Top iTunes Marriage Podcast

13+ Million Downloads

hosted by Dr. Corey Allan

What If I Married The Wrong Person? #648

Come join the conversations in the SMRNation Community at

The 2024 Passionately Married Getaway is June 13-15, 2024. Register now.

On the Regular Version …

Why do people get married? Let’s explore several reasons and motivations.

Plus, what do we most often expect from our marriage and life as it pertains to others?

On the Xtended Version …

Can you marry the wrong person?

Is this even the best question to ask?

Enjoy the show!

Sponsors …

Academy: Join the Academy and go deeper with the conversation and content.

Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps!  If your review is chosen and read on the podcast (anonymously, of course!), you’ll win a very special prize!

Got a question?

Call/Text us at  214-702-9565

or email us at

Corey Allan: So to start off the episode, Pam, I've got to revisit this from one of the masterminds that I just had last night and we got off on the thread of should your spouse be your best friend?

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: So it's revisiting from way back an article. I actually wrote this article in 2011, and I know we've maybe touched on it at times throughout the shows, but it's worth the revisit. I think there's this element of, but I just, they're my best friend.

Pam Allan: And if I remember right when you first wrote this article way back then, I just had the hardest time with it.

Corey Allan: Yep. Do you remember what you had a hard time with though?

Pam Allan: Why can't you be my best friend? Okay, why not? Right? We're in the same house all the time. We love being together. What's wrong with that? What's wrong with callings? Your spouse, your best friend?

Corey Allan: Well, and that's an absolutely fair question because I think that's what we all strive for. That's what we all want, but I also don't think we understand the cost of if we attain that, because most of the time this whole conversation is framed in the idea of exclusivity rather than multiple relationships in the village mindset that rounds out the entirety of my life. Sometimes there are people that think of their bestie as they're the soul of the existence in that kind of capacity.

Pam Allan: So it depends on each individual's definition of a best friend and how they go about doing life and how they go about the relationship

Corey Allan: And what they look for from each other. This is, there's a quote I came across that was in that article that we wrote from Elizabeth Gilbert and she has a book called A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage and its Modern Americans bring to their marriages the most overstuffed bundle of expectations the institutions ever seen. We expect that our partner will not merely be a decent person, but will also be our soulmate, our best friend, our intellectual companion, our greatest sexual partner, and life's complete inspiration. Nobody in human history has ever asked this much of a companion. It's a lot to ask of one mere mortal and the inevitable disappointments that follow such giant expectations can cripple marriages.

Pam Allan: So that one's about expectations.

Corey Allan: It is, but it also is one of those that it's recognizing we need multiple systems in our life to create a vibrant life. And far too often what we can do in this conversation, the way I think about it is I place too much on my marriage to provide that vibrant life rather than I also need to be creating my own vibrant life,

Pam Allan: Creating my own, having a community. We talk a lot about, we were given relationship for a purpose. See, it's not good for us to be alone, and that can be one-on-one, but typically that can be overwhelming for the other community gives us variety, it gives us other points of view. It gives us all kinds of

Corey Allan: Avenue avenues. And to be clear, I really believe friendship is a vital part of a relationship in a marriage. There needs to be a friendship level

Pam Allan: And

Corey Allan: A friendly level that you enjoy each other's company.
I just think what happens is we get caught in this scenario of, I'm looking for you to replace what a hairy leg dude should replace in my life of they are the confidant that truly is in my corner, calls out the incongruencies in the blind spots. It comes different from you than it would from him. And then vice versa. There's that element of, I think a lot of times what a wife can look for in a husband is they want him to be a girlfriend with a penis when it's like that's not the role he plays sometimes. And it's like, no, you need to take, that's a girlfriend thing. Go with the girls and wrestle with that because there's a different energy that's needed to create a vibrant sex life. And friendship's a part of that, but it's not the entirety of it. There needs to be that discrepancy and difference between us and how we exist. So that Esther Perel talks about the space between us is where the eroticism lands. I think it's an interesting thought conversation.

Pam Allan: Do you find that if you're talking with females, you get a different answer to that question than you do if you're talking to males?

