I recently had a discussion with a good friend about the kind of person I thought he should date. As of late, his luck in this department has been, somewhat disappointing.
It got me to thinking about the kinds of traits we looked for in a romantic partner when we were in our 20’s versus when were, say, 40. I was alarmed by a few thoughts. One, in our twenties, we thought we knew what we wanted. Obviously with the hindsight of 20 years, I’d have to conclude, we did not. Two, if our opinion of such a life altering subject was this erroneous, what will I think in another 20 years? How does anyone decide they’ve met “the One”. Are they “the One” right now, and there could be a different “One” in say, twenty years?
Does this make the accomplishment of the Bush’s who would have been married 73 years this year an accomplishment we should celebrate? Or just a quirk of fate that they won the marital lottery?
I believe that a good, strong, enduring marriage is the union of many different characteristics. And of course since individuals are unique, that mixture of characteristics would be unique to each couple.
That being said, there is one foundational core characteristic I feel is the bedrock of a good relationship and eventually a good marriage. That characteristic is flexibility. People change over the years. We learn, we grow, our interests change, our expectations fluctuate. We need to be flexible in the large things and the small.
Flexibility occurs when you give space in your relationship. You don’t let the routine of your lives together override the need for change. Embracing change in each other, is the key to living well and happily together. It is possible. I’ve seen it. I just don’t think it needs to be as rare as we make it out to be.