11 Questions that will help you in choosing your life partner

“Love has three kinds of Origin, namely: Suffering, friendship, and love. Human love has a corporal and intellectual origin” - Boethius

On a bus ride on the streets of Barcelona, I was discussing love and relationships with a dear friend. As she reminisced about her former lover, she became emotional and said, " He was my perfect match. He knew what I would order at a restaurant, what I would buy in a mall, he knew me in & out. He was my soul mate. But we did not marry each other. I will never ever find someone like him again." It led me to think, despite calling themselves soulmates, they did not end up together. What must have gone wrong in such a wonderful relationship to end on a sour note! Is love the only determinant for a lifelong commitment?

Based on various studies and experiences, below are a few questions to keep in mind while choosing your life partner:

1. Compatibility

Compatibility is important for partners to find happiness. It exists when you have mutual respect, companionship, and a romantic bond that rests on friendship as a broader base. Being compatible with each other mentally, physically, and emotionally increases the chances of having a long lasting, successful, and fulfilling marriage, which is why marriage counsellors always call it a key aspect of any relationship.

2. Goals, attitudes, and beliefs

Do you share the same life goals with your partner? You may harbor a fernweh and might be in a constant eudaemonia, but is your partner a homebody? Do you have the same views on having children or on parenting? Do you respect each other's views and beliefs on topics like managing finances, religion, intellectual capabilities, politics, etc? What may seem top dollar to you might appear lame or average to your partner. Minor differences may soon lead to major ones causing trouble and discontent. So before entering into a lifetime commitment, it becomes essential to consider all these points.

3. Comfort is where the home is

Do you feel at home with your partner, like the way you feel in your skin? Having a shoulder to cry on, to laugh at the lamest of the jokes, to talk on random subjects, and to do the silliest of the things together is a sign of a good match. As age progresses, these qualities assume foremost importance and their absence will increase the divide between you and your partner.

4. Perfect Imperfections

Do not indulge in or conjure up ideas of your perfect partner. There is no such thing as the perfect one. They are fantasised projections of a hazy reality. If you are willing to look beyond each other's minor imperfections, it will only make your foundation stronger. Rather, make a list of all the detrimental factors like addictions, violent behaviours, etc, which may impede the flow. These will safeguard you from possible disasters.

5. Trying to change each other

It may happen that you are a foodie, and your partner has no interest in exploring culinary delights. Your partner may be obsessed with maintaining cleanliness and order in the house and you may be someone who leaves a trail of mess. You can change your partner to a certain extent but expecting a drastic change overnight can be a farfetched expectation. If you can put down the toilet seat without complaining, clean up the mess & tidy up things with love, and make them change gradually for their betterment, you will sail smoothly.

6. Love, friendship, and partnerships

Often people who are head over heels in love, end up disillusioned after the initial wave of marital bliss has receded. Romantic love ends after a year, and commitment love sets in. Many marriages end up in separations, due to serious underlying issues which weren't given consideration. So before making a long-term commitment, one should ascertain if love and only love can suffice to sustain a lifetime of togetherness. It becomes imperative to look for solid friendship and partnership qualities in your spouse. Hence it is said, it is good to be friends first. After all, a long-term commitment needs constant investment.

7. Dependability

Is your partner dependable when it comes to his abilities? Can he or she be relied upon as a provider and to fulfil the duties and responsibilities efficiently? Choosing someone who latches on to you for their financial needs will end up wrecking you not just monetarily but in every other sense. Having sound mental, emotional & monetary abilities is definitely what you should look for, because when adversity strikes, it is these very qualities that will hold your fort together.

8. Mutual Respect & Admiration

Having respect for each other's personal and professional lives is a deal maker. Acknowledging the significance of each other’s professions creates mutual respect. On the personal front, check how your families treat each other. Getting along with each other's families will only lead to a harmonious relationship. Also, how they stand with you in your adversities, will reveal if you can trust your partner with your life. Together all these form the cornerstones of a healthy relationship.

9. Basic Human Qualities

Honesty, integrity, trustworthiness constitute the basic qualities that define an individual. Your potential partner may have a good sense of humour, an impeccable dressing sense, or a taste for the high life, but if he or she cannot exhibit qualities like empathy, kindness, respect for others, then it may not necessarily result in a happy relationship.

10. The Parent pressure trap

In the olden times, people would often be married off under the arranged marriage premise. Such relationships "survived" merely to conform with the societal norms, and only a handful ending up in unexpected harmonies. Even today, in certain societies, people tend to fall prey to the parent pressure trap and get married, often resulting in unhappy marriages. It is wiser not to succumb to such pressures and take your time to decide on the person, as the decision will make or mar you for a lifetime.

11. Take time before committing

How many times in movies have we seen people neck deep in love, not marrying each other, as somehow their partner "just didn’t feel right." The sugar rush from the initial stages of the relationship may be high enough for you to enter into a long-term commitment. However, you need to be very careful here, as the romantic cannonballs may soon turn into bottle rockets, resulting in heartaches. At such times, patience and carefully weighing all the aspects is paramount.

We may learn about making the right choices when it comes to our education, investments, careers and other decisions. But choosing a life partner probably overrides others and hence should be something which should be taught at an early stage.

Whom you choose, will affect the very reason for your existence. So, choose wisely, as it is indeed a leap of faith.