It`s never wise to marry someone you don`t love - but it`s even more foolish to marry for love alone. Steamy starts are wonderful, but passion can also prevent us from doing our best thinking. Chemistry aside, it is important that you ask yourself: "Is this relationship good for me?"
To answer that, try the following exercise: Think about the traits, qualities, and behaviour patterns that you consider essential in a partner, then jot down your top five. Maybe you need a husband to be honest, trustworthy, reliable and caring. Does your boyfriend meet those criteria? What`s his relationship history? Is he close to his family? Do you share core values and beliefs? Of course, picking a husband can`t be accomplished with a cut-and-dried list of pros and cons, but taking this kind of straightforward approach will help you direct your thinking.
Next, think about the emotional climate of your relationship - do you feel safe, comfortable and at ease when you`re with him? Are you able to share your true feelings with him? Can you talk openly about whatever matters to you? Does he enlarge your sense of self-worth and possibility or diminish it?
Third, consider qualities like mutual respect, empathy and nurturing. If you tell him that something is bothering you, does he listen? Consider your feelings and change his behaviour when appropriate? Is he fair-minded or is it crucial for him to always get his way?
Fourth, even if you are still in the passionate, honeymoon stage of your relationship, it`s smart to explore potential hot spots that could trip you up in the future - say, typical conflicts over managing money, dealing with in-laws, having children, dividing household chores, how you`ll spend your free time. Discussing these issues up front won`t prevent future clashes, but it will give you clues about your ability to negotiate differences - or whether you`ll get stuck in stubbornness and blame.
Finally, there are five good things that occur within a healthy relationship. Ask yourself if the following are present - or absent - when you are together:
Each person feels a greater sense of "zest."
Each person feels better able to take action - and does.
Each person has a more accurate picture of themselves and of each other.
Each person feels a greater sense of self-worth.
Each person feels connected - and is also motivated to connect with people outside the relationship.
Almost all women say they want a life partner who is competent and responsible, kind and nurturing, loving and attentive, sensitive and open. No one really says, "Well, to be honest, I`m hoping to find an irresponsible, distant, ill-tempered sort of guy who sulks a lot and is a total slob". But who we say we want and who we are actually drawn to - or settle for - are different matters. Don`t close your eyes, hold your nose, and jump into a big commitment. Rather than letting your emotions (or chemistry) run the show, take all the time you need to get to know him completely - and let him know you in return.