A study by the Pew Research Center found that many Americans are largely unhappy with their family, social, and financial life. One-in-ten Americans reported feeling isolated from those around them most of the time and that this dissatisfaction is linked with their family life. And we don’t even need to look at statistics; even seeing some of our friends who are married with kids is enough to turn some of us off from the idea of marriage and family altogether.
But if you are single and still dreaming of having a happy family one day, you should know that it’s not an unattainable dream. Here are some ways you can prepare for a happy family as early as now.
Deal with your own wounds
If we don’t deal with the wounds of our past, we will surely bring them into the next chapter of our lives. One of the best things you can do for your future partner is healing, especially if you find that you still get triggered by conflict, misunderstandings, and other relationship problems that are common to everyone.
This is not to say that you need to be perfect before you enter into a relationship. It’s that you need to have experienced a significant level of healing, whether through therapy or counseling or just reckoning with your painful experiences. By facing our trauma stories and taking the necessary steps, we are better positioned to be in a healthy and lasting romantic relationship.
Find someone worthy and who shares similar values
What will truly influence your happiness in your future family is your choice of partner. You deserve someone who is also working on themselves in the same way you are. In your loneliness, do not shortchange yourself or settle for just anyone just because they’re available. Don’t settle for the first person you meet—set non-negotiable standards and stick with them.
One characteristic you should never compromise is your beliefs and values because it will set the pace for the rest of your marriage and family life. While you don’t always need to be on the same page in everything, you need to at least have the same views on life, faith, values, and everything else that matters.
Consult with your trusted family and friends before settling with someone because attraction tends to cloud our judgment. If you’re having a hard time meeting people, consider looking into matchmaking services in your city. This team of professionals can help you understand what you’re looking for, which can make the whole process of dating easier since you don’t have to go through the painful process of trial-and-error.
Bolster your emotional quotient
Our emotional quotient, or emotional intelligence, is the ability to practice emotional regulation. It’s all about understanding where our emotions are coming from and finding healthy and constructive ways to deal with them. While none of us are perfect and not all of us “have it together” 24/7, the last thing we want is to create a culture of contempt that borders into verbal, relational, emotional, and even physical abuse whenever we express our negative emotions.
Bolstering our emotional quotient, then, is all about learning how to process our disappointment, loneliness, anger, pain, and other negative feelings without taking it out on other people. It’s learning how to communicate our needs and why we are upset instead of resorting to the four predictors of divorce: contempt, criticism, stonewalling, and defensiveness. When we learn how to properly process our feelings and talk them out as early as now, we can be sure to bring these healthy habits into our future family.
Encourage love and acceptance—for yourself and others
One of the marks of healthy family life is unconditional love and acceptance, with healthy boundaries. This balance is found through accepting that nobody is perfect, that we will all mess up and make mistakes, but that we are family regardless and that there is room for people to be forgiven.
But at the same time, it’s also having enough boundaries to know when it’s time to let your kids grow into the people they want to be and for you and your spouse to know when you need some space. To have an emotionally healthy family is to encourage security and boundaries from all sides. Practice this in your current relationships so that you can transfer these practices to your future family.
At the end of the day, a healthy future family will depend on your present choices. You can never go wrong with investing in your health and healing even before your partner comes into your life.