Tonight will see restaurants crowded with sweethearts engaged in romantic conversation, while motels will overflow with lovers locked in amorous acts till the wee hours.
Many of these Valentine pairings will end in marriage. But if we go by statistical trends, a sizeable number of these marriages will end in divorce.
To increase one’s chance of finding a life partner who will be faithful to his or her marital vows – “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part” – you might want to check your date tonight for certain “red-flag” personality disorders.
These danger signs were pointed out to me by my friend Cleve de la Calzada, a pastor of the Victory Christian Fellowship church. Pastor Cleve refuses to solemnise a marriage if he detects the hallmarks of a doomed union, such as clear signs of emotional or physical abuse.
Here are some of the red flags to watch out for when choosing a spouse:
l A partner who never says “sorry” even when he or she has done something wrong. The inability to apologise reveals a feeling of absolute superiority. The marriage will result in one spouse lording it over the other with an attitude of unyielding dominance. The rigid inequality will result in a life of unhappiness for the suffering spouse.
l A partner who displays cruelty to animals. It is said that those who commit acts of violence against animals are likely to commit acts of physical abuse against fellow human beings.
l A partner who exhibits patterns of physical or emotional/verbal abuse toward you or others. Most women enter into relationships with their eyes open, and they see the flaws. But what’s disastrous is their thinking that they can change those flaws. They forget the adage that what you see is what you get. If he is abusive before the marriage, he will continue to be abusive afterwards.
l A partner who can’t hold a job. This is a typical indication that your partner is irresponsible, lacks drive, is incapable of perseverance, and is bereft of passion.
l A partner who is addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling. Psychologists warn that addictive behaviour is a red flag for “pathological and personality disorder”. Avoid him or her at all cost.
l A partner who displays controlling or smothering behaviour. This type of person wants to isolate you and control your social interaction. He or she is prone to extreme fits of jealousy.
Pastor Cleve mentions these other red flags: does not get along with his or her family, and has no close friends of the same gender; is prone to extreme emotional outbursts or mood swings; is selfish or self-absorbed; exhibits dishonesty and unfaithfulness; does not treat you with respect; has a series of failed relationships; and is angry at his or her parents.
If your date exhibits any of these red flags on this of all days, consider fleeing from the restaurant or escaping the motel as fast as you can. It could be your great escape from an impending life of suffering and misery.