Read an article on NY Times today (shared on FB via my friend Farrah) on how finding a dream job is very much similar to finding the right spouse.
I think this is true as both can be categorized in that elusive, still-far-off-in-the-future kind of way. “How to find the perfect job” is probably the second most-asked question in the world after “How to find your dream man/woman”.
Why the comparison? Well, next to spending a lifetime with our partners/children, we are usually using the other hours at work. And in both cases, when you spend a couple of adults (with different upbringing, background, beliefs and opinions) within four walls for an extended period of time, it could be a recipe for love.. or hate.
In the case of a career, we are often advised to find out what is our true passion and skills. A perfect working environment would be in an area that you are interested in, with people that you like, and with salary/benefits that are attractive. (Bonus if your workplace is only a 15-minute walk away from your home, as in the case of an IKEA manager from Stockholm who I once talked to. Obviously not all of us are that lucky.)
As for marriage, I am nowhere near to finding the secret key to happy-ever-after (If I knew, I would write a book and be a millionaire for it). As my (hopefully and nonethelessly happy) husband would be sure to agree, marriage takes work, and understandably so. However, there are some key questions that you should ask before deciding on the type of person that you would like. Over the years I’ve collected some of my favourite tips (mainly from – where else? – Oprah.com), and my advice to a young person (especially a girl since they seem to have this issue more) is:
- Pick your top 3, must-have, non-negotiable qualities that you can’t live without in a partner. Because of the low number allowed (“Only three??” some friends have wailed). For instance, the top 3 qualities I really wanted the most was ‘beriman, kind, and good family’ (I figured if he was beriman, he would automatically be responsible, respectful and have a stable job.) and that’s what I got in my husband. Another friend listed ‘secure in himself, religious and financially stable’. Take your pick (or rather, eliminate a lot of highly-unlikely Brad-Pitt-lookalike criterias).
- If you meet someone who has ALL these qualities, marry him. Or what I mean is, at least seriously look into getting to know him, even though he’s not __________ (fill in the blanks… not my type, not tall enough, dark skin (seriously, girls?? come on) yadda yadda yadda).
- If you’re worried about ‘compatibility’, think of all those happy couples from arranged marriages (ok, I know they probably got lucky, but still. There were a LOT of them in our grandmother’s times). I have heard people say falling in love after marriage is better than before, and I think I believe them.
- Pick your ultimate non-negotiable negative qualities that you MUST walk away from. This is extremely important, especially to girls with low self esteem issues. There are many many bad wolves out there and it’s imperative that you protect yourself. The usual list would be: if he’s a wife-beater (or has some early signs of becoming one), is a drug addict, an alcoholic, or a cheater. With these type of men the consensus is clear: WALK AWAY. And don’t look back.
I’ve been talking about this with some close friends and family members over the years (since probably no one else in the whole state of Selangor surfs Oprah.com more than me) so I’m glad to have put this down on paper. Hope it helps somebody out there!