Had there been just one recipe for success in a relationship it would have become known to all. Much like the taste for wine and food the recipe is a personal thing. When your desire is to live together with another human being you should probably not live a life like mine. When your desire is to share your life with another human being it becomes a possibility but only when the other party has the same desire. And so on and so on. But I'm of the opinion that there is a guideline.
One of my friends asked me what to do. "You two seem to be in love even after, what is it?, twenty years? What should I do to achieve the same?"
"It's eighteen and a bit and the answer is think. Think about what you want but more importantly think about what you don't want. And only then you try to find someone who fits to you."
I do not believe in love at first sight for that matter. I rather call it lust at first sight. It can turn into love once you get to know each other and boxes are checked but not at first sight. In my case: The first time it took me several months before I knew I was in love and the second time is well documented. It took me a night to see the opportunity and 18 years and a bit later I can honestly say I'm in love. It has developed and changed. It has been challenged and strong enough.
Some notice the fact we don't fight and that is true. Of course we have discussions and arguments but fights are absent. I don't think my selection criteria alone are responsible for that but I do believe they do have a positive effect. I know using the term 'selection criteria' sounds cold and calculated but why would anyone not use those? Subconsciously we do it so why not consciously?
But what about your partner I can hear you think. Doesn't the partner have an influence? Of course this is an influence. Just as much as I did my checklist she did hers. Perhaps not as much or perhaps even more.
There is one but. But you have to be brutally honest to yourself when thinking. Don't tell yourself you want an independent partner when at heart you want them to be there 24/7. Don't set your sights on a very intellectual partner when you don't want your opinions to be challenged. Etc. Etc. You can not have it all. That would be something like winning the lottery. I know there is a winner every time but expecting it to be you would be beyond foolish. Let the win come to you by preparing as much as you can.
And yes, I secretly do think I did win (twice).