Want to be successful? Don’t marry a loser.

It’s amazing how smart, ambitious, driven people let intelligence and wisdom go right out the window when it comes to the choice of who they’ll spend their life with. I know what some of you are thinking: “But you can’t apply the rules of logic to matters of the heart!”

That’s pure crap. The laws of the universe don’t care about your heart. The bills have to be paid, the kids have to go to school, and life isn’t magically roses just because you’re in love.

If you marry some moron who is lazy and un-disciplined and selfish and stupid, life is going to be a living hell for you. I can trot out statistics all day long to prove to you that almost nothing you choose in your life has as much impact as the person you marry, but it won’t make any difference for the people that it really needs to make a difference for. To those people, all I can say is: 1) Ask the advice of a few people older than 40 who know you both and who have strong marriages, and 2) think about whether you’d advise a sibling or a close friend to marry this person.

I think often we fall into this trap of thinking that since we’ve found the One True Love (TM) and there could NEVER be anyone else for us, we have to just take the good with the bad. Well, that’s true, but only once you’re married. Until you get married, you don’t have to take everything. Some things are just deal breakers. Anyone a little older who has seen some life and has half a brain will tell you that nothing will hold you back like a bad spouse. And nothing will push you forward like a good one.

I got a good one. One of the best, actually. Alexis is the most long-suffering and good-natured person I know. She’s been putting up with my various shenanigans for more than seven years, and she’s still incredibly supportive and encouraging. She challenges me (which I need), and she’s just as driven and ambitious as I am. I admire the hell out of her, and I can’t help but feel that I somehow got the better end of the bargain in all of this.

And that’s the kind of spouse you want. You want to crawl into bed next to them every night and think about how you’re the luckier one in the relationship. You want someone who makes you want to work harder and do more and be more because they deserve that (and more). You want someone that you know will have your back in a tight spot, and someone that will encourage you and challenge you to reach new heights.

You want someone that helps you win, and helps you want to win. So don’t marry a loser. Chances are you’ll end up one as well.