There’s nothing like the beginning of a relationship. You know what I’m talking about. You get nervous around them or feel some butterflies in your stomach. Maybe you met at church or a baseball game. Over time, you connected over your shared love of tacos or that you both like to binge-watch The Office. (Both are great traits, TBH). But the best part is when you realize that your dating relationship could turn into something much deeper—marriage.
In today’s ever-changing digital world, you have so many options on how to find a mate for life: social media, dating websites and apps, etc. I know some people are skeptical about this way of dating, but there are so many success stories out there. If you are hoping to meet your future spouse online, here are the top dating apps we recommend for singles looking for serious relationships.
There are some key things to consider when finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. You should determine the traits and characteristics that you refuse to negotiate for your long-term relationship. We call these “non-negotiables” or “deal-breakers”. If you’re going to spend forever with this person you want to make sure that everything about that person aligns with what’s important to you. Here are the top 3 non-negotiables while dating for marriage.
Chemistry & Physical Attraction
The first impression you have of someone is how they look. Think about how you prepare for a job interview. You probably dress a little nicer and take more time on your hair or makeup. It’s the same when you’re dating. Now you can’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s important to find a partner that you’re genuinely attracted to. Not just physically but chemically.
There isn’t always an initial spark, but eventually something will hit you like lightning. Your palms get sweaty, you can’t stop smiling or you just notice a force of energy around you. Maybe you laugh at each other’s jokes or you bond over your love of horror movies or you both own cats. It’s something you like about their personality, not their body. That’s chemistry.
It’s okay to also be physically attracted to who you’re dating. Maybe staying physically fit is important to you, or finding someone who’s a sharp dresser. You’re into tall guys, short girls, brunettes, or green eyes. Sometimes it’s as subtle as their smile. Physical attraction is important—as long as it’s not the only thing you like about them.
Life Goals Align
Imagine getting engaged only to find out your fiancé doesn’t want to have a wedding? Making sure that your life goals align is so important and an absolute necessity when you’re dating for marriage. Life goals include things like family, religion, finances, career, and location. It’s better to get all of these things out on the table towards the beginning of your relationship. You don’t want to spend 6 months (or longer) of your life with someone and realize that they never want children but you’ve always dreamed of having or adopting a child.
Finances are a big must-have conversation, especially when you’re dating. You and your partner need to be on the same page when it comes to spending money and planning for the future. It may be the most awkward conversation you have with them, especially if debt is involved, but you don’t want to be blind-sided later down the road.
Religion is another major discussion. In order to have a healthy relationship, it’s best if you have the same spiritual beliefs. At the very least, be open to learning more about your partner’s religious beliefs.
Other life goals like career and location may not be as serious of a non-negotiable, but it’s still important. Decide if you’re okay with your partner’s dangerous job or that they work long hours and weekends. Do you want to move often or stay in one state for the rest of your life? If a family member gets sick will you be okay letting them move in with you?
If one or more of these goals don’t align with what your partner believes and wants, you may want to rethink your relationship.
Finally, when you’re dating for marriage you need to be sure that you both value the same things. This is somewhat similar to life goals but instead of tangible items like money and family, values are important principles within a person. Some of these principles include honesty, trust, respect, communication, and even humor.
Honesty and communication should be two of your top values when seeking a spouse. If you can’t be honest in how you feel about something or someone, you’ll never be able to make it down the aisle. If you wish they would pick up the tab every once in a while, say something. If you don’t like how they treat you in front of their friends, say something. If you think they have bad breath, say something. Be open and honest about the big and little things that you want or that bother you. Talk things through, don’t just ignore it or shut them out. Just remember, some things can be fixed while others can’t.
Trust and respect are also major things that both of you should value. If you can’t trust the person you’re with, nothing will work. You’ll be stuck in a paranoid relationship and ultimately end up questioning everything. This includes anything from cheating with another person to stealing money out of your purse. Respect is also a highly valuable trait. You deserve to be respected and loved and adored—don’t settle for anything less. This value may not even include you! Are they respectable to their family, friends, elders, servers, the mailman? Respect yourself by finding a partner that respects those around them.
Humor may seem like a silly value but think about this: do you want to spend the rest of your life happy and laughing with your best friend? That’s marriage—a good one filled with humor. It doesn’t mean you have to marry a total goofball or class clown, but find someone you can laugh with. If they are too serious to laugh at themselves, they may not be worth your time and that’s no joke.
If you’re not sure what you’re attracted to, have your life goals figured out or know exactly what you value, that’s okay!
Take some time to figure it out before you go searching for your perfect person. You’ll definitely guard your heart against future heartbreak the more prepared you are about what you want in a life partner.