Being in your twenties and early thirties is all about relationships with a major focus on dating. As I went through my twenties I learned a lot about dating and my view of what I wanted changed as I matured. Part of it had to do with lacking my father my whole life. I had my grandpa as my father figure but it’s not the same. I didn’t realize that until I was 27. Having an absent dad lead me to crave attention from guys and want security. I think that’s why I fell madly in love with a guy way older than me. A year or so after that relationship (my now boyfriend) mentioned to me that you do not really get to know someone for at least 6 months after you meet. I agreed with this, and being friends with someone before dating seems impossible these days but a great way to enter into a relationship. There’s a fine line between trying to be friends with the opposite sex and dating them.
In my very early twenties here is the advice I told myself:
-Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional
-People come and go in life and only those that matter will stay
-Don’t fall for guys so easy. Take it slow. Make them work for it.
-Don’t cling on when it’s not right
-There could be many people in your life you could see yourself marrying
-In a relationship you shouldn’t be upset all the time and you shouldn’t make all the effort
-Be with someone who isn’t afraid to talk about kids or marriage
-Be with someone who’s not afraid of commitment
-Be with someone who cares and makes me a priority
-Choose the guy who will make me a better girl
Well some of those things listed above are important; the focus shouldn’t be on what not to have/do. Over the last few years there have been many talks with my girlfriends about guys and what we want in our partners. My uncle always told me if you have FUN and can communicate you could make any relationship work, including friendships. I added a few others to that list to come up with my 5:
1-Spiritual-Do you have the same spiritual beliefs? Can you encourage each other in that way? For me as a Christian, is that person pointing me towards God and vice versa?
2-Values– Do you value the same things in life? Do you have similar ideas about what the purpose of your life on this earth is?
3-Financial- same financial views– Is one person frugal and the other spends a lot?
4-Intimacy/ physical attractiveness – point blank are you attracted to them? Even if all the other 5 things are there, not being attracted can kill a relationship.
5-Have fun/communicate/best friend – Ultimately if you can have FUN together, communicate about things and solve problems together and consider your partner your best friend, you will make it through anything.
I’m lucky to have all 5 of those with my boyfriend and business partner Brent. Your 5 may be different but it’s important to have solid ground on things that matter and things that will last. It kills me some of the things my friends say they want in a relationship. Sadly, I know they will keep going on tinder and bumble dates until their views change and they will never find the “right” person. Andy Stanley says that’s a myth btw. Stop looking for the right person and focus on becoming the right person. Ask yourself- Are *you* the person the person you’re looking for is looking for? There may be many people in your life you could see yourself marrying, but you have to be at the right place for yourself and the same for that person.
So if you’ve found that person, how do you stay happy?
What makes a happy couple:
3-Give each other lots of grace
We all have hopes, dreams and desires. Does your partner know what yours are? Be clear. These can often turn into expectations to be fulfilled and then disappointments. Do you think your spouse owes you something? As long as you think your spouse owes you something, your marriage will be all about keeping score, which will destroy your love. You will have to make a choice over and over and over again to live by those 3 things, and it’s not easy. Imagine a relationship where both people are living by all 3- now that’s a beautiful thing.
Check out some of the Andy Stanley podcasts on the “Your Move” app. He has GREAT advice (whether you’re a Christian or not) on life, love and business.
Here’s one of the episodes in the series “What happy couples know”:
Go THRIVE in your relationships! <3