Free Advice

W., stop being such an engineer.  No, wait, before you stop being such an engineer, tell me, do you have an Excel spreadsheet devoted to this question?

I suspect you do.

Good god, it’s really a wonder engineers ever get married, with the fretting and the spreadsheeting and the pinning down of everything like life is just a series of bug collections beautiful and frozen in time.

Here are the questions you need to ask yourself before you ask her to marry you.

1.  Do you love her?

2.  Is your life better off with her in it?

3.  When you fight, do you think it’s worth it?

4.  Is she going to ruin you financially?

and, 5., which is the hardest, but most necessary question.  Do you love her for who she is or do you love her for who you think she could be if only she’d get a few minor things taken care of?

But the main thing to ask yourself is this: Do you want to marry her?

What is the first thing that pops into your head?

If it’s anything other than “yes,” let her go to find someone else.

If it’s yes, then what the fuck?  Do it.  Take a leap.

Trust your heart and get hitched.

Granted, I know you’ve got to be considering that, if you marry your Lady Friend, that puts you out of the running for one of my five husbands, but it’s a necessary sacrifice, I think.

Now, get out there and get that woman a ring for Christmas!

12 thoughts on “Free Advice

  1. Nothing like a lecture from my Auntie B to start the morning right. :-) There’s no spreadsheet for it, but I don’t leap on instinct either. My heart has screwed me over and been wrong too many times for me to trust it anymore. So these days I try harder to be right when I make decisions like this.

  2. Do it!!! My dad is also an engineer and he and my mom have been married for 36 years. I don’t think he had a spreadsheet when they got married since they were barely out of high school but he’s since adopted them for most major decisions. I’ve found that the practical stuff works itself out if you’re on the same page with the big stuff. Are you fundamentally in sync in terms of your life view and where you’re going? If not, you will end up divorced over a toothpaste cap. And there will be things about her you will absolutely hate — and they will come out of nowhere and may well be completely irrational. But it won’t change the fact that at the end of the day, even when you want to kill your spouse, you can’t imagine sharing your life with anyone else.

  3. B, it pains me to agree with or defend W about anything. Really, it does. But I don’t read his list of questions as a spreadsheet any more than I do yours. Those are legitimate questions that real people think about when they think about their relationships. If you don’t think about the problems that can potentially louse things up, then you haven’t come up with any potential solutions for them, and you haven’t been honest with yourself about how difficult certain things are or how important they are for you. Everyone’s list of potential pitfalls will be different, certainly (mine had one item on it, but it was huge: I loved — looooooooved — living alone and I didn’t think I could navigate the difference between spending wekends together and, you know, having someone else there pretty much all the time; it turns out that I managed it, but I still miss the solitude sometimes), but everyone will have something on that list.No, IMO W’s being an engineer only if he now wants to take a few years to conduct stress tests on all those questions. Take a little time (or negotiate a longer but finite time with the GF), decide what the answers are, then make the decision. W, if you can’t do that then you don’t really want to get married, and it’s better to find that out now.

  4. The practical answer is that everything can change in a heartbeat. Anything. Everything. You can lose your job, she can find another, you can lose a child, you might be infertile as a couple, you might have a car accident and wind up paralyzed or she could go in for a routine check-up and come out with cancer. This is how life goes. Things go wrong. Marriage boils down to who you want to be with when things go wrong. I’m a very practical person, I guess. But I’ve also been married happily for a very long time and I know how little of what one plans for or fears ultimately comes to pass.These things you mention seem pretty minor. I don’t know — do I want an Xbox or love everlasting? Hmmm…is not wanting to clean up after a pet a good reason to pass on spending my life with the most wonderful woman I’ve ever met? So those kinds of things seem to be bad reasons not to make the jump.I do, however, see a red flag. From what I gather you and your ladylove do not seem to agree about what standard of living will be adequate to sustain you happily. If you’re thinking that you must have two incomes to support two people and she thinks that one income (yours) will be fine to support three or more, then you need to have a very unromantic talk about financial planning, preferably with a third-party financial planner who can look at your collective assets and help you chart a course to fiscal bliss.

  5. A real engineering approach would be to send out RFP’s (Requests for Proposal) to as many ‘vendors’ as possible. Then look into their business history and practices to see if they are low-balling you or over-estimating their capabilities. Try to estimate the likelyhood that they will turn reasonable scope change requests into cost overruns. Then choose on adjusted price (as though engineers ever get to make the final choice).Of course this process has a nasty tendency to end up with lawyers arguing over the wording of your contract. Maybe the engineering approach isn’t the best one for every kind of relationship. But come to think of it, Aunt B.’s list of requirements for husbands:5ea did look awfully similar to an RFP!

  6. The engineer/artist thing should not be a problem, but I worry about getting married after only a year. Sure, you’re not in the honeymoon phase anymore, but you’re not lifelong settled in either.I’m also a fan of living together for a while.Personally, Mrs Schwartz and I lived together for 4 years before we married.

  7. "it pains me to agree with or defend W about anything"I appreciate the support NUm, but what did I do to you to get in that category? You aren’t confusing me with Exador are you?

Comments are closed.