Choosing the right person to spend the rest of your life with is one of the most significant decisions a person can make. You must make this choice judiciously and not let yourself be blinded by infatuation. Do not ignore red flags and “deal breakers.” Here are some ways to increase the probability that you will make the right choice.
Ask yourself the following questions as a guideline:
- What qualities are you looking for in someone? You should have your list of “must haves” that are not merely superficial traits like hair color or height. Think about personality, character traits and key things to have in common, such as a cultural or religious background. Common desirable traits include intelligence, strong work ethic, honesty, a sense of humor, stability, and the ability to openly communicate. Many also believe it is vital to have a least a few common interests so you can share in activities, such as a hobby or a love of travel. In general, it should be easy for you to connect with this person on many levels.
- Are there serious character flaws or behaviors that make the relationship extremely challenging? We are talking about the types of behaviors that often undermine a marriage. Examples are an addiction, physical and/or emotional abuse, emotional disengagement, severe childhood abuse or neglect (that goes unaddressed), immaturity, and persistent, untreated mental illness. It is not that these people do not deserve love, but it will be a major challenge for you to have a healthy and prosperous relationship. You need to think about yourself, your happiness and the potential future children you may have with a troubled person.
- Have you made your life fulfilling regardless of your relationship status? You should be enjoying many things in your life already. Having friendships, a career, hobbies and an overall sense of well-being will best prepare you for a life partner. When you are in a good place and feel love toward yourself, it will be much easier to make a sound choice in a partner. Furthermore, you will not burden someone else with the responsibility to “make you happy.” Most people do not want to be alone, but you should generally be okay with it, or you may make a poor choice just to avoid feeling lonely.
- Do you have a lot of dating experience? The purpose of dating is to see if you want to spend more time with someone. It also helps you figure out what kind of person is right for you. If dating starts to become distressing because you are not meeting someone you like, maybe you should take a break rather than muddle through with bad people. It is preferable that you do not “settle” for someone who is not right for you, just because the dating process has become tedious. It is healthier to date others or to be alone than to be in an unsatisfying relationship or end up divorced because you chose the wrong partner.
- Are you comfortable with compromise? This will be an integral part of any successful relationship. Be prepared to think in terms of “we,” not just “I.” You should feel that you are ready to do this and you also see this trait in the person you are with. You must never feel as if you are sacrificing the things that are most important to you. You ought to feel good about creating a partnership, even though you are at times conceding some things that may not be worth fighting about.
Above all, you should know deep down that you can count on this person. You should not be with someone that you don’t think has your back, or worse, who has already let you down in meaningful ways. You are choosing the right partner if you believe in your heart that this person would be there in your times of need. If you ask yourself these five questions, and you honestly feel good about the answers, then you have found yourself a “good catch!”
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