WARNING: Hopeless romantics look away now. You're not going to like this answer. One of, IF NOT THE biggest decisions we make in lives is WHO we choose as our life partner. But surprisingly it appears LOVE is NOT the number one reason people get married today. We might SAY we marry for LOVE, but in a recent US survey the NUMBER ONE reason appears all together different.
So what did the US survey reveal?
What was the most important question people ask to determine who their partner is?
Drum roll please....
The NUMBER ONE question for both men and woman surveyed, the most important criteria of deciding on a life partner, was whether or not they had a job.
More specifically, if they had a stable job.
Yes thats right. Its all about the ol' J O B.
"This statistic shows the results of a survey in 2014 among U.S. adults by gender on the most important issues to them in choosing a spouse or partner. During the survey, 46 percent of men were of the opinion that finding someone with a steady job would be very important to them in choosing a spouse or partner while 78 percent of women were of the opinion that finding someone with a steady job would be very important to them."
In other words, for the first time in history when so many GLOBALLY have the CHOICE to pick LOVE as their No1 reason for marriage they choose MONEY and a perception of stability instead.
That means survival, prestige and wealth MAY ACTUALLY be the biggest reason people decide on their life partner TODAY.
And NOT love.
It turns out that Gordon Gekko, the ruthless stock market investor in the Hollywood blockbuster Wall Street was right after all!
"The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good."
Ok maybe that's going a little too far. There's plenty of reasons a stable job matters.
The surprising thing here is that LOVE might only be a small part of the equation in many peoples decision for choosing a partner today. And it may also be WHY marriage rates are on the decline, and people are choosing domestic partnerships instead. Since, as it turns out, only about half of the partners we pick stick around for a lifetime.
But wait, maybe THAT is actually good news.
Maybe that stat helps explain WHY the divorce rates in the USA, and in many parts of the world, remains in the 40-50% range? Maybe because if you decide to marry for the MONEY, the status, the perception of stability, then you're assuming happiness has to do with security, and your ignoring the mental health aspect of it all.
So WHY are YOU with the person sitting across from you at the breakfast table today?
Did you marry for Money? Or because you chose the best possible partner out there, meant for you?
That distinction is important to remember, because today, more than EVER before, means that YOU as a woman, have the choice to decide WHY you are getting married, or WHY you are committing to a partner.
Men, you've always had more choices. But now you also have MORE freedom in WHO you marry, because your parents and In-laws are less likely to sticking their noses in it.
So now we can focus on those other questions on the list. Like deciding to have children, moral and religious beliefs, education and ethnic background.
If those were our top questions, we’re making bad choices or not understanding what BETTER QUESTIONS we should be asking. Questions that cover the elements above BUT ALSO address bigger ideas inside all of us.
As someone who’s been happily married for many years now, and based on my research, findings and interviews with the happily married, here’s my Top 5 things to watch for in a partner:
1. Stability of your partner. Wait WHAT! I mean their place in life. NOT just their JOB. Do they have a career? Or are they still on their way? Are they transitioning to a new career? If you are at different places in your life things will be changing drastically, and some marriages can’t take that change. Also, if you don't have a job as a BASELINE to work from, it's understandable that you'll need to sort that out first.
2. Commonality. What do you have in common? Do you enjoy the arts do you love sports, watching them, playing them. Do you love the same foods. Do you come from the same cultural background? Surprisingly many couples I’ve talked to admit they don’t have much in common.
3. Adaptability. How flexible are you or your partner in dealing with change. How well do you understand where you are now vs where you might be going tomorrow
4. Communication. How good or great is your partner in communicating their needs, wants, desires. What hurts them, and where they hope to be tomorrow.
Do you live in the past, and your partner lives in the present or future? If you don’t live in the same place, you’ll struggle to understand each other, and how to keep each other happy today.
5. Respect. How respectful is your partner to you in public settings. In front of friends, family or strangers. Do they put you down? Do you let them? This is a bad sign of things to come. Of frustrations that are boiling under the surface. If those issues aren’t repaired get ready for a life of unhappiness or divorce.
Or if you prefer to stick with the JOB question and love don't mean a thing, maybe go by Wall Streets Gordon Gekko quote on companionship:
"If you need a friend, get a dog."
For more on the history of marriage, where it all comes from and where it’s going tomorrow, it's 4000 year old history, where it's been and where it's potentially going: