Relationship Advice

Building a Relationship That’s Right

We have been groomed from an early age to believe that we must find the right person and then we will fall in love and get married. We’ve been told that somehow we’ll know when the right person comes along. The challenge to this kind of thinking is that love isn’t something you find, it’s something you develop.

The courtship process is crucial. It gives you and your partner an opportunity to sort out if you are suitable for each other. A couple of questions you can use to decide if a potential partner is right for you are:

a) Would I want to have a child with this person?

b) Would I be willing to spend my life with this person if they never changed from the way they are now?

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Choosing the right partner needs to center around finding a person with good character. Remember, beauty fades and a charming personality won’t pay the bills. As a rule of thumb, don’t date anyone you know you wouldn’t want to marry because you never know whom you’ll fall in love with.

Scarlet O’Hara, in Gone with the Wind said, “I can’t think about that now. I’ll go crazy if I do. I’ll think about it tomorrow.” It’s this kind of thinking that gets you into all sorts of trouble. Pay attention to your instincts. Warning!! Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. Here are some of the common things to watch out for:

  • Someone who wants everything now.
  • A fiery temper.
  • Being too picky.
  • Your family doesn’t like him or her.
  • Wanting someone to take care of them.
  • They mistreat other people.
  • They are not over a past love.
  • Any kind of “holic”.
  • People who are mentally and/or emotionally unavailable.
  • Someone who holds grudges.
  • They don’t listen.
  • They don’t call to say they are running late.
  • They have an “it doesn’t matter” attitude.
  • One wants children and the other doesn’t.
  • Incompatible spiritual beliefs.

Few couples, if any, are completely united when the marriage vows are spoken. The real union develops in the work of the years to come. When a man and woman marry, they become One. The trouble starts when they try to decide which one. Couples need to learn how to make room for their differences and to allow them to peacefully co-exist. When a couple is strongly connected, all problems become manageable. When a couple isn’t connected, the smallest challenges seem insurmountable.

If you wait until you are ready for marriage, you never will be. Marriage is on the job training. Here are some strategies for becoming Mr. or Mrs. Right.

  • Be kind no matter what.
  • Listen, and then comment if necessary.
  • Commit yourself to your partner.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be quick to apologize and forgive.
  • Remember all holidays and anniversaries
  • Say, “Thank you” and “I love you” often.
  • Decide to be a Great Partner
  • Make your partner’s happiness a priority.

Here is a living example of a Right Couple:

Winston Churchill once attended a formal banquet in which the distinguished guests were asked the question, “If you could not be who you are, who would you like to be?”

Everyone was curious as to how Churchill would answer. When his turn finally came, he stood and said, “If I could not be who I am, I would most like to be” and he paused to take his wife’s hand “Lady Churchill’s second husband.”

People with dissatisfying relationships expect a great one to magically show up. Couples with a great relationship look for ways to make it satisfying.

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Mark Webb

Mark Webb is the author of "How To Be A Great Partner" and founder of Partner Focused Relationships. Sign up for Mark Webb's Relationships Strategies newsletter at

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