Loving – Are they a loving, warm, and compassionate person? I am not just talking about gazing into each other’s eyes and being lost “in love.” Love is much more than a feeling. Love in many ways is a decision of the heart. Love is patient and kind. Love is gentle and loyal. Love is supportive and understanding. Love doesn’t fail, even when times are difficult. Most of the love portrayed in society is, “I will love them as long as they can do something for me”, that is not love. Find someone who will love you with a true and pure love.
Kind – Seek a partner who will be thoughtful and caring, someone who is considerate of you. Look for a spouse who doesn’t put you down, but is kind in how they treat and talk to you. Life has thrown enough garbage your way; you don’t need a spouse who throws more.
Gentle – Gentleness can be expressed in many different ways. Calm, tender, peaceful, and soft are just some of the words that come to my mind. Find a spouse who is not rough, but who is tender, who is not harsh, but who is soft. Find someone who will treat you with those qualities. By the way, we can still be strong and confident while being tender and gentle. Being gentle doesn’t mean someone is a wimp. Some of the most confident people I know are also the most gentle. Search for someone who will be gentle with you.
Sacrificing – Look for a spouse who is willing to make sacrifices. After all, they may have to give up things that they may have been looking for in a relationship. My wife and I would love to go hiking together, but that is not a possibility for me, and that is a sacrifice my wife has to make. For some with chronic illnesses, diet is essential and following a diet is so much easier when the spouse is willing to make it part of their lifestyle, even if they don’t need to. Marriage and relationships require give and take on the part of each person involved. If one person is not willing to sacrifice for the other, whatever the reason, the relationship will not work.
Understanding – Find someone who will take the time to understand you. Who will take the time to listen, realize and comprehend you as a person, and what you go through because of your illness. This does not mean they have to know everything, but that they are willing to learn. It also means they don’t just gain knowledge, but will take that knowledge and adapt and be aware of you and your needs.
Attractive – This one may surprise you, but let’s be honest, physical attraction is necessary. Be fair and realistic, understanding that today’s media gives a distorted and unrealistic expectation of beauty. Look for someone who is physically appealing, who presents themselves well in their outward appearance. It is true that as you get to know someone better, they may become more physically appealing, but don’t brush this area off as unimportant.
Joyful – Life is hard, living with a chronic illness even harder. You don’t need a grump who will drag you down. Look for someone who makes you laugh, who brings life and joy into your life. Find someone you love to be around because their joyful and happy attitude is infectious.
Challenging – This may not be exceedingly popular, but having a partner who challenges you is essential. It is critical to have someone who will challenge you not to give up, who will challenge you to push even when you want to quit, who will push you even when you think you can’t take one more step. Yes, your spouse needs to be compassionate and loving, but in that concern, they need to be someone who at times grabs you by the hand and says, come on let’s go.
Spiritually Connected – Having a spouse who has a strong relationship with God is not an option in my opinion. Having a spiritual relationship with God is the greatest strength in my life, and having a spouse who has the same faith allows me to stand together with my spouse in that strength when things get rough. It’s a fantastic day when my wife puts her hand on me and prays, the encouragement I receive is overwhelming.
Doesn’t Compare You – One of the worst things that someone you care about can do is compare you to someone else, especially when you don’t measure up. When living with a disease like arthritis or RA this is particularly relevant. Our bodies may change, have limitations, and along with other complications, the last thing someone with one these horrible diseases needs, is a spouse who is comparing them to someone else. Find someone who loves you for who you are, for better and worse, who doesn’t look and compare you to others.
Communicator – By communicator, I mean someone who will openly communicate, aka – someone who talks. This does not mean they have to be talking all the time, but they will take the time to converse, share, and discuss what is on their mind and their heart. A relationship seldom works without communication, be sure to find someone who talks to you.
Listener – As important as it is to find someone who talks, it is equally vital to have someone who will listen. Communication is always a two way street. There are days when you need to listen, and there are days when you need to be listened to. When I talk about a listener, it is crucial to make sure they are someone who listens with their heart and “hears” what you are saying. Too many times people listen but don’t hear. Find someone who desires to give you their undivided attention, and who is wants to understand what you are saying.
Forgiving – We all blow it; that is just reality. You and I are not perfect. We will have a bad day, do something wrong, say something we shouldn’t say. Therefore, we need to find someone who forgives and won’t hold a grudge when that time comes.
Honest – Honesty and truth are foundational elements of any relationship. Look for someone who will be honest and truthful with you. Without it, there can’t be a lot of trust in the relationship. Make sure they are honest and truthful even when you may not want to hear it.
Sees the Possibilities – When living with a debilitating disease, it’s extremely easy only to see the limitations. Having someone who helps you see the possibilities, who looks past the restrictions and sees the potential is needed. Incidentally everyone has limitations, for some of us, it is physical, and for others, it is something else. We need to take our eyes of the limits and start looking at the vast capabilities that each of us possess and live in that reality. Having a partner who can see those things, and bring them out through encouragement is imperative.
Some closing thoughts to remember
-Don’t just look for these things in someone, be these things as well. A relationship is a two way street, these are not just key characteristics for you to find in someone, but for someone to find in you.
-Some of these traits may be learned and developed. It is rare to find someone who is mature in all these areas. Look for the potential, talk to the person about these important traits, and be patient as they grow and develop in the weaker areas.
-Someone may be thinking I am married or in a relationship, and some of these things are missing. Don’t lose hope. This list is a terrific place to begin a discussion with that person you love. Look at how your relationship can be improved and grow. Talk about it, make changes, encourage each other and build a stronger relationship.
Lastly, more than anything, I care that every aspect of your life thrives. You matter to me. I don’t know everything, so please, if you have any more thoughts feel free to comment. Blessings All!