JUST BRENDA: Help! Social media posts on failing marriages make me fear having a partner

Break-up

Lately, I have been seeing so many posts on social media on people wanting out of marriages.

Photo credit: Fotosearch

Dear Brenda,

Lately, I have been seeing so many posts on social media on people wanting out of marriages. Many of them are about unfaithful partners or money issues. I am now worried about crumbling marriages. How can a young person like me know what to look for in a partner and if it will last?

Concerned young person


Dear Concerned young person,

Your concern is valid and this is the right time to ask yourself such questions – before you commit to a marriage. Before you commit to a person or even decide to actively look for a partner – I know sometimes it ‘just happens’ – you should consider compatibility and know your non-negotiables and deal breakers. This is not to say that you should not give a person a chance just because they don’t meet all your expectations (because, really, no one is perfect), but you should sit yourself down, think long and hard about what you need and want, what you can’t stand and the things you are willing to compromise on, because all relationships, even family and platonic ones, involve compromise.

That being said, it is really important to take time to know your partner. I’d advice that you have in-depth talks when dating, discuss the future and know whether you are compatible. And in your discussions, don’t just make it all about ‘I love you’ and all the lovey dovey stuff; also have serious talks. This brings me to finances. This is one of the leading causes of break-ups. Finances should be discussed openly and with a goal to have good financial management together. No, I’m not saying that you should have joint accounts or account for every penny – these are details unique and different for all couples. But there should be some agreement or harmony on how family finances will be used or how to share financial responsibilities in the home, how and where to invest, savings, expectations, etc. A candid discussion should be had.

Even in courtship, faithfulness should be discussed. Is it a deal breaker? How will you handle such a case in marriage? Other things to discuss could be religion, family relations, friends, hobbies, where to live, etc.

You also need to know your reason for wanting to get married, align your marriage goals and have realistic expectations.

And no, nothing comes easy. And at the same time, you could do all this and more, and a relationship fails. But don’t be discouraged. If you want to get married just know what you and your partner want and work towards a common goal. All in all, the decision on what to discuss, what to uphold, and how to live together harmoniously, lies on the couple.

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