Quiz people about the qualities that make a lousy spouse and things emerge like being a liar, secretive, disrespectful, selfish, temper prone, unforgiving. Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, almost of all of us will have been at some stage a little bit selfish, a tad temperamental, a wincey bit disrespectful.
According to John Van Epp* what distinguishes a genuinely lousy spouse from a regular spouse behaving badly, is not the presence of one (or several) of these undesirable characteristics; rather, the universal ‘jerk’ characteristic is a ‘persistent resistance to change’. These people, no matter how much their partner pleads with them, threatens them or is wounded by them, refuse to acknowledge their fault or to take steps to change their ways.
Any fault in one’s character can be improved upon if one is open to change and to the positive influence of their loved ones. In fact, at their best, marriage and parenthood work very powerfully to develop our character and mature us towards being a more selfless, honest, kind and generous person. A healthy romantic relationship should make us a better person, helping us to evolve towards a more spiritually mature individual.
So here’s a tip for the singles among us: if you want to avoid falling for a jerk (or jerkette), look for a person who demonstrates a willingness to change and grow.
Be aware though: this is not something that you can determine in the first few dates. By definition, a persistent resistance to change can only be detected after spending substantial time together experiencing life.
So date smart: slow things down and spend some time together getting to know the character of your potential life-partner before you give your heart away.
Think about it
What are the qualities that make a lousy spouse?
What are the qualities that are desirable in a spouse?
Looking honestly at yourself, how do you rate on these qualities?
How willing are you to change and grow into better (more desirable) spouse-material?
*John Van Epp, is the author of the program “How to avoid falling for a jerk(ette)”. www.lovethinks.com
Getting married in a Catholic Church and need to do a pre-marriage preparation course/Pre-Cana course?
Then the SmartLoving Engaged Online Course is for you! ⠀ The online course is comprised of 9 Lessons of approximately 1.5 hours each. Work at your own pace, when it suits you and your fiancé!
Francine & Byron Pirola are the founders and principal authors of the SmartLoving series. They are passionate about living Catholic marriage to the full and helping couples reach their marital potential. They have been married since 1988 and have five children.
Their articles may be reproduced for non commercial purposes with appropriate acknowledgement and back links.