The dating process, although wonderful at many times, involves much heartbreak and tears. I remember when I was a young teenager and I "fell in love" for the first time. When it didn't work out with that guy, I was devastated. I thought he was the one! And then I thought that about all of my other boyfriends throughout the years. Now, I am engaged, and I know that the guy I have chosen to marry is the real deal.
To convince my dad of this, I made a spreadsheet of all the guys I've dated over the years and then listed their positive and negative qualities. There was a set of "core qualities" that I was looking for, and those qualities were worth 10 points each. Other positive qualities were worth one point. Although it is not necessary to take this scientific method to determine who has the potential to be your spouse, I think it is important to have a list of core qualities you are looking for in the people you are dating. A lack of any one of these qualities should eliminate the person you are dating from your marriage potential list.
Here are the core qualities I suggest you have on your list:
Seriously. If you have to force yourself to love that person, that's bad news. Love should come naturally and easily. My relationship with my fiance just fell into place. Neither of us really had to force anything to happen. You should feel butterflies around your significant other. I still get butterflies when I am around my fiance.
A healthy relationship is one in that both partners lift each other up. You should accept each other as you are, sure, but you should always encourage each other to grow and progress. A relationship which makes you a worse person or doesn't allow you to progress is a relationship that should be ended. Don't settle for that.
If you value family, make sure the person you think you want to marry doesn't think it would be cool to never have kids. If you value canoeing, make sure the person you are dating doesn't value dry land.
If you value your political opinion and you are a Republican, don't marry a Democrat. Of course it can work, but it will probably cause fights down the road. Make sure your spiritual beliefs align with those of your significant other. You do not want to find yourself hiding what you believe because you are scared of what your significant other will think.
If any part of you is being suppressed while you around the person you are dating, marriage to that person won't work. They have to accept you as you are.
6. You and your significant other should have open communication.
If you cannot openly communicate with your significant other, the relationship will not work. Being able to tell each other anything indicates that you have an honest, trusting relationship. You should never hesitate or fear telling your significant other anything.
7. Your significant other should always be able to put a smile on your face.
Just the other night, I was not in a good mood. I just needed some ice cream. Ice cream from Baskin Robbins, specifically. But I was too lazy to go out and get it myself. About an hour later, my fiance texted me and asked if I wanted to go get ice cream. I say yes, that sounds good. And without asking me where I wanted to get the ice cream, he took me to Baskin Robbins. You should be in tune to what your significant other needs. You should always be able to get your significant other out of a bad mood, even if you are the one that caused it. This is important to marriage because marriage is not easy, and you are guaranteed to be in a bad mood sometimes.
8. You should have no major complaints about your significant other.
On my spreadsheet, I literally couldn't think of any flaws that my fiance had. I don't think I'm being blind. He is just a really great guy and we are very compatible. If you complain that your significant other doesn't spend enough time with you now, guess what! it will only get worse when you are married. Keep your eyes open to any traits that would get under your skin after 15 years of marriage. Be advised: if you find yourself complaining about your significant other after 2 months of dating, you will have some serious issues down the road.
9. You should be so patient with each other that you don't have huge fights.
Of course, every couple will have a fight at some point in the relationship. But I have witnessed couples that would fight, break up, and then get back together. Then fight, break up, and then get back together. Every couple of weeks! That is not a healthy relationship. When my fiance and I have differences of opinion, we do not fight about it. In fact, we have not had a fight yet. When we disagree on something, we talk it out calmly and non-defensively. Be patient and show love towards one another by not having explosive fights.
10. You should feel safe and secure around your significant other.
You should feel both physically and emotionally safe with each other. If you are a woman, you should feel that your man could protect you if he had to. In the zombie apocalypse, you will need him to have this trait. If you are a man, you should feel that your woman needs you to protect her. You should both trust the relationship enough to not be paranoid or jealous about anything.
11. Your goals for the future should be synced.
You and your significant other should want the same things out of life. If you want to have a mansion and lots of cars, you shouldn't date somebody that can't keep a job or that has huge debt.
12. Your significant other should have a good family background.
When you marry somebody, you essentially also marry their family. So make sure you like them! And make sure there aren't any major family problems. Of course, a stellar person can arise from the ashes of a broken family. But statistically speaking, if the family is messed up, the child will also have problems. Keep your eyes open for any family issues which may have left a mark on the person you are dating.