Life in General

How To Break Up Without Getting Divorced, Part 2

From May 31, 2010
Prince Charming: 

If you were one of those little girls who fantasized about what your future husband would be like all the way from his dark disheveled hair down to his middle name, then you’re definitely a romantic. One day, you might just find YOUR Prince Charming. But, let me tell you: the only true Prince Charming lives in a fairytale. 

Men are humans, just like women. And, just like women, they come with a stinky laundry bag full of embarrassing histories, habitual shortcomings, boring hobbies and temptations galore. There is no such thing as the perfect hu-man. So, get that handsome Prince Charming out of your head because you’re never going to find him in the flesh.

Let’s say you’re dating an amazing guy. He’s everything you could ever want in a man. He meets every bullet point on your list (and we’ll talk about lists a little later). The two of you get along so well- you’ve never had a major fight. You know for sure that he’s the man you’re going to marry. And that’s great. I’m happy for you. But…

What’s his secret? Every man’s got one. Most men have several. Now, that’s not to say that all of their secrets are deal breakers. For instance, on your honeymoon you might discover that your man prefers to wear women’s undies. Or maybe you find that he likes to eat his toenail clippings like they’re coconut slivers. Those are both weird things, but they will most likely not cause any severe marital complications.

What I’m talking about is big secrets- secrets that have to do with morals and ethics. Addictions like pornography, gambling and drugs fall into that category. So do suicidal tendencies and lies about who they are, what they’ve done, what they will do and what they are doing.

From the skeptical look on your face, I see that you think there’s no way in the world that your man would do anything that you’d disapprove of much less keep it a secret if he did. Think again, lover girl.

Did you know that according to Steve Arterburn, co-author of “Every Man’s Battle”, about 90% of men struggle with some form of sexual sin? What’s more is that about 10% of all men are considered to be “sex addicts”. And, that’s not just limited to men outside Christianity- those stats go for ALL men. Don’t think for one second that a man struggling with sexual sin is going to willingly tell you his deepest, darkest secret.

Along these same lines, think about your biggest, most shameful secret. Have you told it to your man? If so, was it extremely difficult for you to share? If not, are you willing to share with him before he marries you? Just food for thought.

Now, you may be wondering how you can find his secrets out if he’s less than willing to share. Here are some tips:

Listen to what your friends and family have to say about your man. Investigate their concerns. Watch your man’s eyes when he thinks you’re not paying attention to him. Figure out what he’s doing when he’s not with you. Observe him with the eye of an uninterested third party. Ask him questions and listen to what he says. Talk with his best friend. Talk with his youth minister. Talk with his ex-girlfriends. Look at how he treats his mother and sisters. If you notice any inconsistencies or have even a hint of concern about something, don’t let the issue rest until you’re satisfied.

Ok, I bet you’re thinking I’m suggesting you become a crazy-jealous super stalker, right?

Wrong! My point is that pre-marital bliss is not always “real” love. It’s often a little bit of real love mixed with a lotta bit of mushy, gushy, hugs and kisses with a cherry on top. And that can be very dangerous because that kind of love can cover your eyes with rose-colored scales.

Too many times, when a woman falls for her version of Prince Charming, she pushes any of his potential faults out of her line of vision (whether it’s intentional or not). The real shame in that is that there are almost always signs she might have seen ahead of time but she ignored them because her vision was too clouded with “love”. Trust me- hindsight will remind her of those signs later when she finds out his secret, but hindsight does little to sooth a broken heart. In essence, it’s not her fault that he has those shortcomings, but she’s partially to blame for her ignorance of them. Don’t ignore the signs, lady.

If you were in the market to buy a new house, would you hire an inspector to give it a thorough going over before you signed the deed? Sure. Why? Because you want to make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting. For instance, I’m sure you would rather find out that it has termites before you bought it than after. Nobody wants termites. They’re pesky little insects that eat the walls, ceiling and roof of a house. And, if the house becomes yours, the termite problem becomes yours. Now, that’s not to say that if a house has termites it should be declared condemned because, as I’m sure you know, the termite-nator can rip those termites a new one, IF you’re willing to pay the price. (But isn’t it much simpler to know that kind of thing needs to be done before you sign the deed so you can properly address the issue?)

Marriage is like that house and secrets are like termites. Know what the secrets are and plan your defense accordingly. If you don’t eradicate the problem, you’ll be living in a house that is literally falling down. Your marriage will be fracturing secret by secret until there’s nothing left but an unhappy, fatigued, wretched couple of strangers who hate each other and wish they’d never met.

I guarantee you that there are numerous married couples who started out happy and gushing with more love than anybody else they knew but ended just the same way as the last paragraph. What happened? They found out each other’s dirty little secrets and they discovered they were married to a person they didn’t even know. Then, they had a dilemma: stay married or divorce. One in three chooses divorce. (Yes, divorce is a choice. It doesn’t just show up unannounced one day like cancer.) And divorce sucks. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Now, on a happier note, let me say that it is my OPINION that Prince Charming is the easiest of the three alternate realities to come back to earth from. Like I mentioned earlier, Prince Charming’s faults have to do with morals and ethics. It is easier to convince someone that what they’re doing is wrong if there is a moral or ethical dilemma involved. (Keep in mind that your Prince Charming probably already knows what he’s doing is wrong. That’s why he’s hiding it from you.)

Your job as his future bride is to help him work through his failures. Of course, he may always decide that his failures are more important to him than you. If that happens, thank your lucky stars that you discovered this before you married him and not after. Remember: You can always walk away from a boyfriend or fiancé. You’ve made no marriage vows to him. No matter what, DON’T marry him until he has overcome the issues. (I know too many girls who fell for “I’ll quit ____ once we’re married.” Guess what? It was a lie. But, that’s tomorrow’s topic.)

Now, let me offer some words of comfort to those of you suffering at the hand of your Prince Charming and his failures. Hang in there. Stand by his side as he struggles with his demons. Share your demons with him and he’ll be much more likely to accept your help with his. A lot of the energy will initially come from you but the efforts should even out over time. And, when he’s victorious, he’ll be a spectacular husband and you’ll be a happy wife.

Bottom line: Make sure your man keeps promises, not secrets.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I introduce you to Mr. Icowm.

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