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With the world pretty much at a standstill, you’ve likely found yourself in a unique period of time where you can slow down and look within. Because the clock has seemingly been reset, you now have the opportunity to fully digest some of those hard-earned lessons you’ve learned about life and love. Hopefully the journey has yielded a renewed energy of promises to be fulfilled and has allowed you to assess qualities you need to look for in a partner.

As you continue along this introspective path, the goal should be to evaluate your expectations versus your experiences and your standards versus what you’ve settled for. Now that the season of engagements, birth announcements, and gender reveals is approaching, you may want to further examine your romantic relationships.

Have your former partners helped you fulfill your calling or have they consistently hindered you? Is your current person of interest aligned with you on all fundamental matters? Hell, are you even a helpmate to your significant other, or are you prepared to be that helpmate when they finally appear?

Knowing what you want in your relationship is the first step to getting the connection you desire. Being able to receive and reciprocate those wants is the second. This year we implore you to move with intention. Write it down, make it plain, and honor your deal breakers.

You know that song, “The Truth” by India.Arie? In our head that’s the song that plays when someone finds their match. It’s why we used it as a guide to help you discern the key qualities you should look for in a partner. And remember: People aren’t perfect, but they can be perfect for you.

“Cause he is the truth/Said he is so real”

1. Honest

Putting honesty first on this list is not happenstance. Its placement is a representation of the foundation it takes to build with strength and direction. If you can’t be truthful with your partner and that person can’t be truthful with you, what’s the point? Without honesty, you don’t know how best to communicate, how to fulfill their desires, or who they really are. There’s a greater connection in truth.

“And I love the way that he makes me feel”

2. Thoughtful

Think about the times your happiness was elevated by another person. It wasn’t just their mere presence, it was that they took a step outside of themselves to focus on making you feel good. They remembered that thing you said you wanted, that chore you needed done but did not feel like completing, that request for more time, more touching. Maya Angelou is credited for the quote that, summed up, means we never forget how people made us feel. If you consider each other in your movements, you may be on the path to commitment.

“And if I am a reflection of him then I must be fly/Because his light it shines so bright I wouldn’t lie”

3. Respectful 

When two people are connected in their hearts or their bodies, they often are connected in the real world. It seems unfair, but what you say and do is a reflection of your partner as well. All involved parties should move and operate within the parameters of the relationship. If you and your partner are going to be mirrors of each other, the reflection should make you proud. Someone who further brings out your good qualities, who makes you want to be better, who makes you smile when you hear their name instead of cringe, is the ideal.

“I found myself immediately intrigued by him/It’s almost like I knew this man from another life/Like back then maybe I was his husband maybe he was my wife”

Attractive African American Couple Walk and Kiss on Urban Street

Source: RoosterHD / Getty

4. Empathetic

Never take for granted the ability to understand and be understood. The best relationships have a connectedness that allows for their partner to not only truly understand their feelings but to share them. From this bond comes a vulnerability and flexibility that only allows the relationship to grow as the individuals in them grow. Those couples that seem so intuitive that they can share a look that tells a whole story? That’s a connection built on empathy.

And even things I don’t like about him are fine with me/Cause it’s not hard for me to understand him cause he’s so much like me

5. Communicative

Each of us has our own experiences that shape our outlooks and our behaviors. Every married and divorced person has given us this advice, “Whatever you don’t like about your partner, don’t think that quality gets better when you get married. It’s here to stay.” What does that mean? Make sure the things you dislike about your partner are traits you can work through, that you understand the triggers, that you can talk through them, and that you haven’t kidded yourself that commitment is the magic pill. Talking is important, but listening is essential.

“How can the same man that makes me so mad/Turn right around and kiss me so soft”

6. Compromising

People make mistakes. Even with a strong foundation, disagreements are bound to happen. How you recover and why you recover are both important. Knowing that solving the problem is more important than winning an argument or being “right” is a key in interpersonal relationships, especially romantic ones. Remember, you want someone you can go to war with, not against.

“I love the way he speaks”

Affectionate couple relaxing on their living room sofa together

Source: Stígur Már Karlsson /Heimsmyndir / Getty

7. Kind

The number of people who leave this characteristic off their list is probably larger than you can imagine. If you’re human, you know that genuine concern for others is as necessary as air. If you’re a Christian, you know that it is one of the defining characteristics of love. In relationships, being generous or considerate without want or expectation of something in return makes a lasting impact.

“I love him in every way that a woman can love a man/From personal to universal but most of all/It’s unconditional”

8. Committed

This might seem obvious, but make sure commitment is something your potential partner actually wants. Define what such a vow means to you and see if the two definitions aligns. Make sure you talk about physical, emotional, financial, and family planning commitments in that conversation.

 

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