1. Take a big trip together. How do they cope with challenges like a flat tire or being immersed in a society without the ability to communicate in English? Are they able to roll with the punches and stay positive, or do they get pessimistic, moody or unreliable? This can be a litmus test for how they deal with life’s challenges.
2. Have an in-depth conversation about your childhoods and family histories. Spend time understanding one another’s history and learn about their family. The more you know and understand about each other, the more solid your relationship will be.
3. Make a shared budget and stick to it. Before commitment, you need to know if you can rely on your partner to stay true to a budget and effectively manage your shared pool of money.
4. Hit a rough patch – like a job loss, health scare or other stressful event – and come out the other side. Nothing builds trust more than a good storm. That’s when you learn what you are made of and how secure the relationship really is. When it gets tough, do you fall apart, run away or hold hands and talk it out?
5. Live together. Sharing a living space will help you figure out what annoys and upsets you in regard to your differences, needs and priorities and whether the two of you can accept them. Also, when you live together, you realize the importance of teamwork.
6. Go through a sexual rut. Then be willing to talk about it. If your partner is starting to feel more like a roommate than a lover, this is a prime opportunity to come together and talk truth. How much sexual contact do you both want? What makes you feel connected and intimate? What do you each need to feel desired?