“If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it,” so chants the ravishing Ms. Knowles, BUT ladies, get a grip. No amount of booty-shaking is going to change the fact that relationships are as much our responsibility as it is the men’s. Neither will it lower the likelihood of both sexes cheating on their partners long after they say, “I do.” We’re still the ones who respond with “Yes.” Yes, 8:00 o’clock would be good. Yes, you may come upstairs. Yes, I will marry you. So, let’s get rid of the Victim Mentality and just call the “pea tea party” off (Pity party? Got it? Okay, that was cheesy).
According to the infidelity statistics, “about 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair at some point in their marriage” (Monogamy Myth, Therapist Peggy Vaugn), and this doesn’t even include the I-almost-pulled-it-off cases yet. What can we do about it? Let’s take ownership of the circumstances and consider HOW WE CAN BE THE 40% THAT DOESN’T GET CHEATED ON AND THE 60% THAT WON’T CHEAT.
Getting to the root of the problem, experts say that there’s only one core explanation why men and women find themselves in affairs: THEY WEREN’T MARRIED TO THE RIGHT PERSON. (Yeah, they’ re experts. Really!) I know it sounds too simplistic to the point of absurdity. However, if you think of DETERMINING WHO THE RIGHT PERSON IS based on the following 5 factors, it’ll make a lot more sense:
1. SPIRITUAL COMPATIBILITY
Okay, don’t leave this page yet. I don’t want to get all religious either, but we’re not just talking about interfaith dating, such as Christian-Muslim couples or what-not. It’s a matter of common sense: differences in value systems and beliefs, such as how you’re going to raise children or what your views on money are, are going to bring a lot of trouble. Yet, there can still be spiritual incompatibility even between couples who share the same faith (or “religion,” if that’s how you want to call it). How? If one of you is less passionate about your faith, then either of you will not really understand why you need to consult the Bible before making certain decisions, why you want to spend that much time counseling a troubled youngster when you can go on a road trip instead, why you need to put in 10% of your household income into the offering basket (BABE! My 10% is worth a month’s gas allowance!!! What were you thinking?), and so forth.
2. CHARACTER COMPATIBILITY
Is the person you’re dating now someone whose integrity is unquestionable? Does he think, “Oh, little lie is just that–tiny and therefore justifiable”? We’ve all been lied to at one point or another, so I won’t dwell so much on this. I’m sure you get the idea.
3. EMOTIONAL COMPATIBILITY
Do you level when you get into “life talks”? Do you even have one? Do you think his little jealousy fits are cute? Can you recall a particular situation during your relationship that you had a lot of fun AND had even more profound discussions? How does he hold up in a problematic situation? Here’s the stinger: At one point, has this thought–“Being in love with me will change him”–ever crossed your mind? Uh-oh. Step out of the stilettos and put on your running shoes, gurl! And don’t look back.
4. COMMUNICATION COMPATIBILITY
Are you the type of woman who requires a Why answer to a Yes-or-No question, and is he the man who adds in “because…” without prompting? Do you expect a smiley 🙂 at the end of a text message and get it? Do you give him the answers that are true for you even if you know he’s not going to like it? If you answered YES to these questions, oh well, good for you. Not a lot of women are that lucky.
5. PHYSICAL AND SEXUAL COMPATIBILITY
Oh, I’m sorry for being honest, but if you plan on waking up next to that man… every morning… for the rest of your life, then you better find him attractive and sexy. Otherwise, either of you will soon be looking where you shouldn’t be looking. Eventually, you’ll be doing more than “just looking.”
Now, here’s the harsh truth. Unless you’re seeing ALL 5 factors–yeah, as in all F-I-V-E– ticked on your checklist, the answer to “Will you marry me?” MUST BE “NO.” You shouldn’t even be dating the guy in the first place. It’s not fair for both of you. So, if you still want to have a go at it, well, the best of luck to you. And don’t worry, I’ll leave some hot water for your pea tea party later, just in case.
***This blog entry was inspired by the message of Pastor Jentezen Franklin, “Is Marriage Still A Good Idea?” (Yup, church doesn’t have to be all spiritual and boring. It strikes a balance between the spiritual and the practical.)