Male or female, there is a Jacob and an ‘Israel’, a hero, and a villain in all of us. Most of the time, while dating or courting someone, only the ‘good guy’ tends to show up. But, when the relationship gets ‘let us get married serious’, it is time to dig deep and know exactly what you are getting into.

In case you were wondering, “F” is for FLAWS. It is important to know your future husband or wife’s flaws so you can decide if it is something you can live with. Please keep in mind that you cannot change a person, they must make that decision for themselves. Even with all the right support, encouragement, and desire to grow there are some personality flaws you will have to tolerate if you choose to be with them.

Here are some tips to dealing with the ‘F’ factor head on:

  1. Ask:  If your future spouse is not the open or ‘chatty’ type, or gets defensive when you ask about their flaws, try talking about yourself and get them to feel vulnerable enough to speak freely. If this does not work, ask trusted friends, family about his/ her behaviour, then make your own decision whether to discard what they say or keep the information. Please keep in mind that timing and environment are very important.
  2. Observe: With or without asking, it is important you step out of the ‘love is blind’ bubble and study your fiancé very closely. Do not only focus on his/ her looks, charm, wit and whatever it is that you love about them so much. Find out if he or she is dirty, disorganised, forgetful, is prone to bitterness, has a bad temper, arrogant, spoilt, rude, too ‘popular’ with the opposite sex, a chronic liar etc. A good way to know these things is to observe the person in a neutral environment with friends, family, co- workers etc. Refuse to close your eyes to hints for weaknesses, you may be forced to deal with them when it is too late.

It is important to add here that you should not be paranoid looking for weaknesses that may not be there, or snoop around their personal effects until you drive yourself crazy. Just keep your eyes open in love, do not wave off or exaggerate hints of weakness.

A wise man once said that in relationships, anything that the person does not change BEFORE the wedding will most likely never change. The person may improve, but that will be a slow process that will require time, and tons of patience.

The wise way out, is to ask yourself, can you deal with the weakness of this person? If you truly love them, you must be able to accept all of them, the good and the bad.

Please do not pretend, if you cannot handle the weakness you discover, it is best you walk away. A broken engagement is better than a broken or unhappy marriage.

Whether you choose to stay in that relationship or not, how would you want the person you say is the love of your life to respond to your flaws? That is the key to how you should react to theirs.

The most important thing is to be gracious. Address issues in a calm manner, raising your concerns and give room to him/her to change. Be patient, do not nag about it, keeping praying to God for them to change in that area and be ready to live with those weaknesses till they do.

Do not live in a bubble, saying “he is perfect, there is nothing weak about my man” … or vice versa.  That would be naive and unrealistic. Everyone has flaws, but it is important you know what your fiancé’s baggage is and figure out how to live with it in marriage. To the future’s most happily married couples, I salute you!