In connection with my elaborate theory governing the dynamics of dating and marriage -- and the probability of success in these activities -- I thought of a simple quiz to help distinguish a marriageable individual from an unmarriageable one, or at least one who hasn't yet reached the state of marriageability.
quiz has three questions, and its success depends on the person being
interrogated not knowing the nature of the latter questions while
answering the earlier. So, it is probably best given verbally.
Question 1: What qualities are you looking for in a man/woman? List at least 5, preferably in some rough order of importance.
Question 2: What qualities are most important in a wife/husband? Again, list at least 5.
And, the clincher:
Question 3: Why is there any substantial difference between your two lists?
content of the two lists is relatively unimportant. The critical point
is that they should be substantially the same lists without an
extremely good reason for any differences. Someone who is composing two
entirely different lists, or who thinks that the second question is
illegitimate because anyone can be a good husband or wife if paired with
the right person is unmarriageable and fails the test.
For example, a person who says that she is looking for
a man who is tall, intelligent and good-looking, but says that what is
important in a husband is honesty, strength, and devotion, suffers from
cognitive dissonance and is inherently unmarriageable. This is fairly
typical. What she is implicitly saying is "I have an idea what makes
for a good husband and what is important in marriage, but I don't really
care right now. I'm not actually looking for a good husband. I am still a childish person; at best I am only pretending that marriage is important to me or to be interested in a serious relationship.
It is more important to me to satisfy my immediate wants than that I
make wise decisions, even if it means possibly hurting myself or other
people and trivializing important things. I am not mature enough to
exert sufficient self-control to make a good partner, as evidenced by my
unwillingness to make good choices that interfere with my immediate
impulses, and if you are a serious person, you are probably wasting your
time with me."
This is why it is not so important what the content of
the lists actually consists of. I doubt that anyone really knows unambiguously
and for certain what qualities make for a good partner. I certainly
don't. The point is that you start to become a good partner when you
recognize that they exist and commit yourself to begin conforming to
them. Even if you don't know what they are, or think that you do but
are actually wrong, you have still made the critical transition -- you
are subordinating yourself and your own will to what is important.
The test of marriageabilty is whether or not the person
has arrived at the conclusion that 1) his own preferences must be
subordinated to the necessities of the relationship in order for it to
have any chance to succeed, and 2) a certain fixed set of qualities are
necessary for a relationship to work between two people. These two
taken together imply 3) that the person in question will consciously be
making an effort to conform himself to this set of qualities as he
understands them, and will have wised up to the fact that he must be
looking for someone else who understands this, even if such a person
isn't actually all that much like himself and doesn't appear
superficially to be compatible with him. A person who is
marriageable will consciously be looking for someone else who is
marriageable, and not someone who satisfies his particular whims and
tastes. He has recognized that his tastes are relatively unimportant to
the success of marriage, and has changed or overridden his tastes in
recognition of this fact.
I almost added two more questions about the person's own
characteristics, but then I realized that this would be difficult to
word in such a way as to make it an informative question, and besides,
it was unnecessary. By demonstrating that he has brought his own
priorities in line with what he thinks is right in terms of who he is looking for, the marriageable person has already demonstrated that he is willing to change himself to conform to the characteristics necessary to be a good mate.
He has already proven as far as can reasonably be expected that he will
make a good mate in the future, by doing exactly the thing that it will
take to have a good marriage before he was even married -- to pursue
his own growth and maturity, and to have the strength to change.