The Top Eleven Good Reasons to Get Married
By Tina B. Tessina, PhD LMFT
Dating is a chance to practice relating to a number of different people, before committing to the intense intimacy and the responsibility of a true relationship. The whole point of dating is to experience your new friend without making a commitment. No matter how intense your feelings might be, don’t expect that your date is interested in a commitment until the subject is discussed.
If your dating experience lasts a while with this person, you will hopefully have an opportunity to disagree, to solve some problems, and to spend enough time together, in enough different situations, to figure out whether your relationship will work.
You’d think the positive signs in a date would be obvious, but with all the excitement, the most important clues can be overlooked. What makes for a great date may not be all you need for a great relationship. This checklist of positive signs will help you evaluate your date in a realistic manner. If you get a lot of these positives, this date might be a good choice for marriage.
Sense of Humor
Of all the characteristics that are essential for getting through life successfully, a sense of humor has to be in the top ten. But, what kind of a sense of humor? Joking at someone else’s expense or at inappropriate times can be counter-productive. Using jokes to avoid taking responsibility for one’s behavior can prevent you from solving problems. The sense of humor you’re looking for is the generous, positive kind that makes life more fun and the tough times easier. If your date can make your laugh, and lift your spirits, that talent may help you through some future difficulties.
Cares What You Think
A date who asks for and listens to your opinions and feelings, and better yet, who remembers what you say and builds on it later, and who responds with empathy, sincerity, and caring, is someone you can communicate with and therefore, more likely to be able to form a partnership with you. If you pay attention, you can quickly notice the difference between the appearance of caring and true interest. If your relationship is successful, you’ll have years of talking to each other, so find someone who is interesting to talk to and also interested in talking with you. Your date should be able to carry on an interesting discussion on a variety of topics, and at least show interest, even if the topic is not something he or she is familiar with.
Has An Opinion, Too
A truly good conversationalist not only listens to your words and response but also has ideas and opinions. Your date should not hesitate to disagree with you or to bring up new topics.
Can Work Things out with You
Recent research shows that the single most important quality which determines whether a relationship can succeed is how well the couple solves problems. If you have a disagreement while dating, welcome it as an opportunity to see how well the two work it out together. If you can discuss your differences without becoming defensive or sarcastic, and you can listen to each other and work together toward a solution, your relationship has an excellent chance.
Accepts Who You Are
A well-known book asserts that “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus”, but I think it’s more that we’re all from different planets. You and your date are unique, special, and individual and need to be able to understand each other and accept that you’ll perceive things very differently. Even when you and your date see things differently, you should be able to agree to disagree. Remember, the security and comfort in your relationship will come from where you and your partner are similar, and the excitement and growth in the relationship are generated from your differences. Different interests, opinions, attitudes, and ideas will keep things fresh and alive between you. If your date does not become defensive or threatened by your differences, you can be interesting to each other for a long time.
Openness: Discloses Self
The whole point of dating, as we said before, is to get to know each other. While you both may want to take a little time before disclosing too much, your date should be comfortable talking about him or herself, and it should not be like tooth pulling to find out what you need to know.
A Together Life: Job, Friends, Family Relationships, Interests
A date who has a full, interesting life you would want to be a part of is more likely to be a healthy, balanced person. While it’s important to have some relaxation time, and time to meditate or think, a life that includes a good career, hobbies or sports, community service, and friends and/or family is reassurance that your date is motivated, focused, and able to relate.
Your date doesn’t need to be a member of Mensa or a mathematical genius but look for enough intelligence that you can respect and admire each other. There are several kinds of intelligence, from school learning to independent education by reading, working, traveling, and life experiences. An “airhead” who looks good and may be fun to play with, will not keep you interested for long. A date who is not interested in learning and growing intellectually may not be able to keep up over the long haul.
Modesty, Humility, Ego (In Balance)
As you learn about this new person you’re dating, observe his or her character and personality for signs of a balanced sense of self. If your date can keep success and failure in perspective, admit personal shortcomings, and rise above disappointments and losses, he or she does have a balanced personality and the kind of resilience that can travel through life’s highs and lows and keep it all in perspective.
While it’s fun and charming to be able to be childlike when in a playful mood, it’s essential to be an adult whenever necessary. A date who is responsible, self-regulating, emotionally responsive, motivated, and in control of his or her impulses, is capable of being a supportive, fully participating partner, no matter what joys and sorrows, successes and failures you may face in the course of a lifetime.
Healthy History of Relationships (Not Perfect, Just Normal)
Of course, if both of you are dating again, your relationship history will probably not be perfect. What counts is whether your date has learned from the problems, confronted his or her own weaknesses and shortcomings, and grown as a result of the setbacks. If your date is willing to talk openly about his or her past relationships and can explain what went wrong and how he or she is learning to correct the problems, the difficulties in past relationships can be an asset rather than a liability. If your date expresses a willingness to seek counseling in the event that problems should occur, score that in his or her favor.
Remember, a smart date will be watching for the same characteristics in you. To do well in a relationship, learn to be the partner you would like to be. © 2020 Tina B. Tessina (from Dr. Romance’s Guide to Finding Love Today https://tinyurl.com/y8tdwwje )
Author Bio: Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (www.tinatessina.com) is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 40 years’ experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 15 books in 17 languages, including Dr. Romance’s Guide to Finding Love Today; It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty; Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, The Real 13th Step, How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together and How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog (drromance.typepad.com), and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” and offers courses at GenerousMarriage.com. Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, TV, video, and podcasts. She tweets @tinatessina