• Being in love is exciting and wonderful, and for some people it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of romance. Many people spend more time planning for a wedding than they spend planning for a marriage. Before deciding to say “I DO”, consider these steps to help create a more happily ever after.

1. Ask: Am I ready?

The happiest relationships are built on a foundation of two happy and healthy people who are ready to take on the challenges of a new life together. Those who are ready to be in a long-term relationship have dealt with their own personal challenges and issues and are not looking for someone to make them happy or to “fix” them in some way (or vice versa).

2. Take time.

In order to really get to know someone, it takes talking (mutual self-disclosure) + being together (in a variety of situations) + time (at least 90 days, because we are usually on our best behavior when we first meet and it takes time for patterns of behavior to emerge, this is a process that can’t be rushed, even if you spend a lot of time together.

3. Be extra cautious in long-distance relationships.

While online dating is a common way to meet people, steer clear of commitment without spending a lot of time in person in many different situations. It is easier to show only our best selves in long-distance relationships.

4. Play detective.

Ask deep and meaningful questions that will help you know if you are compatible with the person you are dating.

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5. Start to become part of the family.

Much of whom we are was learned from growing up in our family, so we can learn a lot about what someone will be like as a partner and parent from observing, asking questions and spending time with their family. If there are concerns about a partner’s family or negative traits that a partner has learned from his or her family, you may want to think twice before getting too serious. While change is possible, it takes time and effort, and it is much easier to change before getting into a serious relationship.

6. Watch for personality compatibility.

While we probably won’t have everything in common with our partner, happy relationships often have many of these traits in common: emotional temperament, sense of humor, intelligence, energy levels, similar recreation interests and how affection is expressed.

7. Be aware of each other’s values.

Some of the biggest arguments in relationships relate to those things we value most because we have strong feelings and opinions about them. Having similarities in how religious/spiritual you are, having common financial views and goals and having similar views about family life are all major factors in lasting relationship satisfaction.

8. Watch for daily life compatibility. While it may not be romantic, the truth is that most of the time we spend with someone in a long-term relationship will be in the everyday routine of life. Consider such things as: Who will earn and manage the money? How will household responsibilities be divided? How will free time be spent? The answers to these questions can be crucial to the happiness of a relationship.

9. Learn conflict resolution skills.

Because we are all different, conflict is inevitable in even the happiest of relationships. When handled in a positive manner, overcoming conflict can strengthen relationships. Having a conflict plan in place can be helpful. Begin by setting the ground rules, such as choosing when and where to deal with conflict and remembering to practice good listening and communication skills.

10. Plan now to keep your relationship strong.

Just like cars, relationships need regular preventative maintenance in order to run smoothly and prevent problems. Research suggests that relationship education (such as attending a class or reading a relationship book together, etc.) can help relationships stay strong. Consider what you will do as a couple to keep your relationship strong.

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Please note that the messages contained in this article were not originally compiled by this author but were edited where necessary.



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  1. As Gary Chapman said in his book, The 5 love Languages, people ‘fall in love’ thinking they have found the real thing but they don’t realise it’s just
    an euphoria that lasts for a maximum of about 2 years after which it fades and reality sets in. When a couple is in this fall in love mode, they are blind to their partners’ faults but their friends and family could clearly see them. But when reality now sets in they begin see all the faults too. Things might get to levels when they begin to wonder how they fall in love with this person in the first place. He further said that falling in love requires no effort but real love takes a lot of effort and requires a decision. If people could avoid the deciept of falling in love and gauge their choice by a set of yard sticks which you have put forward, I believe we will have lasting relationships


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