As it relates to relationships, one phrase I strongly agree with is: “Love is not a feeling, it is a conscious choice.” Similarly, I believe that the decision to get married should not be based largely on a feeling, but as a choice based on careful introspection and analysis of oneself and research/due diligence about their significant other. At the beginning of 2018, there’s undoubtedly some fellas who are trying to decide whether or not to pop the question. This post is a longer one, but it opens up the thought process behind how I chose Kryzia Mae to be my wife. Having been engaged for the past seven months now, I have been asked the same question in different variations on a number of occasions: “How did you know that she was the one and that you’re ready?” As an individual who can be a bit evasive, I recognize that the response I give are mostly “fluff” answers. “She just makes me a better person” or “I know how I feel when I’m with her and I can see a future with her” or “I’ve been with her for such a long time that it feels right because we have so much experience” or “I just love her”. Those are just a few answers I use to dodge an opportunity to open up and be transparent. To date, the fluff answers have been sufficient for most because it fits what they’re expecting to hear. While my standardized answers above are all true, they are extremely incomplete, dramatically oversimplifying a process of patience and due diligence. A process that took the better part of a decade to complete.
That being said, as I write this post, I don’t believe I had a specific profound “epiphany” where I knew she was the one. I believe that it was more of a series/collection of consistent experiences and observations that led me to realize when I was in the timeframe where I could handle that level of commitment. The following is not a comprehensive set of things or in any particular order, but I would consider them to be key things that helped me know I was ready for the next step with her.
UNITY OF VISION
Yes, I said these are in no particular order, but this one is by far the most important to me.
Being able to share the same vision does not mean that we’ve agreed on everything. What it does mean is we are in agreement on the overall direction we are looking to go in the context of the big picture. Unity of Vision is the most important to me because I appreciate how difficult it is to find another person who understands and believes these fundamental items harmoniously with me. Without a shared vision, I believe it is the blind leading the blind or it results in one person dragging the other person down a path that they are not committed, leading to resentment and pain down the line. The aspects of the overall vision we have been able to commit to together relate to:
- Spiritual Growth- where we want to be in our spiritual lives and how we view religion;
- Financial Growth- how we intend to generate and manage money over time;
- Intellectual Growth- the continued pursuit of knowledge to become well-rounded people
- The way we want to interact with people and have people interact with us.
On these fundamental aspects, we share extremely similar views on the direction we are looking to go. Where we have differed along the way has been with respect to the best process and set of steps to get there. Each step is constantly being revised and refined as we go along together and learn new things. Sharing the same vision for the future allows us to refocus each other when we start heading in contrary directions and helps us hold each other accountable so we can work towards living impactful lives.
For the better part of seven years, Kryzia has lived away from home. That time has allowed me to gather a significant amount of information on how she handles responsibility without the fall back of family being immediately present. In this context, responsibility relates primarily in her ability to: manage/maintain her home, pay her bills on time, make meals, get to work on time every day, be hospitable to people who enter the home etc. All of these things are important as they are habits that would translate directly into how things will be when we are co-habiting.
One of the big reasons relationships fail is because of finances. Around 2014, Kryzia and I opened a credit card together which served a dual purpose:
- It was to simply get travel points since we were long distance at the time to make it cheaper to see each other.
- More importantly, I needed to understand her financial habits and if it was something I worked for me.
I didn’t initially clue her into this second thought process until I was sure that I had enough information to understand what was a trend vs anomaly in regards to her typical habits. During that time, the things that stood out to me was:
- She did not spend more money than she had;
- She was always ready with the entire funds to pay before the bill was due, and
- She did not (typically) impulsively purchase things that made no sense “just because”.
All of those things spoke volumes to me about how much I could trust her when it came to money matters, allowing me to be more confident in how we would progress together. She also did not have any major debts to account for and we routinely monitor and keep up to date on where our credit scores are. I am admittedly quite extreme in my desire to invest and save (if I could cut food as a line item out of the budget I would.. haha). But she has opened my eyes to the importance of balance in the midst of those overarching goals, helping me to better strategize when it comes to our finances.
In real estate (or investments in general), a successful investor looks for value by studying the fundamentals of any asset they are considering to get involved with. A spouse can be either the biggest asset or liability to enhance or detract from one’s life. As such, I believe that these are some of the first key variables that anyone who is considering marriage should explore and have a good understanding of. I could have included everything in this first post, but I thought I would give your eyes a rest and break this post into two parts.