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Outdoor meal with future in-laws

The saying goes, "You don't get a second chance at a first impression," but when it comes to your children's chosen partners, you might cut them a little slack. Maybe he wields a toothpick a little too energetically at the dinner table, or she laughs like a charging buffalo. Unappealing as these qualities may seem, these are not deal breakers when it comes to a good mate. Besides, that which repels you may be just the endearing quirk that makes your child's heart sing. So, to feel more assured about your future in-law, move past the superficialities and get to the meat of the matter. Here are a few of the more important things to consider.

A Good Sense of Humor

You can see that she doesn't take herself too seriously. She is willing to be silly on occasion. Your offspring thinks her off-key karaoke is adorable. As anyone in a successful (or unsuccessful) marriage might tell you, laughter can get you through many a tough moment. A good sense of humor denotes an ability to take a broad perspective, an excellent skill for the long run.

Takes His Share of the Load

If your child's fiancé alternates errands and laundry without complaint, cheerfully makes do with a single automobile between the two of them, and offers to stay home to wait for the cable guy, then he demonstrates a commitment to a life of shared responsibilities. Flexibility and dedication to the work at hand shows maturity.

Has Independent Interests

Your future daughter-in-law supports her partner's devotion to beer painting but prefers to spend her free time doing yoga on her stand-up paddleboard. When they were toddlers, you called this parallel play. It worked then, and it can continue to work. Individuals who are happy and engaged in their own lives, and interested in the individual pursuits of their mates, make good partners.

Makes an Effort to Communicate Openly

Good communication is a lifelong process. The key here is willingness. Wave the red flag when someone is frequently critical or if he or she gives the extended silent treatment when there is conflict. On the other hand, a person who can say and listen to difficult things, and bear the consequences, is someone who is willing to put in the hard work on a relationship.

Hangs in There

The partner you want for your son or daughter is the person who stays put when things get difficult. Life happens; people make mistakes. Someone who values the relationship for its long-term potential rather than its short-term pleasures may be someone with whom your child can build a life.

Is a Good Friend

Spark is important, but friendship is the glow that can keep a marriage warm through the years. In casual observation:

  • Do they appear to genuinely like one another?
  • Do they laugh together, enjoy spending time in one another's company?
  • Do they have conversations about things other than themselves?

If the answer to these questions is a consistent yes, then they may be forming a foundation for the greatest friendship of their lives.

They Support Each Other's Dreams in Word and Deed

When your son or daughter finds a significant other, it can bring out the best in both of them. Love may nourish their instinct to nurture one another. In the big picture, one of them may choose to take a temporary backseat in order to support an opportunity for the other. Ideally, when the roles reverse, the generosity will be returned. You cannot hope for more for your child than a relationship in which two people are willing to make open-eyed sacrifices for the benefit of the marriage. You can wish for their happiness and recognize it when they have found it.

Category: Marriage

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