What is the best advise you ever received? A friend of mine asked this question on Facebook the other day and ironically, the best advise I ever got was from her. She told me to make a list.
After 12 years in an unhappy and abusive marriage, I finally got up the nerve to leave. That was exactly 5 years and 9 months ago to date. It was no doubt the hardest and scariest thing I had ever done, but I did it. I will skip all the dramatic details and long term effects I had to deal with and to some degree, still dealing with, but will tell you that it was the best decision I ever made.
*Side Note* If you are in an abusive relationship and want to get out, email me asap firstname.lastname@example.org
So here I am, a 30 year old, single mom of 2 and on my own for the first time in my entire adult life. ( mistake #1) My friend, who was also my roommate at the time, told me to make a list of everything you want in a person and that you can not make this list while currently in a relationship. The point of the list is, love is blind. When we get into a relationship we lose sight of ourself and sometimes our core values because we really really like the other person. By creating a list of everything we want, no matter how small or silly it might seem, some of those things are really very important to you. For example… if you really want someone who leaves the toilet seat down or puts the toilet paper on the right way or tells you they love you every single day, then write that down. If the toilet paper thing is important to you and your new guy doesn’t do it, 5 years down the road when things aren’t cute anymore and your breastfeeding a newborn, the toilet paper thing will drive you up the wall.
It’s who you are, your core being, your core value. Do not compromise it.
So I made a list. I took a yellow legal pad of paper and wrote two columns of what I wanted, then put it away. When I met Glenn (my husband now), I took out the list after a couple of weeks of dating him and started to check off a few things. He graduated college (check), he had been in the military (check), he had a close family (check), he went to church regularly (check), he had put up Christmas lights in November (check)…you get the idea. After about 4 months of dating, I pulled out that list having had forgotten about it for a while. At this point in our relationship I was head over heels in love with him. When I started checking off the list I realized I had checked off all 2 columns except for 3 items. 3 ITEMS!!! Could this really be the perfect man??? For me, yes he was. I was able to put in perspective what I really wanted, what was important to me. And then I got it. Luck you might say, Karma, channeling energy, Divine Intervention, whatever it was it worked. We dated for 2 1/2 years before getting married and did not live to
gether, he moved into my house the day before the wedding.
So here is my advise to you…
#1) Do not get married before 25 (and I would highly suggest waiting until you are 30. You change as a person so much between 20 and 30. Think of it like this…when you were 6 you probably liked Barbie’s but 10 years later you hated them right? Same thing, seriously)
#2) Do not live together before marriage (How many people do you know that lived together before and are still together?)
#3) Date for at least 2 years before marriage
#4) Do not waste a ton of money on a huge wedding that you won’t really remember (Spend it on a house or furniture)
#5) Live alone or at least with a roommate. You will learn a lot!
#6) Make a list. Trust me, it works.
I am not a relationship expert by any means. I chose to take the advise of a friend, trust myself and listen to myself, learn from my past mistakes, and let a good guy in. The part I left out was the 2nd greatest piece of advise I ever got, again from the same friend. After about 6 weeks of dating I almost broke up with Glenn and for no real reason other than he was just “different”. I didn’t know what it was, but he was just different. My friend said to me “Oh Chanda, you’re just not used to someone treating you so nice.” From that day on, I looked at Glenn in a different light. He was different, and I almost let go of a good guy because he wasn’t “my type”.
#7) Look for someone who isn’t “your type”.