It’s taught me that “she’s really hot” is a terrible reason to get married. It’s also taught me that truly loving someone is not, in and of itself, enough. Marriage requires commitment, not only to the marriage but also to the other person’s well being. Marriage requires devotion. Marriage requires more than a willingness to take on hard stuff but rather a sense of commitment to it.
Ask yourself if you’ll want to be with this woman when she’s old and grey. Ask if you’ll want to support her through months or years of radiation and chemo when she gets breast cancer. Ask if the love you feel for her will leave you wanting to make love to her when she’s invisible to other men. Ask if you’ll want to care for her like a baby when she can no longer care for herself. Ask if you’ll see the opportunity to be there for her until the end as a privilege.
If you can truthfully answer yes to all of those questions, you’re in a great frame of mind to have a successful marriage. If you’re just in it for now and for the good times, that’s not bad and wrong. It’s just not much of a foundation for a 50 or 60 year adventure.
This question originally appeared on Quora: What does a career as a divorce attorney teach people about marriage and life?