You’ve heard the wisdom that one should marry for character. But how in the world do you figure that out?
Here are some doors to revealing character when you are searching for the one. Your powers of perception are mighty indeed. Just make sure to use them and avoided getting blinded by love.
- How do they treat the ones closest to them? Not just their parents, but siblings, coworkers, and closest friends as well. Never ever make a final decision about being with someone until you see them interact with family and friends. Is the person dismissive, interruptive, or arrogant around loved ones? The answers to these questions are the best indication of how your private life will look.
- How do they speak about people they perceive as less than them? This could be someone perceived as less educated, less wealthy, less competent, or less religious. Often the terms the person uses against those looked down upon reveal the inner compassion and maturity of their heart. There’s also the good ole’ wisdom of seeing how someone treats wait staff. However, since most people know you’re looking for this, be wary when they try to put on a show.
- How have they treated someone they traveled, worked, or lived with? This is a real revelation of pressure-filled situations. You can always ask directly for references, but better to also do your own research by utilizing the magical invention of the internet: social media, LinkedIn, Google, you know the drill. If your search come up empty, ask why.
- Ask if they ever cut someone off. Make sure you understand why and if there is just cause for that. Cutting off someone close is no easy feat. You need to further discover why, when, and how. Marriage is full of intense feelings, including the urge to sometimes completely disconnect. You want to make sure you’re paired with someone that aligns with your core values about what is serious enough to walk away from a relationship.
- Observe their disagreements. This is one may be a bit obvious, but it’s worth listing because people are often afraid to rock the boat. Others can’t find anything they disagree with until wedding bells start ringing. Those are the “in love” and enamored folks out there. Just remember, healthy disagreement means you are never afraid to voice your opinion and your reasoning. The person you choose to spend the rest of your life with should create a safe space, and has a committed mindset, to have disagreements. In other words, you want to know how conflict is managed without being judged or being afraid someone will leave you.
Character can be elusive, and this list is only a start. Sometimes people also aren’t even lying per se, but they simply don’t know how they are going to react with the pressures of marriage. It can break some people wide open and that lets everything buried deep inside flood through. Just remember to be merciful with one another and forgive what you can. Get help along the way with mental health professionals and grow up about this! As you do your character digging before the rings are chosen, just remind yourself: better to know if you should walk away now then after you walk down the aisle.
Yasmin Elhady is an attorney and public policy specialist. A federal attorney and activist, her experience spans community building, civil rights, and immigration. With 10 years of match-making experience, she also jumpstarted YasGuru, an innovative program for discovering your self & assisting relationship success. For more on YasGuru, click here.