Should you marry someone you don’t love?

Should you marry someone you are not in love with and don’t like?

This is the predicament Sarah found herself in. She doesn’t love the man who wants to marry her. She is struggling with the dilemma of marrying someone she doesn’t love.

“Should you marry someone you don’t love?” she asked me over the phone.

Daniel is several years older than 22 year old Sarah, and deeply in love with her. She doesn’t really feel anything for him, although she enjoys his intense attention.

love-you-deserveAfter putting him off many times she did give in to go out with him, she was so impressed with the almost royal treatment she got that she decided it would do no harm to associate with him. Although impressed she still did not really like him and felt no romantic desire towards him.

Unfortunately she fell pregnant during a rash unguarded moment. Now he wants to marry her. She has plans to further her education and achieve several other goals.

Sarah came to me to find out if she should remain a single mother and pursue her dreams? Or should she marry him? She was torn between 2 opinions.

So lets deal with the million dollar question:  Should you marry someone you don’t love?

There are no hard and fast rules for this. Ideally it will be great to have some sort of reciprocal feelings for someone you want to marry. However, I think each a case should be decided on its own merit. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  1. Are there deal breakers? If the person has deal breakers (things that you will never want in a relationship) then it is clear that you should not get romantically involved with such a person – not even if you have feelings for them.
  2. Feelings of love can grow and develop. If the person has no deal breakers then you can certainly get involved and develop together. I know of several women who claim that at first they disliked their husbands. However he persisted and now they are happily married. Similarly entire cultures have done this for years with the arrange marriage phenomenon. In other words love can indeed grow if you teach the person how to meet your most important emotional needs.
  3. Will this make you vulnerable to cheating? So what if you marry someone you don’t love or have chemistry for and later meet someone who tickles your fancy. Even cheapest if you love someone you are intensely in love with chances are this intense feeling will eventually subside and you inevitably also meet someone else who trigger attraction in you. If this happens you will have to make an intellectual decision to stick to the commitment you have made, and find ways to rekindle and maintain love.
  4. In the case of Sarah, marrying does not mean that she has to abandon her dreams. In fact with the love and support from Daniel she stands a great chance of realizing these dreams while he helps her with child care, support and encouragement.
  5. Chemistry does not guaranty happiness in marriage. Although many people feel that the chemistry you have for someone is a great predictor of marriage success research has not supported this thought. This intense feeling last for up to 3 years. You will then have to consciously create the love you want
  6. Love is a creation. Finally marital love and happiness is a creation. It is something that is nurtured, cultured and nursed into a full blossom. Although chemistry, feelings and high emotions are great these alone do not make a fulfilling relationship. Love, chemistry and intense romantic feelings can be generated, created and maintained.

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