6 Qualities to Look for in A Marriage Partner

Last week, we discussed five different reasons why people should consider marriage. And, although there are many benefits to getting married, including:

  • More financial stability,
  • Lower cost of living,
  • Faster achievement of financial goals, etc.

I definitely don’t want to put out this idea that marriage is a great idea for everyone. In fact, if your marriage does fail, the results can be pretty disastrous!

According to economist, Jay Zagorsky, divorcees can expect an average wealth drop of 77 percent.

Now, you may be asking, “Well, how do I ensure that I have a successful marriage?”  

And, that’s a pretty big topic to cover –

But, one large part of ensuring that you have a successful marriage is making sure you have a great partner to begin with.

So, with this in mind, let’s go through six different qualities to look for in a marriage partner.

Quality No. 1: A Comparable Income

Now, I’m going to go ahead and say that these qualities are in no particular order.

But, I have a feeling that this quality in particular will get me in the most trouble, so let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way.

Now, am I saying that your partner needs to be rich in order to be a great spouse?

Of course not, come on!

But, your partner should be in a position to contribute at least an equal amount toward the marriage.

This is especially true of heterosexual couples.

A 2015 study from economists Marianne Bertrand, Emir Kamenica, and Jessica Pan showed that wives who earned more than their husbands were less satisfied with their marriage, spent more time on household chores and were more likely to divorce.

A big part of this is due to societal norms – in the United States, we still have a really big problem with women who are breadwinners – but, part of this is also due to the strain of an unbalanced relationship.

When one partner earns significantly more money, they often feel anxious or resentment toward the other partner not pulling their weight.

Now, obviously there are exceptions to this:

For instance, graduate students are forgoing current earnings in order to increase their future earning potential –

And, I know many couples have found it financially in their best interest to have a stay at home mom or a stay at home dad.

But, as a general rule, it is a good idea to look for a marriage partner who can contribute a comparable amount toward the marriage.

Quality No. 2: Responsibility

Because it’s one thing to earn an income, and it’s a whole other matter to manage it.

Now, being responsible is obviously a lot more than just being able to manage your own finances. But, you can tell a whole lot about a person’s level of responsibility by taking a look at how they manage their money.

So, don’t be afraid to ask your partner: do you have debt?  

If you do, how much? What is your plan to get out of it?

Do you have money saved in case of an emergency?

Do you have money put away for retirement?

Don’t be afraid to ask these questions, because – once you decide to marry this person – you’re marrying their financial history and their money habits.

Quality No. 3: Shared Values and Common Goals

If you’re entering a legally-binding partnership with someone, it’s pretty important that you share values and common goals.

This way, you can work together as a team, which will increase your level of satisfaction with the marriage.

For example, Matt knows that one of my biggest values in life is financial stability. So, he’s on board with us paying off our debt as soon as possible so we can build assets for retirement.

In fact, researchers at Utah State University found a positive correlation between shared values and both marital happiness and individual well being.

Quality No. 4: Willingness to Compromise

To have a lasting marriage, it’s very important that both partners are willing to compromise.

This is especially true of heterosexual couples.

Now, this is not to say that compromise is not also important to same-sex couples, but – according to research – same-sex couples are just way better at this than heterosexual couples.

According to a long-term study of 130 newlyweds, men who allow their wives to influence them have happier marriages and are less likely to divorce. In fact, if men are unwilling to share power in the relationship, the marriage has an 81% chance of failing.

Now, if you’re not sure of how to determine your partner’s willingness to compromise, I’d suggest that you take a closer look at the way you have arguments or disagreements.

Is your partner always the one who’s right and always has to get his or her way? If so, that person may not be a great marriage partner.

Quality No. 5: Compatibility

And, by this I mean, do you enjoy each other’s time? Are you actual friends in addition to being lovers?

And, speaking of being lovers, are you getting down and dirty on a regular basis?

Now, eventually, yes – your looks will begin to fade and both of you will probably not be as smoking hot as you are now – and, really, that’s where that friendship factor really starts to come into play – but, in the meantime, sexual compatibility  is also really important.

And, for you ladies that are in a heterosexual partnerships, the probability of divorce drops dramatically when a husband reports being sexully satisfied in the marriage.

So, I’m not going to tell you how to live out your bedroom fantasies, but it’s kind of a big deal 😉

And, finally the last quality that I wanted to discuss here is resilience.

Quality No. 6: Resilience

Meaning: how quickly can your partner bounce back from a stressful setback?

Now, I don’t think it’s a secret that stress can have a major impact on relationships, but whether stress and adversity makes or breaks your marriage depends on the amount of resilience that you and your partner have.

Now, one way to determine your partner’s level of resiliency is through observation –

Meaning: how does your partner handle personal setbacks? Are they able to jump right back up and get after their goals? Or, do they do they give up completely?

Now, a lot of this will depend on experience as well – couples who practice handling smaller, manageable stressors are better equipped to handle those larger catastrophes.

So, perhaps before you tack on kids and relocation, etc. try just living together for a few years as you learn to develop proper coping mechanisms.


As always, thank you so much for reading and let me know what you think –
What qualities do you think are necessary for a successful marriage?

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  • Reply OMGF November 17, 2017 at 7:48 am

    I love the way your mind works. Quality #1 is so important and people really do overlook it in the name of love. I have dated way too many men who make significantly less than me and it never ends well. Say what you will about gender roles and social constructs or whatever, but income imbalances in couples tend to matter more going one way than the other.

  • Reply Chonce November 20, 2017 at 5:59 am

    #3-#5 are super important! I’m so glad and blessed to know that my husband and I share similar goals and aspirations, and both of us are willing to compromise a little to REACH them. For example, us picking up a bunch of side hustles to pay off student loan debt, even though we knew it would mean sacrificing quality time together. Thanks for sharing!

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