I'll repeat that. Never get married because you're in love.
Let me tell you why.
Ever been to a single's bar? Mosey on over to the one nearest you and watch what happens. When a man approaches a woman in a singles' bar - or a woman approaches a man - they each know exactly one thing about the other: how they look. She's attracted to him, he's attracted to her. And that physical chemistry forms the basis of whatever relationship may or may not develop. Now, they may think they're in love. But in fact, they are simply infatuated with each other.
Here's one to remember: Chemistry ignites the fire, but character keeps it burning. Chemistry - physical attraction - is not something to be ignored. But a deeply loving relationship based on mutual respect cannot stand on chemistry alone. That can only happen with someone whose character you can value and appreciate.
The best way (actually, the only way) to have a lasting relationship is to really look at the quality of the person you're dating. That means being on the lookout for specific character traits, both positive and negative. The top four qualities to look for are humility, kindness, responsibility and happiness.
Humility. What is humility? Well, it is not being a doormat. Letting people walk all over you is not necessarily a sign of humility. It's a sign of weakness.
Humble people are not weak. Humble people want to do the right thing rather than their thing, and that takes a lot of confidence and inner strength.
Someone who is humble will put values above convenience.
They can accept criticism without being defensive, because they're committed to personal growth rather than to comfort.
A humble person will not get angry easily, because they don't feel that anybody owes them anything. That's the reason they also tend not to be materialistic.
Now, you may think that the above description applies only to angels. And it would be a mistake to narrow your search down to someone who has mastered all of the above qualities that go along with humility. Nobody's perfect. But you should look for someone who values humility and is striving to achieve it. At the very least, ask yourself if the person you're dating is arrogant. You definitely do not want to marry an arrogant person who feels that people owe him or her the world.
Kindness. Kindness is more than just being a nice person. If you ask most engaged couples if their intended spouse is kind, they'll probably say yes. But the divorce rate is over 50%. If everybody is so kind, then why is the divorce rate so high? Because although people think that they're kind, they really lack a depth of kindness.
So, what's kindness? Being a kind person means being a giver, someone who's committed to giving pleasure and minimizing other people's pain. If two people like this get married, they are much less likely to suffer serious problems in their relationship. That's because each one is dedicated to the other's well-being.
How do you know if someone is truly a kind person? Look at how they treat the other people in their lives. How do they treat their parents, siblings and grandparents? Do they feel a sense of gratitude to their parents? If not, what makes you think they'll feel any sort of gratitude towards you after you're married?
Watch how they treat the "little people" towards whom they have no obligations - waiters, busboys, doormen, secretaries. How do they treat their employees? What's their business reputation like? Are they ruthless?
Does the person you're dating do volunteer work? If not, do they give charity? If the answer to both questions is no, that isn't a good sign.
Do they drive courteously? What happens when they drink, when they lose control a little bit? How do they act?
Take note of the answers to these questions. Write them down so that you'll have a whole picture in front of you when you need to make a decision about whether or not to continue a relationship.
Responsibility. First thing, ask yourself: Is this person irresponsible? If the answer is yes, be careful. You do not want to marry an irresponsible person. If your first, off the cuff answer is no, then check them out.
Do they have a stable work history? Do they have stable friendships? Do they have long-term friendships, or do they need to move around a lot?
Ask yourself: Can you rely on this person? Do you feel safe and secure with them? Another good question is to ask yourself is if you can trust what the other person says. Do they stand behind what they say? Do they live up to their commitments?
Happiness. You might be stumped on that one. Since when is happiness a character trait?
That all depends on how you define happiness. A happy person is someone who is basically content, who focuses on what they have, not on what they don't have.
Life has no guarantees. Anyone can be dealt a hard blow. But a person who is internally happy will be able to get past life's obstacles, whereas someone who is constantly focused on the negative will have a much harder time. And you want to be married to someone who can smile at life.
So remember: Never get married just because you're in love - focus on character, not on chemistry. Look for a quality person to share your life with, someone humble, kind, responsible and happy. You deserve no less!
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