That almost sounds like a punchline, but I mean it most sincerely. The following list is a series of things that I considered essential in finding my marriage partner, and if any one had been missing, it would have been a deal breaker.
1. Is he a good, solid person with sound morals?
2. Do you share basic beliefs about the world and have similar goals?
3. Does he have a history of commitment and dependability?
4. Is his family close? Is every member important to him?
5. Does he have a good work ethic, not just career-wise but in general?
6. Does he make your stomach flutter and your knees go weak?
7. Is there balance? Does he love and need you as much as you love and need him?
8. Can you trust him with every part of yourself?
9. Is he the person you enjoy being with more than any other?
10. Do you love talking to him? Laughing with him?
11. Does he respect and support you as an individual?
12. Is your happiness at least as important to him as his own?
These 12 considerations are not listed in order of importance because to me, every single one of them was and is important. Spending an entire lifetime together is a big deal...and far less likely to happen if any of these components is missing.
My concern is that a lot of couples jump into marriage too quickly these days, based upon attraction that hasn't passed the test of time and encouraged by the ease and frequency of divorce. These brides and grooms make vows without real intent, figuring that if things don't work out they will just move on. Sadly, moving on disqualifies them from the inestimable treasures of an enduring marriage: shared history and hard-won emotional intimacy. Those who stick together through thick and thin, riding the waves of joy and sorrow and even occasional apathy with resolve and commitment, create a bond of mature love and mutual understanding that feels as sacred and secure as any sanctuary.
Marriage CAN BE a sanctuary in this life...but it must be carefully built, year upon year, by those who inhabit it. The trick, of course, is choosing someone you want to inhabit it with!