Before you decide you’re in love, go through these questions and think about the character of the person you find attractive.
Sometimes it helps to have a roommate, mother or another objective person give their opinions, as you may not be completely unbiased.
Do not confer with your partner during the initial assessment they may not see the issues clearly or they may minimize valid concerns.
What is their family background?
- What is the relationship like between his/her parents?
- How does his/her family solve conflict?
- Do they confront issues head on or do they smooth things over and pretend it didn’t happen?
- Of the two parents, who’s opinion do the kid’s value the most? Why?
- How are you like your potential mother-in-law/father-in-law?
- Are the potential in-laws conservative or liberal in their approach to religion?
- Does this match how you feel?
- Would you be comfortable being married to someone with the personality of the parent of the same sex as your partner? For example if you are female, look at their father. If you are male, look at their mother.
- What would you not like?
- What do you like?
- What do the siblings of your partner think of him/her?
- Do you like his/her siblings?
- Does he/she genuinely like children?
- How was the discipline style in their family? Authoritative or permissive?
- What parenting style are you comfortable with?
What is their emotional behavior like?
- How to they deal with disappointment or defeat?
- How do they treat your opinion?
- How do they work through conflict with others?
- If you say you never have conflict, this is impossible. You have either not spent enough time together or one of you is giving into the other one. Which one of you is it?
- Why is that person letting go of their opinion? How will this affect the long-term health of the relationship?
- Do they have a temper? What causes them to lose it?
- Do they have the ability to see two sides to an issue?
- Do they give you sincere praise and compliment you frequently?
- Do they have an optimistic outlook on life?
- Do they walk into a room and assume others will like them?
- Or are they anxious in their outlook on life and unsure how others perceive him/her?
- Do you ever catch yourself parenting them?
- If so, how often? Why are you attracted to someone who has not grown up?
- Do they come through on their commitments to others and you?
- How do they handle disappointment or frustration?
- Do they take responsibility when things go wrong?
- Do they respect your boundaries in the physical relationship or are their needs paramount?
Do they have a career path?
- What are their grades or training?
- Do they have the self-discipline to achieve goals?
- Do they understand what are their strengths and weaknesses?
- Do they have a clear and realistic path for a career?
- Are you comfortable with the life style of their career?
How unselfish are they?
I love the song, “Make You Feel My Love,” written by Bob Dylan–perfect pitch, rhythm and melody to woo the one you love. It is sung by Billy Joel, Neil Diamond and Adele. But this version by Bryan Ferry with his soulfulness, speaks to me. Listen to it and ask your self if your lover cares this much for you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiXwrzt-cbI
How mature are you?
Go back and ask yourself these questions and see how you rate as a life partner.
After fairly evaluating the questions, make a list of your concerns and talk them over with your potential partner. No one is perfect; most of us have flawed family backgrounds but a defining characteristic of good marriages is the ability to work through difficulties. See if your beloved can address your concerns. If the red flags remain, rethink your commitment to the relationship or contact a professional for help.
Camille Curtis Foster, LCSW
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