He’s so much fun to date, but what will he be like in 20 years?
If you’re dating with the goal of finding your future husband, you can’t just find a man you enjoy.
You’ve got to figure out whether you’ll be able to make a good life together, which requires balancing two very different perspectives:
The pleasures of the present…
With practical considerations for the future.
For young women just starting out in their romantic life, the pleasures of the present often outweigh the future.
They are in love with the idea of falling in love and meeting their one special guy. They just know that their life together will be hearts and rainbows. All they have to do is find him.
And how do they know they’ve found him?
By the strength of their feelings, of course!
What matters most is how they feel when they’re with him, and how they feel about him, and how he makes them feel.
As we gain relationship experience, however, we realize that we have to think about the future.
A man who is great fun may not be a great partner.
A man who is a wonderful companion today may not be a good companion tomorrow.
All relationships change. The hearts and rainbows dissolve into hard work and everyday life. Feelings don’t keep you together; strength of character and commitment do.
If your goal is a relationship that’s just as strong in a decade or two as it is today, then you need to look to the future.
How do you know if this is a man who’s capable of evolving and growing with you?
Well, these 3 questions may provide the answer.
Are you two separate people or are you a team?
In the early days of a relationship, there’s you and then there’s him.
You’re two separate people. You have separate lives.
He has much to offer you, and you have much to offer him, but you’re more like allies than a team.
If either of you decides that this relationship doesn’t serve your best interests, you’ll put yourself first.
You know that you’re in this phase if the main focus of your time together is entertainment. You’re together because you have fun together.
You know that your relationship is shifting towards commitment when he no longer defaults to “me and you.” He talks about “us.”
He sees you as a team facing the challenges of life together.
When obstacles come up in your relationship, he doesn’t turn against you. He turns towards you. He works with you to resolve difficulties.
Are you afraid of your differences or do you work with your differences?
In the early days of relationships, what matters most is that we’re alike.
Everything we have in common delights us. It’s proof we’re made to match.
In those early days, differences can feel threatening. If you want to settle down while he wants to travel the world, you may not have a future.
Every time you discover an area of disagreement, you think to yourself, “Maybe we’re not compatible after all.”
You know that your relationship is shifting towards commitment when your differences no longer worry you.
All couples have their differences. A large percentage of those differences will never be resolved.
The Gottman Institute found that 69% of the conflict between married couples is about issues that never go away.
Luckily, you don’t have to be alike to be compatible. You just have to be able to work with your differences.
Are you rigid with your roles or are you flexible with your roles?
No matter what your relationship is like right now, it won’t be like this forever.
Life has a way of throwing curveballs.
One of you might get sick, or lose your job, or get offered your dream job in another city.
What makes relationships succeed over the long term is flexibility.
Does he only take on certain chores, or will he do whatever is needed?
Can you rearrange the workload at home if the division of labor isn’t working?
If you were temporarily incapacitated, could he take over your role?
Flexibility helps us adapt to change. We can cover for each other. We can learn new ways of doing things.
When you’re flexible and able to work with each other’s differences, you become more effective as a team.
Being a team may not sound very romantic, but couples who work together as a team have the very best shot at staying together forever.
So, if forever is your goal, keep your eye out for the guy who wants to work alongside you as well as have fun with you. He’s got what it takes to commit.