Notice that the title didn’t read, “Finding the One: Getting Married and Living Happily-Ever-After.” I don’t believe there is only one person that you may partner with to create a satisfying, fulfilling life. I do believe, however, that it's possible for you to harness your best judgment—good sense—so that you can make a sound decision when you’re shopping. Right, shopping. There is nothing wrong with being intentional—knowing what you want and looking for it. Here are some ideas that may help you as you scout for a suitable marriage partner.
First, decide what is your purpose for getting married then make sure that a potential partner has the same ideals for herself or himself. You’ll have to have a deliberate conversation about this. Don’t assume anything. And, always question your motives—you may have a few blind spots. For example, I'm tired of Grandma asking me when am I going to get married; or "All of my friends are married," or, "I'm getting old," or "I'm tired of being alone." You must ask yourself, "Are these solid and sane reasons for me to get married?" If so, carry on; if not, then check out my next article on "Why being alone is better than marrying for all the wrong reasons." Ha, that’s my cute way of saying, “being alone is better than marrying for all the wrong reasons.”
Next and most important is you need to do the personal research on your potential mate (i.e., listening to casual conversations). Do your values line up? Do your principals match? These are the non-negotiable ideals: e.g., having children, illicit drugs use, spirituality, social justice matters, earth matter, etc. It is in these conversations that you must decide if the two of you will clash or mesh.
What is really important is that you "like" the person well enough so that if all of this stuff changes you will still be friends. Are you the kind of friends that when you disagree, you do so with respect and acceptance—you like each so much that you find ways to accept your differences. So when one of you can challenge the other’s behavior the other know that it is because of concern and care, not due to pettiness or unhealthy competition. This relationship will never end no matter what form it takes. So, if you want to find a suitable partner to marry then don't look for Mr. or Mrs. Right, look for a friend for life.