While it sounds rather obvious, picking the partner that's right for you is a sure fire way to keep the love flame burning and your marriage last.
As a divorce consultant and educator, I've learned so much about why relationships don't work -- and the bottom line answer is that not enough communication and introspection have taken place to make the relationship work. People don't really understand themselves and their partners. And, consequently, they make decisions to pair up for all the wrong reasons.
According to HuffPost blogger Jennifer Gauvain, 30 percent of women have an inkling before they walk down the aisle that they are going to marry the wrong person. If you want to ensure that you are in the 70 percent majority and are marrying for love and all the right reasons, I've outlined some thoughts and considerations. If you don't know the answers to these questions, it is better to start the conversations now, before you say "I do," than after and say "I want out."
Considerations and Conversations:
1. Do you and your partner have similar social values and outlooks on life?
2. Have you discussed finances? Are you or your partner bringing in any debts to this union, and if so, do you have a repayment strategy? Are you a spender or a saver? What about your partner? And, if your spending styles are drastically different, how do you plan on overcoming these differences and work towards common goals?
3. Do you have similar life goals, like starting a family? Work ethic? Lifestyle? And if these ideals don't mesh, then ask yourself if you can realistically overcome these differences together. If you can't, is it in your best interest to stay together?
4. If you want children together, have you discussed religious issues (especially important if this is an interfaith relationship) parenting styles and family values?
5. Next on the agenda is to ask yourself what you want and need from a partner. Many people today are looking for their "soul mate" and someone to complete them. But, someone can't make you happy, only you can really make yourself happy.
There is work required to really get to know your partner -- isn't it worth the effort to ensure a lasting, loving marriage? And remember, don't expect that things will change once you get married. If your partner didn't change while you were dating, what is going to be different once you are married? What you will have to change is yourself, your reaction to those behaviors and attitudes that you didn't necessarily agree with.
Difficult conversations, constant communication, trust, respect and honesty, while not guarantees, will certainly help in keeping your soul mate in your soul, and not under your sole as you walk all over each other.
If you've made it this far and still want to say "I Do," congratulations and may you have a long, happy and healthy partnership together.
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