When I write about issues that affect singles, I often discuss the importance of being around happy couples. By spending time with couples who actually like each other and treat each other well, you are watching other men and women model how to make a relationship work. What’s more, these couples provide living proof that good relationships exist. Hanging out with happy couples helps give your faith a boost, especially when you start to question when –and if – a happy relationship will materialize for you. When spending time with couples, take a few minutes at some point to ask a few questions about their relationship experience.
“Looking back, was your partner the type you imagined yourself ending up with?”
Couples have a lot of interesting stories about what they imagined when each of them was single. Often, members of successful long-term relationships report that the person they ended up with wasn’t the type they originally envisioned. Perhaps he was a bit older or she dressed differently;perhaps he was nerdier or she was more social.
Happy couples often find that they end up settling down with someone who has a passion or hobby they never would have imagined in their partner: a motorcyclist, a musician, or someone who plays a particular sport. Ask happy couples you know about whether the type of person they ended up with fit the type they had envisioned for themselves, and you will get some interesting answers.
“Were there arguments or significant conflicts in the first few months of dating?”
If you ask only one or two of my suggested questions, make this question one of them. Ask a happy couple you know whether there were days or nights with feelings of confusion, sadness or anger; ask whether there were any tears shed in the first month or two, or whether each member of the couple had significant insecurity about whether the dating relationship would last. Listening carefully to their answers – and the answers will skew heavily toward one end of the yes/no spectrum – and think about how much patience you have in relationships for emotional drama and conflict.
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