Selection of a Life Partner

Naturally, the selection of a mate is an important step in building a good marriage. During the courtship, the man and woman must make every effort to become well acquainted with one another’s character. They must study and seek to understand one another’s character. They must communicate honestly and openly. They must study and seek to understand one another’s personality, disposition, background, education, lifestyle, habits, tastes, hobbies, capacities, and aspirations.
 
It is important that physical attraction not become the only focus of energy and thought. After all, sooner or later the excitement and passion of “falling in love” must give way to a more practical and stable bond. A couple considering marriage must feel certain that they will be able to find a basis for a permanent relationship.

One way to learn about one another is to share a wide variety of experiences under different circumstances and in different surroundings. Visit an art gallery, go for a walk in the country, organize a picnic, plan a dinner party, go shopping together, visit the elderly and the sick. Do other things together. By sharing these activities you will learn important things about your intended spouse.

Remember that marriage is a twenty-four hour arrangement. You will see your husband or wife, not only dressed up and on the best behavior for a date, but also under more trying circumstances. How does your fiancé express anger? How does he or she react to frustration, or disappointment, or other pressures? How does your future mate behave around children? Around your friends? Around
people of different races and religions?

Since each of us is, at least partially, a product of family upbringing, we must seek to understand the family of our intended spouse. Visit your future in-laws before the marriage. If possible, spend two or three days in their home. This will certainly give you new insights and awareness, and may even clarify some things for you.

Marriage requires a certain compatibility of tastes and habits. If your lifestyles are very different, there may be trouble ahead. For example, we knew a man who was nocturnal: he worked nights and rarely retired before 2:00 or 3:00 o’clock in the morning. In contrast, his wife loved the daylight hours and retired around 9:00 o’clock, in the evening. Their marriage required constant, difficult adjustments.

(Extract from the book “Thoughts on Marriage” by Margaret Ruhe.)

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