Friday, July 25, 2008


I was at the gym the other night, and I got to talking with one of the girls working out.

She had been speaking with her trainer about her engaged brother who is planning a wedding. The parents of the bride had planned to pay for the affair, but the groom's parents opted to split the cost because they wanted to be able to offer opinions, be included on the invitation, etc.

And, then she proceeded to share how her brother's fiance can be a bit of a "challenge." That already she has seen rifts between her and her brother. And, the fiance is in fact meeting with the mother of the groom in the next week or so in an effort to clear the air.

Being a proponent, as you know, if you've been reading this blog, of mensches making the best marriage material, I wondered what kind of woman we are speaking of here. While I have never met her, we got into a discussion at the gym about change and relationships.

My feeling is that people don't typically change.

If you are marrying someone with the hope that they have the potential to become a different person, I don't think that's particularly realistic.

Sure, we all influence each other. It is possible for people to cultivate new interests. Try out new skills. Change their wardrobe. Get a updated haircut....etc....etc.

However, people don't alter their basic character.

What you see is what you get in that sense.

So, when you are dating someone, trust your gut. If there is something about their behavior that you question, don't sweep it under the rug. There's only so many dustballs you want under that rug.

You can't make someone more fun than they are. You can't give them a sense of humor. You can't change their sense of responsibility. You can't make them close to their friends, if friendship isn't important to them.

And, as life packs on more responsibility, things can get more challenging, especially if you add children to that equation.

So, don't fool yourself into thinking that little fights don't matter. Sure, no relationship is perfect, and you want to be open and express you opinion even if it leads to a disagreement. But, if you fight regularly or don't see eye to eye about things that matter most to you in life, then that won't get better.

And, it shouldn't be your goal to get someone to follow your belief system. They are entitled to their own. Sharing passions is one thing. But your life's work isn't to shape them into what you hope they would be.

I have heard couples say that their mate makes them a better person. And, that is great. But, you can't lay in wait for that to happen. You need to choose wisely.

Once a mensch (decent person), always a mensch. That's what you should strive for.

PS -- Check out the site The cousin of a friend of mine made this really cool independent film regarding single life, and it is very empowering and insightful.

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