Quite a few friends around me are looking for partners or the families are looking out on their behalf. Invariably, “How do you know this is the one?” pops up.
My typical answers –
- Make a list of how you’d like your partner to be – from outer to inner beauty. Prioritize that. And go around making check-marks or giving percentages. – very flaky, and highly impractical. I look at it as my stop-gap, “give me time to think” solution.
- Have an elimination process. Some things are big no-nos. Reduce the choice and thus the confusion. – Yuck! I know…
- You’ll know it, go by your gut feeling and you’ll be fine. – could I get any more abstract!?
Come on guys! It’s been over 11 years and I was just 22. (And being 22 then was very different from being 22 now, but that’s a discussion for some other day.) You cannot expect me to remember the process I went through. All I remember is let’s take it one day at a time, meaning one boy at a time. Who knew the time would come with just one boy? Shebing-shebang-matter-close. All okay because it has worked out great…so far…except for the regular ups and downs… (another topic for another day) …but not everyone can or should take such a risk. Never!
Ruminating over the topic long enough, and going by my experience so far, I think this is one all-encompassing question that needs an answer –
“How much will I be required to change to be able to sustain this relationship for decades to come?”
And conversely, how much will I need this person to change.
This question needs an answer after the mush-mush-gush-gush “I love you the way you are” period is done with. So, in an arranged marriage scenario, there are practical problems due to social issues, like time spent alone before engagement, etc. Then again, there is no mush-gush in an arranged marriage before the engagement anyways. And society is getting more and more liberal towards time spent alone before you are announced fiancés, so there is hope.
The question needs an answer after the reality of “opposites attract” sinks in. Analogies do have their limitations, you know. That theory applies to magnets, not people! Okay, it applies to people, but NOT in the long run. In the long run you need common interests, common things to talk about.
Think about it, your partner is talking about some major philosophy of life and you cannot get over your fascination with the mathematical beauty of matrices. Or you are completely into making this country, your city, your society a better place to live in and your partner is absolutely content with keeping their self content. None of these are bad things, but a lot of them are incompatible. They sound trivial, but ultimately it’s the conversation that keeps the relationship going. Think about how you’d react if this happened today, tomorrow, a decade later and a quarter of a century later.
So, I think my new “way to go about it” mantra is –
“Judge how much you’d have to change for this person.”