Time to ask questions is before wedding, not after


May 01, 1994|By Niki Scott | Niki Scott,Universal Press Syndicate

If you're planning a June wedding, May is the month for signing contracts, mailing invitations, picking up the bride's and bridesmaids' gowns, making final arrangements with the caterer, florist and reception hall, packing for the honeymoon and meeting with the photographer.

In short, if you're going to change your mind, now is the time to do it.

I had lunch recently with a friend who replaced "Oh Promise Me" with "Hit the Road, Jack" six years after her wedding.

She admitted that she'd had real doubts about her husband-to-be a month before the Big Day, but thought it was too late to say, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off!"

"I wish that about a month before the wedding, I'd asked fewer questions about how the reception hall was going to be decorated and a lot more questions about how compatible my husband-to-be and I would be," she said.

"If I ever marry again, I'm going to ask myself a hundred questions before I ever say 'yes,' " she added, "and listen very, very carefully to my own answers."

Here are 13 questions every bride-to-be should ask herself before she says, "I do" or "I will" -- or even "I might."

* Are you getting married because you feel isolated and lonely as a single person? If so, it could be that you either don't like yourself or don't know how to nurture yourself. Better to develop these skills before you take on a spouse to nurture and care for.

* Did your mother have bad experiences with your father or other men when she was young? If so, make sure you don't have old messages in your head about men in general and how they're allowed to treat you.

* Are you marrying this man because you're secretly afraid that no one else will ask you? Do you secretly believe that any husband is better than no husband at all?

* Was your fiance ever abused -- physically, sexually or emotionally? If so, has he received counseling of some kind or resolved these old issues in some other way besides not talking about them?

* If he has children from a previous marriage, does he parent them in a generally calm, patient, consistent manner? If he flies into rages at them, you can be sure he'll behave the same way toward your children and possibly toward you, as well.

* Were you abused as a child -- physically, sexually or emotionally? If so, are you absolutely sure that you'll never allow anyone to mistreat you again?

* Has your intended lived on his own for at least a year with no woman to cook, clean, pick up after him, mother him or cater to him? If not, June of 1995 might be a good date for the wedding.

* Do you and he have similar priorities? If you're a neatnik and he's a slob, look out. If becoming a father is important to him and you don't want children, beware. People do not change after they get married. They just become more and more the way they were.

* Has your fiance ever been the least bit violent toward you -- verbally, physically or sexually? If he has been -- even once -- stop! You can bet that he will be violent after you're married.

* What's his attitude about your work? Is he condescending or patronizing when you talk about your job? Does he act possessive, jealous, threatened in any way? How does he respond when you have to break a date and work late?

* What's his attitude about your friends -- male and female? Does NTC he like them? If he doesn't like one or more, has he made it difficult for you to continue the relationship? If he seeks to isolate you from your friends before you're married, chances are he'll isolate you even more afterward.

* Does he like women in general -- not just as sexual partners, but as friends? Does he have a healthy relationship with his mother, sister, daughter, female co-workers, ex-wife?

* Finally, are you able to discuss money issues in a calm, rational manner, or are such discussions either non-existent or marked by secretiveness, resentment or anxiety?

Remember: Money arguments almost always have to do with power, and like most issues, power issues usually grow larger -- not smaller -- after the wedding.

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