Looking for a life partner? Here’s what to consider
Posted Wednesday, April 18 2012 at 00:00
In the past few months, I have received many questions from single people who are either thinking of, or getting ready for marriage. Today, I will attempt to respond to some of the most common questions.
What should I bear in mind when choosing a life partner?
Before you even get down to the business of choosing the person to get married to, you need to know what kind of person you are and what you are looking for in life generally.
Getting into the murky field of relationships without knowing oneself is a sure ticket to heartache and failed relationships.
Second, and closely related to my first point, set your standards for the kind of person you want for a spouse.
This should be a basic list, based on your personal values and standards. Obviously, a very tight utopian list of requirements for a Mr Right or Miss Right may be counterproductive.
A realistic set of requirements is necessary to avoid falling for every Tom, Dick, and Harry who flashes a gold ring.
Another common question is in regard to the stages that are involved in preparation for marriage.
There is no convention in this, but I will provide a rough guide, (at the risk of appearing archaic) comprising friendship, courtship, and finally marriage.
I am indebted to Mary Whelchel and her book, Common Mistakes Singles Make. I would advise all singles to read this book.
Friendship involves three key factors: attraction, mutual interest, and enjoyment.
People are brought together by different circumstances, and being attracted to each other moves the connection from mere acquaintance to friendship.
This is deepened further when people find common ground in their values, interests, and goals in life.
Progressively, people realise that they enjoy one another’s company and want to spend more time together.
Courtship is next, and is characterised by deeper knowledge of each other, commitment, sacrifice, love, and growing intimacy.
It is to the benefit of both of you to be open and realistic with each other. If this is successfully navigated, the couple is ready for a lifelong commitment.
First, rushing through the process is a common point of failure. In these modern times, the process takes between six months and a year, sometimes as short as three months, as opposed to at least two years in the past.