Deep inside our hearts, we all have a yearning to be loved. Several of you might even be looking for that special someone to spend the rest of your life with. Whatever the case, love is something to be treasured and shared with others.

I’ve had a numbers of “crushes” growing up. There were a couple instances along the way that I even believed I might have found the one. I pictured myself getting married, raising a family, and thinking that I’ll definitely be happy once my prince charming proposes to me. Yes, I’ve thought it all several times.

This isn’t going to be your typical dating advice article. No way. In fact, I am currently no where near in a romantic relationship. That being said, I have had my share of heart aches and gained wisdom on what constitutes a happy relationship leading to a lasting marriage.

First, we need to get some points straight.

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The intention of dating is to find your spouse. It’s not about having someone to hook up with, gain fame or fortune, or satisfy an emotional need. If you reason for dating is for anything other than sincere love and marriage, you are dating for the wrong reasons.

Infatuation is temporary. The first couple months of have a boyfriend or girlfriend are filled with butterflies, flirting, hugging, kissing, giggling, and heightened emotions. I consider this the “infatuation” stage. Hormones seem to drive up the walls. Over time, the feelings and constant physical closeness will fade. That’s okay! Infatuation is a short-lived passion. Love is shown when a person puts a person’s needs before his or her own.

Before I go any further, let’s take a look at an accurate definition of love found in Scripture.  1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,  does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…”

Whether you are in a relationship now or are keeping an open mind for a future one, you should look at each of these characteristics and ask yourself: Is he/she patient? Kind? Jealous? Boastful? Immoral? Judgmental? Faithful? Hopeful? Will he/she endure with me through thick and thin?

Now, let’s quickly read sample wedding vows for a typical ceremony. “I, (Bride/Groom), take you (Bride/Groom), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”

Notice that both the core definition of love as well as marriage vows have a focus on enduring tough times! Conclusion: Marriage is not always a walk in the park. Life isn’t going to be the picture perfect life we’ve imagined. Even if you are absolutely in love with your significant other, you are not immune to times of hardship that will put you to the test.

Now, I believe that the more similarities a couple has, the more likely the marriage will last and the easier it will be to overcome hardships. Even during the toughest times, you both at least have the same foundational values to cling to. That’s the key word: Foundation.  If a marriage is built with a solid foundation of core beliefs, ambitions, and goals, your bond will be strong. If you, however, base a relationship off of fleeting emotions and physical attraction (RED ALERT), a lasting marriage is out of the question. Similarities need to be set in stone between both partners to enduring a solid marriage.

Ask yourself: What is important to you? What are your goals and dreams in life? How do these translate to the ideal spouse? For me, my Catholic faith, music, good stewardship, and willingness to raise a family are all important to me. Your ideals might be different, and that is completely fine! Basically, you need to know and love yourself before you can know and love a future spouse. Otherwise, you might conform to your spouse’s every behavior, decision, and attitude…which might cause constant frustration and stress.

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Overall, marriage is a beautiful gift but not necessarily the answer to happily ever after. It takes two devoted people to make a relationship endure through tough times. Love is beautiful, God-given, and takes sacrifice. It is a sacred bond. Treat it with love and care.

I hope this article provides some insight on relationships and marriage. I definitely enjoyed writing it!

Take care,

Julia
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