Another day, another divorce. At least that what it seems like these days. The winter has not been kind to many celebrity couples, nor has it been that great to many real-life couples that you may actually know. These days it seems like more and more people are having issues within their marriages, and are choosing to call it quits rather than working through whatever problems they may have.
The decision to get married is the biggest decision that most people will make in their lifetime. Ample consideration should be given to the decision before deciding that you want to take the plunge. So how do you know if your perfect partner will make the perfect spouse? Read on to find out how.
Don’t Dismiss Their Past
If there is a chapter of your partner’s history that bothers you because it doesn’t sound like the person you know and fell in love with, you need to decide if your relationship could survive a repeat, because odds are good that old habits will return. The best predictor of a person’s future behaviour is their past behaviour. If your partner’s relationship history is a sordid tale of flings and bitter exes, it’s tempting to think that you’re the one person amazing enough to reform them but people inevitably revert back to their old behaviour. That being said, people do change. You need to figure out if the poor behaviour of your partner’s past was specific to that stage in their life, or if the traits exhibited are hardwired into their personality and just buried for now.
Know What You Need
You may love that your partner picks the best restaurants and has great style which is all great, as long as you’re not so dazzled by a few qualities that you overlook the fact that they are lacking more important ones. Think about five or six qualities that you absolutely need your spouse to have, like sharing your views on religion, family, or money. Then think about the ones you’d like them to have. You should aim to marry someone who has more of the qualities you absolutely need to have, not the other way around. As you look over your partner’s qualities, consider whether they have downsides and if you can handle them. For instance, you may love that your boyfriend has a great career as a management consultant, but if his job requires lots of travel, will his success compensate for his absence from your life? If you’re the type of person who likes to spend your nights cuddling on the couch with your sweetie, this may be a problem in the long run and you won’t be happy in the future.
Think In the Present
So your partner is a struggling artist who is aspiring to be a chart-topping superstar singer. Will you feel just as lucky to be with them if their bills are piling up and they’re singing at weddings for a living? Remember that you’re marrying the person and who they are right now, not who they plan on being five or ten years down the road. It’s great to be attracted to someone’s passion, but don’t be attracted to their future career as that can change. You need to be okay with the possibility that the rest of the world won’t be as convinced of your partner’s talents as you are. This is key because frustration with the difference between what you expected and the reality you got is one of the leading sources of marriage unhappiness over time.
Be Aware of Family Dynamics
Depending on how close your partner is to their family, remember – it’s not just the person you’re marrying. While you may be able to ignore your partner’s family right now, once you’re married, their family will play a big role in your life. Those people will not just be at your wedding but also half of your future holidays, at the hospital when your children are born and quite possibly in your guest room for extended family visits. You don’t need to LOVE each other’s families, but you need to be on the same page about how involved they will be in your lives. Family dynamics shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but should be considered and prior to getting married a compromise should be discussed. Lay out expectations ahead of time so you understand what you’re getting into. If your partner has their family on pedestal when the only raised platform they belong on is a Jerry Springer stage, that could be a problem.
You Need a Spark!
Shared values aside, there is a primal truth in relationships: There needs to be sizzle and spark. It’s easy for you to convince yourselves that stability is more important than attraction, but you need chemistry for a relationship to work. Being successfully married means being more than best friends. Great sex won’t make problems go away, but it can really help cushion your relationship through inevitable bumps in the road.
Throw Your Timeline Out the Door
Whether you want to admit it or not, most people do have a magic age that they think they should be married by, especially women. Whether your number of based on beating a biological clock or more random factors, it can hold power over you and put you at a higher risk of marrying the wrong person as that birthday draws close. Don’t settle for Mr or Mrs. Almost Right. Ask yourself if you would still be with that person if you were five years younger. If your answer isn’t a strong YES, then recognize your urge to get married for what it is: fear of not meeting your self-imposed deadline.