real life

The best advice my mum ever gave me: "You don't marry a man, you marry a lifestyle."

Mira Zaslove is the mother of 3-year-old daughter, a Brown University graduate, and a writer. Here, she writes about the best piece of life advice her mother gave her…

The best life advice my mum gave me is: “You don’t marry a man, you marry a lifestyle.”

Who you marry has the largest impact not just on your emotional life, but also on your lifestyle.

Both the large and small things in your daily life and long term plans will be impacted by your significant other’s likes, dislikes, habits, schedule, health, personality, moods, job stresses, financial security, family, and situation.

For instance, where will you live, and how clean will the house be? Who will be expected to clean up when it gets messy? What type of food will you eat, and who will cook it? How often will you go on vacations, and where will you go? What TV shows and movies will you watch, and how often? When the toothpaste or toilet paper runs out will your partner get more or expect you to run the errands?

How much sleep will you get? How many cars will you have, and will you lease or buy? Will you be in debt or have a large savings? How many children will you have and how will they be raised?

This decision on your lifestyle is only compounded once you have children. Will your partner chose to share in the child rearing, and what type of parent will they be? And expect you to be? Will your partner want you to stay home with the kids or work? Or let you make the decision? Will they expect you to make all the money or will they also share in the finances?

The only thing that changes your life, and your lifestyle more than your choice of life partner — is your choice to start a family with that partner.

Cornell University published a study with similar findings, and found that the most important elements of a successful marriage includes this knowledge of your partner and yourself:

Understanding what lies ahead for you and your partner is vital to charting a successful life together…But one of the most important types of knowledge, according to the survey, is an intimate understanding of the person you’ll be marrying. How they think, what they love and what they want from life can all be make-or-break issues for compatibility. That’s why it’s so important to know exactly who you’re marrying.

“Their strongest recommendation is to marry someone who is generally similar to you,” they explained elsewhere. “Marriage is difficult for anyone, but it’s much easier with someone who shares your interests, background and orientation.”

"Understanding what lies ahead for you and your partner is vital to charting a successful life together." (Image: iStock)

Ultimately, your partner’s values and expectations, both for themselves and for you, will make a bigger difference on your life and lifestyle than any other choice you make. Trust your gut, and marry someone who makes you feel better, and brings out the best in you. Choose someone who you enjoy being around, and who makes you a better person.

Lucky for me, I married my best friend and someone who fits my lifestyle. Jay Wacker, who loves to travel, cook, watch Game of Thrones, take pictures and who can be silly and serious.

He also introduced me to Quora.

This post originally appeared on Quora, and has been republished with full permission.

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