While we may not know who exactly we are going to marry, as fully developed young adults, we have a pretty good idea of the qualities we’re looking for in a partner. Marriage isn't for everybody, but if it's something you'd like to do someday, you might have already given some thought to the qualities the person you're going to marry should have. Even if this is your first time considering your future partner, you probably have a few key basics in mind: You should wind up with someone you genuinely enjoy spending time with, someone you're attracted to, and someone you can comfortably act like yourself around. Maybe you look to your parents' relationship as inspiration — whether you want a marriage with similar qualities or one that's the total opposite.
There's no magic wand you can wave to figure out if the cutie you see at the coffee shop every morning or your longtime partner could be the person you wind up marrying — at least, not yet. Time will tell all. But with a little self-reflection and careful observation, you might be able to get a sense of whether someone would make a good spouse for you someday.
There's more to choosing a partner than simply scanning a checklist, but when you meet someone who has the following 20 qualities, there's a good chance you two could be very happy together.
1. They're Your Best Friend
You shouldn't just love the person you're with — you should truly like them, too. Ideally, you'll like them a lot. A 2014 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that people who called their spouse their "best friend" were twice as likely to have a happy and satisfactory marriage. It's healthy to have best friends outside of your relationship, too. But if your dream weekend plans entail plenty of uninterrupted quality time with your partner, you've probably found a gem.
2. They Teach You Something New
Life will be pretty boring if you can’t learn from each other. Whether you're trading baking hacks (welcome to a life filled with Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies) or explaining how the heck to pay off your student loans, helping each other grow keeps things fresh.
3. You Trust Each Other Fully
If you've been let down in past relationships, you might feel the urge to snoop through your partner's texts or ask for details about exactly who they were with last night. But in a healthy relationship, your partner doesn't give you any reason to doubt them, and they reassure you when you get anxious. In return, they trust you fully, too. If you have mutual trust, you have a solid foundation for a strong relationship.
4. You Appreciate Staying In Together
Going out and socializing as a duo is always fun, but it’s equally important that your partner can curl up next to you for an intimate night in. Sometimes, the most magical moments are the ones we take the time to slow down and enjoy with the person who's right in front of us — no audience necessary.
5. You Bring Out The Best in Each Other
Nobody's perfect, but when you two are together, your kindest, most generous, most authentic selves should shine through. You should inspire and motivate each other to be the best versions of yourselves.
6. You Share Inside Jokes
No, I’m not talking about how you both crack up over the same Schitt's Creek references. I'm talking about the other kind of inside joke — the private kind, where all you have to do is give the other person a certain look and it instantly sends you both into a laughing fit. You're so on the same page that the joke doesn’t need to be explained; your partner just gets it.
7. You Can Compromise Fairly
Compromise is the key to any successful relationship; we’ve been taught this since kindergarten. Maybe you don't love going to Phish concerts to jam out to 20-minute guitar riffs, but you do it because you love your partner — and in return, they're down to watch terrifying true crime documentaries before bed. Those same skills should translate to bigger compromises, too, like where to live or how often you see each other's families.
8. They Respect Your Family & Friends
Even if they aren't besties, they're still happy to put in a solid effort with your loved ones.
9. You're Happy In Bed Together
Sex is more than just a physical connection — it's also a form of emotional intimacy. Not only do you two put in the effort to make each other feel amazing, but you also keep an open dialogue about turn-ons, turn-offs, and fantasies.
10. They Embrace Your Quirks
A 2014 study found that people who appreciate their partners' idiosyncracies were more likely to stay in long-term relationships. So, if your significant other thinks the way you sing in the shower is adorable, or they laugh at your bizarre oddball sandwich preferences (pickles and Nutella, why not?), that's a sign you've found a keeper. It might sound trite, but it’s your quirks that make you, well, you.
11. They Give You Compliments
A relationship needs more than flattery to keep it strong, but... compliments certainly never hurt. If the person you love can consistently put a smile on your face with praise for your butt in those new jeans or your killer work ethic, they're worth keeping around.
12. They Share Your Values
Whether your life is centered around your ambition, your politics, your pursuit of travel, or your close-knit family, you want someone who sees eye to eye with you on the important things. If your top priorities are aligned, it's easier to get through disagreements about the little things.
13. You Agree On The Kind Of Relationship You'd Like To Have
Whether you're into monogamy, exploring an open relationship, or happily polyamorous, it's important to have honest conversations about your ideal relationship structure. What counts as cheating? What does commitment look like to you? In an ideal world, you and your partner would be on the same page about these answers.
14. You Admire Them
Rather than settling for someone who's just so-so, you're proud of your partner's skills and accomplishments. It's easy to be their biggest cheerleader because you genuinely believe they're special. In return, they admire and support you, too.
15. You're Attracted To Each Other
Physical attraction alone isn't enough to keep a relationship hot, but it certainly helps.
16. They Have Plenty Of Hobbies
They don’t have to be the same hobbies as yours, but it's crucial for your partner to have interests that fulfill them outside of your relationship. Love is a beautiful thing, but it shouldn't be the only thing in their life. Whether that means experimenting with new recipes or trying their best to go viral on TikTok, their favorite activities should bring meaning to their life — which in turn only makes them a happier, healthier partner.
17. You Fight Fairly
Even the strongest couples argue from time to time, and that's totally normal and OK. According to a 2010 study, couples who have similar fighting styles — and especially couples who can communicate calmly about their disagreements — have the lowest divorce rates. It isn't realistic to aim for a completely conflict-free relationship, but if you have confidence in your ability to make it through fights without seriously hurting each other's feelings, you've got something special.
18. Marriage Is Important To Them
It might sound obvious, but the person you should marry will be someone who actually wants to get married. Tying the knot isn't the right choice for every couple. The decision has legal and financial ramifications, as well as personal, familial, and even religious significance — so it's not something that should be entered into unless both partners sincerely want to get married.
19. They're Open To Growth & Change
As amazing as your partner is today, hopefully, they'll continue to evolve for the better as they get older. They should be able to admit when they're wrong and seek out ways to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
20. You Love Each Other Unconditionally
Every marriage will go through ups and downs, but if you and your partner have a strong foundation built on total love and support, you'll be able to take on anything together.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily's staff.
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