"You must choose, but choose wisely. For as the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you." This ominous quote about choices is from the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Think about the most important choices you make in life. Making the best decisions starts with knowing yourself and being honest about what you deeply want. Sure, while making decisions, other people are considered, but it begins and ends with you.
You believe you are in love and decide that you will choose this person as your life partner or spouse. This decision will impact your life for a very long time and hopefully for the rest of your life in the best ways possible. Being completely honest with yourself about who you are and who this person is, and what each of you are coming into the relationship with, can help you to make the best possible decision. You choose to be with someone because of the way they make you feel, right? Or is the choice made because how you imagine what life with this person, at its best, will look? Is it wishful thinking, or is your image based on evidence and things you know to be true? These are important questions to think about before going through with commitment. Here are some guidelines to help.
As I mentioned, knowing yourself, your dreams, your strengths and weaknesses is the first step to making the right choice. Here are some questions to ask your self.
- Are you at a place of balance in your life?
If you are at a place in your life where you are balanced in your work, mind, body and spirit, you are more likely to enter into a healthy relationship, with a healthy person.
- Can you stand on your own?
If you can stand on your own in your life, and not be in a mindset of dependency on another person, you enter the relationship on equal terms with the person. You come from a place of strength in yourself and not dependency or co-dependency. This makes you a solid and emotionally healthy partner.
- What are your life beliefs, expectations and desires?
It is important for you to get clear on how you would like your life to look as the mature, honest person that you are. Things like: children, religious beliefs and expectations, life goals, where you want to live, are all important ideas to think about. Be sure that your partner and you match up or agree on these items when the time comes for this discussion.
- What is the other family like?
The truth is that the pressures a person's family or your family might put on a relationship can be huge. These people are going to interact with you forever and if you get a major "ick" feeling regarding these people, then do a reality check to determine if you can live with these individuals in your life. On the other hand, if they are warm and wonderful, your life will be all the better with them in it. Family ties are generally strong and can be a blessing or a curse. How about your family dynamics? Do you have a healthy family? No one is perfect, but pause to think of your family relationships and if there could be some honest work done within your own family. There's no time like the present. Right?
- How does your significant other treat you?
On the surface, all seems to be good, but are you jumping through hoops to make him/her happy all of the time? Are you on guard making sure things go smoothly to keep them in a good mood? Be very mindful of how you are treated to be sure you are not with someone who controls, criticizes or manipulates you. Also, bag the person who always keeps you guessing. Staying with a person who is wrong for you is like living your life in clothes that fit horribly, where you are always adjusting and never feeling comfortable. Listen to your gut on this one, please. There are more and more narcissists and sociopaths in the world and you don't want to be married to one. Trust me. Now ask the same questions of yourself. Do you play games with your guy/girl to keep them guessing? Do they have to work to keep you happy? Hmmm.
- Is the person practicing addictive behaviors?
If they are, then you don't really know, nor can you fully trust the person. He or she has a long road of recovery ahead, and if they have not admitted they have a problem or begun the practice of healing, then you are marrying their addiction. This includes eating disorders as well. If the girl or guy is always very rigid on meals, exercise and their appearance, then you have a red flag waving at you. Be honest and get the issues on the table, and do what is right for you. My #1 piece of advice for clients is, "what is best for you is best for everyone." When you are being honest and honoring your needs and feelings you also give the other person the opportunity to do what is best for them. It just is good all around. Ignoring signs of problems allows the person to get worse or ignore what needs help.
- Are you practicing addictive behaviors?
Drinking to excess, taking drugs or eating disordered behaviors, are due to the need for self-medicating and to avoid feeling emotions. If you are actively working on these addictions and have met them head on, then you can likely be a good life partner as you continue to move forward in your self-discovery and healing. If you have not reached the point of getting treatment or confronting your issues, then you will probably experience a dependency on the person, expecting them to meet your needs while not taking care of yourself in a healthy way.
- Finally, how do you feel in this relationship?
If you feel comfortable, loved and cherished, equal and calm in this relationship, like you are finally home, then congratulations! Make that choice. It sounds like a keeper. Making life choices isn't so hard when you remain TAO: Transparent, Authentic and Open. Marriage and life partnership are not objects to win, but instead are earned with trust and love. The reward for being TAO is a life with a loving, honest companion and best friend.
Once you're able to answer these questions honestly, you will then be able to determine if you are ready to choose your life partner. Ready, set, answer!
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