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As I think about how I approached things with my wife, there are several things that stand out about the process for me.

1)  I wasn’t necessarily looking to date her when I met her. I mean, she was fine. Very. But I was good.  I had had my share of the games, and the volatility of relationships, and was really just looking for PEOPLE, to be cool and hang out with.  Not sex.  Just chill with.  I wanted a change of pace from “poker night with the fellas”, or “cruising the strip”.  So it needed to be a woman.  But I wasn’t interested in dating.  So the foundation of my relationship with her was FRIENDSHIP above all else.  And that remains intact to this very day.

2)  Evaluating my wife as a life partner, was very much like a VERY LOOOOONG job interview.  I didn’t even realize I was doing it.  I paid attention to stuff like how CLOSE KNIT her family was (very important).  How LARGE her family was (pretty important).  how often her family had experienced the trauma of divorce (answer, NEVER — EXTREMELY IMPORTANT), the marital relationships of the people around her….AND the people around THEM.  I paid attention to her relationships with the men around her.  How she responded to them, and how they TREATED her.  I paid attention to her relationships with her uncles, her male cousins, her BROTHERS, and especially her DAD (non-existent, but she wasn’t bitter), and her STEPDAD (they were like two peas in a pod).

3)  Situational crisis management is critical in ANY life partner.  Will she fold under pressure, and make emotional decisions as she cracks?  Or is she cool as a fan, take charge, and ride-or-die.  Will she be with you to the end?  Will she trust your leadership?  Or will she take the first lifeboat, at the first sign of rocky seas?  Is she prone to emotional decisions, that increase damage?  These kinds of character defining traits don’t show up until many of life’s TOUGHER challenges (the one’s you can’t always throw money at) show up.  I was lucky enough to get an answer to ALL of these questions pretty early in the process.

4)  Allow yourself to be vulnerable.  Be TRULY HONEST about who you are, flaws and all.  If she elects not to judge you, and instead elects to act as a compliment areas that you may be weaker in, you MAY have a winner.

5)  Does she understand the role of a wife?  Is she coachable?  A team player?  How are her communication skills?  How well do your personalities mesh?  Again these questions will answer themselves very quickly.

Interestingly, as I look over my list, I noted that two things that ALWAYS ALWAYS come up in the evaluation process are absent.  It wasn’t by design, or delberate, but it does speak to how UNIMPORTANT they ended up being in the success of my marriage as it exists today.

1)  How attractive she is.  It helps that she’s attractive.  But she doesn’t always feel like getting dolled up for me, and that’s okay.  She used to model.  But she doesn’t always look like one.

2)  What she does for a living.

You see, those two things of all the things I’ve talked about in this post, are the EASIEST to change, and MOST susceptible to change due to external factors that she has no control over.  But the others?

Well….you are who you are.

One final thing: Marriage is a PROCESS that begins LONG before, and continues LONG after you say “I do”. The wedding is simply the symbolic culmination of that process.

You are in the process of getting married BEFORE the wedding. And you are still “GETTING married” AFTER the wedding. Understand that Rome wasn’t built overnight, and most importantly, pick someone who understands the importance of teamwork.

When my wife and I have a disagreement, we are quick to remind each other that it’s ME AND YOU vs the problem. Not ME vs YOU. Remembering that you GUYS are on the same team NO MATTER WHAT is critical.
Written by Daemon Holmes, Guest Blogger for Code Red Flag

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