Picking a Partner is like Picking a President

Political Mascots courtesy of The Agency Post

Political Mascots courtesy of The Agency Post

It’s been over a week now since the General Election. And what an election it was!

If you’re like me, you spent time reading up on the different candidates and their positions, weighing them against your own beliefs, and discussing with trusted friends.

Here in California, we had 10 different propositions on the ballot that also had to be considered, everything from tax hikes to repealing the death penalty. (The former passed, the latter did not, in case you’re curious). Others are more relaxed in their approach, preferring to go with their gut, read the a few articles, and then cast their vote.

Whether picking a President or a partner, here are 5 tips to help us look past the hype and coy advances to see with eyes wide open the heart of that person and make the best choice.

1. Do you like the look of them?

Since the first televised presidential debate, between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, where the former looked fresh and vivacious next to the tired, sweaty challenger, we’ve payed attention to the way our candidates look. Rightly or not, we infer from their appearance their health, their energy, their character, and confidence in their ability to succeed. Same goes for our relationships. Looks matters. Do you find that other person attractive? It’s not shallow to want to like the way they look. As my mother told me, “You’ll be staring at this person for the next 50 years of your life. You might as well like what you’re looking at.” But looks are not everything.

2. Don’t let the flashy exterior fool you.

Fancy presents, and lavish promises are nice, but don’t be swayed by sweet talk. Or by the dinners, nights out, and pretty clothes. Money cannot buy results, though it can buy a good show. Look beyond the words and pay attention to what is actually being said. Be discerning enough to see beyond the flashy exterior into the heart of that person. Which brings us to our next point.

3. Character counts.

In the long run, who that person is will matter greatly. Are they someone who has proven themselves to be trustworthy? When they say they’re going to do something, have they consistently done that? Or do they say one thing, do another, and then make excuses? When crisis hits, can you count on them?

How do they speak about other people, particularly people they don’t agree with? It will give you an idea of how they’ll treat you when you get in that first disagreement. Can they keep it classy, expressing their disagreements with that person’s behavior or ideas without maligning the individual, or do they turn vindictive, attacking character and reputation, distorting reality to fit their arguments?

4. Do your values match?

You may think it’s not that big of a deal that you and that person hold different views on abortion, marriage, how to spend money, kids, faith, family dynamics, how to spend your leisure time, and how they view people in general. But I guarantee it will matter. Greatly. Those views come from a broader worldview about life and how to live and it will play out in your relationship. You’ll have conflict, feel like you’re being betrayed or forced to compromise and eventually, one of you will either need to change your beliefs or you’ll go your separate ways.

5. Listen to those you trust.

Ultimately, who you date and eventually marry are your decision and you will have to own that choice as your own, whatever the results. But the wise counsel of friends and family that we trust and who know us can offer an invaluable perspective and provide insight that we might fail to see because we’re so close to the situation.

You may not agree with their assessments, but by listening and having a dialogue with them about your relationship, you’ll be able to more clearly define your own thoughts and make a decision that has been well thought through.

What other tips do you have for picking a partner well?