Musings on Mormonism

A philosophical quesion about marriage

I consider marriage between a man and a woman to be one of life’s most significant and ennobling relationships, perhaps on par with a person’s relationship with God (if not at least deeply intertwined), and the foundation upon which loving and happy families are created. To form such a relationship is one of my most earnest desires; to raise children in a nurturing and loving home is a close runner up. I am of the opinion, however, that single people my age are generally rather undecided about what they are looking for in a future marriage partner, if they are seeking marriage at all. In truth, I sense that most single people my age are largely uncertain about what they are seeking from life itself, which is troubling and potentially tragic (although, outwardly at least, some appear not to mind the uncertainty too much). For such people, I wholeheartedly recommend they investigate The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But I digress πŸ™‚ To a certain degree, I am also such a young person lacking in wisdom in matters of dating and marriage.

I am of the opinion that two of the most important factors in the health and happiness of a relationship are 1) character (what a person is – I would also call this personality) and 2) behavior (what a person does). I think behavior is obviously important, as it is the actual bridging of two unique individuals, but also that it is largely, although incompletely, determined by the involved personalities. Put another way, I believe that people ought to determine not only what kinds of behaviors they approve of in a relationship, but also to recognize the underlying characteristics which tend to produce such behaviors in an individual.

I believe that certain types of personality matches are more natural and comfortable than others, but I also believe that there are matches which, although not as comfortable, involve a melding of different complementary traits to the effect of creating a dynamic pair. I can see pros and cons to each matching, as well as the possibility of having the best of both worlds – a comfortable match with complementary differences. But this is the question which I’d like my married readers in particular to answer if they would: which is ultimately more important, to have a comfortable match or a complementary match? Or is my creation of such a dichotomy misleading and unnecessary? πŸ˜‰


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  1. * SKISLN says:

    Dear Bryce,

    You think too much.


    Your Brother

    P.S. And all kidding aside, I think you are right to be wary of unnecessary dichotomies. My two cents is that marriage works best when you both want the same long-term goals and are willing to think charitably of one another in the mean time, but beyond that there are probably scores of personality combinations that work. I guess what I’m saying is that compatability is desirable, but commitment is absolutely indispensible.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 9 months ago
  2. * Christie says:

    Scooter G is one wise dude.

    I hope all this thinking will lead to lots of dating for Bryce-man…that’s the only real way to test your theories, after all–

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 9 months ago
  3. * Bryce says:

    Thanks for the comments. I’ve basically come to the same conclusions: that I overthink this, and that happy marriage is primarily a matter of shared goals and being charitable to one another. “Compatibility”, on the other hand, is good, but not something I should lose sleep over. And I agree, Christie, that no theory is any good unless it’s tested.

    Your unnecessarily conflicted brother,


    | Reply Posted 9 years, 9 months ago
  4. * Jess says:

    Ditto to the thinking too much. But I’m also glad that you do think things over. Marriage is something that needs thought and consideration especially if you’re thinking along the eternal lines. Myself I’ve dated men who were considered more compatable and others that my parents where like “WHAT?” (Remember Brad?) Like Christie said you need to get out there and see what you find. Myself I found the perfect compromise of the two but had to experience both to find him and now I am very happy with my choice.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 9 months ago
  5. * Kristin says:

    This isn’t really what you asked, but here are some of my thoughts. 1) Some people think there is ONLY one right person (or match?) for them. (No idea if you do, just talking.) I don’t think that’s true at all in dating, it just leads people to procrastinate that “perfect” relationship. On the other hand, it certainly is true after you’re married. Your spouse is THE ONE. And it’s great. 2) You’re not going to stay the same as you are now anyway, no matter what type of match you pick. However, the joint evolution of really worthy, committed marriage partners is one of the most awe-inducing things I’ve seen. I can’t even express it. I don’t think you have to try out every possible combination before being sure. Just start the journey with someone who will help all your future changes be for the better. Hopefully you’ll know it when you find it.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 9 months ago
  6. * Tiffany says:

    Isn’t it great to know that in our world’s current state of calamity as marriages and families are concerned, our relations claim some of the strongest and healthiest marriages in existence?! Love that family of ours.

    Whether comfortable-ness/compatibility of a relationship is a serious consideration or not, and whether you date lots of people or not, I think there’s no harm in asking the question. And if I will offer my two cents, I don’t think we have to sacrifice one for the other. Often the relationships in which we feel most comfortable are also the ones filled with complementary qualities and behaviors. Yes, two committed and charitable individuals can have a happy and fulfilling marriage, but if they also happen to have personalities and strengths that are different, it will probably be easier and more natural to achieve that happiness. I think very few of us would actually want to marry someone very similar in personality to ourselves.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 8 months ago
  7. * Tiffany says:

    Oh yeah, and I also wanted to mention that I think just the fact that men and women are inherently different and complementary makes the marriage work beautifully. As I understand it, marriage provides the opportunity for a woman to become more like the man she loves and for that man to, in turn, emulate her. I think a perfect individual, while distinctly feminine or masculine, is a blend of both the wonderful masculine and feminine traits.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 8 months ago
  8. * Ma Goodwin says:

    Hello Son #3,

    Don’t you love the wonderful comments from your siblings? Once a person is married, then they officially become “experts.” Therefore, since I’ve been married for going on 35 years, naturally I am the one half of the partnership with the most experience and consequently, more wisdom. πŸ™‚

    My advice to “those not married, but seeking for that complementary spouse” is:

    — All the above comments from family and friends about what makes for a “good” marriage.
    — Marry someone who can be your “best” friend, someone who you can talk his/her ears off and they are still patient enough to listen attentively as if their life hung on the balance. After marriage, that partner can nod off and fall asleep while said spouse is talking on and on.
    — Marry someone who laughs at your jokes and thinks they are funny when no one else is. It shows that the prospective marriage partner is very patient and understanding.
    — Marry someone who is willing to sacrifice himself/herself for the good of the marriage and family life.
    — Marry someone who knows how to be frugal and shop at clearance racks, I am not talking 50% off, but more like 75% or 90% off original prices. And who is not ashamed to haunt thrift shops.
    — Marry someone who can postpone self-gratification and the accumulation of “wealth” such as a new HD TV, new couch or a newer car.
    — Marry someone who is totally committed to a Christ-like life in word and deed.
    And finally marry someone who thinks that their future mother-in-law is wise beyond her years, is the fountain of all knowledge, has all the answers about what ails our country, is the expert on homemaking skills, the best cook around and the source of all know-how on child-rearing considering the wonderful job she did in raising such a great son like you, Bryce!

    Loads of love,


    | Reply Posted 9 years, 8 months ago

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