Have the Biggies in Common
Do you share the same desires when it comes to having kids or not? At least two of your relatives got divorced because the answer to this question was no. Do you have similar attitudes toward religion or spirituality? Do you agree about general personal finance practices — debt payments, savings, splurge purchases? Lastly, and don't underestimate the weight of this one, as it has had a huge impact on most marriages do. When it comes to spending time with each other's families (holidays, vacations) and taking care of aging parents, are you in agreement on what's reasonable?Believe it or not, time passes and this comes about.
Find the Yin to Your Yang
Those commonalities are important, but there's something to be said for having someone who's strong where you are weak. It creates a nice balance and a natural split of responsibilities. For example, I hate dealing with companies — cable companies, banks, electric companies. But others doesn’t mind, and are much better at dealing with people than I am, so I do it but I handle those calls. Meanwhile, others can’t survive on just a few hours sleep, whereas I can, so I'm the one who gets up with the pets during the night and on weekend mornings. I’m ready to go at 4 am while most are not.
(Some people may say that scenario represents stereotypical gender roles, but we both work full-time and have responsibilities at home, so it seems fair to me.)
You'll spot shared weaknesses fairly quickly. For example, where do you both want to live? Do you need a backyard? I can’t do yard work as I’m allergic to ants so having a person to do the yard is pivotal. What do you both agree on? These sound like stupid things but in fact, they’re not. You both have to agree.
Throw out the Idea of Perfect
Don't make a checklist — mental or otherwise — of traits your future partner must have. You can't conjure up your perfect mate and go buy said robot at Walmart If you must make a list, make a list of deal-breakers: no smokers, no drug addictions, no one with a violent felony conviction. Those are healthy boundaries to set. No one is perfect!
Some say opposites attract, and that can be true as in the yin and yang mentioned above. But sometimes you need someone with whom you're just a natural fit. Are you both foodies who like to cook or dine out? Do you both have a sense of adventure? ? Are you both couch potatoes? Do you both have a passion for learning? Similarities in activity level and ambition can make for a pair (and eventually a family) that likes to do things together. Basically, do you have fun together? Fun is NOT overrated. You want someone who makes you laugh until it hurts.
Don't Expect People to Change
If your prospective future mate is a slob, don't expect them to morph into a neatnik just for you. Sure, some things can change. Maybe a bad cook can get better or someone who snores terribly can tweak a sleep routine to fix it. But ask yourself, if the quality you dislike never changed, could you still love and live with this person? People do not change unless they want to and we are not babysitting.
Be on the dime
Make sure you both have the same respect for money and what to do with it. Money is one of the leading factors of divorce. So, spend but save.
Don't Just Love Them, Like Them
You really need to LIKE that person. Life partner means for the rest of your life, and hopefully that will be a loooooong time. When you're middle aged and exhausted and can't muster up the energy to party all night, will you enjoy a quiet night at home with just the two of you? Do you have long talks or conversations where you feel interested in this person and what they have to say? Do they make you laugh? This is why some people say it's good to be friends first. If you genuinely like them, I think you're more likely to keep investing in the relationship and trying to make it work, even (especially?) when it's hard. And yes, life can be hard at times.,