1. Communication. The number one quality you must have in a partner is the ability to communicate. You must be able to tell them when you are happy, sad, frightened, and angry. Not only is it important to be able to say what you feel, but it is important to feel their support and concern when they hear what you say. If you feel belittled, teased, made fun of, or dismissed, then dismiss this partner prior to settling.
2. Sex. Sex is the glue to a relationship, and as important as having sex, the way you express your intimacy is extremely important. If your partner cannot make love to you in a way that you feel loved, it will only get worse in a marriage. Couples who are happier have more sex, and more sex creates more happiness. Do not settle in this area. If you cannot talk to your partner about sex without a heated argument, then let this person go prior to marriage.
3. Money. In every study I have read, sex and communication trumps money in regards to marital satisfaction. You don’t need to be a counselor very long before you understand that wealth cannot buy love. I have worked with more than my share of people who have millions, but are miserable in their relationship. It is important however for couples to have enough money to live a lifestyle they agree on. Money issues cause divorce because couples may not have explored what money symbolized for one another. If you want a partner who is ambitious, but the person you are dating lives by the day with no thought of working or saving, you are not a match made in heaven. If you are dating someone who lives with their parents at the age of thirty, there is a good chance this person would live off of you as well. Saying I didn’t marry someone due to money issues can sound harsh or shallow, but statistics would back you up with proof that you had made a wise choice.
People are getting married later and later, and finding it more difficult to find a suitable partner when they are ready. Some of the difficulty can be circumvented if you will individually get clear about where you stand on these three issues mentioned. It may be easier to project the blame on someone else, or continue saying, “I won’t settle.” What usually happens is you will settle, and if you settle in one of these areas, you most likely will live to regret that you settled. –Mary Jo Rapini
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