Following Your… Head?

by Chloe on February 12, 2013

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Marriage material.

It’s a word men and women know way too well. However, many spend their single years uncertain about whether or not the one they’re dating, living with, or engaged to is ‘the one.’

Those who have been involved in relationships know that it’s possible to have many love interests before marriage. However, out of all the potential mates, one survives.

So how do you know if you’ve found The One?

The phrases, “Trust your gut,” or “Follow your heart,” are very important when finding a potential long term partner because your ‘heart’ signals sexual attraction and affection. These types of feelings, however, can lead to whims and eventually, the ‘deer in headlights moment’ when you realize you don’t have anything in common with this person.

Therefore, it could be said that the best way to find your lifetime partner is to engage your head, the place where you gather, store and assess data, instead of your gut, to see if the person you’re dating can go the distance and give you lifelong happiness.

Below are 4 tests proven by marriage councilors to see if you’ve found marriage material. If you’re not dating anyone, it’s to find the type of person you should be pursuing. 

#1: Don’t try to figure out what makes him/her tick… Know what makes YOU tick.

  • There is an incredible book by Erich Fromm called The Art of Loving. One of the most important lessons I took away from this book changed the way I view relationships forever. The lesson tells you to write down all the things you love about yourself. Take your top 5. These top five attributes should be a description of the person you are meant to be with. For example, if you love the fact that you are outgoing, dating someone who’s equally outgoing would benefit the relationship and prevent jealousy and boredom. If you love to stay in shape and work out, you shouldn’t date someone who chain smokes. Do you love your positive attitude towards life? You should stay clear of those who are cynical. If you were Kim Kardashian, why the hell would you marry Kris Humphries? By doing this test they could have spared the 72 days…

According to Jeremy Nicholson, M.S.W., Ph.D. from Psychology Today, if you’re already in a relationship and are looking to take it to the next level (co-habitation or marriage) this test is definitely worth trying.

#2: The Checklist: Marriage Material?

While studying more of Jeremy Nicholson’s research, I came across a checklist he shared from a friend who ended a two-year cohabitating love relationship. He used the checklist to decide whether or not he was going to marry or leave his wife. Create a checklist like mine below (feel free to use it if you agree with it) to highlight your deal breakers. For example

___ He must be a happy person, happy with himself and have a strong knowledge of who he is. If I was constantly surrounded by a Debbie Downer in the male flesh I would surely be miserable by the 1st month. Remember, don’t let the wrong people get the best of you.

___ He must have his shit together. If he’s a scrub, meaning he has no career aspirations, doesn’t know how to wash the dishes and his mother still picks up and cleans his dirty underwear, this is not going to work. If he can’t take care of himself, how on Earth is he going to take care of you?

___ He must have the willingness to forgive: Relationships are not easy, however, when your partner can move on without a grudge, there is less stress within the partnership.

___ I’m not embarrassed to take him places: If you find yourself avoiding traffic, going down strange allies, not introducing him or her to family and friends, and wearing a bag over your head in public, how on Earth are you supposed to stay with your partner until death do you part?

___ He must pass the “Wing Man” Test: Everyone has that one friend who you know will make the night more exciting if they come along. Everything is low maintenance, easy and more fun. I never want to feel as if I need to shut my phone off or block him on Four Square…

___ I must not just love him, but like him: He would be my friend if we weren’t dating.

___ He has as a history of long-term important friendships/relationships. It’s a bad sign if a person can’t maintain relationships with others. We’ve all seen Tiara on The Bachelor…

___ GGG:  GGG was created by Sex and Relationship advice columnist Dan Savage. Wikipedia writes: “In his March 1, 2007 columnist Savage summarized: “GGG stands for ‘good, giving, and game,’ which is what we should all strive to be for our sex partners. Think ‘good in bed,’ ‘giving equal time and equal pleasure,’ and ‘game for anything—within reason.’

___ He’s has to be comfortable enough with himself to believe that chivalry is NOT dead: The way your partner treats you is how you believe you should be treated.

___ He has a quirky side and can make me laugh until it hurts: Nothing is worse than someone who can’t find you funny. It’s the best when you find someone who vibes with your sense of humor.

3: RESPECT.

I firmly believe that this is the foundation of a long lasting relationship.

Whoever has been in a relationship where snooping through Facebook messages, text messages, call logs, emails and diaries knows that it’s a recipe for relationship disaster.  Overly jealous partners who cut off their partners from doing what makes them happy (hanging out with friends, friends of the opposite sex, or going out) creates the foundation and justification to begin to hate the other person, who ends up abolishing a lot of your necessities listed in the checklist above. Create boundaries and stick to them. Developing trust will allow both parties to endure less stress and more happiness. Confront your partner (ok, maybe interrogate….) him or her if they’re acting shady.

Also, respect comes from loyalty. If you find that you’re still contacting your ex or wanting to pursue others while you’re with your partner than you’re most likely in a dead end relationship.

Respect also comes from being selfless. If a partner you’re interested in isn’t emerging into your life and isn’t blindly taking on the things you enjoy, he or she may just be all about him or herself which doesn’t lead to longterm happiness.

4: Nice Guys Finish…. FIRST!

Pay attention to statistics: According to Jeremy Nicholson, Abusive anger, Affairs, Alcohol and other substance abuse are the main reasons why marriages fail. If you see your partner is showing repetitive signs of these tendencies it’s time to get help or get out.

I also strongly believe that if a partner is mean on a regular basis, he or she is not worth your time. It doesn’t matter if he’s sexy (he’ll lose his hair one day and get fat…), A badass (He’ll be in jail within five years), Smooth talking (He has five other girlfriends…), or worth 500 million dollars (It could be gone tomorrow…). You need to be best friends with your partner because most shallow things in life don’t last forever. (Insert… T-Swift)

What if my partner and I don’t exactly pass these tests?

The good news is that communication about differences may help eliminate difficulties the tests above indicate. If you still want the relationship to work but are having trouble seeing eye-to-eye maybe its time to write down all the things both of you love about yourselves and how they relate. Maybe it’s also time to start respecting each other again.

But just remember, when finding ‘marriage material’ you’re finding a life partner, or in other words, your other half and soul-mate. By using your gut AND your head, you may just be able to find happiness until death do you part.

 

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