Aug 272013 4 Responses

What to Look for in a Mate

In response to The Most Overlooked Characteristic of Who You Want to Marry, a couple of readers asked what a single person should look for in a potential spouse when it comes to the topic of suffering.

The following four things are important:

1. Date for at least a year in order to see the other person in a variety of scenarios. Anybody can look good for a month. Most people can look good for six weeks. A good number of people can keep their faults hidden for six months. But over time, who we are eventually comes out. By dating for at least a year, couples get to see their partner in many different situations.

  • How does he handle the holidays?
  • What times of the year are most stressful on her?
  • What is his reaction when things do not go as he expects?
  • How does she respond when someone disappoints her?

2. Discuss past experiences of loss, grief, and hurt. If I’m interviewing a potential employee, I want to ask them questions of possible scenarios which they might encounter, but I wan them to answer with actual examples of how they have handled those situations in the past. There is no way to predict everything a couple might experience, but past performance is some indicator of future success. How a potential mate handles a divorce between their parents, a season ending sports injury, or a general disappointment in life will give indications of how they might respond if they ever get laid off or if a parent dies or if a child is born with a disability.

3. Explore, don’t assume, their perspective on life, including pain and suffering. Far too often, especially when our emotions are involved, we assume others think like us. Obviously this isn’t true, so a dating couple should go to great lengths to explore what they both think about life.

  • Why is there good in the world?
  • Why is evil in the world?
  • Why do good things happen?
  • Why do bad things happen?
  • Do we always get what we deserve?
  • What do we deserve?

These questions begin to form a worldview through which the person interprets all of life. A person’s world view determines how they will respond when they experience trying times.

4. Watch closely how they respond to those who are hurting. Actions speak loudly. If you want to know a person’s perspective on pain, suffering, and evil, watch their actions and attitudes toward those who are in pain, who are suffering, or who do bad things.

  • Do they have contempt or empathy on those who have done wrong?
  • Do they feel compassion or pity on the poor?
  • Do they recognize their own faults or do they think themselves superior to those who make mistakes?
  • Do they love all types of people or just those that are like them.

In every situation, watch for signs of entitlement, contempt, pride, an absence of empathy or compassion. Know that their worst responses to others will eventually be their response to you.

If you don’t like what you see, run.

If you like what what you see, hang on to them, because it is a blessing to be with someone who can suffer well.

4 Responses to What to Look for in a Mate
  1. […] 1. He won’t commit to you. While it’s good to take your time in a relationship to get to...

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