If you're a person who believes marriage looks like some perfect fairytale ending, and is a life partnership filled with someone who supports your every dream, goal and aspiration, I suggest you don't read any further, because you won't be happy with what I have to say.
On the other hand, if you're interested in maintaining a long-term union with a person with shared priorities and values, I suggest you learn to see marriage as a successful business partnership. While I know this may not sound very romantic, having this viewpoint can be one of the keys to long-term happiness.
As an Applied Positive Psychologist, a person who coaches business owners and a happily married woman, my life experiences have caused me to realize that there are a few keys to creating a thriving business that can be also be used in building a successful marriage. How your partner handles himself professionally can be very telling of how he'll treat your marriage. Here are three business cues to pay attention to when choosing your mate.
Look for a failure.
To build a successful marriage, partner with someone who has failed. I know your mother probably told you to find the most successful person possible to marry. She may have even used that dreaded line, "You can love a rich man just as easy as a poor man." Your mother was wrong. Success is easy. When things are going well, having a partner to share things with is icing on the proverbial wedding cake. It's when life turns hard that we need the most support. How a person handles failure, and rebounds from that failure, tells you more about their character and what your life together will look like than success ever will.
Beware of those who "lawyer up."
How did the person of your dreams settle their last business dispute? Did they lawyer up and fight to the end no matter the economic and personal cost? If they did, run as fast as you can from the wedding altar! How a person solved and dissolved partnership issues in the past is exactly how they'll solve and dissolve life-love issues with you. Take note and don't say you weren't warned.
Go for the service provider, not the sales person.
Romance is the ultimate sales pitch. You have a need (you want to be in love and have a partner) and you're in the market to make a major acquisition. Unfortunately, you'll probably go for the person with the best, most compelling sales pitch. And you'll probably make a mistake.
Sales people are focused on winning customers. Customer service providers, on the other hand, are focused on satisfying your needs and helping you have the best experience. Who would you like to spend your life with? Someone who was fast on the uptake, or someone who cares and works at helping you meet your needs and creating the best possible outcome?
Some say that we teach people how to treat us, but in dating and marriage, too many times we don't have enough time together to make the best decisions. That's why looking at how they handle their careers and business lives is a hint as to how they'll treat you.
The best part about looking at marriage as a successful business is that you enter the relationship knowing you want to build something that will last generations instead of being swept off your feet in the moment. Businesses that are built to last have shared priorities and values. Marriages that stand the test of time are built on the same foundation.