(I refer to spouses but my meaning is the same for partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc.)
The right partner can make a big difference to your life. Being with someone who is right for you can positively affect nearly all areas of your life, and conversely, being with someone who is wrong can mess up other areas of your life. The right person can make your life more enjoyable, more fulfilling, more satisfying, they can help you reach your goals, they can cushion you from the occasional harshness of life. They’re a friend, but much more than that. A lover, but still more.
You’d think with something so important that society would place a lot of emphasis on finding that person and searching for the qualities that make a good spouse. Instead, we have precisely the opposite.
In popular culture, the most important things about a spouse are always superficialities. How do they look? How do you look together to other people? Spouses are seen as something to be acquired, so we try to find a good-looking one so we can show it off like we would a car.
The qualities that actually make a good spouse – such as communication, loyalty, adaptability and reliability – are almost totally overlooked, at least as far as our culture in general is concerned. Nobody wants those things from an object.
This brings a lot of sadness to a lot of people. Imagine the loneliness of the person who has chosen their spouse based on the superficial qualities of an object, only to find that they’re not actually enjoyable talk to over the long term, not really that interested in you, or not actually what you consider a good person. Equally, imagine being chosen only for your looks, and discovering that your spouses interest in you fades over time as your looks do, that you’re not a whole person to them. Because of how something like that can affect you, you’ll find that your life is lessened. It would be better to be with nobody at all than to be with the wrong person (since at least you’re with yourself, who you probably get along with most of the time), but society looks down on the long-term single person older than 25. Rejoice, single people. It could be much worse!
However, if you select your partner based on the qualities a good spouse should have, you’ll find that sharing your life with them means living more than you would have otherwise. Hopefully you’re not reading this now and realizing that you’ve made the wrong decision several years ago and are now falling into a pit of despair. Not my fault, though – you should’ve read this sooner!