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Finding Mr. or Mrs. Right

LETS TALK - With Paul Beckow
Individual Couple Family Counsellor

Sent to Goldstream Gazette
October 2010


Dear Paul

I’m 28 years old and I’ve been with my boyfriend over 3 years now. When the topic of getting married comes up I get real panicky. How do I know if he is the right person? How does anyone know if they’ve found the right person.?


Dear Susan,

What a great question. And my first response to this question is - There is no right person. And, if they are the right one, I can assure you that once you are together for a while, they will become the wrong one.

This is the nature of relationship.

To quote Will Rogers: “It doesn’t much matter whom one marries for you are sure to find out the next morning that it was someone else!”

So what’s going on here?

Every marriage therapist will tell you that disappointment is the aftermath of romance. When couples marry the ideals and mood of romance quickly gives way to conditions of reality.

He leaves his socks by the bed on the floor. For gets to take the garbage out. She always comes home late from work. He likes staying up at night. She likes to be in bed before 9.

Once married, couples experience personal differences. Expectations, differences, conflicts appear. In short, the Prince ( Princess ) turns into a Frog.

And that is when the real work of relationship begins.

Experiencing frustrations and dissatisfactions, many couples enter the next stage in relationship armed with a plan: “ I know. I’ll change or fix, improve, her/ him. Get him / her to fit my idea and images. ) “

This is the stage of relationship known as the power struggle and includes the sense of entanglement and defensiveness that people experience when they begin to blame and feel blamed.

Our style of communication becomes important during this stage because, without being careful, we can do harm to one another.

This is the stage of relationship some may decide “O my god. They are the wrong person. I married the wrong person ! ”

Can you see the trouble and mischief this idea can produce?

It is a little like rock climbing up the side of a steep mountain and half way up the mountainside, you decide, “Why did I pick this mountain! I hate this mountain! I picked the wrong mountain! “ Can you see the trouble this can bring to you while you’re half way up the mountain.

Uncertainty robs us of personal power.

So, Susan, my reply to your question?

There is not really a “right person” or “wrong person” to find. Having the right one or the wrong one is a “function of your consideration” alone – your say so. More accurately it’s like, you marry them, and then you make them the right one - or you make them the wrong one. It’s your call.

To make your partner the right one, requires lots of skill – attending to your regard for the other, making daily practicalities work, authentically resolving conflict, taking care of your self and your well being. Learning the lessons relationship asks of you.

But back to your question - How do I know if he’s the one?

If you mean “I’ve been with my boyfriend now for over three years, how do I decide, yes or no, to marrying them? How does someone make that important decision?” That’s a different question – and regarding that question, here’s what I’d do.

Like buying a car, I’d test it out. I’d spend lots of time together. I’d definitely go on a few holidays. Visit their families. Spend time with their friends.

Then I’d ask myself a few simple questions like: Do I admire and respect this person’s way of being in life. How well do we “work” ( solve problems ) together? Do we share some clear strong interests? Do I really like spending time with him or her? How does my heart answer these questions?

Really see this person as your future, imagine it, try it on, feel it. Again, what does your heart say? You’ll get your answer. It’ll be a simple direct yes or no.

If you get a yes, then choose yes. If you get a no or uncertainty then say no. If it’s a no and if you are on a search for a life partner, don’t linger, move on quickly to make room for that new person to appear.

However, once you say yes, you are responsible for your YES - as well as you can. Through learning to find your way through conflict, through looking after your self and your own satisfaction, through supporting each others good feelings about your selves - your job is to make the one you chose for your life the “right one”.

That’s the challenge of marriage.

Paul Beckow is an individual, marriage, and family therapist on the West Shore. If you wish an appointment Paul can be contacted at 250 721 2477.

For personal or couple counselling, for more information, or to register for a course - please contact Paul Beckow at The Victoria Family Institute.

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