He Said, She Said: Man concerned about future wife’s world view Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 April 2016
By Shaun and Pamela Collins
Special to GUIDON
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I am engaged to a woman whom I have dated for more than four years. We got engaged in September with our thoughts on a May wedding.

Recently though, I have discovered a side to my fiancée that is at best troubling. When the Paris shooting occurred, she said “they got what they deserved.” Then, when someone mentioned immigration to her, she exploded with a string of vulgarity that in the five years I have known her, never heard her utter one of the words, let alone a string.
Shaun and Pamela Collins

I believe there could be deep inside her a very racist, bigoted individual. I do love this woman, but in the past 60 days, she has displayed enough red flags in the relationship to make me want to re-think this whole marriage thing. I don’t know if these comments are just because of the moment and the times we are in, or something far more sinister lurking inside.  

HE SAID:  I agree that these are bright red flags and you should pay close attention.  

I would recommend that you do not engage her when she is all fired up, but suggest you bring some of these topics up in normal conversation just between the two of you, so she will not be playing to the sentimentality of anyone else in the room.  

You should, and by all indications do, appreciate that the core of someone’s beliefs are not something you can change … if your moral compasses do not point in the same direction, your marriage will be a very difficult one.  

I don’t care if one of you thinks stealing is okay and the other doesn’t, or if one of you is a racist and the other isn’t, or if one of you believes fidelity is just a setting on the stereo. Conflicting moral compasses tend to be a constant drain on a relationship.  If you judge her beliefs, you will not change them, you will just get her to hide them from you and this is not the recipe for a strong relationship.  

You want her to be comfortable in telling you who she really is, so don’t approach these issues in a way that will cause her to hide them.  

If you are just too different in your core values — it is far better for you both if you find people who share your values.  The only person capable of inducing change to core beliefs is the person who holds them … no amount of external pressure from any source can make someone change. Pay attention to this, engage in some courageous communication and get to know each other at a much deeper level.  I certainly wouldn’t marry someone if I felt I didn’t really know him or her after five years.  

SHE SAID: Some folks feel like they need to “put their best foot forward” when dating.  It’s in our nature to want to show our best selves up front because first impressions are so important.  Unfortunately, I’ve known many marriages that were the result of one of the spouses “showing their best” until they were married. In other words, they hid or held back their true selves until after they were married and believed it was too late for the other person to back out.  

It’s a house of cards.  It’s dishonest, deceitful and makes for a miserable relationship.  If your intended and you see the world differently, you should both know that before making a lifelong commitment.  I once heard, “When someone shows you their real self, believe it.”  In other words, when someone drops their guard or “slips” and lets you see that side of themselves they have been trying so desperately to hide, don’t be satisfied to brush it off as something “out of character” or rationalize their behavior for them.  They may have just given you insight into who they truly are. So she has either been hiding her true nature, or is simply overreacting to current events.  I don’t know which one is true for your fiancée but I will say this — don’t marry her until you figure it out.

(Editor’s note: Shaun and Pamela Collins were both career Soldiers with a combined history of military service spanning over a half of a century. They have been where you are, so if you are facing a difficult situation, ask them. Send your question to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This column and other original content from Mr. and Mrs. Collins can be found at http://militarysuccessnetwork.com. The opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office or the GUIDON.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 April 2016 )