Personality changes with thoughts of married life

I posted another thread about a dilemma I’m having with choosing a career, and my regrets about having previously chosen to work in a low-earning career that gives opportunities to serve the wider society but not so much opportunity to provide for a family.

I realised though that this is part of a much wider change in my personality that occurs every time I am in a relationship that looks like it might be seriously heading in the direction of marriage.

As a single man, I am relatively laid-back, someone with a strong faith but also a thoughtful and at times critical outlook on the world. I’m quiet, reserved, and most folks would say I’m a generally ‘nice’ guy. I want to work for the common good, and am politically inclined to social-democratic ideas. I know my talents, and know I have some good ideas, as well as some not-so-good ones, which makes me ideally suited to an advisory role in the teams and organisations I have worked for.

As a married man, I feel I would need to be the head of the household, not being good at taking decisions myself, I then fall back on rigidly traditional ideas of how a husband ought to act. I want to work in any job that provides for the best for my family, regardless of whether it contributes to the common good, and I become politically ultra-conservative too. This makes me unhappy, which I then interpret to be a good thing, because marriage is supposed to be a sacrifice, but it also makes my girlfriend unhappy, because I’m no longer acting like the same guy she fell in love with.

It’s as if there is an ‘inner tyrant’ who I can silence when I’m only being selfish for myself, but who comes out when I have an excuse to be selfish on my family’s behalf.

The solution seems to be obvious, get married but remain the same guy with the same views that you were before, save the ‘tyrant’ for a truly desperate situation. The problem is, I just feel like that guy (i.e. the ‘nice’ me) isn’t a suitable husband, has the wrong views, goals, etc. to be a good Catholic husband.

Has anyone else experienced similar? Do you find that you change into a totally different person as you start to commit to the idea of marriage? Is it something you grow into? Is it something that needs to be overcome? If so, how?

I think what you are talking about is just life, not marriage per se. We evolve as we grow.

It seems to me you look at marriage as a big sacrifice with absolutely no joy. And that is not how it should be. You are all tangled up with your role as a husband, provider and head of the house. I suggest you look at marriage as a partnership. You and your wife help each other. You should enjoy each other’s company. You should have common goals and then figure out how to attain them.

You also mentioned you want to work at a job that provides for the best for your family, regardless of whether it contributes to the common good. You miss the point that when you provide for your family you ARE contributing to the common good.

Seems to me you feel guilty about making a lot of money, yet that is what you want. It is not a sin to earn a lot of money. Some people are gifted in doing that. Others are gifted in careers that pay much less. It’s not about the money. It’s about what you are good at and enjoy and what you can live on.

We had a guy who worked for my husband in business. This guy was a very good accountant, but he always wanted to be a teacher. He had a wife and 3 kids and he was earning a good salary with us. But he wasn’t a teacher. And he was working ridiculously long hours with us. So, one day he decided to make the change. His wife was in agreement with this and voila, he is a wonderful teacher now. He is so much happier and he has more time to spend with his family.

My point is that change is a normal part of life, you roll with it.


I love your introspection of your own behaviorial changes concerning marriage and fatherhood.

Dealing with pressure. We each respond in varying ways of either “flight” or “fight”.

If I could give any advice that would help, it would be to develop “firm but kind” attitudes toward types and levels of pressure.

One of the reasons, I enjoy watching televison, is to watch how men react in pressure situations.

Dog Whisperer - Caesar Millan training people and dogs - interesting.

Cops - Police men and women handling off the wall negative behaviors.

Ice Road Truckers - semi truck drivers battling time, severe cold, deadly driving conditions.

What might help as well, is the EWTN program for men titled “Crossing the Goal”.

Also, Dr. Ray Guarendi is on Revelent Radio, he and his wife have a family of 10 adopted children


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