Thursday, May 27, 2010

What Matters Most

What matters most to you in your relationship?

I've been told, "Make sure they have everything you absolutely cannot live without." Ok, great. I'm easy to please in that arena - worthy (check!), attractive (check!), dear friend (check!). But what if they also have traits you are not so sure you can live with?

I envy my friends who put an end to their single status long ago. Not for the reason you may think. I would not trade my life for anything. I can't believe all of the amazing things of which I have been able to be a part. Wouldn't have it any other way. Definitely embracing all that is my life.
I envy them because I think the older we get, the more logic sets in. When I was younger, there was so much more romance to every situation. Things like college degrees and cleaning habits didn't matter as much as the fact that he adored me and made me laugh. Younglings are more willing to jump in the deep end with the optimistic attitude of discovering what mysteries the future holds. As we progress in life, more and more becomes concrete about our futures and the more we demand/need our partners to have just as much concreteness, so to speak - we no longer appreciate the romance of ambiguity.

Eternity is a long time. A very long time. Is loving someone and laughing with them (and of course fundamental agreements on faith) all that matters?

What has mattered most to you? What has made you realize that the person you are with is the one you not only can't live without for eternity, but also want to live with for eternity?


WWProjects said...

Now, 2 years after the wedding, the things I find matter the most are that I LOVE to spend time with my husband and he is a good person.

Does it bother me when I have to pick up after my husband? Sometimes.
Are there things about him that drive me crazy? Absolutely.
Would I want to go back and pick someone else who was neater or who didn't do some of the things my husband does? No. Not ever.

Really... I'd say what matters most is that you find someone of good character and someone you LOVE to be with.

One thing I didn't fully grasp when I was single is that people continue to grow and change after they're married and life will change the way we do things as we go along. For example, now that I stay home and don't go out to work every day, it is WAY easier for me to overlook my husband's messes... he's out working and I'm home with extra time to clean and pick up. Life changed and so did my perspective. Things like this happen all the time in our marriage (in a lot of ways that are more important than a couple of dirty socks on the floor).

A person's character doesn't change quite as easily... most liars keep telling lies... most cheaters keep cheating... but someone who is kind, honest, loving, etc is likely to stay that way.

Forever IS a long time... so find someone who makes you happy and is a genuinely good person... but you can work out a lot of the other things as you go along and you will have to as things and people change. Be patient... the dirty socks on the floor probably WON'T last forever.

Lastly... two other things that I thought of as I was typing along... It is important to be able to talk about disagreements without taking things too personally (not sure you really learn that until you're married) and it is important to be committed to each other.

Audra said...

That's why Mike and I dated for 4 1/2 years before we got married! Eternity is a long time and we both needed to be sure we could stand each other for that long:)

We are best friends and can forgive each other's shortcomings. I've also found that marrying someone who came from a similar family and socioeconomic background has been very helpful. We expect the same things out of life/lifestyle.

Camille said...

Good point... See I think answering the question about what matters the most to me is a moving target, because certain things mean more to me at different times or after different relationships... however if you ask me what has reoccurred or consistently been most important over time, is actually quite telling.

snittymagee said...

I love the phrase "Romance of ambiguity."

Kristie said...

For me, it's communication. Karl never ever gives me the silent treatment. He loves me unconditionally. And I love hime the same. Even though we're in the beginning of our life together, I know I want this for eternity. There will always be logical things to think about, but keep the eternal perspective in mind. Too many people say "I want a husband who makes at least $100,000 a year." That doesn't matter. What matters is that he's a hard worker, a good provider, kind, and loving. That's what makes eternity so wonderful.

ChelBelle said...

Honesty! And with that comes full communication. Just because everything someone says is true, doesn't mean they're saying everything that needs to be said.

