What qualities would you currently view as essential in a potential marriage mate?
There is nothing wrong with any of the above traits. Each of them has its own appeal.
As you mature, however, you begin using your perceptive powers to examine deeper issues, such as those in the right-hand column. For instance, you start to realize that the cutest girl in the neighborhood may not be trustworthy or that the most popular boy in class may not be morally upright. If you're "past the bloom of youth"-the time of life when sexual desires first become strong-you most likely look beyond the superficial traits to answer the question, Is this person right for me?
Will Just Anyone Do? - Over the course of time, more than a few members of the opposite sex may catch your eye. But not just anyone will do. After all, you want a lifelong mate, someone who will bring out the best in you and for whom you will do the same. Who might that person be? Before you can answer that question, you need to 'look in the mirror' and honestly evaluate yourself.
What are my strengths?
What are my weaknesses or vulnerabilities?
What emotional needs do I have?
Getting to know yourself is no small task, but questions like those can get you started. The more you understand yourself, the better equipped you will be to find someone who will amplify your strengths rather than your weaknesses. What, though, if you think you have found someone who is right for you?
Will This Relationship Work? To answer that question, look at your friend objectively. Be careful, though! You might be inclined to see only what you want to see. So take your time. Try to perceive your friend's true nature.
Many who date don't look beyond the surface. Instead, they quickly point to the things they have in common: 'We like the same music.' 'We enjoy the same activities.' 'We agree on everything!' you will look beyond superficial traits. You need to discern "the secret person of the heart."
For example, rather than focus on how much you agree on things, it might be more revealing to note what happens when you disagree. In other words, how does this person handle conflict-by insisting on his or her way, perhaps giving in to "fits of anger" or "abusive speech"? Or does this person show reasonableness-a willingness to yield for the sake of peace when no issue of right or wrong is at stake?
Another factor to consider: Is the person manipulative, controlling, or jealous? Does he or she demand to know your every move? "Possessiveness and jealousy are danger signs," says a young woman named Nicole. "I hear of dating couples who fight because one person can't stand that the other hasn't constantly 'checked in'-I think that's a bad sign."
How is your boyfriend or girlfriend viewed by others? You may want to talk to those who have known this person for some time. They will let you know if this person is "well reported on."