Any marriage can be a happy marriage if both spouses are committed to each other.
If you are looking for a way to pick up girls, this isn’t the article for you. But if you want to know how to find the right woman to marry, the one with whom you could happily spend the rest of your life, then read on.
Most of us marry someone in the heat of emotional infatuation. The psychological term is limerance, and basically, it’s that period of time, usually lasting 12-24 months, where we are crazy, madly “in love.” A good number of couples find their way from limerance to a state of true love. For those that don’t, they either live life in an average marriage or split up.
Personally, I didn’t do everything right while dating, it was a learning process. My wife and I have now been happily married for nearly 25 years because early on we learned to follow some important principles.
To help you out, I believe that one way to give yourself a better shot at a great marriage is to start at the beginning. Like me, I hope you will take the time to think through how you decide whom you will marry. If you are going to make a lifelong commitment, then consider these suggestions.
Decide What You Want
Do you know what type of person you want to marry? When I was dating, I quickly learned I didn’t want to marry someone just like me. At that age, I believed I was a high extrovert. I needed to be the center of attention. Had I married someone with the same tendencies, it would have been a constant battle of the wills.
I made this mistake more than once in dating. I eventually learned the best mate for me would be someone with more introverted tendencies. A person who was thoughtful and introspective, who could help me to tame myself. Now I’m no longer a high extrovert. I’ve changed into an ambivert.
An ambivert is someone who has characteristics of both extroverts and introverts and has some of the needs of each. So although I still often enjoy being the center of attention and owning a room, there are times when I just need to be in a quiet place with someone who doesn’t need me to be always “on.”
First, know yourself and then look for the type of woman who brings out the best in you, not the worst.
Date Multiple Women and Don’t Move Too Quickly
Through high school and college, I dated a lot of girls. A LOT. I tended to frequently think I was in love. I wasn’t, it was all limerance. But the value of dating multiple women is that you have the opportunity to learn what you like and what you don’t like.
For example, I learned that certain personalities just turned me off. She might look like a runway model, but if she took life too seriously, I knew there was no future for us. On the opposite side, if she wasn’t interested in learning and growing, then I quickly grew bored. I only made the first mistake once, but I fell into the second trap a few times.
My wife is smart, is always looking to become the best version of herself, has a great sense of humor and thinks life is a lot of fun. The perfect girl for me! But it took some time and patience to find her. She was worth every minute.
Know Your Values and Make Sure they Match
This one trips up a lot of couples in the first few years of marriage. They have the wedding and honeymoon then discover they don’t agree on almost every important issue. When you are dating, make sure your values match those of anyone who is a serious contender for matrimony. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your possible future spouse:
- What are your spiritual beliefs?
- What are your views on political and social issues?
- Do you want children and if so how many?
- What are your thoughts on education for children?
- How do you handle money?
- Do you want to spend your life living where you are now or would you consider moving at some point in the future?
- Do you need the security of a regular job or do you have an entrepreneurial bent?
- Where do you see yourself in ten years?
- What are your goals and aspirations?
- In any area of your life, what are things that are completely non-negotiable?
Marry with Your Head, not just Your Heart
When my wife and I married, we were certainly in the throes of limerance. But we also realized marriage was a commitment for life. Together, we decided we would not consider or even discuss divorce. We made a vow with our minds and not just our hearts.
On your wedding day, surrounded by beautiful music, friends and family and a woman who takes your breath away, you are probably not thinking with logic. Emotions envelop and course through you. Be sure before that day you have considered, to the best of your ability, that this is someone with whom you will enjoy being with until death parts you.
My wife and I married at relatively young ages, but I had followed most of the recommendations above. Any marriage can be a happy marriage if both spouses are committed to each other. However, it’s so much easier if you marry with forethought rather than just emotions. Know what you want, what you don’t want, be sure of shared values, and use your head more than your heart. This is how you find the person you will enjoy loving for a lifetime.
Photo: Flickr/ Maria Rosaria Sannino