06/29/2015 04:22 pm ET Updated Jun 29, 2016

Marry Someone You Admire, Not Just Someone You Love

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My mother always told me you should admire something about the person you marry. They don't have to be the best looking, the strongest, the richest, or the smartest. But there's got to be that little something that makes you weak at the knees. Maybe he's average looking, but when boy picks up a guitar and that velvety voice comes out? You can't help but melt on the spot. Or maybe he's not the smartest, but when he pulls you out on the dance floor and makes you feel beautiful, you can bet you'll be telling your girlfriends you find him a little sexy, and you don't even know why.

I dated many guys before meeting my husband. I wouldn't say I was a great chooser of men, and it's safe to say God probably inserted my husband into my life by force to stop the madness! In fact, we met at a time where I was at my worst, coming out of a disastrous relationship. But somehow, he won me over during a time I was most skeptical I'd ever been of men.

So what was it about him that intrigued me? I began to admire him. I admired his humility, and I admired his lack of shenanigans. Is that a thing? I still remember our first "non-date," at Whole Foods. I knew he had played in the NFL through some friends we had in common, but as I asked him questions about his life and his past, he skirted around the topic and didn't mention it. That caught my attention, and in my mind I remembered the time I dated another ex-athlete who practically printed a banner to hang over our table at the restaurant to announce it on our first date. I tried to ignore it and not make a big fuss about it, so he made sure to send me some articles. Then a magazine. Mmmm okay, I got it. Am I supposed to frame this? I remember being so turned off by his lack of humility. I knew I couldn't admire someone so showy.

My admiration grew when I started to notice the way he didn't play any games, and everyone in his life knew exactly where he stood. There were no mixed messages and no grey areas with him. He was simple. Once he said something to me that has stayed with me -- he said "As an adult, sometimes you just have to make decisions, and live with the consequences." I came to admire the way he really lived by those words. He wasn't on the fence, he didn't change his mind about things as his feelings changed, and I came to respect his quiet confidence. I knew I could learn from that. I wanted to be more like him, and I wanted him around forever.

It's human nature to want something that is perceived as desirable by others. Why do you think sometimes a guy can go unnoticed until you start dating him, and then all of a sudden all the ladies want him? Suddenly they are interesting. It's the same concept with admiring somebody -- they have abilities you don't have, and you want them for it.

Perhaps it's the way they handle their finances, like it was for me with my husband. My story with money before him was a sad tale of overdrafts, confusion, multiple accounts, and forgotten checks. Sharing finances with him was something that felt threatening to me, because it clearly wasn't my strength. But his confidence about it, and his sweetness towards my shortcomings, have helped us navigate the money seas safely, and amicably.

He says my lively spirit is what attracted him to me at first. Of course now that we are married, my "liveliness" can sometimes be a nuisance, to which I say "hey you picked me, now live with the consequences! (see what I did there?). Nonetheless, he appreciated that I was outgoing and energetic. He still admires my ability to talk to strangers, and to shamelessly go for things I want. I believe that having one or more things you deeply like and appreciate about your partner's character, can really do wonders for your relationship. And when I see elderly couples flirting and being adorably in love, I can only hope to learn their secrets to nurture and maintain those feelings over the years!

Having attraction is great. Having love is obviously most important. But having true admiration for one another is a bond that not all couples have. I'd be willing to say that it's a missing ingredient in a lot of failed relationships. When your admiration is shallow, it fades over time. Or worse, when it's non-existent, it can also mean you don't have much respect left for each other in general. Admiration and respect go hand in hand, and the good news is that it can be found, improved upon, and maintained through being mindful over time with your partner!

Of course, it takes two to tango. There are countless factors at play, and sometimes we aren't capable of admiring someone -- he or she isn't capable of inspiring admiration in us, or vice versa. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done to make a relationship last. But sometimes, there is. I encourage you to find and list things about your partner that you admire, and make sure to tell them often!

Want to read more about my dating and marriage journey? Aww thanks! You can find me blogging at Society Letters, or on Instagram!