While you may love plenty of people, very few will meet your qualifications for a life partner, according to Susan Heitler, Ph.D., in the article "Can I Trust My Gut to Know I've Found My True Love." Still, it's hard to know who's right -- no one wants to jump into a lifetime of commitment only to realize that his marriage has serious problems. While you should listen to your gut to connect with your intuition and you should pay attention to your heart to assess your level of attraction, you also need to analyze your relationship logically to see if the woman you love will be a good marriage partner.
Are You Ready?
Before you can marry the woman of your dreams, you have to be ready for the reality of marriage itself. In the article "Marriage Advice: 8 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Saying 'I Do,'" marriage coach Amy Schoen recommends assessing whether you have positive or negative thoughts about marriage in general. If your parents are divorced, you know mostly unhappy couples, and you believe that most marriages end in divorce, you may not be ready for marriage. Furthermore, if finding a marriage partner is one of your top wishes, you're probably ready to settle down. Are you over your exes? Do you have commitments such as children or aging parents that make it hard to be available? Whatever the case, make sure that you are sincerely open to entering a committed relationship.
Does She Have Marriage Potential?
Though every woman is different, a few standard characteristics will ensure she's a good partner for the long run, suggests Heitler. These include having good self-esteem, taking care of herself in terms of a job/money, and never intentionally trying to hurt you. You also shouldn't be embarrassed to take her anywhere; when you do, she should make most situations better, not more difficult. You should like her as well as love her, meaning she should be your friend too. And as for the all-important sex element, hopefully she's "good, giving and game," meaning good in bed, interested in giving and receiving equally and game for new sexual adventures, within reason.
What's Her History?
You should know intimately your partner's personal history in order to make a fair assessment of her character. TV personality and relationships expert Dr. Phil McGraw cautions that the best way to tell how she'll fare as your wife is to analyze how she's behaved in the past. Her behavior towards past partners and towards you are both indicators. Also look at what your partner might have learned about marriage from her parents -- often people live out what they experienced as children.
Does She Communicate Well?
Of course, no one is going to be perfect. If you both are strong communicators who are able to talk about differences, you have a strong chance of surmounting difficulties. Love, good mental health, strong character and respect are all fundamental to a marriage, but cooperative communication is the glue that keeps partners together. Thankfully, that skill can be learned with enough dedication.
Does She Have Any Serious Problems?
Unfortunately there are issues that even loving respect and creative collaboration can't solve. Certain issues are likely to destroy any future marriage. A predilection for substance abuse, marital anger, and affairs will likely plunge you into misery. Serious mental illness can also make a partnership extremely unhappy and difficult. Bipolar illness, borderline personality disorder and psychotic episodes can cause a great deal of upset, disappointment and drama in a relationship. Of course, if your partner is getting appropriate treatment and is stable, you could build a successful life together. Even ordinary flaws should be red flags. Dishonesty and meanness can make your marriage just as troubled any of the above issues.