What do you do if you are thinking about marriage and you have virtually no support for your decision from relatives and close friends?


In this series of articles, I'm examining one of life's most perplexing problems. When you are ready to be married and believe you've found the perfect partner but your loved ones-your parents, friends and relatives-believe you're making a mistake.


In my previous installment we discussed the first three steps of resolving this conflict effectively:


Step One - Carefully consider why you don't have their support.

Step Two - Control your emotional claustrophobia.

Step Three - Fundamentally listen to what they have to say.


Step Number Four

Search out the truth. Do it very carefully and as gently as you can. Truth. If you shouldn't marry this person, don't. If you shouldn't marry this person, find out before you get married, not two years after you get married. If you shouldn't marry this person you want to know why you shouldn't marry them.


I must tell you that, over time, as a psychologist, I have become a champion of the truth. I believe the truth is the single most important aspect to the working out of any situation. In order to get the truth, however, I must encourage you to become unfastened to the bottom line outcome that you think right now you want.


I would like for you to spend a few hours with your family to forget you want so badly to be married to this person. I want you to forget about it long enough that you can hear everything they have to say. All I want you to do is loosen up your hold on that bottom line desire you have to marry the person, such that you can allow the truth to begin to flow around you and into your head.


Step Number Five

Be as careful as you can in this discussion with your family to stay calm. I want you to assume two things about these discussions:


First I want you to assume that these people are acting out of love. They're not trying to control you, they're trying to help you. They've known you, in many cases, as long as you've lived. They have grown to care about you at the deepest of levels. It may well be that they care about you more than any person on Earth. So assume that they're acting out of love and you will have a greater ability to stay calm in the middle of their saying things that make you think they want you to do something you don't think you want to do.


Second, I want you to hear them out and deeply understand them; everything will go better, whatever decision you finally make about the marriage. When you get heard at a deep level, dignity is transmitted from one person to another.