I am clearly biased as I am a wife and mother who subordinated my career for my husband’s, but…
Jennifer Marsden
501

What I like most about your post, in addition to it being very thoughtful, is that it is very real and very human.

Some of the ways people often speak about life, marriage, important relationships, careers, etc. is by using terms such as, “sacrifice,” “trade offs,” “compromise,” etc. All actions can cause or result in suffering or joy or fulfillment, etc., maybe more or less given how things work out or, perhaps, how we feel about things. Often, we can have mixed feelings about the very same outcome or thing/person.

I view it a little differently, I think. I see life as series of choices we make which might have outcomes that are unforeseen or unanticipated. Marriage can be one such choice — a big one. In my case, we were entirely incompatible in a sense that neither of us had considered before the choice to marry was made. With 20/20 hindsight, our paths in life were never going to mesh in a compatible way and we were destined for conflict. The marriage ended because there was no possible fix. It was no one’s fault except our respective lack of self awareness and awareness of each other. Much suffering ensued before acceptance kicked in to everyone’s relief.

My view on the marriage question is that each party must be as sure as they can possibly get that they can help the other on his/her own, individual path in life. Of course, this presumes a detailed understanding of the path one is on as well as the potential partner’s path now and into the near future. Secondarily — a distant second because it is deceptively easy to say Yes to— is the question of whether your potential partner can help you on your path in life. We know that paths in life can change, people change, etc. so there are still no guarantees. But without these questions being honestly and resoundingly answered in the affirmative at the beginning, then it is likely to be rough sledding.