Q. How long does it take to build a lasting relationship? 6 months? 1 Year? 2 Years? 5 Years? 10 years?
A. None of the above. It takes a lifetime of commitment.
It is easy, perhaps, to start a romantic relationship. What takes effort, though, is to keep improving it while at the same time, not letting it fall.
You may have gone out with someone for years and may think you have them figured out. That is unwise thinking. In the first place, you can’t know another person’s mind that well. In the second place, people change, situations change. You are never “done” building your relationship. To make it last a lifetime, you have to work on it a lifetime. However, work does not mean a burden. True, it takes effort to do any work, but work can be satisfying and pleasurable. Seemingly tedious work done in building a relationship can lead to a lot of long term peace of mind, happiness, and even great pleasures. A lasting relationship that gives pleasure throughout life and lets you have peace of mind is much better for your life than short term relationship that gives only pleasure on the short term.
Q. How does one find the right person?
A. When you look for the right person, don’t look for someone with all the qualities you desire. The probability of finding such a person is low, unless you commit a major part of your life to the search. (If you do that, other aspects of your life may suffer, making you a less desirable person.)
Look for someone who shows the potential of someone willing and able to build a lasting, happy relationship. Look for someone who has commitment. If you are both the types who will and continue to work hard to make it work, the chances are that you won’t have to work too hard.
Plan your life around long term goals. Before you start seriously dating someone, think if they are the right person for you in the long term.
Q. Is it ok to live with someone before marriage?
A. I’m not an authority on religious ethics, so that’s something you should first check with your belief structure. I will give some practical reasons why I believe that it is often not a wise idea. By living together unmarried, you build barriers between the two of you that don’t disappear after marriage. For example, you get used to separating your certain key finances that (in my opinion) a husband and wife should share. You get used to living without the special commitment to each other that is required of a marriage.
What ends up happening often is that not much changes after marriage. Now if you were a special committed couple and were already sharing all aspects of your life that a couple should (certain finances, responsibility without keeping accounts of who did how much), you are fine. However, in many cases, the life together without marriage only looks like a marriage from the outside, but isn’t anything like marriage on the inside. There is major and fundamental difference between almost married and married. Marriage is not defined by sex. Marriage is not defined by a close friendship. Marriage is not even defined by having children. Marriage is defined by an unfailing commitment to another human being. Your spouse is the relative that you choose, not a relative by birth. You should chose well, but then you should stick with what you choose. (This does apply to a marriage, but it may not apply to other things in life like a job. They are different things.)
Pleasure isn’t something you should have to seek. Pleasure comes automatically when things go well, when good things happen