How to choose a partner?
I hate to admit, but I am a compulsive googler. I’m pretty sure some of you out there are closet googlers too. So, this one goes out to you, especially if you are in a relationship (or just even seeing someone on the arranged marriage market) and wondering if you should get married to the person you are currently seeing. You want to start by asking yourself these five questions –
Do you get along?
If you are familiar with consulting interviews, a popular way of interviewing someone is to assess if you’re willing to be stuck with this person on an 8 hour flight because most committed relationships are like long haul flights, where you can’t possibly jump off the plane while on the journey. You could change seats (read partners), but it’s not easy so you better sit next to someone you “think” you can survive the journey with.
Is there a shared vision?
This is quite easy to get wrong as it doesn’t always mean that both of you should want the exact same things. It can be as simple as – does this person appreciate your dreams/ ambitions enough to stand by you? Achieving one’s dreams is hard enough already, you need someone who’s willing to cheer you on or not tug you down at the very least. The way to find out is through talking about lots of things that matter to you – work, food, travel, family, social causes, etc. – question is does this person listen to you, understand what matters to you and respect it?
Have they thought about marriage?
This is important, because you aren’t just looking for a flatmate to share rent with or recruit a new employee into your household. Have they thought about what kind of a spouse they want, what kind of a partner they want to be or how they plan to accommodate all the changes that come with marriage? It’s easy to tell based on what they’re asking you and what they’re telling you. If they’ve just walked in with a laundry list that they want to check off by the end of the night with the slightest of regards for what you want, give them another chance but if they fail yet again, move on. The first thing about marriage is thinking beyond oneself, and if this person’s struggling to do that, it probably means they’re not ready yet.
What about kids?
30 years ago, this question would have never made the list. But today, this is a very important question in most relationships. A lot of people today consciously choose not to have children for a variety of reasons that are personal and convenient for each. However, being married to someone who doesn’t share your thoughts about having kids can be quite frustrating and a sacrifice that may not seem worth it if your partner ceases to be around. It’s not just about whether to have kids, but when you’d like to have them, and through what means requires alignment with your partner.
What is your gut saying?
We almost always know when it’s a yes or a no. It’s with the maybes that most of us have an issue with. When someone seems good enough, we like to hang on see if we’ll get more convinced over time. This is a trap you must avoid at all costs. If you really want to be able to make a firm decision, sooner rather than later, I’d say finish the thinking bit even before you meet someone and then let your gut lead the decision. More often than not, our gut leads us to better decisions that we respect for much longer, so if you are a romantic like me, trust your gut.
This is not the ultimate guide to a great marriage, but this gives you a great head-start into making a well informed decision in a short period of time. If you have your own set of questions you’d like to run with, feel free to do so but make sure these are questions remain relevant even after you get married.
Good luck, happy spouse hunting!