Veto Factors, Part 4
- 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.
Single adults are often tempted to ignore imperfections in a potential mate. They usually don’t start their mate search with that in mind, but after years of searching and dating they decide that the perfect partner isn’t going to show up. They start to realize that compromising their ideal may be the only way to actually end up in a marriage. After all, nobody is perfect, right?
I completely agree, no one is perfect, and I want to go on the record as encouraging you to be realistic about what you should expect in a relationship partner, but there are some issues that are so important, so fundamental, so intertwined in your psyche and soul that they can never be compromised. This is what I mean by Veto Factors. One dissimilarity in these issues and the relationship should be vetoed.
In my previous installments I listed Family Planning, Smoking/Drinking, Spirituality, Ethnicity/Race, Education, and Gender Roles issues as veto factors in any new relationship. Now it’s time to examine two more of my ten veto factors.
Veto Factor Number 7
The seventh area that could serve as a veto factor has to do with values. How important is family life for you? I know some persons for whom children are simply not at the top of their list. They would much rather be free on a continual basis to take trips with their spouse than they would like to be primarily responsible for the development and the raising of their children.
I know persons who get married who have no interest in cultural events, and they sometimes marry persons who have great interest in cultural events. Whether those events are social, political, or spiritual in nature does not matter; if the differences in their values are great at this point, it can be a real problem.
Take philanthropy for instance. That’s a value that people take into a relationship. They’ve grown up in homes in which their parents have given a lot of money away and now they’re married to someone who doesn’t want to give any money away. It’s a value on the one hand; it’s a value on the other hand. Those values need to merge and be woven together in terms of agreement before a marriage is going to be really good.
Veto Factor Number 8
The eighth area of possible veto factors involves the quality and place of verbal intimacy. Now another way to deal with that is to simply talk about communication. But, when I say the quality and the place of verbal intimacy, here’s what I’m getting at. I know women who believe that deep communication, what we call verbal intimacy, needs to be a regular and central part of the relationship. And if it’s not, they feel like the relationship isn’t going very well.
I know some men who don’t think that verbal intimacy needs to be a central part of their marriage. As a matter of fact, they resist that and fight it a lot. Two people who take differing stances about the importance of verbal intimacy need to recognize that this is such a vital area all by itself that it might serve as a veto factor.
Let me review with you one more time how crucial veto factors are. I just want you to imagine a relationship between two people for whom everything else is just fine. They like each other’s looks, they have good chemistry with each other, a lot of similarities and all that, but they have one of these things that separate them from each other.
One of these things that is so important to a marriage being successful that that one thing all by itself might make the determination for them that they shouldn’t get involved. And I’m suggesting that there are ten of these areas.
Over the next few issues I’ll take a look at the rest of my ten Veto Factors-stay tuned.
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