The reality is that I’ve been writing this next entry for years in my head. Due to my circumstance, I felt the need to ask those married individuals around me, what makes their marriage last? And how did they know this person was the one? What I have learned is you need three things in a life partner, marriage, or spouse- whatever you want to call it. After speaking to about twenty of my closest married friends, colleagues, and family members these are the foundations I tied together for the success of a long-term relationship.
Disclaimer- no I’m not married but I’ve loved and lived with another effortlessly and know some of the sacrifices that make long-term relationships flourish or diminish. With that being said you may disagree with me, which is quite alright. There are a billion other things that create your choice and selection of a partner and a lasting relationship- passion, loyalty, playfulness, integrity, and humor. This is just the basics or a good starting point for someone treading water questioning their relationship.
1.First and foremost: fundamental similarities. My sisters are both married and have partners that in my eyes, are the male equivalent of themselves. This is important not to marry someone identical to you necessarily but someone who holds your values, interests, some hobbies, and later on financial judgement and if applicable opinions on raising children. This is not to say that having your own time with your own hobbies isn’t important- it’s essential in any healthy relationship but rather having a fundamental likeness. It’s encouraged to be different or an individual but the basics should be there to avoid conflict and unnecessary heartache. If you have fundamental differences- religion, politics, culture, lifestyles- the same outlook and treatment toward these differences are critical. That of acceptance and curiosity to incorporate and respect the other. Again, fundamental character design does not mean you lose yourself or your independence but rather being a player on the same team.
and this individual drives you nuts- they are not for you. This isn’t passion or love, it’s unhealthy and exhausting. Listen, no one is perfect and they will annoy you at some point- you know the difference between supportive and peaceful but I need a little space and dysfunctional and unreliable. For example, we have all been in that juvenile relationship where you’ve said the following: “they never call me back,” “they are so inconsiderate,” “they don’t respect my friends,” or “they never listen to me,” again this person is not for you. It hurts to walk away but it hurts harder when you’ve stayed longer. Whatever the situation they should make life easier and bring you a sense of comfort and peace. They should be your go to person for all matters of importance and of your heart. You should find bliss just with being in their presence.
positivity in all aspects of life. They should encourage you to apply for that promotion and believe you can do it. They should love all your flaws and mistakes because that’s when we need love the most. They also should give you that constructive feedback you may need with an embrace, because they believe you can make these positive changes. Unconditional support is not always about being a cheerleader, but being honest in regards to your self-growth. Your partner should be brave enough to express this openly and with kindness.
We’ve really focused on what to hope for in a partner but take a look at that list. Do you also have these qualities as a partner? These are all things you need to do in your half of your relationship as well. You can not expect unconditional love and support if you’re not giving it. Nor are these things always easy or come over night. Invest in those that invest in you and adjust your behavior accordingly. Don’t be a hypocrite and just be a kind person. Be honest with yourself and if you are lacking in a quality you hope for in partner, work on it.
It may take a few tries to find the right person but stay hopeful and set your expectations for whatever life you want to lead- you are the one who has to live it. I am firm believer that everyone comes in your life for a reason, so even if it doesn’t work out learn from it. Grow. And become that ideal version of yourself, so when you do meet the right person you’re ready. It takes a simple hello that could changed your life forever. I hope you find that hello and each day is filled with this kindness and peace, so many of us only hear of from afar. In the meantime, live it up! You will be married or committed soon enough if that’s your choice and it might just be forever.