Tanisha said...

i know i am younger than you, but cleaning abilities still don't matter to me..and neither does a college degree, although we might be in a special situation, because mike doesn't need one to be successful. i might have a different opinion if we were going to be on welfare for the duration of our lives. anyway, my point is, i'd be divorced by now if i let these things matter, but i still think i married the best man there is. a lot of it has to do with respect, for me and my choices. i know that he will back me up, whether that means staying at home or having a career.. and i have shown him support in his decisions. but the main difference when i see our relationship in comparison to others, it's that we are truly, truly, truly best friends and we know each other inside and out. no surprises. we are our silliest with each other. we are our most serious with each other. obviously, we are our most loving with each other. we have every bit of romance we did from the beginning. i love that we can be romantic and silly all at keeps things interesting. i love that we can have fun together all day every day, and at the same time have so much love and loving fall neatly in between...and still be able to talk about our budget too. i love that i feel relieved every time i see him after we've been apart, like i've found something i had been missing. this is getting cheesy and i don't even know if some of that makes sense, but that's what does it for me. and having to clean up everything he ever takes out of the cupboards and leaves on the floors and replacing toilet paper rolls is worth it in the end. i don't know if you're a dr laura fan, but she always says, "once he's gone, you'll wish you had someone's socks to clean up." :)

Anna said...

I have thought about this a lot lately. I really think that the older we get it is harder to be lose your mind, willy nilly in love. We think too much. This of course can be both a pro and a con.

Something that I really would have a hard time with is laziness. Could not have me a lazy guy. Ambtion is a must. Not "money" ambition but life ambition. I don't want someone who is ok with mediocre.

Megan said...

Ris no one else can answer this one for you. Yes hard when we get older but you know what you can and can't live with and what really matters to you and what doesn't. So quit looking for it every where else. And if you get to date for 2 years to make sure then do it. But lady, trust yourself!

Larissa said...

Wow! Lots of comments! Thanks, everyone! To anyone concerned - NO need to be. My choices are my choices and my thoughts are my own and I make my decisions based on internal reflection. I am always curious, however, how others I love came to their conclusions. Human minds and the way we all individually work are extremely fascinating!

Eric said...

Wow. This is one of the best blog posts on dating I've ever read! Plus, great comments. I have nothing else to say. :)

Unknown said...

I would say complete open communication, ambition (not necessarily making tons of money, but I desire to get out and do things and not afraid of life), and just with that what I look for the most is the ability to just have fun with life and see the positive in life.

Kenedijs said...

Amen to it all... I can't think of anything that I could really add to honest communication and ambition for life. I do think as we let ourselves get older, we make it harder for ourselves to fall head over heels for someone, but it's not necessarily an age thing, it's us allowing ourselves to let us fall, even though we know there is a chance that we won't be caught, but it is so worth it once someone does.

fr said...

I haven't read all the comments, but commitment is something you cannot do without. Your spouse needs to be committed to God first and foremost. The best way to determine this is to see if he (or she) is working on improving himself. If he is humble enough to recognize his weaknesses and work on them, then you know he is committed to God.

Then you should determine if he is committed to you. What is he willing to sacrifice for you? Is he changing himself for you? And I mean eternal changes.

However, before you get carried away analyzing him, you have to ask this of yourself. Are you willing to give up the things that are most important to you (except God), for him? Will you give up your social life, your career, gym, acting, etc. if you needed to?

I am not saying that you will have to give up everything, but you might need to.

When I was getting married, it was really hard to leave things behind. I felt like I was at the top of a diving board with all of my friends, fun activities, freedom, etc. I had to decide what was more important, stay there with them, or move on and be committed to my wife. After praying about it, I got a clear answer that said if you don't jump, you will never progress. You won't challenge yourself and you won't learn new things. (I am not saying this is true of everyone, just to me at that time.)

I got really comfortable being single. The only downside was the guilt that I knew the Lord wanted something more for me. It always came up during the marriage talks, and when parents, friends, etc. brought up the fact that you weren't married yet. I always rationalized it and thought, I haven't meet the right person yet. However, it was easy not to ask girls out or date someone because I didn't have to get rejected. Having been rejected a few times, I certainly didn't want to deal with it again.

So anyway, I jumped and my life changed so fast. A wife, two kids, and now living 3000 miles away from all of the comforts I had when I was single. Some days I really miss it because at times it is really hard. Harder than anything I faced when I was single. But mostly, it has brought so much greater happiness than I ever could have imagined when I was single. I feel like I have learned and grown 100 time more in the 4 years of marriage than in the 8 years I spent in singles wards.

So to answer the question, I think the two most important factors are 1) Does the Lord approve? and 2) Are you willing and committed? and 3) Is your partner's commitment enough to keep you committed?