Should I Marry Her
The question of marriage
We are sometimes faced
with difficult decisions about what to do with an existing relationship.
Do we marry, do we continue dating or is it time to end a relationship?
These questions are often complicated by differences between the
individuals, geographic distance, different ethnic or cultural
backgrounds, varying self-perceptions and self-esteem, existing
relationships and more. These factors can often predict a higher chance
of divorce of a marriage with significant differences and challenges.
Most couples are faced
with the difficult decision of taking a relationship to the next level.
They may have been dating for a long time, sacrificed for one another, had
a child out of wedlock, moved in together, or the like. The question
becomes: “I/we have invested/sacrificed all of this does that mean we
should/must get married now?”
Sometimes the best
decision in times of doubt or crisis is no decision. It is sometimes
better to wait until one is in a better place to make a decision – as long
as you are willing to accept the outcomes that may occur by default.
Consider the following
situation where a man is trying to find out what the right thing to do is
with a complicated situation.
Question: Should I marry her or
“I met a Japanese
woman who was on a language course in the UK about 8 years ago. We liked
each other and started to date. The relationship developed and we
traveled/lived together in the UK, Australia and Japan where she found
decent employment. I taught English for 6 months and then had to return
for a work project in the UK (which has now ended).
Although she is a
great person that I really respect, the relationship started to lose so
much momentum - I started to feel unfulfilled, lost my sexual attraction
to her. We have stayed in contact since I left Japan and she visits me
every year for her annual holiday.
She is the same age as
me which makes me feel very guilty when I consider leaving her as in her
culture she would be considered too old for marriage by most Japanese men.
I fear that if I leave her she may remain single for ever (I would have
destroyed her life) She has recently asked me to move back to Japan with
We are both lonely
(and my residential situation in the UK is unbearable - I am
psychologically bullied by my family often, which destroys my confidence -
they are so cruel you wouldn't believe it. So I have real pressure to
leave my current environment, but I'm afraid of ending up quite isolated
in a foreign country and in an unfulfilling relationship, although she is
one of the few people that I respect and trust (and she does sincerely
care about me).
The stress of my
current environment makes it almost impossible to think clearly (quite
often I literally feel like I'm losing my mind). Obviously this almost
makes it impossible to make such a big decision - whether to go and set up
my life in Japan or not. I feel totally cornered with no viable escape!
Thank you so much for your assistance.” Signed, ned0008
Answer: Considerations for marriage
You are to be
commended for having the decency to be concerned about her wellbeing and
outcome in life. You are also to be commended for night taking her
invitation to move to a foreign land half-way around the world. But, even
more, you are to be commended for recognizing that this may not be a good
decision for you. Your feeling of being cornered with no viable escape
comes from the collision of concern for her, concern for yourself and a
desperation for changing your current situation.
Please consider the
following as you evaluate your options.
The only person in
this life that can truly look out for your well being is yourself. The
only person who can look out for another is that other person. In other
words, to put it bluntly, you must be selfish in your decision. A
failure to be selfish could lead you into a compromise that you cannot
live with in the long term.
You cannot make a decision for her well-being but you must make a
decision for your own well-being. Further, you did not “destroy her
life” as she has been a willing adult participant throughout your
relationship. You do not have that power.
The desire to run
away from an existing uncomfortable situation is not adequate
justification to make such a drastic change – a world away culturally
and geographically. Japanese culture is so different from of the UK
that it might as well be a different world much less a different
culture. Your fear of being isolated is quite valid. You would have a
real problem of finding like couples with whom to associate. Further,
the unemployment situation in Japan is such that it will be very hard to
find a job. The challenges of integration into such a culture are
significant. Both the desire to leave a life behind and a
cross-cultural marriage are risk factors for a higher chance of divorce.
with life as an individual is a risk factor that predicts a higher
chance of divorce.
There are several
other significant risk factors here and you should use our
Risk of Divorce Quiz and discussion to evaluate this situation
further. The Risk of Divorce Quiz is based on the latest scientific
We recommend that
you work on yourself as an individual until you have the strength to
make a better decision. That may very well mean distancing yourself
from the negative influences in your life and doing the homework
necessary to develop your
self-esteem. This link will lead you to some great resources on our
site to help develop self-esteem. We all need a boost once in a while.
We also recommend
that you use the tools at the
DoTheyLoveMeNoww.com website. It will help you understand the
nature of love and the recommendations about what to do with
When you feel better
about yourself, you will make better decisions. You will either have
the confidence to make a move to Japan a success or you will have the
confidence in a decision to not increase the complexity of your
relationship any more than from the current dating/friendship basis.
Love is not enough but you must have love
In the final analysis
love alone is not enough to justify marriage but you must have love to
sustain one unless you are in a culture of arranged marriages where
accommodation is enough and the social support system works to sustain the
In western cultures it
is wise to choose a marriage partner with both the head and the heart.
When in doubt resolve those doubts before marriage. Passion is the first
flavor of love and that inevitably fades to be replaced by another level
of love that must be nurtured and practiced to be sustained. Long-term
true love does not happen by accident. It is created.
are some great books to help relationships.