On this issue, the elders are unequivocal: If your partner hits you or tries to hurt you in any way, get out.
If it happens while you are dating, they firmly state, it will happen in your marriage.
As Joan, age 84, put it Don't ever, ever get involved with somebody who is abusive at all physically, because you are asking for trouble.
I debated about the title of this post, wondering whether my wording was too blunt a prescription for choosing a partner.
But when it came down to it, I couldn't find a more accurate alternative. I've spent the last few years interviewing over 700 older people about love, relationships, and marriage (described in a new book on the topic).