As an officiant I see a lot of couples all googly eyed and dream struck with each other. These are the same couples I might see one day in the future as a marriage therapist because life has a tendency to bash away the fantasy. Last week I wrote about how to find someone through friends or dating online, but how can you have a better idea if it’s last? Is there a way to know if the person you’re looking at is the right choice in the long run? In a previous post I gave questions you can use to test if the person is a good fit for you, and another post that taught my 4 Step Date Test, which is simply:
- Do you culturally and religiously mesh well?
- Do/would your parents approve?
- Do/would your friends approve?
- Do you approve?
This 4 Step Date Test is meant to remove the hormone blinders before we get serious with someone. If everyone followed this dating test, it would help prevent a lot of bad relationships that should never have happened in the first place. Beyond this, however, the following helps you know whether your relationship will last the long haul. Not everything in this needs to line up, but it should be pretty close. As I’ve heard it said: “Look for Mr or Mrs 80%; a 100% means the person is a good liar.” Hopefully, if you’re with someone, this list will help you feel better about your situation.
- What balances your personality in a good way? For instance, it helps to have a calmer person with someone who’s more passionate and a talker with a quieter person. Please note that I say “in a good way” because a whiner and a helper might balance each other just like a cleaner and a messy person balance, but that’s not in a good way. That’s a future disaster.
- Can you handle the kid situation (do they have kids or want them?) and discipline style? For instance, more often single people now have kids from previous relationships and you need to consider if you’re okay with this.
- What are your food and/or cooking needs? (e.g. are you vegan, spicy driven, glutton free, nut free, etc) Food plays a major part of every committed relationship because we eat every day. Make sure you line up well enough. Preparing one meal instead of two different ones the rest of your life will make life easier.
- What is your value of taking care of yourself? This category includes how well you self regulate your eating, drinking, and exercise. It also considers are you responsible with work and how well you stay clean and tidy because our home represents our minds. A chaotic home means we likely have chaos in our mind.
- Do you enjoy enough of the same TV shows, movies, music, and/or other forms of entertainment? Basic entertainment is a simple way of connection that has helped many relationships last the long haul.
- Every couple needs to have a certain level of integration. Consider what you enjoy doing for fun on your own and with a partner? Beyond the scope of simple forms of entertainment like the previous question considers, we need a balance of time to do things alone with things we can enjoy together even if it’s just going for walks and having (or not having) certain kinds of pets.
- Consider what your desired level of intelligence and willingness to laugh and have fun are? My wife’s desire to learn and ability to laugh were and are major selling points. As a typical guy, I tend to want to joke more than she does, but she’s good enough and I’m good enough at being serious for her.
- What are your money goals and do you care what the other person’s debt load and spending habits look like?
- Sexual history and needs: Do you care if the person has had more than ___ partners or less than ___ partners? How many times do you both want sex in a week and what does it look like when you have sex? I know some people who want twenty minutes and others who want 3 hours. This can be a major stumbling block in the future if it doesn’t line up well enough.
- Do your religious beliefs and ethics gel? As a Christian there are many Christians I know I couldn’t stand to be around for long periods of time because our views are so different, and it`d lead to unnecessary fights. This is a fundamental kind of thing many couples ignore at first because the other person is so nice and attractive.
Bonus: Can you handle the person’s family? As Christopher Titus says, “If you think you got the good one, you’re mentally ill.” Family plays a major role in a person’s life and will play a factor in the future. I’ve seen some nasty divorces that stemmed from meddling families.
Bonus 2: Do you both have healthy levels of respect for the opposite gender?
Knowing who to pursue a committed relationship with can be a challenge, but when these core things line up, it makes it easier in the long run. A therapist can help someone with anger issues (too much, too little, or too mean), but he or she can’t help you like going to Broadway plays (my favourite thing) or change how many sexual partners you’ve had in the past. I’m not suggesting if someone has an anger problem you should ignore it because you both like Lord of the Rings, but 99% of people suck at communicating and dealing with their anger on some level, and it’s working on it together that can help build trust and faith in each other. Of course, someone liking Bladerunner 2 is just a sign of brain damage, so there are limits. No offence to these people; I’m glad someone can enjoy a drawn out movie without action or any interesting dialogue.
This week may you better appreciate your partner and how well you gel or find this helpful in choosing someone in the future.
Rev Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people