It goes without saying that love and a lasting marriage are two of the most amazing gifts life can bring. Finding that special someone you love, trust, enjoy, and with whom you want to spend your entire life is a wonderful experience, something most people hope for.
However, despite best efforts, many marriages eventually fail. The reasons are varied, but an often-preventable one is that they didn’t fully examine their compatibility (or lack thereof!) before tying the knot.
How can you determine if someone is right for you?
Frankly, it’s hard to think objectively when we’re smitten. We often dismiss cautionary words from parents and friends, even if they have our best interests at heart. Unfortunately, by doing so, many people enter love relationships for the wrong reasons with the wrong person or at the wrong time. Inevitably, those kinds of relationships end painfully.
Because of the joy that comes from a successful love relationship and the painful consequences of a failed one, it’s essential to know what you’re getting into before committing yourself to another person. Marriage is arguably the most important human relationship you’ll ever have, and ought to be treated carefully, cautiously, and respectfully. This means everything from understanding what love really means, gauging compatibility, ensuring that goals are in sync, respecting each other’s individual life while enjoying a strong relationship, and understanding the investment required for a successful partnership.
If you’re single, before even thinking of getting married, note the qualities that are really important to you in a partner—the deal breakers. That way, when that (potentially) special someone comes along, you can put him or her to the test and see if it survives.
What key areas ought to be evaluated for compatibility if your goal is a forever marriage? Try these ones for starters:
- Goals and dreams—near and long-term
- Values and character qualities such as integrity, respect, trust, empathy, commitment, and unselfishness
- Commitment to the partnership first, while also respecting individual needs
- Ability to satisfy emotional needs
- Spiritual life and religious affiliation
- Quality of communication
- Interests and activities
- Children—how many and when
- Finances—spending authority, risk appetite, and living within means
- Work situation for each spouse after you start a family
- Responsibility for household operations, meals, housework, etc.
- Living location
- Physical/intimacy desires
- Listening skills, temperament, and willingness to work together to solve problems
- Ability to handle constructive criticism and respect differences of opinion
- Personal motivation and commitment to excellence
- Personal vices and any dependencies
- Family history/relationship quality
Evaluations like these will take time, but isn’t your eventual marriage (and lifelong happiness) worth it? If the results of your investigation aren’t to your liking, it’s certainly better to know sooner rather than later. If you’re really serious about having a forever marriage, it pays to objectively evaluate your compatibility beforehand. If it’s meant to be, you’ll know it.
How important do you think compatibility is in a relationship? What are some ways you’ve discovered to determine if another person is right for you? Have you shared these thoughts with the young people or students in your life? Please share your insights and experiences with us; we’d love to hear from you!