I’ve read many books on dating, relationships, what men want, what women want—you name it. Only one stood out and made the most sense to me— Mars and Venus on a Date, by Dr. John Gray. (Harper Collins) He’s the genius that came up with Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. All of his books emphasize the differences between men and women and give brilliant advice on how to live with them. I like Dr. Gray’s definition of a soul mate: “A soul mate is someone who has the unique ability to bring out the best in us. Soul mates are not perfect, but perfect for us…” A soul mate has all the right chemistries – spiritual soul chemistry that conceives love, mental that kindles interest, emotional that generates affection, and physical that sparks desire. A relationship with any one of these chemistries alone is short-lived – especially physical chemistry. Some of us have learned that lesson the hard way. (But it seems that we are sometimes helpless in overcoming temptation.) The soul is the part of who we are that is most lasting. When the soul is attracted to someone, and we experience a “soul chemistry,” then the mental, emotional, and physical chemistries can also be sustained. The bottom line is—lasting physical attraction must find its source in our souls. Your Shopping List What happens when you go to the supermarket without a shopping list? You end up buying what you don’t need and you spend too much money. The same thing applies when shopping for a mate. If you don’t know what you need and want from the beginning, you waste time wading through profiles and meeting people that just don’t appeal to you or aren’t right for you. You need to keep the basic chemistries in mind. The person needs to be compatible in these areas: Spiritual – You need to have the same beliefs. The attraction has to start with the soul.
Mental – You need to be able to communicate with the person. Have things to talk about; have similar goals and interests.
Emotional – Are you passionate about the same things?
Physical – And, of course, there has to be that spark. The Perfect Mate Soul mates are never perfect. You can imagine your perfect mate, but in reality, no one is perfect. Everyone will have one or more things that don’t match—a few things that you can compromise on. How many times have you heard—“You’re too picky!” “Your requirements are too high, be realistic,” or “What you want doesn’t exist, be willing to compromise.” Basically, they are saying that if you lower your principles, you will be successful. But, successful at what? In getting into a relationship that is less than what you want? That isn’t success. It’s like reaching the top of the ladder of success only to find it’s leaning against the wrong wall. Lowering your principles is impossible anyway. Your ideals and values are what make you who you are. It’s not possible to alter them. You can’t all of a sudden say, “Well, I’ve changed my mind. I don’t care if the person is not religious.” Now, you’re probably thinking “Didn’t I just read that soul mates aren’t perfect?” Yes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t meet your standard requirements. So, instead of lowering your principles, figure out what you really want and make that your standard. Set specific goals—high goals—for what you want in a relationship and stick to them. Then believe that you will achieve what you desire. It’s funny—if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it. The secret of success is to start from scratch and keep on scratching. Soul Searching Before you unleash your dreams, you need to consider what is important to you in your life right now. Let’s look at those chemistries in more detail: Spiritual
Religion—does it matter to you? (Hopefully, yes.) Where are you in your spiritual journey? Would you prefer this person to be: Protestant or Catholic? Christian or other? Liberal or conservative? A Bible study or prayer partner? A regular church attendee or is it okay that they’re a C & E’s (Christmas & Easter only) Or is it ok if they are “spiritual, but not religious?” (whatever that means – that’s another blog). All Christian are not alike. Be aware of the differences in Christian denominations. They are assorted “brands” of Christian churches with what I see as different “levels” of beliefs as well as different styles of worship. To help you sort through them you can do a search in Yahoo.com or Google.com for Christian denominations and you’ll get a list of links to their individual websites or you can check out this website: http://www.geocities.com/pastorkeith/ecumenical.html or ask your pastor to explain the differences. But then, shouldn’t all Christians be united in one basic belief? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” ~ John 3:16-17 Mental
These are the things that stimulate your mind. What type of personality do you want this person to have? Here’s a list of personality traits that you can use to describe yourself and the person you seek: active, affectionate, aggressive, ambitious, articulate, assertive, beautiful, brave, caring, charming, cheerful, confident, considerate, creative, dedicated, desirable, devoted, dynamic, energetic, enthusiastic, extroverted, fashionable, feminine, flexible, friendly, fun-loving, funny, generous, gracious, honest, humorous, independent, intelligent, introverted, joyful, kind, lively, loving, loyal, manly, mysterious, neat, nice, nurturing, open, optimistic, organized, outgoing, passionate, patient, philosophical, religious, sensual, serious, shy, sincere, sociable, spiritual, spontaneous, supportive, sweet, temperamental, trustworthy, vivacious, warm, wise, witty, youthful I’m sure you can add a few of your own. Remember the Seven Heavenly Virtues? Faith – belief, trust, fidelity, loyalty, conviction;
Hope – desire, a search for a future good, reliance, expectation, confidence;
Charity – generosity, benevolence, helpfulness, mercy, compassion;
Justice – impartiality, fairness, righteousness;
Temperance – moderation, self-restraint, sobriety, frugality;
Prudence – wisdom, vigilance, carefulness, thoughtfulness, discretion, foresight;
Fortitude – “The guard and support of the other virtues” (Locke) strength, courage, bravery, endurance, firmness of mind, resoluteness; “Extolling patience is the truest fortitude.” (Milton) These are things you should look for in a potential mate. Some other qualities to consider: Intelligent or Intellectual? Sense of humor Ambition Social skills; Communication Community oriented Education—does it matter to you?
