Throughout the dating process we consciously or subconsciously formulate ideas of things we like and don’t like, as well as things we want and don’t want in a relationship.
Take some time and truly contemplate what your deal breakers are in a marriage. You can even make a physical list. Prior to getting married did you and your spouse discuss any of the things on your list? If you aren’t already married, take some time with your significant other to review the items on your “deal breaker” list. You must be able to have honest and open communication about what you will and will not tolerate. However, keep in mind that marriage is work and no marriage is perfect. Conflicts will arise. However, these should not be considered deal breakers. Deal breakers are personal preferences (and that is okay). Deal breakers may develop due to social pressures, ignorance or even stigma. Closely scrutinize your list of deal breakers and ask yourself “why is this a deal breaker and is this deal breaker negotiable”? If it is negotiable, it is not a deal breaker! If you cannot justify why it’s a deal breaker, it is more likely not a deal breaker! Now, review your list again and ask yourself “will or does my spouse depict any of the items of my deal breaker list”? Give yourself time to think about the answer. If the answer is yes to any of the questions, you’re already setting yourself up for a failed marriage. The “honeymoon” phase of a marriage often camouflages many issues and potentially problematic conflicts that may arise. That is why it is imperative to discuss these topics in painstaking detail. Many ignorantly assume that “love” will take care of conflicts that may arise. However, love with no action will not. Remember, love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). For love to endure it requires action.
Be intentional! “Proper planning prevents poor performance”. Discussing your deal breakers, contributes to the planning process for a long and successful marriage and ensures you are marrying the right individual. Your “realistic” deal breaker list is your “red flag” guide. Great marriages don’t happen by luck or by accident. They are the result of a consistent investment of time, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, affection, prayer, mutual respect and rock-solid commitment between a husband and wife. -Dave Willis