Ask The Magic Question Before You Say I Do!


Ask The Magic Question Before You Say I Do!
Can you accept your lover or spouse 100 percent of the time?

It is also the most important question I ask when a couple in a troubled relationship comes for help. I explain to them that we are each 100 percent responsible for our relationship. I choose you and you allow yourself to be chosen. You choose me and I allow myself to be chosen. No one forces us to move in together or to sign a marriage license.

None of us are perfect, but we are all doing the best we can. If we could do better, we would. Therefore, when your lover or spouse keeps doing the same thing over and over again, even promising to change, but not following through, remind yourself that you have chosen an imperfect person who is doing his or her best. And what if that best is not good enough for you?


Find some alone time to sit down in a quiet place and ask yourself the magic question: "Can I accept this person as he or she is today, that he or she may never change?" Never is forever! Although some people do change, there are others who will not. Give up hoping for change and face what the situation is right now. Do not try to run away from your answer. Perhaps you may feel embarrassed or ashamed of your thoughts. Staying with someone you don't truly accept and continuing to heap criticism on that person, or punishing him or her is not fair.

Switch roles for a moment. How do you feel at the thought that your partner can't accept you as you are today with your extra 20 pounds, your temper, the fact that you never got a college degree, or have an annoying bad habit that you can't overcome? Don't you yearn for someone to love you just as you are today, without strings?

While you are pondering that one and only question, you might want to ask yourself if there is any benefit in being with someone you can't accept. Do you secretly believe that you don't deserve to be truly happy in love? Do you want sympathy from others about how noble you are to put up with such a challenging person? Are you recreating the unhappy relationship of your parents or another role model? Something else?

If we each had to answer the magic question before we say, "I do," perhaps there would be less divorce and more happy relationships.

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Article contributed by

Gloria Arenson

Marriage and Family Therapist

Gloria Arenson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Diplomate in Comprehensive Energy Psychology and author of 7 books. She is passionate about helping people help themselves to be free of negative emotions and compulsive behaviors.

Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Credentials: DCEP, EFT-ADV, MFT, MS
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