A person in a small town of 40 people can get married to his next-door neighbor and live happily ever after. Why can’t you?

Romance is often approached with the wrong mindset. As children, we watched fairy tale movies which convinced us that “one day my prince will come,” that there will one day be somebody to sweep us off our feet and be the light on our dark, dark world. We turn to social media and online dating to find the perfect person to squeeze into our lives, paralyzing ourselves with choice. But that’s just not how it works.

People are broken. The person you have a crush on is as broken–if not more broken–than you are. We’re indundated with media and friends that tell us that marriage is the greatest joy in life, and we rush into it, expecting that our significant other will be the perfect puzzle piece to fix our broken selves. But anybody who’s been in married will tell you that marriage rarely turns out that way, and that the journey is immensiely difficult.

Furthermore, if you’ve fallen in love with somebody before you’ve even begun dating, that means that you’ve likely fallen in love with the ideal image of that person and have become blind to his or her faults. Love is nurtured over long periods of time. It’s infatuation that comes and goes sporadically.

What’s my solution? Set one or two important critera and just go for it. If you wait for Mr. or Mrs. Perfect, then you will never be satisfied. It’s better to start working on strengthening your marriage when you’re young than trying to throw things together when you’re older and more stubborn.