Corey Allan: Yes, a little bit. Mainly for our conversations, when we talked about this in the mastermind group, a couple of the guys were like, oh, that makes complete sense. Okay, I've seen where I've kind of hovered too much or looked for friendship level things and hoping that that would turn into something. And when I would actually turn away from and create my own orbit of life, she would start seeking me out differently. There was a distance between us that she would try to bridge rather than me kind of hanging around friends would

Pam Allan: Trying to always create a bridge.

Corey Allan: And also one of the biggest issues, this some we just wrote, I just posted on the, and it's also on the platform of how to break free from monotony or has your marriage lost passion. And some of that is because the inordinate amount of meaningless time we spend together in marriage,

Pam Allan: Which

Corey Allan: Is sometimes what friends do, you just hang with each other and that's a great comfortable thing.

Pam Allan: I was going to say comfortable,

Corey Allan: But there's a cost to it sometimes because you lose some of that tension. That's the sexual nature of us as people.

Pam Allan: I can see that

Corey Allan: Some of this is just to help frame where we're heading today in the show.

Pam Allan: Because

Corey Allan: What I want to do with our conversation, the whole overarching idea is what if I married the wrong person? Because some of the component is we're just not friends or we're only friends, we're not lovers, or there's a different way to frame all of this. And as we get into that conversation, which is the extended content, quick teases for everybody out there. So passionately is how you can join us with longer content and no ads. But how we're going to frame this also is why do people get married? If we've got friendships going on, why do we get married? What do people look for?

Pam Allan: Well, that's interesting at this point. I mean, it's probably totally off the beaten path of what you're going for, but so many people aren't getting married these days.

Corey Allan: Research and statistics are showing there is a shift in this that people are waiting a lot longer to get married if they do get married. Cohabitation is up higher than it's been in history, but marriage is still a vital and important institution.

Pam Allan: Well, you and I both agree with that. Yeah, well

Corey Allan: People in general still agree with it too.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: But it's recognizing there's a concept that's at play that's important to that society, but it's also what's going on with people on why we seek it, why we don't, what are we looking for in it, what do we not find? Which then begs the question a lot of times of what if it's the wrong person? So all that's coming up on today's show. So here's to help frame this. This is an email that came in, Pam that just says, Hey, Corey and Pam, I found your podcast about a year ago. Thank you guys. Do a great job helping frame relationship dynamics. And this is now my favorite podcast. Well, thank you for that. I've been married to my wife for just over 18 years now, and for most of that time due largely to the struggles and the ups and downs that we experience. I've wondered if I may be married the wrong person. Is this possible? Are there people out there that we are more compatible with than others? So thanks for shedding any light on this that you can signed a little lost. I don't want to answer the first question with that of did I marry the wrong person yet? I think that'll be an interesting thought, exercise and conversation with you. But I do want to start with what is it that makes us, why do we choose marriage as people? What do you think most people are looking for when it comes to life partner in marriage?

Pam Allan: I mean, my immediate canned response to that would be someone to grow old with a companion.

Corey Allan: Yep. I think Companionship's definitely a part of it. The security of companionship and creating a life together. That's definitely one.

Pam Allan: I mean, it's what we've seen modeled

Corey Allan: Society's been built on it for history.

Pam Allan: Well, I mean it's part of creating an established society. You have relationships, you have a family unit, you have kids together. You create experiences together. This is all part of just building something with someone else that you enjoy being with.

Corey Allan: And

Pam Allan: That's an exciting prospect in my mind.

Corey Allan: And what's so interesting is if you go back in time marriage at first, as far as in the west here in America, but even in biblical times and then all the way in between, marriage was an economic institution for partnership for life. It was a way people survived. If you can marry your kids off, now all of a sudden the two are better than one mantra. And then we will create a family of their own. And if you go back into the agrarian society that we used to have, you had kids because you needed the workers. So having kids wasn't necessarily as much about, I just want to have people that I can love and be around and enjoy great things with. Some of it's like I need people out there in the field and help and make things happen.

Pam Allan: Fair.

Corey Allan: And this is what's changed as our world has become more and more comfortable and industrialized and automated now all of a sudden, rather than us just merely working to try to survive, I've got a whole lot more time on my hands, which means then the energy that used to be required to survive is now placed elsewhere.

