In my five years of experience…just kidding, it’s been well over seven years – okay, 25+, I’ve come to believe that there are things that should be considered before making a commitment to a romantic partnership. For the sake of simplification, I am using “he” because I am currently married to one, but please substitute any appropriate pronoun you’d feel comfortable with. I believe the following applies to any long-term and committed relationship. I hope my attempt at inclusivity does not offend anyone.
- Physical attraction. He doesn’t have to appeal to everyone, and frankly the fewer other people he’s considered attractive to, the better. Competition should play no part in this quest. It should go without saying that you must think he’s attractive. You should also think long term. If possible, look at his father. Does he have the potential to still be attractive at 65? After 65, it doesn’t matter. I mean does anybody really look hot after 65. Unless you’re 65, sorry, I’m sure you find other 65-year old’s attractive, but I’m not 65 yet so I just can’t relate.
- A sense of humor. He must be able to make you laugh. And he should think you are, to some degree, funny too. Not necessarily “funny looking”, but, hey, I don’t really know what you think is hot. You might find “funny looking” a real turn-on.
- Minimal Annoyance-MA. If there is anything about him that is even the tiniest bit annoying when you start dating, ask yourself, “is this annoying thing that he does something that I can ignore, tolerate, or learn to love”. Because, without a doubt, if it bothers you a little bit at first, it will drive you out of your fire-trucking mind to an increasing degree every year of your marriage. And as with all things, do not count on being able to change him. On the other hand, he may not know how annoying it is, so if you can point it out and he stops doing/saying/wearing it, there’s hope for this aspect of your relationship. But this should only be attempted pre-marriage. Post wedding it will only lead to a fight which will last the entirety of your relationship. This point leads to the next…
- COMMUNICATION! This cannot be emphasized enough. I, of course, have not done extensive research because I don’t have that particular skill set, but I believe poor or lack of communication either before or during a union is the cause of 90% of divorces. I executed an “in-depth” study shortly before I was married, I polled my uncle, who was in the middle of his third divorce, and asked if he knew why this kept happening to him. He explained that the inability to communicate effectively was, in each instance, the reason for his divorces so far. What he said was more like, “After they stopped wanting to have sex every night, I realized they were all bat-shit crazy, phenomenally ignorant and all I could hear was, ‘blah, blah, blah’.”
- Examples of effective communication might include:
- Answering the question, “does my ass look fat in these jeans” without that person running out of the room in tears, would indicate that you’re off to a good start.
- Being able to say such things without rolling your eyes as…
- Your mother is amazing, be sure to let her know how much we’d love for her to drop in unannounced anytime she wants
- I love how you make every meal your own by adding lots of rosemary
- It’s so adorable when you snore
- I’m impressed by your ability to survive lane changes despite the fact that you signal after you’ve already done so
- I am not having an affair, and I’ll never do it again
- Obviously lying is not ideal, but if you do, be prepared to swear to it for life and for the love of all that’s holy in your marriage, be consistent.
- Examples of effective communication might include:
- Monogamy/Staying faithful. It is vital that an agreement be made either before, during or after sleeping with someone outside of your marriage, whether doing so is condoned, tolerable or preferred. Ignoring such an important covenant is most likely a deal breaker. If applicable, your God should be consulted.
- Allow for an adaptable sexual relationship. (Kids, stop reading now, oh and Catholics, too) Open communication regarding lovemaking/sex/coitus should be ongoing. It is important that you begin by employing an introspective examination to determine how much vanilla you are willing to enjoy, or if it is possible that you consider other flavors. I am not going to go into any more detail than that-don’t ask me, that’s what Wikipedia is for. Understand that not only is it important to know what flavor you prefer but being open to and accepting that it is possible for tastes to change; so, to thine own self be true.
Come on back all you kids and Catholics
- Be sure to share a canoe to float trip down a reasonably challenging river. If after you pull the boat out of the water for the last time you are still in love with your proposed significant other, you’ve passed a fairly substantial test of your future relationship’s stability. If on the other hand, you, or the other feel like you’d prefer to never ever share a boat with that asshole, or if one of you drowns-no judgement, this might be a good indicator of incompatibility.
- Finally, consider this, if you wake up in a cold sweat from a nightmare in which you are married to a potential spouse, your subconscious may be hinting at your heart’s true desire, or more likely, it may be pounding at the door of your prefrontal cortex to indicate your deep-seated fear of that particular life choice. True story.
I guarantee* that if you follow these suggestions and those of anyone who’s been married for longer than 25 years, the likelihood of staying together will increase by at least 2 to 3% of the national average. Choose wisely.
Best wishes, love you…L
*I don’t actually guarantee any of this.