Choosing well is the foundation for a goodmarriage. Yet choosing is one of the most neglected pieces of the process of meeting, bonding, marrying, living life together and possibly having children. Choose well: the good and bad outcomes of your choice will shape your life.
1. Can you accept each other as you are, warts and all? You can’t change another person and you have absolutely no right to try to change your spouse. At the same time don’t promise to change if your potential partner can’t accept you as you are.
This in no way means that you have to be the same. Acceptance of yourself and each other can accommodate wide differences between you.
Acceptance is the most basic issue. If you can’t accept the reality of each other, walk.
2. Do you like each other? Liking is more basic than loving. Is he or she your ideal ‘best friend?’ If not, consider it a big red flag.
3. Are your values compatible? Are you open and honest with each other about your values? For example, do you both value family? Do you both value commitment and have a common understanding of what commitment is?
4. Are you compatible in the way you express (and discuss) your feelings? There is probably no more disastrous marriage than that between one who openly and easily talks about personal feelings and another who can’t or won’t. The mantra of the latter is “I don’t want to talk about it,” whether it is expressed in words, silence or leaving.
5. Are you compatible in how positively you look at life? An optimistic, positive person and a pessimistic negative person could drive each other crazy. They often do.
6. Are you compatible in your spiritual growth? This is a life-cycle issue, that is, a very long-term issue. People relate to something beyond themselves, and this spiritual inclination becomes more important over the course of life. If you are both growing spiritually over the years, you will experience more fulfillment, even if you have different religious practices.
7. Is your mantra, “Love alone is not enough?” Good! There are lots of men or women you could be in love with, but a tiny fraction of whom you could live with successfully. So remember this principle: don’t fall in love with someone your intuition says you couldn’t build a satisfying and fulfilling life with.