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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Many get married for wrong reasons


By Judy Hevrdejs
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Carl Weisman is not a psychologist, family therapist or any of the other "ists" who work with the marriage-challenged.

He has been curious, though, about never-marrieds and itching-to-end-marrieds ever since he had lunch with a divorced friend who said she had married the "wrong guy" and knew it before she married him, ignoring the warning of her "inner voice."

The "ignoring the inner voice" thing worried the 51-year-old Californian so much that he posted a question Did you know your marriage would end in divorce before you married? online at several free classified ad sites two years ago.

More than 1,000 people (79 percent women, 21 percent men) answered that query as well as a litany of questions that included:

"Do you think it was a mistake to marry your partner?" (78 percent of women answered "yes," 79 percent of men, ditto.)

"Prior to your marriage, how certain were you that it would end in divorce? (48 percent of women said "somewhat certain," 42 percent of men, ditto.)

Fascinated, Weisman wrote a book, "Serious Doubts: Why People Marry When They Know It Won't Last" (BookSurge, 2009).

"I just wanted to share the results with people," says Weisman, a systems engineer with a master's degree in science and an MBA/marketing major who has written two software books as well as "So Why Have You Never Been Married?"

"If you need help, please go find a pro," he says. "I'm not the guy."

On the other hand, a recent conversation with Weisman certainly added some perspective to the topic.

Q. Any big surprises?
A. I was shocked at how many people looked at marriage as a way to solve a problem. For instance, one of them is "I'm lonely." Well, let me tell you, I don't know anybody who hasn't been lonely at some point in their life. I've been lonely, but never once did I think the cure for my loneliness was to enter a bad marriage.
Q. Among the "several reasons for getting married," one option was, "It seemed like the next logical step."
A. (People who) make a perfectly good boyfriend and girlfriend make a horrible husband and wife. In retrospect, the next logical step is to just keep dating it's not to get married.
Q. What about that inner voice?
A. What separates people in the book from a handful of people I call the "Other Choice" (i.e., who don't get married) is that (they) realized that no matter how painful it is at this moment to end it, it's more painful to not (end it).
Q. And this: "How soon into the marriage did you start to think about getting divorced?" 53 percent of women and 48 percent of men answered, "less than 6 months."
A. In our society today, it is more embarrassing to "leave someone at the altar" than it is to get a divorce. ... People are literally going to go to a sham marriage and get divorced quickly thereafter just because it's less embarrassing.
There's no downside to taking your time in the marital decision process. Marriage isn't a race.
Incidentally, Weisman married his girlfriend a few months ago. It's his first marriage. "The right person at the wrong time is the wrong person," says Weisman, who said he told his wife, " 'If I met you in my 20s, there's no way we'd have been together. I wasn't ready.' "