9 Key Ways To Become A Marriage Material

A person is 'marriage material' when they're willing to work on the relationship just as much as you are.When a guy says you’re wife material, he typically sees the potential for a (very) long-term relationship with you.  
  When others are rude or disrespectful, speak up.  Don’t ignore such behavior, or you will “train” others to treat you disrespectfully.  If someone is consistently late for dates or “forgets” appointments with you, do not act as if it is no big deal.  Voice your sentiments in a non-attacking way.  Or, just refuse to be at this person’s beck and call by making plans of your own. If the person continues to disrespect you in this way, believe the message the person is sending about your lack of value to them  (or their own self-centeredness) and do not remain involved with this person.  It is only a sign of worse things to come.

Don't tolerate any kind of abuse.  If you are so desperate for love that you will allow others to mistreat you with put-downs, name calling, harsh criticism, power-ploys, demeaning statements, shoving, hitting, threats of hurting you or suicide, etc… Get out now.  If you demonstrate a tolerance for mistreatment, you will invite more of the same in a marriage.  Even if you don’t marry the person hurting you, your self-esteem will be harmed and you may not recognize the seeds of abuse in a potential mate until it is too late.  If you’ve been mistreated, be sure to get some help so you can fully recover before entering a new relationship.

L  Earn good assertiveness skillsDon’t be a doormat or twist yourself into a pretzel to please and appease others.  Think well enough of yourself to draw boundaries and say what you mean directly and clearly (vs. with “hints”).  An assertive person (not passive or aggressive) comes across as a person with high self-esteem.  This is attractive in a potential mate (at least to other, healthy people).  Assertive behavior is also a critical antidote to building up anger or resentment, and for maintaining mutual respect in your relationships. 

 LLearn how to validate yourself.   Become a student of your own feelings and perceptions, and believe them.  Trust your gut is telling you the truth.  If someone does something to hurt you, rather than ignore it or wait for the other person to bring it up,  speak up.  Give yourself some credit – realize that how you feel matters.    Others are more likely to validate you if you don’t have an “excuse me for living” attitude.  You know, that old “I’m sorry for being an inconvenience.  I have no right to feelings and needs of my own. ” Remember, you count, too.  No one can read your mind or emotions.  It is up to you to notice the readings on your internal barometer and speak up.

     Develop your empathy skills.  This means learn how to imagine what it is like to be in another person’s shoes.  How would it feel?  Learn how to be more understanding and sympathetic to the feelings of others, rather than being self-centered and only focused on you and your feelings.  Expand your “feeling word” vocabulary so you can be more specific when you hear or express a feeling.  People really feel loved by those who show empathy and concern for their feelings.  Don’t try to “fix” others or solve their problems.  Just listen with interest, acknowledge their experience, and support with care.  Respond to others’ difficulties with, “That must be hard” rather than, “Look on the bright side…”

   Keep moodiness to a minimum.  There is nothing more wearing than to live with a person who wears their feelings on their shirt sleeves, particularly if those feelings are extreme.  Keep things in perspective.  If you are disappointed about something, don’t act like it is the end of the world.  It is just a disappointment and you don’t have to milk it for all it’s worth to get attention.  Also, don’t use “Poor me, I have a problem…” in order to feel significant to others.  People like people who are basically positive and not studying their navel for every mood they feel.  That doesn’t mean you can’t share honest hurts or disappointments with your closest friends, but don’t make it your “signature”.  It is possible to be real and authentic about how you feel without using your down times as moods others must cater to.  Share your joys and sorrows in an honest fashion, hoping others care, without expecting them to carry you.

    Seek mutual relationshipsSome people thrive on being “needed” or being “needy”.  Neither case is conducive to healthy friendships.  If you are always helping others, you may have difficulty letting others really get to know you.  On the other hand, if you are always in the role of the “victim” who needs rescuing, you will cheat yourself of the joy of give and take in relationships.  And, you will find others starting to avoid you because you are a drain.  The ability to both give and receive in a friendship is important, and especially so in marriage.  Cultivate mutual, evenly balanced, give-and-take friendships. That will establish relationship patterns that will carry into marriage. The healthiest marriages are between persons who view one another as equals. Otherwise, one partner ends up carrying a heavy load.

      Develop good character.  Character is the fiber a person is made of.  The nature of our character shows up under stress.  It is who we are when no one is looking.  A person with weak character tends to be lazy, dishonest, and gives up easily.   Such a person might be a good showman, but when push comes to shove, they buckle.  They base their decisions on the mood of the moment, without considering the consequences on themselves or others.   A person with strong character is someone who works hard at what they do, has integrity, and is “tough” under adversity.  As bible teacher, Kay Arthur, says “Godly character is built by a series of right decisions.”  It takes a long time to build strong character.  There are no “instant good character kits” around.  It means developing a pattern of living by good choices rather than being at the mercy of your  and emotions.  A person of good character is dependable, honest and holds to personal principles under pressure.  Marriage is one of the crucibles that most tests a person’s character.  Now is a good time to decide to become a person of strong character, making you a good “catch” for your future spouse.  That way, when the stormy times come, you or your relationship won’t fall apart.

      Resolve to seek personal growth the rest of your life.  There is no time when a person “arrives” at the pinnacle of emotional health.  There is always more room to grow.  The more you grow, the more you become a truly loving person.  Make it a lifetime goal to take responsibility for your own personal growth, even if others around you are stagnating.   Tools for growth are honest journal writing, allowing yourself to be vulnerable to a trusted friend, accepting feedback from others, attending seminars, reading books, facing a challenge rather than running away from it, being willing to change even when it hurts, etc.  The most satisfied couples are ones where both persons are committed to their own personal growth as well as the growth of their relationship.  The biggest block to such growth is insecurity, the breeding ground of pride.  Pride is only a cover up for insecurity and keeps us from being able to take an honest look at ourselves.  Pride builds walls in relationships. Seek to be humble.  Embrace your humanity.  None of us is perfect, and that is OK.

 L Learn how to apologizeOur pride is usually the thing that gets in the way of mending the hurts that come up in relationships.  We mistakenly think if we admit we were wrong, the other person will think less of us.  Actually, the opposite is true.  There is nothing sweeter to a person’s ears than a genuine apology.  We tend to respect a person who is willing to admit a mistake.  Walls tend to melt when someone holds out a fig leaf.  Learn how to do this now.  Make it a habit to own up to your part in a conflict and show sincere remorse for any hurts you have inflicted upon another.


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