When choosing a life partner, most people think of this:
Romance, love, affection, sex and adventure.
The reality is that the vast majority of your time together looks like this:
Housework, cooking, paying the bills, watching TV, driving, shopping etc.
The dishes won’t clean themselves and the house won’t tidy itself up. Someone has to do that work day in and day out for their entire lives. It’s tedious and repetitive, but it’s life.
This is what you’ll be sharing the most of: your boring lives. It’s a common mistake to forget about this part of it, yet this will account for 99% of how you live together. At some point, your partner won’t look quite so sexy; is the rest enough to keep you together?
What does it take to live a boring life with someone? You both need to be kind to one another. Saying cruel or hateful things, not being supportive and/or being unfair and unreasonable are not things anyone can put up with over the long haul.
Even a boring life has its ups and downs. The question is, do the two of you band together to solve the problems? or do you both fall out?
Your life partner is the other half of a team that includes you. Your contribution is 50% of the total. That is a lot.
Over the long haul you will have misfortunes, probably at least one terrible one.
When, -not if-, this happens, you and your partner will find out just how emotionally strong both of you are. Does this make both of you closer and increase your trust and friendship? Or does it tear you apart?
If you are not a strong, kind person yourself, you have little hope of finding a partner that is those things. People who are emotionally strong will not commit themselves to someone who is shallow and selfish.
Is this someone you can take care of if they become an invalid? Will they take care of you if you’re the one this happens to? This is the stuff long term relationships are made of: devotion, friendship, kindness and emotional strength. Not romance, sex and love.
When choosing a partner I make two mistakes.
I expect, and I assume.
I expect the person I want to marry is who I think they are. Who I think they are and who they are might be very different, and that is not their fault.
I expect my perception to be reality. My perception is instead my perception.
I expect the other is responsible for making me happy. (Heck. The other person isn’t even responsible for making me coffee.)
I expect the other is to blame when something goes wrong. When something goes wrong I have been wronged, and I’m the victim, right? I mean, how could he?
I expect I can in any way control or affect the other person’s behavior.
I expect love to be something I have already experienced and hence already know. I’m looking for that, for my version of love, rather than for what love can be.
I expect the other person to save me.
I assume this choice of mine and I speak the same language and are therefore understanding each other.
I assume my feelings (and his) are never going to change. Everything changes. Even what I want to have for breakfast.
I assume the other person’s reactions to me have something to do with me.
I assume that internal fissures happen for external reasons (such as loneliness, restlessness, anxiety, anger) so when I look for the fix I look in the wrong places.
I assume this will be forever and that if it isn’t, if I made the wrong choice, all can be made right by making another better choice. If only it were that simple.