Question

I am 26 years old and I feel like I’m ready to settle down in marriage. My dilemma, however, is; how do I know if the person I’m with is the one? – Confused lady

Answer

The right partner for you depends really on what YOUR definition of right is. People choose to settle down for various reasons, including obligation-induced pressure from family, peers or other contributing factors such as age. Others do it as a form of escaping poverty while others do it genuinely out of love or companionship.

A study released in August 2018 by Population Council Kenya and other partners showed that over time, Kenyan men and women are delaying or avoiding marriage altogether. While men were afraid of financial instability, women, especially those educated, did not feel like marriage was necessary.

Whatever your reasons, considering marriage is ideally a life-long commitment, there are several things that relationship experts agree are core to starting and maintaining a good relationship. These include:

Casting a broad net

The bigger the catch, the varied your options. While dating, do not restrict yourself to just assessing a single person before making your decision to court them.

Personality traits

Many people get confused between love, attraction and lust. Love is caring deeply about your partner and putting that in action and the reverse is true for your partner – it shouldn’t be one-sided. Experts agree that most happily married folks are those who look past the physical attraction and go for personality traits. Of most concern is your partner’s emotional stability and agreeableness, that is, if they’re warm, friendly and tactful.

Fair-mindedness, humility and their ability to compromise in difficult situations are also good markers. You should also look at how trustworthy they come off and if they put your concerns in mind when making decisions that have implications on your relationship.

Taking the bad with the good

On the flip side, experts warn that focussing too much on only your partner’s good side and ignoring their undesirable traits is unwise. Observing how they handle situations and treat people are good indicators as to who they really are and may help to raise any red flags that may be core to your decision.

Authenticity

If you have to change or pretend before your partner, then you’re in trouble. Lack of compatibility in beliefs and values can lead to strain in the relationship especially if children (or the idea of) are involved. One may be forced to forego their beliefs and if you’re not ready to do that, then it may be time to re-assess your relationship.