Pam Allan: Well, that's going to take us down a whole different train of thought. It would. Thinking of all these expectations I put on someone else in my family, spouse in particular to fulfill roles. When was there a point in time when there just wasn't as much time for those kind of expectations to be set? It was just about survival.

Corey Allan: The expectations could have still been there, but it was more around the context of where we existed and what was required. And this is one of those things just as the thought came across an article that went viral on Google or I don't remember where I found it, but it was a millennial or a Gen Z, I'm not sure which one, but she's now out of college and she's working a nine to five,

Pam Allan: And

Corey Allan: She's recognized how tired she is and how she does not have time that she wishes she had for a personal life. And we're reading that and I'm telling you about it. I'm like, yeah, welcome to adulting.

Pam Allan: And

Corey Allan: Most of our audience is going to be like, yeah, welcome to life.

Pam Allan: It's a job. You commute back and forth.

Corey Allan: And to top it off, she has to commute for an hour each way. And it's like, yeah, that's the way the world lives and exists. And it doesn't conform to what it is you like or want. Most of the time the world doesn't care.

Pam Allan: I mean, you can create something different, but a lot of times you've got to put in the grunt work to get where you need to go. And it's a wake up call for a lot of folks these days

Corey Allan: That

Pam Allan: You do have to put in some work.

Corey Allan: And that's part of, I think what surprises people when it comes to marriage and to committed relationships. And then particularly marriage of wait, it's not as easy as ideally I thought it would be.

Pam Allan: It's

Corey Allan: Not as romantic as I thought it would

Pam Allan: Be.

Corey Allan: This is, no, I just make up these statistics to make sense of it. But I tell guys in the masterminds and the couples, they get caught in this idealized, where did the romance go? What's the struggle with this? This isn't working the way I wish it was. And being able to see it as 90% of our day is spent in the drudgery of just living and existing and surviving, paying bills, finding food, making food, taking care of kids schedules,

Pam Allan: Taking care of the day to day,

Corey Allan: A household that is created together. And then the 10% are those things we love that make us alive, that has passion involved

Pam Allan: Or

Corey Allan: Enjoyment or downtime or whatever it is that adds that extra cherry on top icing on the cake to marriage. So the 90 or to life. So the 90% is actually existing to help us do the 10%. And sometimes if we can frame it as, yeah, but I want it to be 50 50 where 50% of my time is spent surviving and then I get 50%. And there are people that actually create lives that do that

Pam Allan: Well. So much of that goes back to the perspective that 90% of my life, I can be an EO and complain about that 90% of my life or I can choose to enjoy that part of my life. Okay, I can be thankful that, well, I'm paying bills, but thank goodness I can at least have money in the bank to pay these bills.

Corey Allan: And

Pam Allan: So much of that is a perspective. And why does that 90% have to be framed by the word drudgery?

Corey Allan: Well, and because a lot of it I think is we also get caught up in the way society has because all of these are factors that impact marriage. And this is what I'm starting to see with some of the younger couples I work with.

Pam Allan: And so is it more so with the younger couples or is it really

Corey Allan: Across the board? This is to the surface, but I think it's across the board. So I think you and I can fight this as well. I know I can. I know early on when I started the blogging world in the podcasting world, and there was this tension between us like how long are you going to put your time into this? That's free. You're giving away all this stuff.

Pam Allan: Yeah, I

Corey Allan: You need to knock it off and start making some serious money. That's not what you're saying, but that's kind of what you were saying.

Pam Allan: Oh, that's flat out what I was saying.

Corey Allan: But it's like I think this will pay off. It's worth investing and seeing, and that's a lot of time putting into it. But what I've recognized is there's been this thread in society of follow your passion, everybody gets a trophy. All of that kind of framework that kids were raised up in, we weren't necessarily raised in that,

Pam Allan: But

Corey Allan: Shortly after us, that's when it started shifting because it might break people's spirit inside joke between Pam and I on something. But it's that element of seeing that dilemma then gets projected onto a relationship of this should have been easier. This shouldn't be as hard as it is. Why do I have to work so hard with something that used to be so easy? Every relationship started easy. If a relationship started easy, it's not lasting.

