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Veto Factors, Part 3

  • Neil Clark Warren
  • 2005 2 Mar
Veto Factors, Part 3

Veto Factors is a term I use to describe a characteristic of a relationship that makes this relationship simply unworkable for one or both people.

In my previous installments I listed Family Planning, Smoking/Drinking, Spirituality and Ethnicity/Race issues as veto factors in any new relationship. I believe these issues are so important that disharmony on any of them with a future mate should be reason to end the relationship.

Now it’s time to examine two more of my ten veto factors.

Veto Factor Number 5

The fifth veto factor is the importance of education. I know some persons for whom college education is an expectation for their children. If they were to marry another person who thought that college education wasn’t important for their children, it would be extremely difficult for them. I grew up in a family in which no one went to college. As a matter of fact, out of my entire family and all my cousins and so forth, as far as I know I was the only one who went to college.

But in the family Marilyn and I created, going to college was not assumed to be something that maybe you would do and maybe you wouldn’t. All of our kids knew from the time that they were born that they were going to go to college. And in the families of our daughters and sons-in-law, we believe that all of our grandkids will go to college. We are interested in the fact that they began pointing toward college early in their lives.

If for instance, however, I had married a person who didn’t believe in college education nearly as much as Marilyn did or maybe thought it was optional, I might’ve had a lot of difficulty with that. Especially if I felt that my wife was beginning to have some influence on our kids such that they were opting not to go to college. I would’ve considered that a violation to everything that I hold important. How about you? Do you take a strong position on the importance of education in the family? If you do then you need to find a person who takes a very similar position on this; otherwise, this fifth veto factor area may apply to you.

Veto Factor Number 6

The sixth veto factor area is what I call the roles of husband and wife, including work distribution. Let me talk about this because this could be a little bit controversial. The role that the husband should take in the home may vary and the role the wife may take in the home may vary from family to family. I say the important thing is that the two of them, within their family, agree on what those roles should be.

For instance, the other night, Marilyn and I went to a home in which the man had on an apron. He cooked the whole dinner. He was in charge of making sure that everything went well. His wife was sitting out in the living room with us. It was a great night. They obviously enjoyed each other very much. And so I asked. "Well, do you cook all the time, John?" He said, "Yeah, I cook a lot." And she said, "Yeah, he loves cooking and I like having him cook." So I said, "Well, do you find yourself so tired at the end of the day that it’s hard for you to get the-. He interrupted and said, "No. She works longer hours than I do and I work fewer hours than she does."

This is not the traditional way, but it works beautifully for them. Work distribution simply needs to be determined well in advance. I have known some couples who have come to me for psychotherapy for whom this was a major source of grievance within the family.

I actually know some married couples today in which the wife works outside the home and the man stays inside the home and does all the traditional "wifely" things. He enjoys being with the kids. He enjoys doing these things around the house and she enjoys being out in the world.

I simply suggest to you that you get this taken care of ahead of time. Make sure you have total agreement in this area because if you don’t, the differences between the two of you may well serve as veto factors that you’ll want to take very seriously. The work distribution within a home and between two people is so important to the eventual success of the marriage that if you don’t have agreement on it, you don’t want to proceed with the marriage.

Over the next few issues I’ll take a look at the rest of my 10 Veto Factors-stay tuned.