What relationship traits do you think need to exist in order to have a great marriage?
With the divorce rate being what it is these days, marriage definitely isn't something to take lightly. After all, most of us aren't anything like a certain reality star whose reputation is currently at major risk for her speedy marital shenanigans. Most of us want to be completely sure we're compatible with our potential life partner before zipping down the aisle.
I'll never forget my mom telling me what the rabbi who married my parents said to them before they took their vows over 35 years ago. He told them that there are three things you must be in sync with in order to keep your marriage afloat: Money, family, and sex. Sounds simple enough, but one or all of those things can get hairy at some point for any couple! So, while I think that's a terrific general guideline, there are definitely more nuanced ways to tell if you're a match made in monogamous heaven. Jacqueline Del Rosario, "America's Marriage Doctor," offered her take on some of those ways.
- You are like-minded. Del Rosario explains, "While you don't have to be exactly the same (let's face it, that would be boring), you do need to have congruent core morals and values." This is something I learned again and again when I was out there in the minefield known as the dating scene. There were guys who I realized right off the bat had completely polar opposite values (often they were super-materialistic, posing as "ambitious"). Not gonna work!
- Your temperament balances one another. In other words, even if you're total opposites -- and you can be "the Yin to your mate's Yang," says Del Rosario -- those differences have to create harmony in some way, shape, or form. You're headed for a roller coaster of disaster if your tendencies are just too different. I can definitely relate ... the boyfriend and I can be on two ends of the spectrum (passive vs. outgoing, chill vs. go-go-go) from time to time, but our energies seem to balance out. We learn from one another and make each other stronger in spite of our differences.
- You're both willing to do the work. This is obviously super-important for any marriage. Can't head into lifelong commitment territory without being on the same page about how much effort it's going to take to keep your marriage healthy and happy. Similarly, you should know whether or not you're able to resolve problems and work through conflict as a team, explains Del Rosario. That's what partnership is about after all, right?
- You speak the same "love" language. It may sound a bit cheesy, but basically this just means that you're able to understand/respect/learn/appreciate one another's romantic, sexual, and emotional needs. Seems to reflect what my parents' rabbi had to say to them about sexual compatibility. And that's not to say it's always going to be easy, but you have to both be willing to put in the effort to satisfy one another. (See #3.)
- You're attracted to one another. Sure, looks fade, but "fundamental human attraction can keep the fires burning between the two of you -- physically and emotionally," says Del Rosario. It seems to me the happiest couples who have been together the longest amount of time seem to have been perpetually drawn to one another. Each believes the other is majorly HOT!
- You genuinely like who they are as a person. To me, this one is HUGE! So often, we fall for that guy we're attracted to, but who we could never be friends with ... because he's a jerk or it's more about sex than a mental connection. Del Rosario argues that "a relationship must be based upon a solid friendship that can stand the test of time." You should really truly be able to say your partner is your best friend. I never knew you could have those two things rolled into one person ... that is, until I met my boyfriend. Once you find that, I think it's safe to say you've hit the hubby jackpot.
Do you agree with this checklist? What other relationship traits do you think need to exist in order to have a great marriage?