Pam Allan: Well, don't you think that comes with wisdom, with time and wisdom and realizing throughout life that the good things come with something you have to work for?

Corey Allan: Well, the things that we value the most are the things we have to work for.

Pam Allan: And I don't realize that until I had to work for something. I mean, I think that there are the blessed few that realize that before they have to go through the struggles, but most of us have to go through it to realize the sweetness of the struggle.

Corey Allan: And I think some of this to help understand why we choose marriage, to go back to that also helps make us, we need to understand and ask ourselves our bigger questions of how do I orient towards living? What does life mean to me? And this is a quote from Esther Perel that says, marriage was an economic institution in we were in, which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship, which that's some of the things we touched on. But now we want a partner to still give us all these things. But in addition, I want you to be my best friend, my trusted confidant, my passionate lover to boot. And we live twice as long. This is a factor.

Pam Allan: Ah, that's fair

Corey Allan: In this thing.

Pam Allan: That's fair.

Corey Allan: So we come to one person and we basically are asking them to give us what was once an entire village used to provide, give me belonging, identity, continuity, transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge, give me novelty, give me me familiarity, give me predictability and give me surprise. I mean, that's what we kind of think because we've lived in a more sensationalized world based on what we are indoctrinated and are bombarded with. And then how does that translate into what life really is on life terms?

Pam Allan: And

Corey Allan: There's a big gap sometimes because then you start recognizing, man, I have really put a lot of idealization on my relationship and what family life means

Pam Allan: And

Corey Allan: What raising kids mean. And this is where on the parenting topic, because part of why we get married is to have a family and to keep the family going and to have generations

Pam Allan: That

Corey Allan: Is a component and to have companionship that comes along with kids at the various stages and relationships that you get to create as they evolve. And then they have their own family and on and on it goes. But when you talk about this context of how we even idealize parenting, one of my professors, my advisor actually said, if you want to ask yourself if you're a successful parent, because we want so much for our children, a lot of times just like we want so much for our spouse, maybe you ask yourself one question when they're grown and out of your house. That one question is are they taxpayers? Because if they are, you did a good job.

Pam Allan: Are they outworking?

Corey Allan: Are they self-sufficient

Pam Allan: As a believer? I would also add to that, are they Christian? Right? Are they loving the Lord?

Corey Allan: Agreed. But that

Pam Allan: Context

Corey Allan: Right there in that value, we want our kids to live our values, but that is caught more than taught. And so the biggest issue there is am I living what I'm hoping they will choose rather than pounding it into them because there's a difference. And this also then spins towards relationship towards marriage of I want certain things from my spouse, but am I living it to encourage it or am I demanding it right? Because I think there's things on, when I look at marriage, I want it to, I think a lot of times people want it to solve all of the ills of life like loneliness or fears or all the different things that we face.

Pam Allan: No, it's not a big solution. I mean, certainly I can't expect it. I mean, you get the loneliness topic. I mean, how many times have we talked about this that you can be in the home together, sitting on the couch together, whatever, and be as lonely with them sitting there as if they weren't there.

Corey Allan: And if you have a biblical worldview, loneliness was a pre-fall condition. Adam was lonely.

Pam Allan: And

Corey Allan: So Eve was created after Adam named all of the animals, which scholars think that was years of daily work. You talk about drudgery, it's like the world's first assembly factory line. They come and he's just naming them. Anyway,

Pam Allan: This one looks cool.

Corey Allan: What letter am I on now? Yeah, three years in and I'm on the letter E. Okay, so this is a couple of things. I came across from Mark Manson that he's got terrible reasons to get married. He gives some terrible reasons to get married, and one is to solve your relationship problems.

Pam Allan: Okay?

Corey Allan: It's also a terrible reason to have a child.

Pam Allan: Yes, it is,

Corey Allan: Right. Number two, because you're afraid of being alone,

Pam Allan: Which

Corey Allan: That's true. There's a lot of undercurrent. If that's the big motivation, you have to prove something. This one's an interesting one.

Pam Allan: Prove something. What are you supposed to be proven by getting married?

