updated 21 Aug 2014, 14:44
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Thu, Apr 10, 2014
Love Out Loud Asia
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4 most important things to look out for in a partner
by Valerie Lim

Everyone knows a "perfect couple" who never seem to fight. How do they do it? Why do they never fight? Are they just perfect people?

The answer is, realistically, no. People are not perfect, and even the most easy-going couples will occasionally have disagreements. Nevertheless, what helps these couples get along so well is that they've got similar values.

Specifically, they agree on important areas which many easily overlook. Here are the 4 most important areas to look for in any partner.

1. Spending Habits

If you don't think this is a problem, consider that years into the future, what seems like $30 for a new shirt (that you don't really need) becomes $3000 for the many shirts, bags, shoes and clothes that you've spent.

Or that the $500 you give to your parents every month grows, and eventually becomes some $6,000 over just a year.

The point isn't what you want to spend on. There's nothing wrong spending on clothes if it's needed, or cutting the funding from your parents if they're using it to feed an out-of-control gambling habit (just saying). It may not look big now, but $20 a week easily becomes a $thousand in a year, and you can imagine how this adds up in the long run. The point is that you disagree, and this is only going to add up in the long run.

Thrash out your disagreements now, and spare your future the heartache (AND MONEY)! It starts today. If you've already got similar ideas, congratulations, you've overcame one of the biggest problems most couples face.

2. Respect for parents & family issues

Not everyone has the most loving relationship with their parents, but it's important for your partner to respect, and accept how you are with them.

Some people grew up in a peaceful and happy family. They are extremely respectful of your parents, and their family is the most important thing to them. They're also extremely bonded with their siblings, and tend to share everything with their parents.

Alternatively, others may have long-standing grudges, disappointments, and disagreements with their family. Growing up was hard, that's what shaped these individuals to be more tough and independent.

There is nothing wrong with either.

There is only conflict when you don't understand your partner's backstory, or judge them for how their family is because it doesn't fit your "ideal". You're striking at something very personal, and that forms a significant aspect of their identity. This is the quickest way to start a fight.

Accept them, even if you can't really understand them.

3. Communication styles

Psychological studies tell us that communication styles can be analysed into various modes, but the two most important categories are: direct vs. indirect.

When we need something, there are two basic ways to get it. Some people (typically men) will come right out and say it. Eg: "I need you to stop calling me during work, it's getting me into trouble."

Someone who prefers the indirect mode of communication would instead say, "I'm very busy during work hours, perhaps we can talk to each other over dinner instead?"

There is nothing wrong with the modes, but the best couples have figured out a way to talk such that their partner feels loved and understood anyway. When people don't communicate in the same mode, one party might feel offended at how direct the other party is, or frustrated and confused by how indirect the other party is.

In the long run, this builds up stress and tension between the parties. Thankfully, this is one of the easier areas to resolve, and naturally gets better over time. For example, if this article makes you more aware of your own style, and consider how you'll adapt to other's styles, you're already ahead of the game.

4. Religion

Many people will disagree with me, but religion remains one of the biggest stumbling blocks for couples in the long run. It's fine when you're just dating, and these things start adding up…

Consider that:
- You believe in different heavens (Does this mean one will be in heaven while the other might be reborn again? But I want to spend an eternity with you!)
- Different ways to being a 'good person' (So one person might do acts that the other doesn't see value in)
- Different valued sacrifices (Sacrificing pork? Vegetables? Money? The list goes on.)
- Different ways to raise your children (What if one wants to send them to Sunday school while the other doesn't see the need to?)

Overall, different religions tend to point to vastly different philosophies, beliefs, life goals and fundamental truths. When we share our lives so intimately with a person, we would strive for them to understand us as fully as possible. When they passionately believe in a different deity, this becomes much harder.

It's not an impossible task, but it sure does involve some difficult compromises that - when push comes to shove- most are not willing to make.

This article was first published in love and dating blog, Love Out Loud Asia.


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