There once was a woman who wanted a well-educated man as her top priority. She said she wouldn’t settle for anyone with less than a Ph.D. As it happened, the man she married only has a high school degree. However, he’s well-traveled and well-read and life is a great adventure for him. He’s a successful businessman and adores his wife. She would have never met him at a Harvard alumni function. Emotional
These are things that move you. Family – Are you family oriented? Is family important to you? Do you have a large family to whom you are close?
Children – Do you have any? Are they grown or still at home? Would you like to have more? Is it okay if the person you meet has children at home full-time or part-time or living elsewhere? Nurture – Are you the nurturer or do you need to be nurtured? Nurture should be evenly balanced. Passion – What are you passionate about?
Integrity – Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code. Keeping your word. Meaning what you say.
Compassion – Deep awareness of the suffering of another along with the wish to relieve it. Physical
Race – Does it matter to you? Which races would be okay? Races are usually categorized as Anglo/White/Caucasian; African American/Black; Hispanic; Middle Eastern; Asian/Oriental; Native American Indian; Caribbean or Pacific Islander. Remember that there are mixed races also. Height Range – Our societal ideal is having the man taller than the woman. However, remember there are a lot of nice short people also. Lisa, who’s 5’8”, always said she only wanted a tall man—until she met Mike who’s 5’5” at a dinner party. They were standing next to each other and she was wearing heels. Somehow, Mike’s wonderful personality blinded her to the fact that she was taller than he was. Age Range – Another societal ideal is to have the man older than the woman. Lately, with all the “look younger” products and treatments available, people don’t look their age. On paper, it’s best to be honest. Let people later on say “You don’t look your age!” My guidelines on age bracket choosing: Men should go 10 years younger to two years older. Women should go two years younger to 10 years older. With an age difference more than 10 years, you won’t have much in common other than physical attraction. Characteristics – blonde, blue-eyed or tall, dark and handsome? Shouldn’t what’s inside matter more? Affection – Are you a “touchy-feely” type of person? Do you like public displays of affection? Do you feel you need this early on in a relationship? I do. That’s what I miss about not being with someone. I see hand holding, casual kisses as a sign that a person is interested in you. Habits – smoking & drinking. Is this important to you? Smoking is a turn-off to the majority of people out there. Heavy drinking is also a problem. Both should be addressed before you start dating. I met Sunil when I hosted a Christmas party at my apartment when I was leading the singles group in Miami. He was a smoker and spent most of the evening on the balcony exiled with the other smokers. The following week, he kept calling me asking me out. He was very persistent and I was hesitant because of the smoking. I finally agreed to go out to dinner with him. We started seeing each other when he agreed to try to quit smoking. After one month, he still hadn’t even made an effort. I’d be at a bar or at his place coughing and he’d have the cigarette at arms length trying to keep it away from me. I told him that he wasn’t making an effort and that I couldn’t stand it anymore. I broke it off. Once, a guy named Ron interested me when I saw his ad online. We had a lot in common and enjoyed many of the same things. Only problem was, he indicated that he was “trying to quit” smoking. I wrote him that we had a lot in common, but explained that I am highly allergic with asthma and that he would need to be clean before we met. He wrote me back that he had lost his wife two years ago. While he felt he was ready to date, he admitted that he was using smoking as a crutch. I suggested he talk to his pastor and then contact me once he quit. So, if you smoke—quit. What better reason is there than it will save your life and increase your chances of finding a soul mate. If you don’t want a smoker, make sure you indicate that and stick to it. Don’t think that he will quit if you ask him to. You can’t go by “trying to quit” as a good-faith attempt to stop smoking. Smoking is an addiction and the smoker has to really want to quit for his/her own good not for anyone else. If a non-smoker is a top priority for you, make no exceptions. Of course, people look at physical attraction first. But those focusing primarily on physical attributes don’t understand themselves and their long-term needs very well. It infuriates me when I see a man my age indicate that he only wants to date women between the ages of 20-40. Or the ones that want someone slim or fit and they themselves are average or “need to lose a few pounds.” Get real! This shallowness only leads them to choose attractive mates, without assessing spiritual, personality and character concerns. That will lead to a bad relationship, a miserable marriage and a resentful divorce. Nonetheless, if you are on the athletic side and active in sports—biking, hiking, running, etc., you’ll probably be happier with someone who enjoys the same things. Keep Your Standards High If you don’t find your ideal mate for quite a long while, you know it means only one thing: remember the 3 P’s! Patience, Persistence and Prayer. To achieve any goal—whether it is to find a soul mate or a companion—you need to work at it, pray, put out a little effort & think positive! Seize opportunities with passion and persistence and a positive attitude. Enthusiasm rubs off. There will be obstacles and negative forces along the way towards your goal, but no matter how impossible it seems, it can be accomplished if you ask God for help! No matter how long you’ve been single…no matter what you’ve been through…trust in the Lord. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13 Get a relationship with Jesus before you try to get a relationship with someone else. Click here for help. God Bless,
Phoenix Singles Examiner