Whoever said that looks weren’t everything wasn’t wrong. But whoever said that it’s only personality that counts wasn’t exactly right, either. In fact, there are about 572 things you look for when you’re trying to find the perfect mate (even if it’s for just right now). But if you’ve downloaded every relationship app you can think of and are really ready to find the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life (or another mutually agreed-upon period of time) with, there’s one thing you need to look for above all others: A match in core values.
This information isn’t new, but it is important. According to a new article on Business Insider, finding a mate that believes in the same things you do (career development, social status) is much more important than finding someone with the same exact interests. It’s possible that opposites might attract when it comes to interest (indoor vs. outdoor pursuits of fun, for instance), but if someone’s core beliefs aren’t the same as yours (they never want to have kids and you do, family isn’t important, etc.), it’s unlikely that the relationship will be the love story of the century. (Unless, of course, the love story of the century includes two people who kind of tolerate each other but are both questioning why they’re still living together.)
“People don’t really negotiate their values,” says [Peter] Pearson, who’s the cofounder, along with his wife Ellyn Bader, of the Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California.
“You can negotiate your interests,” he says, “but not your values.”
You can probably think of a good example from your own private relationship files, but Pearson has a story about a couple he once saw whose values clashed completely:
“He was building this huge house that overlooked a big vista,” he says, “and she did not want to waste money on this ostentatious, wasteful shlock. She had so much disdain for his life dream of this house — that’s a huge collision of values, and that’s not an easy thing to compromise on.”
What should you do to make sure you end up with the love of your life instead of someone who hates everything about the house that you’re trying to build? According to Pearson, you should be asking the right questions of anyone you’re interested in seeing so that you can tell if you’ll mesh in the long run. If you place a lot of value on curiosity, for instance, you might have some trouble with someone who has absolutely no interest in current events or what goes on outside of themselves. So make a list of things that you can’t do without and then start asking the difficult questions. And if that doesn’t work, you can always use these 36 questions to fall in love.