If you’re in the market for a relationship, the heat is on. Finding the right one to marry is stressful! After all, till death do us part is a long time. Dating is full of excitement and thrill until one day, the inevitable white elephant shows up. Where is this relationship going? Do we take it to the next step? Should we move in together? Am I going to marry this person? When did such a blissful, carefree, fun relationship turn into such a heavy topic?
Since 2000, Americans have slowed the marriage train down significantly. Despite the population growth, marriage rates have declined from 8.2 (per 1,000) to 6.8 (per 1,000) in 2012. (1) People are starting their family life much later in the game than before. But, in my opinion, this is a good thing. You now have the time to get to know yourself… to know what you really want in life.
The key to a successful marriage is to find the right person at the right time. Easier said than done, yes, but these 7 steps will help clarify how to do this.
7 Steps to Marry the Right One at the Right Time
1. Make a list of specific characteristics that your future partner must possess.
I would argue that this is the most important thing you can do for yourself while single. Making/editing this list is particularly helpful when you have recently gotten out of a relationship. It will aid in the healing process because you will begin to clearly see why it didn’t work out. I suggest doing this when you are not dating. Why? Well, when we’re in relationships, we tend to minimize the bad and maximize the good. This is a fabulous trait to have in most instances, but not here.
When choosing a partner for life, you need to be picky.
Don’t overlook the bad. Be realistic…that bad trait will bug you even more when you’re married. Of course, no one is perfect, but don’t settle for less than what you need. Composing a list of traits you want in a future husband or wife will make your dating life a breeze, eliminate confusion and will increase your odds of finding your perfect match for a long, healthy marriage.
I made my list right after ending a very long relationship. I found it quite therapeutic, realizing why this certain man and I just weren’t meant to be. Seeing the traits that I needed not being fulfilled by him gave me clarity and strength in my decision. I’d pull out this list from time to time, especially after dating someone for a few months, to see how they measured up. I stuck to my guns and found the perfect man [for me] that met all 26 traits I had listed. I knew, without a doubt, that Chris and I were meant to be. Not only because my emotions told me so, but because he was able to put a check-mark in each box.
Now, I know you’re dying to know what my list was! Feel free to steal a couple if they resonate with you.
2. Continually edit your list.
I’m not saying you need to carry it around with you, just re-visit it from time to time, especially after meeting/dating new people. Different people and experiences will spark additions or subtractions from your list.
3. Begin as you mean to go.
Don’t start a relationship with someone if they don’t possess most [if not all] of your must-haves. Sure you can date, but don’t let yourself get in too deep. After all, what’s the point of dating if not to get to know someone to learn if they are right for you. Just be careful, there will be things about people that you do like, even if you know they don’t possess everything on your list. Don’t allow yourself to minimize the standards you set.
4. Be real with yourself.
Come to know what you want and who you are. Decide what you want in life. Do you even want to be married? Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. Or, you may realize that having kids just don’t sound like much fun. That’s okay! The American dream to own a house with a white picket fence and have three kids is not what everyone is striving to do anymore. If this sounds like you, embrace it. Don’t force something on yourself just because you think that’s what life should be. This is not only important for you, but also for those that you chose to date. If you’ve got a guy who is eager to settle down and have kids but your idea of fulfillment comes in the way of traveling to Barcelona and experiencing new things, the two of you may not be the right match at this time. Recognizing this and acting on it is what is important.
5. Be honest.
Be honest with yourself and be honest with those that you date. If you have taken the time to learn who you are and what you want out of life, dating will become easier.
You’ll run into relationship problems if your personal goals are fuzzy.
Why? Eventually, you will realize what you do and don’t want out of life. It’s best if you figure those things out before you make a lifelong commitment to someone. Sometimes people realize they want something entirely different than what they committed to do. Save everyone a lot of heartache and do most of your soul-searching before marriage.
6. Prepare yourself to not be a dependent.
Before you settle down, pave a way for your own future. If you’re in school, finish. If you are working, reach that next promotion level or find a decent paying job. It’s quite tempting, especially for women, to cut short their professional goals because it’s just easier (and more fun) to get married and have a family. But what happens if a tragedy occurs and now you’ve got kids, no spouse, and no way to financially provide for them? Always have a back-up and continually update that resume. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but I was taught to always have the ability to take care of myself.
Be prepared to be able to provide for yourself [and others] if need be, for you never know what the future holds.
That prompts the second reason why this is important. You don’t want to find yourself in a relationship where you feel stuck because of financial reasons. Being financially dependent may cloud your judgement and could make you feel like the inferior partner. This dynamic can very easily lead to an unbalanced and unhappy relationship.
7. Be an idiot and make stupid choices before you have a family.
Get it out of your system! If you have any desire inside of you to “rebel” do it while you’re not married. Experience life: whatever that means for you. Earn your degree. Travel. Party. Date. Play. Work. Whatever you feel like you need to do for yourself, do it. Because I’ll tell you this, once you’re married and have a family, life is no longer about you, it’s about them. And if you do consistently make it about you, your marriage will fail.
If you take to heart these 7 secrets to find the right one to marry at the right time, you will surely have a better shot at making your marriage work. The latest data available from the CDC report 53% of marriages are resulting in divorce. It’s worth the extra effort on the front end to attempt to avoid being one of these statistics. Marriage is hard work, don’t make it any harder than it needs to be!
My hope is that you find your right one at your right time. If you found this at all helpful, I’d be honored if you would share it!
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