[Contributed by Praveen Ram Enduri]
When it comes to making the decision about choosing a life partner, no one wants to make a mistake. Yet, with a divorce rate on constant rise, it appears that many are making serious mistakes in their approach to finding Mr./Ms. Right!
If you ask most couples who are engaged why they're getting married, they'll say: "We're in love." I believe is the #1 mistake people make when they date. Choosing a life partner should never be based on love alone. Though this may not sound emotionally correct, there's a profound truth here. Love alone is not the basis for getting married. Rather, love is the result of a good marriage. When the other ingredients are right, then the love will come.
Let me say it again: You can't build a lifetime relationship on love alone. You need a lot more! Here are five questions you must ask yourself if you're serious about finding and keeping a life partner. Ask yourself 5 golden questions for evaluating the prospects of long term success in a marriage.
Question #1: Do we share a common life purpose?
Why is this so important? Let me put it this way: What do you plan to do with each other all that time? Travel, eat and jog together? Not just that, you need to share something deeper and more meaningful. You need a common life purpose.
Two things can happen in a marriage:
- You can grow together, or
- You can grow apart.
50 percent of the people out there are growing apart and most of them stay together! To make a marriage work, you need to know what you want out of life - and next - marry someone who wants the same thing. If that person, who you're in love with, doesn't want the same thing you do; you might as well opt out of it now than when its too late.
Question #2: Do I feel safe expressing my feelings and thoughts with this person?
This question goes down to the core quality of your relationship - open communication. Feeling safe means you can communicate openly with this person. The basis of having good communication is trust, that I won't get "punished" or hurt for expressing my honest thoughts and feelings. A colleague of mine defines an abusive person as someone with whom you feel afraid to express your thoughts and feelings. Be honest with yourself on this one. Make sure you feel emotionally safe with the person you plan to marry.
Question #3: Is he/she a mensch?
A mensch is someone who is a refined and sensitive person. How can you test?
Here are some suggestions: Do they work on personal growth on a regular basis? Are they serious about improving themselves?
A teacher of mine defines a good person as "someone who is always striving to be good and do the right thing."
So ask about your significant other: What do they do with their time? Is this person materialistic? Usually a materialistic person is not someone whose top priority is character refinement.
There are essentially two types of people in the world:
- People who are dedicated to personal growth and committed to their responsibilities, and
- People who are dedicated to seeking comfort. Someone whose goal in life is to be comfortable will put personal comfort ahead of doing the right thing.
Question #4: How does he/she treat other people?
The one most important thing that makes any relationship work is the ability to give. By giving, we mean the ability to give another person pleasure.
Ask: Is this someone who enjoys giving pleasure to others or are they wrapped up in themselves and self-absorbed?
To measure this, think about the following: How do they treat people whom they do not have to be nice to, such as a waiters, bus boy, taxi driver, etc.? How do they treat parents and siblings? Do they have gratitude and appreciation? Do they show respect?
If they don't have gratitude for the people who have given them everything, you cannot expect that they'll have gratitude for you-who can't do nearly as much for them!
Question #5: Is there anything I'm hoping to change about this person after we're married?
Too many people make the mistake of marrying someone with the intention of trying to "improve" them after they're married. Safe if I put it this way, "You can probably expect someone to change after marriage and for the worse!" If you cannot fully accept this person the way they are now, then you are not ready to marry them.
Falling in love is a great feeling, but when you wake up with a ring on your finger, you don't want to find yourself in trouble because you didn't do your homework.
In conclusion, selecting your partner doesn't have to be difficult and treacherous. The key is to try leading a little more with your head and less with your heart. It pays to be as objective as possible when you are selecting, to be sure to ask questions that will help you get to the key issues.