Marry the one who buys you a calendar for your first Christmas. It’s not flashy, it’s not sexy, it’s a practical gift. In that gift, you see they listened to your stories and paid attention to what you care about. That gift, the one filled with dogs similar to your very best childhood pet, shows they care about the things that matter to you. Love isn’t bought through excess.

Marry the one who encourages your dreams. Having one person in your corner, believing in you, can be the support you need to do great things. If your spouse can’t be your greatest champion, who can?

Marry the one who is truthful.

In difficult times, you will need someone who can be truthful about themselves and honest in their needs. You will need someone who can speak the hard truth to you when you are in the wrong. Marriage without truth is destined to fail.

RELATED: Marry the Man Who Does the Little Things

Marry the one who brings you flowers (or chocolate, or wine), not as a means to appease or as a replacement for an apology, but to brighten your day. A gift given just because, a thinking-of-you surprise. A gift given to bring you joy in the midst of the mundane. The thrill and spontaneity of new love will undoubtedly yield to the monotony of everyday life. Small loving gestures are the fuel that propels us forward.

Marry the one who reflects your values, they are the core of your being and should not be compromised. While hobbies and hairstyles can change, a person’s moral compass remains static.

Marry the one who can talk it through.

Fact of life, you will argue. You will argue about important stuff. You will, more often, argue about stupid, inconsequential things. The problem is when you stop talking. A forgiving and dedicated spouse will take the time to work through differences of opinion or a minor slight.

Marry the one who knows themselves. How can someone give themselves to you fully if they don’t even know who they are?

RELATED: Marriage Isn’t About Your Happiness

Marry the one who appreciates the person you are. We all have our quirks and idiosyncrasies. Our unique differences are only magnified within daily life with another. Life is better with a partner who can accept you in your entirety. 

Marry the one who is attractiveinside and outbecause the love handles will grow and the stretch marks will multiply. Hair will thin and gray while wrinkles spread, yet you will find yourself still seeing the person you first fell in love with. Twenty years can pass and the changes hardly register and definitely don’t matter.

Marry the one you can wake up to every morning, grateful they are yours.

Jill Robinson

Jill Robinson is a wife, mother of two, athlete, speech-language pathologist, and lover of all animals. She loves the outdoors and singing off-key in the car. Writing brings her peace. You can follow Jill at on Instagram @firstdraftdotblog and Twitter at @jarchicago13