I know that some of you are not yet in a lifelong relationship. Here are a few tips on how to get there, assuming your parents won’t be arranging your marriage.
- Meet a lot of people, male and female. Those who are not potential mate material know others who are.
- Try to avoid falling in love too fast. It’s so much harder to break up if you’re already feeling in love.
- Don’t Assume Love when dealing with someone who has not promised to love you. Now is the time to be skeptical.
- End the relationship as soon as you discover a problem you could not live with. If you cannot bear to see butchered animals, date only vegetarians. If smoking disgusts you, date no smokers or recent quitters.
- Don’t date anyone with an active addiction to drugs, gambling, or alcohol.
- If you have a strong preference about whether or not to have children, don’t date anyone who does not share your preference. You might fall in love and need to face a tough choice.
- If you have a strong preference for putting down roots or living adventurously, don’t date anyone who does not share your preference. It’s not easy to merge the two.
- Pay attention to how anyone you date treats others they love: parents, grandparents, siblings, children, nieces, nephews. If it is not how you want to be loved, end it.
- Don’t expect you will be wooed after the wedding. But do take note of whether you are wooed most often with words, time and attention, gifts, helpfulness, or touch, because that is probably the way you will be shown love most often, too.
- Marry for character and the ability to thrive with or without money or good health, not for money or health.
- Marry someone whose family you like.
- Never, ever, ever propose or get pregnant to bolster a failing relationship.
- Develop hobbies you can do with other people. It’s the best way to meet people and a great way to ensure you will spend time together for decades.
- Practice gratitude. Happy people meet better potential mates, and gratitude makes you happier. It also goes a long way toward getting through the challenges in your marriage.
- Learn about marriage.
- Make loving a habit.
And remember, once you vow to love someone, your job is to love them, not to fix them. Choose wisely.
Those are my tips. If you’re already married and enjoying it, please add more.
Wow, Patty. I think you have them all. I might add, if they really love something (I’m thinking of CJ and the classical guitar), make sure you can live with that. If you force them to choose, you may lose even if they pick you.
That’s a great addition, Tammy. Thanks!
Another thought provoking blog entry!
The only two must haves on my list was a person of intelligence and great character. Character to me meant someone who I would feel comfortable raising my kids alone if I died – even if I never had kids. Character meant someone who would hide our neighbors at risk to his own life if Nazis came knocking door to door. Someone who could make the daily sacrifice a special needs child might require (as our daughter did the first two years of life). Someone not materialistic yet hard working. I didn’t give a fig how much money he made as long as he lived within his means.
I got all this in spades so when I am annoyed, like tonight, that he wolfed down in five seconds the gourmet meal I spent hours making, I laugh it off.
I spent much of my youth in school or caring for ill relatives. In my late thirties, when I decided I very much wanted to marry I put my full effort into it.
People felt comfortable pounding the pavement every day to find an affordable apt in Manhattan yet put a fraction of that effort into finding a mate – a more complex and important task.
WIthout shame, I gave searching for a husband my full attention every day after work. This was in the era before the internet.
I spread a very wide net and then was extremely picky about the fish I picked up. This is critical. If you have too many wrong dates someone merely inappropriate starts to look good.
I analyzed my pluses and minuses and realized engineers were my best market niche. They were intelligent, rational/open minded (the opposite of my father who was hot headed and irrational) and very handy around the house (I cannot screw in a light bulb). They are stable and have a very low divorce rate. They like outgoing bubbly women like me because they are slightly the opposite yet have much intelligent thoughts to contribute to a conversation.
I married a mechanical engineer and we have a very happy marriage.
I did it all- blind dates, video dating, singles groups: but I tried to focus my efforts on places I could meet men in engineering, math, physics as those guys mesh best with me. And I had just two criteria as I mentioned before. Within a year of beginning these focused efforts I was engaged.
I think it is very important that women earn enough money for the lifestyle they wish to live, otherwise their choice of a mate will be tainted by financial considerations.
Thank you for sharing this with our yet-to-be-married folks, Susan.
Patty, I don’t remember how I stumbled onto your site, but you recently said that you love comments, so hi!
Thanks for this post! As a not-yet-married-but-desiring-to-be-single, I really appreciate the advice. Thankfully, almost the entire list lines up with what I’ve been saying/thinking for years so there is nothing earth shattering here. Just a timely reminder of what’s really important in a relationship!
I would like to thank you for creating this site in general though. The biggest reason I keep coming back is because of how much the things you write have helped my somewhat strained relationships with my parents and siblings. Assuming love especially has been an epiphany for me where they are concerned! While it’s probably easier to put this into practice with a spouse, I just want to let you know how life changing it has been to put these concepts into practice in my spouse-less life. I can honestly say that since I quit expecting them to make me feel loved and I’ve actively looked for the ways that they were already showing love, I’ve been able to just sit back and enjoy their company and get to know them on a level that I never thought possible. I really can’t thank you enough! Keep it coming!
Aimee, thank you for this wonderful comment. I am so glad my words are helping your relationship with your family.