Recently, a study group fromBerkeley,California, published a very interesting and important check list of things to do and to expect of yourself and others when seeking a relationship with a future partner.  I would like to share this with you.

Being honest to ourselves about our own feelings and adhering to what we believe in a clear and consistent manner is a good starting point when seeking a spouse.  Find someone with whom you have a lot in common.  Relationships exist on common ground and similar interests.  Similar attitudes and energy levels also help. 

 Couples must be of similar values, priorities, moral / ethical values and religious beliefs.  Personal boundaries and attitudes towards drugs and alcohol are areas in life which are far too dangerous to have opposing views.  Expect good communication and learn how you both deal with conflict.  How do you react to anger?  Good communication is the key to a successful marriage. 

 So many people expect to change their future spouse into someone they are not now, but hopefully will be in the future.  In reality it does not work that way. You cannot change someone into something they are not. People really don’t change that much. No one is perfect.  Everyone will need to make changes and we should support them.  But if you don’t like the other persons’ basic personality you can expect that you will not change them later.   What you see now is what you will probably have in the future!  Some individuals do change but our life should not be the place where these “experiments” are played out.  It usually does not succeed! 

 One has to be very realistic about who a person is and what change this person is capable of.  Sometimes children of alcoholic parents seek out and want to marry heavy drinkers themselves.  We are not going to prove to someone that we will have better success at changing an addict than someone else had with them in their life.  Whatever anyone does, they should never change themself to get a person’s love and friendship.  Pretending or play acting a personality is a certain recipe for disaster.  One must be oneself.  We build on our strengths and make improvements where necessary.  For instance, we should not start drinking, take drugs, start swearing or take up bad habits just to be like the person in whom we are interested.

 There is no need to play games, be phoney or pressure anyone how to change or behave.  In fact, it is dangerous.  If the person does not feel comfortable with something, then pressure or the use of power will never work.  A proper relationship is genuine and real, not fake, not built on games, pretences, manipulations or pressure.

 In order to get respect you should expect it.  One must have certain standards.  You have to know how you want to be treated or spoken to.  Tolerating disrespectful or abusive behaviour is the beginning of the end, even before you start.  If someone does not respect your standards then simply keep looking elsewhere.

 Reflecting on all that has been mentioned it leads back to our relationship with God.  Unless we, in faith, have our first relationship with Jesus Christ then our relationship with a future partner will not be very positive.  We are living through a crisis – relationships in our society.  Only God-like principles will make an improvement.