“Character” is the word used to define a person’s good ethics, decency, honor, virtue. A person with character not only knows what the right thing to do is; he or she actually does the right thing. Anyone worth marrying should be trustworthy.
Sometimes a relationship is so logical, rational and unemotional that one wonders if this is romance or just a collegial relationship. There’s got to be some spark, some magnetism that turns you on about the other person. OK, so physical attraction shouldn’t necessarily be the highest priority and the only reason to get married. But even if Chemistry is No. 2 or No. 3, it is still really high!
Competency in a person is apparent when he or she shows some ability to master something well. Competent people are seen as efficient, adept, skilled in working with people and in finishing projects. Can he keep a job? Does she show herself to be responsible? Does she know how to handle money? Does he know how to relate to a boss and coworkers in an effective communication style? Why marry someone who keeps failing in a job?
Culture is the environment in which we were raised. It is the atmosphere or attitude of what we think is normal or proper. For a successful marriage to work, one needs to be aware of a potential spouse’s cultural background. I don’t mean there should not be any cultural differences, but if the gap is too wide, it might lead to severe misunderstandings.
A commitment is a promise, a pledge, an oath; it is a contract one keeps. Society says that your ability to follow through on a vow determines if you are reliable or not. Making a commitment implies that you have the endurance to weather inconvenience and suffering to make good on what you’ve said you would do. Marriage is about making a vow before God and friends that you intend to keep forever. Commitment is the glue that keeps a relationship stable through thick and thin.
It is the way we reveal what we are thinking and also how we determine what the other person is thinking. It’s the style of how we affirm, forgive, encourage or divulge information. Communication takes place in conversation, letter writing, emails, phone calls, and nonverbal body language. As you look at the person you are dating (or thinking of dating), what is the pattern of behavior you observe when it comes to communication style?
7. Core Values
Core values are basic and fundamental to who a person is. They are the foundation for what brings a person joy and passion. They determine what a person thinks is right and wrong in life. Do you and the person you are dating share some basic core values? If supporting the Democratic party is important to you, is the person you are dating of the same view? If it is important to you to have a heart for the poor, does she have one, too? If your faith is of utmost importance, does he put the same value on faith?
Dan Chun is the senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu and is the author of How to Pick a Spouse. He has also been a guest on The Boundless Show: Beat the Odds: Episode 351.
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