Veto Factors, Part 1
- Tuesday, October 01, 2002
Veto Factor is a term I use to describe a characteristic of a relationship that makes this relationship simply unworkable for one or both people.
We all know the President of the United States has a line item veto. He can examine a bill that is before him and veto certain parts of it, while signing the remainder into law. But in relation to mates, you either determine that all of their characteristics aren’t acceptable or all of them are acceptable. You can’t take one characteristic and simply assume it doesn’t exist for them.
I want to talk to you about ten of these most important veto factors. I want to tell you why I believe they can make a relationship so difficult and, when we’ve done this, maybe you’ll be able to determine which of these ten apply to you.
Veto Factor Number 1
The first veto factor has to do with family planning. It occurs to me that every couple needs to take family planning as a crucial area about which they need to have full agreement prior to marriage. Now let me talk to you about how I see this. If one person doesn’t want to have children that person may be an unacceptable mate for you if indeed having children is fundamentally important to you.
Don’t marry someone who takes a position on this critical decision that is diametrically opposed to the position that is very entrenched within you. There are three questions you need to ask.
Do you want to have kids?
When do you want to start a family?
How many kids do you want to have?
Think how tough it would be if there was not agreement on this. You get married, assuming that the other person wants to have kids. You know that you want to, but the other person simply says to you, two years into the marriage, "I really don’t want to have any children." Ooh! I mean it’s like a load of bricks from the sky. All of a sudden, to make this relationship work, you have to talk yourself out of something as fundamentally important to you as having children.
Or let’s say the other person says to you, "I’m willing to have kids but I want to have at least ten years in which I’m not under the responsibility of kids. I’m trying to build my career and I just don’t think it would be a good thing to have kids around during that time."
In your mind, ten years from now takes you right up to an age that makes the number of children you would be able to have maximally fewer than you want to be able to have. Or let’s say the other person says after you get married, "I only want to have one child," and in your mind, one child… I mean you’ve never even thought of having an only child.
This issue of family planning is crucial. If you encounter anyone who takes a position on this issue that is just too opposed to the position you’re taking, be careful. This may well be a veto factor. I don’t care how good looking they are. If they take this position differently than you do then it becomes for you a veto factor.
Veto Factor Number 2
The second veto factor relates to personal habits like smoking and drinking. I can’t tell you the number of couples who have come to me with big problems from those two habits. If you don’t smoke at all, if you are very uncomfortable living in an atmosphere in which there is smoke, then this becomes a clear veto factor.
We don’t have to fool around wondering about it or thinking about it. If you don’t smoke and you don’t like to be around smoke, and the other person wants to smoke whenever they want to smoke, this is going to be tough.
Drinking is a bigger problem. We believe that there may be forty-five million persons in the United States today who are alcoholics or problem drinkers. These persons can wreak havoc on a marriage. If you’re a person who doesn’t drink, or you drink very mildly, and another person is a big drinker, this may be a veto factor for you. I would study this carefully in another person. It’s an area that is of such concern that you want to work this out before you get married. So the second factor is personal habits like smoking and drinking.
Over the next few issues I’ll take a look at the rest of my ten Veto Factors-stay tuned.
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