Finding The Right Person …

.. the words of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ


During one of our seminars, a woman asked a common question. She said, “How do I know if I married the right person?”

I noticed that there was a large man sitting next to her so I said, “It depends. Is that your husband?” In all seriousness, she answered, “How do you know?”

Let me answer this question because the chances are good that it’s weighing on your mind.

Here’s the answer.

EVERY relationship has a cycle. In the beginning, you fell in love with your spouse. You anticipated their call, wanted their touch, and liked their idiosyncrasies.

Falling in love with your spouse wasn’t hard. In fact, it was a completely natural and spontaneous experience. You didn’t have to DO anything. That’s why it’s called “falling” in love… because it’s happening TO YOU. People in love sometimes say, “I was swept off my feet.”

Think about the imagery of that _expression. It implies that you were just standing there; doing nothing, and then something came along and happened TO YOU.

Falling in love is easy. It’s a passive and spontaneous experience.

But after a few years of marriage, the euphoria of love fades.

It’s the natural cycle of EVERY relationship. Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they come at all), touch is not always welcome (when it happens), and your spouse’s idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts.

The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship, but if you think about your marriage, you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angry subsequent stage.

At this point, you and/or your spouse might start asking, “Did I marry the right person?” And as you and your spouse reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. This is when marriages breakdown. People blame their spouse for their unhappiness and look outside their marriage for fulfillment.

Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes. Infidelity is the most obvious. But sometimes people turn to work, church, a hobby, a friendship, excessive TV, or abusive substances.

But the answer to this dilemma does NOT lie outside your marriage. It lies within it. I’m not saying that you couldn’t fall in love with someone else. You could.

And TEMPORARILY you’d feel better. But you’d be in the same situation a few years later. Because (listen carefully to this):


SUSTAINING love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. It will NEVER just happen to you. You can’t “find” LASTING love. You have to “make” it day in and day out. That’s why we have the _expression “the labor of love.” Because it takes time, effort, and energy. And most importantly, it takes WISDOM . You have to know WHAT TO DO to make your marriage work.

Make no mistake about it. Love is NOT a mystery. There are specific things that you can do (with or without your spouse) to succeed with your marriage. Just as there are physical laws of the universe (such as gravity), there are also laws for relationships.

Just as the right diet and exercise program makes you physically stronger, certain habits in your relationship WILL make your marriage stronger. It’s a direct cause and effect. And if you know and apply the laws, the results are predictable… you can “make” love.

Love in marriage is indeed a “decision”… not just a feeling.



32 responses to “Finding The Right Person …

  1. BRAVO!!! I think that this is really good. My parents are very good friends. I think that's the reason why their marriage had stayed for more than 30 years. Iba kasi pag sa romantic love lang naka base yung relationship eh talagang mag deteriorate and relationshp kasi nga ang romantic love naman talaga nag fa-fade.

  2. This makes a lot of sense. I agree. I've had some problems with my exbf/bestfriend and i've been trying to tell him something similar to this. Do you mind if i copy and paste it into my vox for reference?

  3. Huge! People ask me all the time how I sustain a 13+ year relationship – because WE WANT TO! We work at it. Not that it's all work, but, like you said, when you are in a down-cycle, you don't look outside your relationship for temporary fixes. I know when I start to feel 'edgy' I start to purposely make time for him and for us. I hope we get another 13+ years out of this!

  4. I just came across this…..EXCELLENT POST! 🙂
    I have been married over 10 years and try to explain this type of thing to people all the time. Most don't get it, sadly…..unfortunately….

  5. this is the answer to my feelings .sometimes i wanna go back to the times i was still dating my husband.i longed for his touch sweetness and i miss the way he looked at married for eleven years,we have so many obligations and responsibility that …romantic feelings is seems forgotten

  6. yeah, i think it's because of "familiarity" … you will know ALL the good and the bad sides of your spouse once you're married and living together… thus, the romantic feeling fades… but i guess that's where fidelity comes into the picture.

  7. This is so well said. After a recent break-up, my seventeen-year-old daughter wonders, "is there someone out there for me?" The answer truly lies within. I will pass this on to her. Thank you.

  8. This is definitely in the right spirit of relationships and marriage. Great, powerful post.However, at what point can one safely say "I've had enough"? Should people spend their entire lives trying to make something work? Though I'd love to agree with you completely in your heartfelt opinions, I simply can't. I do not believe that "hard work" or "labour" will make every marriage, or relationship, a beautiful thing. It's just far to grand a blanket statement to make with far too many exceptions. And human relationships are simply far to complex to think that all our problems can be solved by merely working at it harder. Perhaps I'm guilty of being a cynic, or perhaps I've known too many times what it's like to scrape at concrete with a handfull of sugar cubes.

  9. My husband and I have been together for nearly 13 years. Some days I HATE his guts and I'm sure he feels the same about me some days as well..but what really matters is that at the end of the day we always come together and make the decision to LOVE one another. We never let the sun go down on our anger. Awesome post!!

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