Men have asked me:
How do you find a quality partner in life?
It's a great question.
I love my wife. She's my partner for life.
How do I answer that for them?
They're not going to have my same experiences.
I knew I'd marry her when we first met.
And we also work really hard on our relationship.
Because “happily ever after” is EARNED.
Love & relationships take work.
This article gives you tips on how to:
- Improve your dating life
- Find that special someone
- End up happily married (like me)
Tip #1 – Be Open To Love
Sounds mushy? Love IS mushy. It's sentimental.
Without love – would you really care about your family and friends? Would you enjoy their company? Or take the initiative to help them out?
There are different types of relationships – but love is at the center of relationships that matter to you.
For any romantic relationship, love is the key to making it last. Most likely you feel it in an instant.
In fact, science shows it only takes 1/5 of a second for the “love” chemicals to start affecting the brain – when you're with the right person.
That's what I didn't realize back in my early 20s. I was fine with meeting different people – having fun in physical, unserious relationships. I didn't know what it meant to be in a loving relationship.
But I was still young then. For most, it takes some degree of maturity to understand love. To know it when you feel it. You could have trouble sleeping or concentrating at times – thinking about that person.
If love makes you nervous, relax! Don't be terrified if you're feeling it early on in a relationship. It's a clear sign of something special.
Be vulnerable. Accept the possibility of getting hurt (or hurt again if you've been there before). Otherwise, there's really no future with the two of you.
Tip #2 – Build Self-Confidence
Call it self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth or whatever you like.
It's about having a strong sense of belief – that you've got something to offer another person.
That was a problem of mine before joining the Marines. When I started working in a unit – I gained a sense of purpose and direction in life.
Without self-confidence, you can't be in a true relationship. Women may like you – but won't see a potential partner if you seem unsure of yourself.
Thankfully, there are tricks to grow your self-confidence (without inflating your ego). Simple things such as asking good questions can go a long way.
Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy says you can use small talk to genuinely reach out to somebody. Letting them discuss their passions and interests.
Soon enough, they'll be more comfortable around you and feel they can trust you. When trust is established – it opens the door for a serious relationship.
Tip #3 – Put Yourself Out There
How do you find the right woman if you're not actively searching?
Sure, there's always a chance you'll accidentally cross paths in the train or on the sidewalk (like in those Hollywood movies). But not everyone is that lucky!
Go to those places where you'll meet new people. Where people with something in common gather.
I have one friend who moved to Denver, Colorado and knew nobody there. You know what he did? He took dance lessons at a country western bar (as a total beginner). But after some time and practice, he can now rock the dance floor every time! And he has no trouble meeting women.
Here's another option that's less “extreme” – meeting people through Match.
Online dating? If it sounds ridiculous, consider how:
- Nowadays, 1 in 3 people are meeting each other online
- Over a third of married couples in the U.S. met online (according to a study published in 2013) – and they may be slightly happier than those who met offline
I have one friend who met his now-wife using the Match site. And since he's happily married, I'm sure he made the right decision setting up an account there.
I didn't get to use it (my wife and I met through other means). But if I had to start over as a single guy, I'd give it a try! I'd download the app – it makes the whole process even more convenient. You could find a date this coming weekend from anywhere!
Don't worry about coming across sketchy accounts. If you're too afraid of that – you'll never get to see all those legitimate profiles. You'll miss out on meeting some attractive, single women in your area.
Tip #4 – Know What You Want
She might be attractive, there might be a spark…
but it doesn't mean she's the ideal woman.
If you want a relationship that can last a long while (if not a lifetime), take a step back. Look into the things you really want in a partner.
Go beyond the physical. Think about lifestyle, beliefs or personality traits that won't clash with your own.
Tip #5 – Know Your End Goals
End goals are better than chemistry.
You know why some couples who were high school or college sweethearts end up divorcing?
One reason is that they married without a shared vision of success. It's something they'd only realize years later – even though they had each other's desired qualities.
As they lived together 24/7 – it would turn out one is actually a spender while the other is frugal. Or one wants to travel in their 40s while the other prefers TV all weekend.
You and the right partner should be on the same page: “Where do you want to be 10, 20 or 50 years from now?” That's how you'll avoid feeling trapped in a marriage like so many others.
Make a list of both your end goals and what you want in a partner. Trust me – you're not going overboard here. You're doing yourself a favor.
You can't expect much from dating somebody based on how you hit it off after a few drinks. To go beyond a casual relationship – it's about more than just enjoying their company.
Update these lists every now and then. It's normal when certain things or goals start to matter less (especially if that person makes you super happy).
Tip #6 – Approach The Relationship As A Project
Dating is a job. So is marriage.
I know – this doesn't sound romantic or sexy. But people forget that relationships take WORK.
If you don't realize this – you'll have arguments with your partner that go out of hand.
You'll point fingers at one another. You'll start to think you've fallen for the wrong person… or married for the wrong reasons. And you'll want out.
The truth? The most successful relationships involve give and take. Neither party demands the other to be perfect – or to meet all their expectations. It's a team effort.
That must be why surprisingly, arranged marriages become happier marriages over time. Studies show they start off with lower “levels of happiness” than love marriages – but those levels go up later on.
They can surpass the happiness levels of love marriages (many of which drop over time). A former High Court family judge in the UK claims it might be because those couples enter the marriage without any pressure to be with the “perfect” partner.
And without that pressure, arranged couples can focus on getting to know each other. They keep learning how to communicate better.
There are no feelings of “deserving” this or that. They know they're spending a lifetime with that person – so they put in all the work. And it pays off.
Does it mean it's much harder to marry out of love? No – it just requires the right mindset.
Marriage isn't a permanent state of “happily ever after” (which the media and wedding industry promote). It's an ongoing project. It can fail or succeed depending on whether you're:
- Humble (willing to listen and compromise)
- Responsible (putting the relationship first)
- Generous (committing to a life together – not two individual lives)
Tip #7 – Timing Is Important
Unfortunately, you don't have complete control over timing. You could be the readiest single guy…
But you can't do much if that person you're eying up is going through some stuff:
- Is she married or with a boyfriend? You might figure she's unhappy – but that doesn't mean she's made up her mind and wants to break up.
- Is she recovering from a bad relationship? Did her ex, cheat on her and break her heart?
- Is she busy with her career?
Then again – she may be worth waiting for. So why not take it slow? Start by being friends until she's finally ready to date.
You never know. Good things come to those who wait…
Read next: 13 Relationship Red Flags In Women You Should Never Ignore!