shouldn’t get married—bad idea. It might even be that one or both struggle with conflict and therefore they avoid anything that smells of disagreement. Perhaps, one or both don’t want to face the embarrassment of a break-up, after all, everyone thought they were a lovely couple destined to be together forever. Of course, they agreed so they continued to ignore having a few much-needed discussions.
This couple needn’t be you. So take this airport alert and safety tip, “If you see something, say something”. Right, the assumption is that you see lots of things that you refuse to acknowledge to yourself and to your fiancé/fiancée. Here’s how to know when you see or hear something that doesn’t agree with you on the inside.
1) When you see it or hear it, your body responds but very slightly. Something inside says to pay attention. So you allow yourself to consider what just happened.
a. What you do: You make excuses for the person. He’s/She’s tired and has a lot going on. He/She was angry—I would be too. You get it.
b. What you do: You get the inside strange feeling, but you ignore it totally. Something inside tugs and says “SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE.” I’ve written this is all caps, but what you experience is “something’s wrong here.” It’s a whisper like lower case letters, but it feels like all caps, but you ignore it. Consider these examples.
EXAMPLE #1: A very independent woman, smart, educated, self-assured, leader-type goes on a date with a guy who is her equal in every way. During the evening, he gets upset with her; and as they leave the venue, he walks briskly ahead, leaving her no choice but to walk behind him.
a. She knows right away that this is not the kind of treatment that she expects from a date. She takes her time and joins him in the car, but she knows that this is a sign of other things that she cannot and should not put up with. But she says nothing.
EXAMPLE #2: He and his fiancée are at his place having dinner and watching a movie. He asked her if she had returned the last movie they saw the previous week to Redbox. She replies, yes. The next day he sees the movie in her trunk.
a. He pretends not to see it but in his mind, he’s thinking that if she’d lie about something as simple as a returned movie then what else might she lie about. Trust is an issue.
There are a million examples of things that premarital individuals knowing and sometimes unknowing overlook, fearing the worst. I offered these examples for you to take a look at the excuses you are making for not speaking up. Going to a premarital therapy session will help you begin to deal with potential problems. But, by failing to address these concerns will leave with the inexcusable excuse “you change” when actually the behavior you are complaining about was there all along. What is worse is that you KNEW IT!