Recalling the song It’s Sad to Belong by England Dan & John Ford Coley, it is going be a sad moment when you realize you meet the ‘one’ while you are in a not-so-bad relationship. So the age-old question lingers, how can we be sure the person we will be marrying is the right one for us?
Taking a leaf from that wedding vow “for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health,” relationships must endure in good and bad times. While courtship and early stages of a relationships are often in state of bliss, tough times will eventually show up, testing how a man and woman deal with each other as they ride the rough patches of being together.
Richard Muller, Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley has a simple advise on how to test if the one you’re seeing now or planning to marry soon is the one for you.
In a Quora post, Mr Muller recommends the backpack test after it was proven effective when applied to his children.
The basic premise of his advice comes from the basic acknowledgement among partners that there are periods of “intense stress, non-romantic moments” that may last days or longer. This could be in the form of financial problem, discovery of an illness or simple annoyance in daily life.
“Maybe you arrive at midnight at the cabin you rented and you discover the key doesn’t work. How will you and your partner-to-be handle it? Will you work well together? Will your love continue despite the stress?” he asks.
He suggests partners to take a week-long backpack trip or something similar activity together. The experience may present exhilirating views where the couple enjoy taking photos, but there are also moments of stresss. For example, when the couple gets lost, gets caught in the rain unprepared, or suddenly runs out of money.
“Maybe it will be cold in the morning, and you (or your partner) will not want to get up to fetch and heat water. One time it snowed suddenly, and we couldn’t find a sheltered place to camp. Maybe one of you will develop a blister. Maybe one of you will feel that you would like to transfer some weight to the partner. Maybe you will get lost. Maybe a bear will steal your food. Maybe one or both of you will get very tired, and grumpy,” Mr Muller enumerates the list of possible stressful moments that test the couple’s character.
“Before you get married, you want to experience stress together, ideally over an extended time. A few days is minimal; a week is better; a two week trip is probably more than enough,” he said.
Mr Muller recalls taking such a trip with his wife-to-be, a good friend and his wife. He noticed that his friend did not treat his wife well.
“When her pack was uncomfortable, he told her to endure it until they got to a good rest spot. He didn’t help her in the cooking. He just didn’t seem to care. After that trip, I could never again think of him as a good friend,” he recalls.
A few years later, he learned his friend and his wife were divorced.