Unlikely Fact Number Seven:

The qualities in our lover that we once found so endearing are the same qualities we now find so annoying.

Couple Number One

Last year:  John meets and marries Evelyn whom he describes as delightfully spontaneous and unpredictable.  He has more fun with her than he has ever had with anyone else he has met.  She is the one person in his life able to take him away from his everyday worries about work and money.

This year: Tom is seriously considering divorce.  He complains that Evelyn is rarely on time for appointments, can’t remember to put gas in her car, and overspends their checking account.

Couple Number Two

Last year:  Karen meets and marries Fred who she describes as the first stable, responsible man she has ever dated.  She loves the fact that he is a loving son who has a caring, conflict-free relationship with his parents and siblings.

This Year:  Karen complains that Fred spends hours on the phone with Mom.  Karen is upset that all vacations have become family vacations.  Fred, on the other hand, wonders why Karen would want to spend time away alone with him when they could instead take all their vacations with his family.  “And anyway,” say Fred “my brothers and I do everything together. Why would Karen ever try to come between us?”

Couple Number Three

Last year:  Virginia, a shy rather reclusive woman,  meets and marries Ken whose main appeal is his ability to make and keep friends.  For the first time in her life, Virginia is meeting new people and is being welcomed into their homes and their lives.

This year:  Virginia complains to me that Ken is always planning fishing trips with his friends and remains in frequent contact with old girlfriends.  She adds, “He never seems to have time for just the two of us.”

Moral of the story:  The qualities that lead us to pursue a relationship are not necessarily the same qualities that will lead to relationship success.  Although opposites often do attract, couples need other qualities to ensure that the relationship remains fulfilling after the initial infatuation has subsided.

My recommendation:  Enjoy the initial infatuation phase but then make sure to take enough time to really get to know your partner.  Only time will tell you if the exciting qualities to which you were first attracted actually “wear well.”   And if you do decide that you have found your special person, make sure you continue to enjoy those differences that first attracted you to him or her.

And because unlikely fact number seven of married life is that “the qualities in our lover that we once found so endearing may become the very same qualities we now find so annoying,” we will all need to remember to enjoy those qualities in our spouse that are different from us.  And perhaps just as importantly, we need to continue to work on and refine those qualities in ourselves that don’t come quite as naturally so that our partners will feel like they also made the right choice in marrying the person they did.

Click for Unlikely Fact Number Eight