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?