If you are currently single, pay close attention. If you are married you will still get some value out of this, but frankly it will likely involve more hard work on your part.
Most successfully married couples will tell you, if you marry well, with the right attitudes, this most important relationship can be a great source of strength and help. However, if you marry the wrong person or without the right tools and attitudes, you will likely be in for a long, hard road.
For single people the first, most important, thing you can do to have a good marriage (society hasn’t come up with a better basis for a healthy nuclear family) is to first become the kind of person, the type of person you want to marry, would want to marry. I know, I know, that was involved and convoluted. I can only say I am sorry but I don’t know an easier way to say it, or for that matter to actually do what I just said. However, let me provide an example; if you wish to marry someone patient and kind, you have your best chance by becoming patient and kind yourself.
We tend to marry people like ourselves, for better or worse. One of my professors is a Family counselor and he tells his students, “We marry spouses with our same level of dysfunction. If you are highly dysfunctional, you are likely to marry someone highly dysfunctional; if you have a low level of dysfunction, you are likely to marry someone desirable.” This comment of his tells us to lower our own level of dysfunction and become our better selves more of the time. For all of you who have already left the marriage station, all I can suggest is that you work to become the kind of person you WISH you had married and you may be surprised to see your spouse move your direction.
In practical terms, where do I suggest you start?
1. If you drink to excess, STOP, and get help.
2. If you use drugs in any way other than for a legal, medicinal purpose, get help.
3. If you hurt others or yourself when you lose your temper, get help and learn productive ways of dealing with stress and pain.
4. No, you cannot do it on your own; you need help figuring out why you relied on these crutches in the first place.
Dating, or finding an adventure partner is a lot like fishing. If you wish to find big largemouth bass, go south to any number of fine freshwater lakes; however, if you are after trout you won’t find any down there, you are better off up here in the great Northwest. Likewise, if you wish to find a civic minded, healthy (emotionally, mentally, and physically), interesting, and mature partner you are unlikely to find them in your local nightclub or watering hole. If you are looking for someone to be a good partner; try asking family and friends, look in your college classrooms, your local church or a volunteer organization and be clear and honest as to what you are looking for; both to yourself and others.
If you are fishing in nightclubs, your blurry eyes may tell you he/she’s a keeper; but you are more likely to find when you get them home, you caught a minnow.
Next time we will take our next step in realizing your goals; overcoming the inevitable obstacles that will come your way.