Corey Allan: Well, there's this element of, well, the clock is ticking so I can prove that I'm worth it. And so I settle or I rush and there's a value that I need to prove what I'm capable of because undercurrent, because most of the couples I come across when we can get really down into it, they discover they didn't get married for the reasons they thought they got married. Some of them are like, no, they were safe. And you look at their history and it makes sense.

Pam Allan: Interesting.

Corey Allan: They were going to be consistent. You could count on them, you could rely on them, but the cost of that meant you didn't get some of the energy or some of the volatility or some of that, which actually adds some flare and some energy to life in marriage.

Pam Allan: And they're realizing this years later when they're sitting with you,

Corey Allan: Right?

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: Or they've realized, and that's what helped them kind of come back to working. And then the reason number four is because it's practical. This is just what he's talking about.

Pam Allan: Because

Corey Allan: Some of this is more societally driven and it's almost going back towards the arrangement that marriage used to be because used to, we would get cows for Sydney and then have to pay those cows for whoever will marry.

Pam Allan: And

Corey Allan: We would arrange that, which sometimes I'm okay with can we pick out either going to

Pam Allan: Marry a little dowry going, yeah,

Corey Allan: Right. But it's an element of recognizing a component that plays out. That's important I think when we're looking at what am I looking for from this institution, from this relationship? Because if I get to where I'm putting too much on it, I want it to fulfill more than they're capable of as a human being and more than a relationship is capable of. That's where I start getting all kinds of issues that come up.

Pam Allan: I am just picturing a bride walking down the aisle and she and the groom look at each other and in their minds they're thinking, there's no way this person can fulfill all the needs that I am placing on them or on the wants I'm placing on them. And the self-talk that could be going on, if you had a clue at that point of what, assuming this is a young early on and you can have experience, but I

Corey Allan: Might've mentioned this before, but my parents told a story of they went to a wedding of some kids that used to be in the youth ministry or the youth group when my dad was the youth minister there. And so they each got married to different people. That marriage, those marriage just did not last years later. My parents were older at the time these two meet, start dating and decide to get married. And so the music she came down the aisle to was danger zone from the beginning of Top Gun, the very first one. And when it came on, all of the older married people in the audience were like, yeah, that makes complete sense. I went to the danger zone. That's exactly what I'm flying straight into the danger zone here because it's a different way to look at do I know what I'm signing up for? Because you just don't. And to the guy that emailed, and we'll pivot to answer his question, he said there just over 18 years,

Pam Allan: Which

Corey Allan: That's when marriage really starts getting different because intimacy takes a long time to really rear its the head to the depths that it is because you're exposed more on who you are as well as who they are. And then you start figuring out why do these not align? I thought they would or I think they should. Okay. So it's interesting to think of all of this sets the stage on why did I get married? Because I think that then helps me answer the question, is there the right person or did I marry the wrong person? So if you're not a member of the academy or the extended content, you're going to want to go to passionately to hear more of that conversation. So we started the episode with a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert on what the expectations we put into marriage. And I'm going to end it with another quote from her same book. And this says, her quote goes, marriage is those 2000 indistinguishable conversations chatted over 2000 indistinguishable breakfasts or intimacy turns like a slow wheel. I love that phrase. How do you measure the worth of becoming that familiar to somebody so utterly well-known so thoroughly ever present that you become almost invisible necessity like air? Because I think there's this evolution of what marriage creates where I become so intertwined in their life, but I don't lose myself in the intertwining of it. That's what creates the energy. But we still want that intertwining,
That's intimacy. That's the structure of what marriage and relationships are designed to do. And I love the idea of intimacy turns like a slow

Corey Allan: Wheel.

Corey Allan: And if I can look at that, I think that helps frame all of the little things that we do that help build that and also get in the way of that. And small little tweaks can maybe make all the difference in the world.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Well, if we left something undone, let us know. 2 1 4 7 0 2 9 5 6 5 or Transcripts are available for the regular versions on each of the episodes pages. So find the episode page transcripts there at the bottom, as well as advertisers deals and discount codes. So please consider supporting those who support the show. Please. I don't know why I just said please there. Thanks again for taking a little bit of time out of your day to spend it with us and we'll see you next time.