A lot of people go wrong in mate selection, because they seek marriage instead of relationship.
A relationship is a situation in which two people get along really well: like friends, like brother and sister and so on and so forth. You can have good and bad relationships in every aspect of your life, from work to family, to friends and in romantic relationships.
Now, where everything goes wrong is when we come to finding a mate "for marriage". Suddenly: the entire tick list changes - we begin to idealize what we want our married life and children's lives to be like, we set out a list of virtues that we would IDEALLY like (watch out for that word yeah, "ideally") and then instead of seeking out what would work for us, we seek out what we would ideally like.
Then it all goes wrong.
Because ideally we would also be different and so we pretend to ourselves that we can be our ideal and so our partner too should be our ideal when it comes to marriage and then we go and look for all of the wrong things.
If you love music and dancing, you need to find someone who (doesn't have to like music and dancing) but can appreciate and accept that you do. If you love reading and writing, you need to find someone (who doesn't have to like reading and writing) but appreciates and accepts that you do.
Up comes the marriage question and instead of finding a personality match, we look for an ideals match ...ideals (by the way) which have very little to do with our actual selves, and our actual lives.
You can see this by looking around at your friends and noticing that actually, you have very little in common with most of them. I'll use myself as an example - I am regarded as the "educated" one - in that, I love books, classical music, theatre, museums, country side. I like to holiday in 5 star hotels and I like to rough it in tents and camps. I am happy to throw myself off a cliff into water, and scuba and jump out of an aeroplane - I love excitement and adventure and I also like new and interesting things - whether that be a subject, a place or a person. I will be trotting along my life, happy as a lamb, and then suddenly, I will just bin the lot and start again - because I get bored.
My friends? Totally different. There is M, the English super soft pediatric dietician with a horrific dating background who loves babies and everything to do with them - same job and life for 10 years. There is C, the Jamaican 6 ft tall, 20 stone administrator who has no morals and is currently living on the breadline with no money having her third baby with man who hates her, has a wife already AND another mistress after having thrown in an uber successful finance career to be with him - she cant stop effing up her life for some reason, there is E, the Turkish solicitor, recently left career to become a primary school teacher of drama, lives with parents, getting married to English guy next year - really nice girl, no confidence, cant make decisions, A a Polish Accountant, married to a Moroccan, A is of exceptionally good moral character, ridiculously committed and reliable - trying for babies for last 3 years, recently trying IVF working hard to become a fully qualified accountant and start a family - never changed course in the whole time I have known her, J the English bubbly sales lady, business woman - living with partner for 20 years now, 1 daughter (by accident) loves to go out, get drunk and sing karaoke - extremely good person, extremely moral, her male partner (husband really after this many years), is ardent feminist, artsy - coffee shops and design work type - she is tremendously confident and good at making decisions, rarely breaks down, thrives on pressure, there is F (pakistani) the extremely religiously devoted 35 year old do-gooder - never married - always volunteering and doing good deeds, always rescuing someone in need - very shy and quiet, J (greek) the genius, physics major, recently turned computer developer - working for big firm, always looking for love - never finding one (well - actually, always finding one, but never finding one that is actually available) - currently in counseling to find out why this keeps happening, C (greek) the bisexual lab worker - seriously funny - laid back, takes whatever comes, has harsh tongue and evil wit! M (greek) - totally INSANE - stalks her boyfriends, and then gets into mad relationships with them - been in counseling for serious psychological issues for over 10 years - never had a job, M, (african from Ghana), business woman, married, mother of 2 - always trying to make her fledgling business work, never getting into the green - total workaholic - texts you at 1am, 2am with business ideas and asking you if you think she should pack it all in and start again - you say yes, then she gets upset with you and ignores it lol! Always thinking about work, M (african) the femme fatale), ridiculously sexual, goes through men as if they are socks - only dates married or otherwise involved men - is "strong one" but secretly soft and will never ever let you down - EVER.
Then there's family - who are too long to list here. I have nothing in common with any of them, and if you asked me to choose who my lifelong friends would be by looking at these people's profiles - I wouldn't choose a single one. But you know what? I get on with each and every one of them like a house on fire, because the one thing we do share is mutual appreciation, acceptance and support. Same goes for my family who are mad mix of tremendous success and abject failure, powerful morals and equally powerful immorality - but we love each other and we get on and we enjoy being in the same room.
When it comes to marriage - for some reason - we operate in a completely different way. We seek out an ideal tick list and what we get at the end of that process: is our tick list.
Don't look for a tick list!!! Don't look for a husband, and don't look for a wife - look for a relationship and when you find it: keep it.
Seriously, advice does not get better than this.