Love, like everything else, except couch potato surfing, works on a progression. You start with casual I-couldn’t-care-less dating, move on to the more confusing is-he-marriage-material dating, and finally slam into the full on commitment of till-death-or-taxes-do-us-apart. Of course this isn’t necessarily a linear progression, some people like to do a little cha-cha back and forth while others accelerate from zero to nuclear in the blink of an eye. No matter what speed you love at or what stage you’re in, it never hurts to keep these points in mind before charging to the next level.
- Is the relationship Honest?
Let’s be realistic. I wouldn’t fault a guy for saying he played two hours of Grand Theft Auto when he actually played through the night. One look at his exhausted sleep-deprived face would be enough to satisfy my revenge fantasies. On the other hand, someone who went partying with his ex without telling me deserves military style torture. Similarly, if you find yourself withholding the truth, it may show that you have some reservations about this guy. Do you really want to upgrade him then?
- Is there Effective Communication?
Simply put, effective communication involves both sides talking and listening (not at the same time, please.) Without a good balance, one party could feel stifled or unheard and lead to frustration and resentment over time. Since communication is vital to a flourishing relationship, one without it will more likely stagnate and wither over time.
- Are both parties Ready for Commitment?
It takes a certain amount of maturity, and for some people, sowing a certain amount of wild oats, before one is ready for commitment. Keep in mind that you can’t compel someone to be ready. Either they are or they are not. If their timing doesn’t fit yours, it’s time to look for someone else.
- Do you share Similar Values?
It’s not a problem if I love Taylor Swift and he thinks that’s the name of a bird. After all, I think Grand Theft Auto corrupts young minds and should be banned on moral grounds. However, if he talks down to waitresses, that would be a big no-no for me. Values are the guiding hand for every action we take in life. While a couple may not share exactly the same values, a difference in fundamental ones such as morals, finance, or relationships could have a dramatic effect in the long run.
- Can you Trust each other?
If you leave Ben & Jerry’s in the fridge and go off for a holiday, can you trust that there’ll still be some left for you when you come back? Alright, alright, I know this isn’t a fair test. He could have replaced it with a new tub after finishing the original one. But seriously, can you trust this guy not to cheat on you? Can you trust him with your money? If his mother wants to pop by for a surprise visit, would he warn you first? If you hesitated at any of these questions (especially the last one), you have been warned…
~ Li Ching (Who Loves Her Mother-in-law)