Marriage Analysis: Foundations for Successful Family Life

By Harold T. Christensen | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
CHOOSING A MATE

Too many people are under the illusion that the key to marital happiness is wholly and simply that of selecting an appropriate mate. They are wrong. While marital happiness does depend partly upon the type of companion one has, it is also contingent upon the quality of one's own personality. Being a good mate is every bit as important as choosing the right mate, perhaps even more so. A common tendency, when marriage fails, is to rationalize one's position by projecting the blame upon the other. Frequently this takes the form of one's claiming that he was fooled during courtship and that he married the wrong person. This seems to be easier than acknowledging personal failure in marital adjustment. Actually, though, marital success is most likely when the mates are mature and adaptable as well as compatible. To stress any one factor at the expense of others is a mistake. It is true that mature personalities can often prove adjustable enough to overcome partially the handicap of an ill-matched marriage. But it is equally true that poor mating puts marriage at a disadvantage, that love has its best chance of developing and continuing when the traits of mates are compatible from the beginning.

Pair unity is dependent upon: (1) how well the mates are matched, and (2) how completely they have adjusted to each other. We have already examined this latter for the period of premarriage, calling it love involvement. Here we are to be concerned with the first named, with mate selection as a part of the process of successful marriage. There are few other problems that young people ask questions about so frequently or need help on so much.

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