In my book, Please, God Send Me A Husband, I talked about making a list, and how figuring out what I wanted helped me to actually find what I wanted. Here’s my list of 7 questions to ask yourself as you search for ‘Mr. Right.’
1. Does his faith or religion matter to you?
Be honest with yourself about the answer to this question because there is no point dating an atheist if you want him to go to church with you. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can change or convert him. While I totally believe that change and/or conversion is possible, don’t expect that your dating him will fix him in time for him to be just right for you. Find out his spiritual or religious convictions early and if you are not comfortable with the answer, move on immediately. Prolonged dating is wasting your time, and if you are eager to start a relationship with the right man, that is the last thing you want to do.
2. Do you want kids?
Again, this is a very clear question and yes, it is possible that people change their minds, but there is no point trying to convince him one way or the other. In my experience men are very clear on whether or not they want kids, and many marriages have resulted in divorce over this issue. So don’t sabotage yourself if he is not on the same page with you.
3. Does it matter to you if he was married before or if he has kids?
A man cannot undo his history, and certainly if he has children, his history is definitely a part of his present situation. Especially if he has young children, it is extremely likely that you will be involved in co-parenting. And in situations with children, his relationship with his ex matters. Be clear in your mind if you are ready for the responsibility of parenting (if you currently have no children) or parenting more children if you have children of your own. It’s no use going into the relationship and being upset about how he divides his time between you and his children. If it really does not suite you, cut your losses and move in.
4. Does race matter?
I always encourage people to keep an open mind about dating interracially. That being said, while some interracial relationships are embraced by one’s extended family (and I mean either his or yours), some are not, and if you choose to do so, it is better that you are personally comfortable enough with the relationship that you can withstand any potential fall out. While I have many relatives with successful interracial relationships, some have had to withstand rejection from the relatives of their spouse and for one such relative. Sabotage of their relationship combined with other factors, led to its demise. While I still maintain that you should not limit yourself, I don’t think you should be naïve about your choice either.
5. Are you physically attracted to him?
I think physical attraction is essential for a relationship, but that being said, I am certain that the intense love-at-first-sight attraction is not necessary for a happy marriage (at least not for the woman). Sometimes attraction is based on someone’s sense of humor; sometimes how confident they appear to be, and for some people it has more to do with looks so the real question is what is it that attracts you to a man. If his physical appearance is high on your list, be honest with yourself. Similarly, if you are more interested in the conversation abilities of your potential mate, acknowledge that as well. No point in trying to force an attraction if you know you lack any such feelings for the person.
6. What is your love language?
I read the book, The Five Love Languages, recently, and long after I had chosen my life partner, but I would recommend it to any woman who is unclear of what she needs in a relationship. Both my husband and I independently ranked quality time as one of our primary love languages, and maybe it should be no surprise, because from the beginning of our relationship we preferred to be together often. We still prefer traveling and socializing with other friends, as a couple, rather than individually. However, I certainly know that is not true for all couples. Be proud of the category you fit in and own it. That’s only one example. What I am advising you really is to be introspective and examine the things that make you feel loved in a relationship. I believe that at least some of these characteristics need to be present in your partner for a successful marriage and therefore these characteristics need to be on your list.
7. Does he need to get along with your family and/or friends?
I would say that the answer should be yes for any man you marry, but again people are different. If you aren’t particularly close to your family, maybe it doesn’t matter, but I believe it will be a strain if you love to be around your family and your partner does not get along with them. I think this can also apply to close friends.