You Better Shop Around: Why Picking a Mate Is Just Like Picking a Dog

When you are putting the final touches on raising your 'adult children' in their early to mid-20s, you may spend quite a bit of time discussing the finer points of MATE SELECTION. It's a timely topic and might arguably be the most impactful decision a person ever makes in life. As such, it certainly warrants thorough examination and discourse. In fact, the topic is on the table so much at my house that I decided to simplify it for my kids with this analogy:

Choosing a mate is similar to choosing a dog breed...

Just think about what an enormous personal decision it is to choose a dog.
There are an endless array of traits and qualities to contemplate before zeroing in on the breed that's right for you and your lifestyle. Big or Small? Hairy or Hairless? Social or so loyal they're only-into-you?

Picking one's spouse is exactly the same process. You have to consider which characteristics resonate with you today and which will matter significantly more later on down the road. Remember, that very quality you find endearing today, must be tolerated over an entire lifetime. (Their's or your's.)

I have had several married friends throughout the years that have complained about a particular character trait their mate possesses. I'm always quick to remind them that most negative qualities generally have a correlative positive quality and vice versa. More often than we care to admit, it's the very quality we were most attracted to initially, that drives us to the brink later. For instance, If you are attracted to the Pit Bull type, who goes out in the world "kicking ass and taking names," you must understand that he/she may not turn that side of themselves off at home or ever. Conversely, if you marry a 'lap dog,' don't be surprised if he/she is "easy-going" to a fault, even when you prefer he/she showed some spine. Likewise, if you picked your Collie because you were attracted to his or her genial personality, don't complain when he/she goes about indiscriminately licking absolutely everyone they meet up one side and down the other. Dogs, like people, rarely stray too far from their inner natures.

As I was pontificating on this topic with one of my daughters recently, it occurred to me that it's actually easier to get a "do-over," if you pick the wrong spouse, than if you pick the wrong dog. In the court of public opinion, there is simply no such thing as a "No-Fault Doggie-Divorce."

If You're not convinced, take this little test:

-Pick 10 friends randomly
-Picture their reaction to you telling them you dumped your spouse
-Now, picture their reaction to you telling them "it just didn't work out" between you and your dog...

I rest my case.

People are far less judgemental when marriages unravel. We are way more understanding when our friends tell us:
"We just grew apart"
"We were really never right for each other"
Or, everyone's personal favorite, "I thought I could change him!"

So, whatever you do, don't take these major life decisions lightly. Consider every aspect carefully. Because, at least when it comes to picking your dog breed, there seems to be no such thing as, "Conscious Uncoupling!"
Take it from Mama - you better shop around!

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