With all of the resolutions, intentions, goals and wishes you’ve considered for the new year, 2015, if one of them is to finally meet your true love, your “soulmate,” the person of your dreams, then be sure you take some notes on this article. You may just need them if walking down the aisle during the next 12 months is in your plan.

In most Western cultures, close to 100% of people marry by age 50. Marriage has been shown to be healthy for your emotional and physical wellbeing. Still, about half of those that do marry, divorce. And that rate goes up for subsequent marriages.

We’ve been duped into thinking that marriage is “Some Enchanted Evening,” if not a never-ending chain of charmed, captivating, enraptured evenings. It’s what happens when some of those evenings are completely wretched that couples begin wondering if they chose the wrong person.

What I’ve learned from being happily married for 43 years, and having spent a 40-year career coaching couples helping them create their own version of enchantment…it’s not the other person that’s the problem. It starts with you.

No two people are completely compatible. It’s a long process of learning to be the right person for your spouse, not demanding the other person be right for you.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Those marriages that endure with enchantment are characterized by focusing on, and appreciating, the assets of each other. That may mean a big change in you.

“When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?” wondered Thich Nhat Hanh. Being there means changing yourself to be there, valuing the other.

So you’ve dated for several months, it’s looking good, and you are beginning to have dreams of “forever.” You’ve been here before but this time it feels different. You are both talking about future plans with each other, there feels like there is a growing deep love, there’s a great deal of respect in the relationship, you have become solid and enduring friends who can talk easily, there’s lots of laughter and humor, you are compatible on many levels including being comfortable with each other’s family, and you are feeling nurtured.

What next? I’d advise you to discuss these five questions with each other, NOT to determine if he or she is the “right person,” but to help each other understand what each of you want and need, and to clarify your own feelings about each other. Remember, it’s not about finding the right person, it’s about being the right person.

  1. Are you comfortable being open, truthful and emotionally exposed with each other? That means you accept each other and feel accepted in return as you are.
  2. Do you genuinely enjoy being a giver to each other, satisfying each other?
  3. Is there criticism, contempt, defensiveness or stonewalling…or is the relationship overflowing with admiration, fondness and respect?
  4. Do you trust and have confidence in each other not to be hurt or be caused pain?
  5. What are you really hoping to share in life? What’s the purpose of your living with each other?

Are these all of the questions to ask and answer with each other? Of course not, but they are necessary and too frequently ignored. Have a wonderful year ahead, fully enchanted with eyes and heart wide open.

It’s been observed by Mark Donnelly that, “The enchanted day is only enchanted if we ourselves believe that anything is possible.” It starts with you believing…