Picking a Partner

By Doug Mayberry

September 19, 2016 4 min read

Q: I will graduate from college in June. I have a good life and have found my passion and career goals. Now, I want to focus on finding someone to love, who loves me back, and begin a family. Knowing that the divorce rate is so high, I hope to beat the odds and find a lifetime partnership.

What questions do you think I should ask myself?

A: Choosing your spouse will be the most important decision you make in your lifetime.

You would be wise to learn as much as possible about a potential spouse. Who are they, and do you make a good match? Of course, life is always changing, but try to anticipate what lies ahead.

Openness, communication, trust and compromise are among the most valuable traits for maintaining a successful marriage.

Ask yourself, what are your goals for the future? What traits do you have in common, and are your differences compatible? Consider the following aspects, too: money, health, religion, career, children, family relationships, friends and work ethic.

Take time to learn and become comfortable with each other before you decide to marry. Discuss your common interests, goals and timing. Also, remember you are not only marrying your partner but also their entire family. — Doug

COMMUNICATION IS KEY

Q: My two sons have always had a contentious relationship, but things have gotten dramatically worse in the last couple of years. The last time we were all together for my wife's birthday, they refused to speak to each other. Apparently, this was the first time they had seen each other in several months.

My spouse and I are very concerned about their relationship, especially about what will happen when we are no longer with them. I would like them to have a healthy, loving relationship.

What do you think I can do to get them to reconcile?

A: This is a tricky one. A lot depends on the reasons why your sons are so at odds with each other. Sadly, if one feels a relationship is toxic, there are some legitimate reasons to want to distance oneself, although it isn't necessarily permanent. Hopefully that's not the case here.

It's important to realize that your role in your adult children's relationship is primarily mediation, rather than picking sides. Sometimes siblings become resentful of each other when they presume that the parents favor one of them. So if you think that's a factor, try to address it with them. Do your best to support them equally.

The most important thing in any relationship is the desire to have one. Communication is what enables people to maintain a relationship, and your sons are currently not communicating. Talk with each of them individually, and see if they want to have a relationship. If so, encourage them to communicate and be patient with each other. The time apart may well have given them some valuable time to think. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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