5 Musts to Look for in a Spouse

In Advice and Encouragement, Dating, Marriage, Relationships by Debra Fileta

Hey everyone! I’m happy to host my friend, Paul Angone, a fellow author and blogger, for this guest post! At TrueLoveDates.com, we’re all about providing candid yet insightful articles about love, marriage, dating, and healthy relationships! Check out these great thoughts about things to look for in a spouse, and then leave him some love by commenting below! — Debra


“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are.” — Will Ferrell

After the Slow-Internet Marriage Test is complete (throw a baby in the room and a dog with a bladder control problem to get the full picture), what else should you be looking for in a spouse?

There is no greater decision in your life than who you will marry.

My marriage is the absolute best, most integral, most encouraging aspect of my life. And I’m not just writing this because my wife edits every article I write! (Naomi, you look amazing in those sweatpants by the way and I love what the two-year-old has done with your hair).

Who you marry can propel the rest of your life or make it explode. What traits do you need to be looking for in the other person (and yourself!) to help make marriage not only last, but thrive.

1. Honesty

If you can’t trust, you can’t love. 

You can’t dive into a relationship if you’re waiting for the truth to tackle you from behind.

Don’t look for a spouse that doesn’t make any mistakes. Look for someone that yes makes mistakes, and then owns up to them. If you’re dating someone that feels dangerously too good to be true, than they probably are.

In my new book All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job! I tell the uncouth and unbelievable story of how I met my wife Naomi and how love can come at your worst moment, yet still at the best possible time.

Yet, what made our relationship really work was blunt-force-honesty. Naomi didn’t let my secrets hide. As I write in All Groan Up,“She didn’t shy away from calling out my “stuff” and asking me the questions she knew I was petrified to ask myself. There was no beating around the bush; instead she lit that bush on fire to see what I was trying to hide behind it.”

Don’t marry someone who is in hiding. Because when they finally make the grand reveal, you might not like what you see.

In marriage, four hands are on the wheel. If you can’t trust the person next to you to keep the car on the road when you close your eyes, how can you ride next to them?

2.  Sense of Faithful Exploration

Going into marriage, both your futures are this dimly lit mountain pass.

You can’t sit still at the bottom of the mountain and expect your dreams, purpose, and place in this world to just arrive. You need to explore, together.

So much of your twenties and thirties is keeping your bags packed, ready to venture into the next great unknown. I really think you and your spouse have to be willing to embrace ambiguity together. Willing to be at peace while life feels in disarray.

Life will never be completely known, so will you have someone there next to you when you step into all that is unknown. Or will you be by yourself? Is your partner in this for the comfort and security, or will they be willing to take some risks?

3. Common Core Values

As I write in 15 Questions You Need to Ask When Dating: “Too many marriages start (and end) with vague and un-identified core values.”

I’d describe core values as beliefs that are fundamental to how you are wired, guiding your actions, thoughts, plans, and purpose on this earth.

You may not know what they are, but you have certain values that guide the way you think, act, and react.

Opposites attract, but not when it comes to your core values.

If one person values security and the other adventure, those values might crash together head first.

If one values family and the other career at all cost, those values might pull you far apart.

If one values faith, and the other does not, how deep can your well go down into the ground together?

If your core values can’t dance together, then you’ll keep tripping, falling and wondering why you can’t move together in rhythm.

4. Self-Awareness

Too many of us go into relationships expecting the other person to be our clarity. 

Stop looking for the right person, and start working on becoming the right person.

Self-awareness is an underrated skill. Not knowing how you’re coming off to other people or what you’re about can be a serious problem in a relationship.

If you don’t know who you are, how can you expect the person you love to have a clue?

If the person you’re with doesn’t really know who they are, how can you know who you’re really marrying?

Don’t look for a spouse that has an obsession of self, but someone who has a healthy understanding of self.

Look for someone that is able to honestly look themselves in the mirror with a mix of humility and confidence.

I don’t think for many of us self-awareness comes naturally. I think self-awareness comes from asking yourself hard questions.

Those who are self-aware are able to move forward with more intentionality and purpose.

5. Adaptability, Resiliency, and Commitment

Being in a successful marriage is about adapting to changes as they come, having the resiliency to move forward under difficult circumstances, and a commitment to see it through, hand in hand.

Will life’s pressures forge you together, or break you apart?

We need more people in marriages who are willing to roll up their sleeves and fight for each other. For our families. For our futures.

Let us be wise and resilient.

How does the person you’re dating respond to hardships? Do they give up right away or do they grit their teeth and keep fighting for their future.

In those early years of marriage life will be laced with uncertainty, failure, and setbacks as we struggle to find our purpose and place. As I write in All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job!, “Like that long road trip where you’re nearing home and really need to pee, everything takes a lot longer and is a tad more intense than you realized you could handle.”

I mean, it took me ten years to see my newest book finally happen! All the dead-ends and do-overs within those 3,650 days could fill all of Rhode Island. There’s no way it ever happens without the commitment and support of my wife.

When I stopped believing in myself, my wife reminded me of truths I could no longer see.

We are committed to each other, not to the ebb and flow of success. It’s not easy, but it is powerful.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section on this article: what do you think about these five crucial traits for marriage?

Paul Angone is a full-time writer and speaker with a passion for inspiring this generation with hope and hilarity. He is the author of the new book All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job!, 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, and the creator of allgroanup.com You can follow him on Twitter @PaulAngone

Additional Resources: 

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