They say that the month of June has the longest list of marriages in history. The belief that the lady who gets hitched remains a bride forever, made the sixth month of the year the most popular to hold D-day.
Before taking the road to the altar, every person undergoes a self-analysis. Is this the person I should marry? Am I sure? How certain am I?
The fact is: no one can predict the future. We are sure of the present; we judge according to the best of our knowledge at the moment. Hannah Arendt in her book, The Human Condition, said that our uncertain future makes our lives chaotic. Thus, to preserve life from chaos, we promise each other to be there no matter what happens.
But to give our word to another is not to be taken lightly. Our decision today will affect largely our future; just as our present state is a result of many of our decisions and indecisions in the past.
The following questions are aids to discernment for people who are or who think that they are in love. This is not just for those who are taking the big plunge. The questions here I found from an old article given in our class in Pastoral Counseling; thus they are not meant to “undermine” the confidence of those who are certain. Note that in the stapled handout, titled “Am I In Love: A Self-Analysis Test” the author is not printed, so let’s say a prayer for whoever wrote it. (If you know who, please leave a comment, so I can acknowledge. Thank you.)
Let me first say this: this is not a check-list, though the article says that it is a self-analysis test. I have a reason: A “yes” may mean different things to different folks, as well as a “no” may have various reasons for individuals. These are not tests, like the ones you find in popular magazines. They are points for reflection. Not meant to be answered in one sitting. You can reflect on one each day.
St. Ignatius of Loyola said that we use them only if it leads to God’s glory. Thus, if the questions don’t apply to you, I have no qualms if you close your computer’s window and forget about them.
1. Do you love the individual as a person or do you like merely your feeling about him or her? Are you in love with a personality or “in love with love?” Some people may be the focal point of all the rising emotions that spring from a certain psychological stage we are in. For example, adolescence or our teenage years.
2. Are you attracted to the individual for what he or she is, or for what you read into him or her? Have you idealized the person to the point of blindness, so that you pick out those traits that seem to fit your picture of an ideal partner and close your eyes to others? Is the person a reflection of you?
3. Does the person “wear well” with your friends? Your friends may see some things they don’t like, or they may be more objective with your beloved’s shortcomings.
4. Are you attracted to the person for what he or she is or what he or she can give you? For example, I love the person because he/she makes me happy. How about some moments when the person makes you angry?
5. Over what matters and how frequently do you have conflicts? Are your conflicts open or suppressed? Is it superficial, trivial or fundamental?
6. Are you willing to make concessions or do you always expect the other person to do the pleasing, agreeing, and adjusting?
7. Are you sufficient stimulus for each other when together, or do you require external stimuli, such as movies, a date, a group of persons to prevent boredom? To what degree is your stimulus for each other limited to physical appeal?
8. How readily and how frequently do you publicize what ought to be private? Calling attention to the other person’s weaknesses, recounting embarrassing experiences, disclosing confidential information may indicate disregard of the feelings of the other party especially in the age of social networks and TV programs with the tenet “you have to tell everything to your friends!”
9. Do you willingly permit the person to date when you are separated for an extended period? What is the reason for your answer, and what does it mean with regard to your relationship with the other person?
10. Do you forgive, tolerate, accept, overlook, or resent faults and shortcomings? Do you love the individual’s faults and all, warts and all, or are you holding yourself in check pending reform?
11. Have you seen the individual in enough different types of situations and observe enough different facets of personality to tell that you are in love? A lion is different in a zoo and in its natural environment. What the person tells you about his family is different from seeing the person with his family.
12. How much do you think of the individual’s welfare and happiness?
13. Do you have a desire to escape an unhappy home, school, or work situation? Such desire to escape often “makes the grass on the other side of the fence look greener.” Marriage can look like a way out.
14. What are your reactions to these questions? Do you find it difficult to be honest with yourself? Did you rationalize your answers? Or some would dismiss these questions because love is beyond everything. Did the questions put you on a defensive and made you insecure?
Hope these questions help us in our self-analysis.