When I was dating in my twenties, prior to my first marriage, I would bond over stuff like romantic "looove", chemistry, common aesthetics, ambitions, personality, common hobbies or dreams such as buying real estate or traveling, best friend kind of stuff, and, of course, I just wanted to be loved. Sometimes what I thought was "love" and "connection" was confused by physical bonding - and at times that was the only thing I had in common (eeks.) The idea of being alone or never being loved or never having a partner haunted me. For sure, my self-worth was wrapped up in it all. Friends, I can now say that if your self-worth is dependent on a partner, the risk of being with a bad partner or an undesirable partner goes UP. And chances are, if you don't have self-worth, you likely won't be the best kind of partner, yourself.
I reached a point in my life where I was willing (desperate enough) to do the work to heal my life. I finally had self-worth with or without a partner. That felt incredible and oh so empowering. And I was able to date the second time around with a completely different set of eyes. I no longer felt like I "needed" a guy like I did before. And, the qualities I desired in a spouse COMPLETELY changed!!! I didn't need or want a guy to fulfill me and make me whole. Instead, I wanted a guy who complimented the kind of life I was trying to live. So I actually only had two qualities that I was looking for. I remember thinking at the time that I'd rather be alone than be with someone who didn't have these qualities. They were two tall orders, two deal breakers, and they were actually very, very specific:
1. I wanted to be with someone who was really, really nice.
I knew what wasn't nice. And I honestly didn't want a thing to do with it anymore. People who aren't nice are not necessarily bad people and maybe just have a different way of doing things. But, I decided that just wasn't for me. I try to be a nice person - and I wanted someone who was trying to be the same. I think when a relationship feels one-sided - it's often because one party is not bringing good energy to the table. This may sound crazy, but this was revolutionary to me when my spiritual mentor taught me this: Choose a partner who brings good energy to the table! Not someone who sucks you dry. I can't even begin to tell you how much this matters when you're choosing a partner!! When two people bring something good to the table, there is so, so much abundance that it just multiplies and carries over to everyone around.
2. I wanted to be with someone who lived the gospel or lived a spiritual life.
Gospel is just a word that is common to me. It's also a word that often gets misunderstood or has a LOT of different meanings to people. I also think that peoples' definition of it can change a bunch over time (as it did for me). To me, it now means trying to align with God; knowing the process of how to be happy regardless of circumstances; knowing how to heal in your life; knowing how to face a trial with some strength and wisdom; dedicating your life to a greater good and pursuing virtues in a real way; and seeking after spiritual things in life.
OK, I know that's actually a lot. I kind of felt bad for most of the guys I was dating because these things are kind of a big deal - and many guys just weren't on this same page. But at that point in my life, I knew this stuff mattered the most to me. I was trying to live this way in my life, and I wanted someone else who was trying to do the same. Now, each person will hopefully know what they are looking for. I learned firsthand that having clarity on important matters and knowing what you want is worth GOLD while dating. Because otherwise you might just end up with anybody who is "fun" or who pays attention to you. It can just be sooo hard to walk away from someone or to keep holding out for someone when you get comfortable with a so-so partner - even if it makes your gut a little sick, even if you actually aren't that impressed with what someone is doing with their life or how they treat you or others. But I'm telling you, if you have a clear idea of how you are wanting to live your life and if you live that openly and to the fullest capacity you can (we're talking you try and live and breathe it every day) you WILL be able to recognize if another person is working to do the same...and they'll recognize that in you. It's what the best kind of attraction is all about. :)
P.S. It certainly isn't necessary to look for perfection in another person- even with the important things. Because no one lives perfectly or has life completely figured out. But, I say to pay close attention to what PATH someone is on. Are they on a PATH?! Do they have any direction in their life and is it one that aligns with yours? Also, if you are still trying to figure out what kind of path you want your life to be on, don't despair! :) It's great if you're thinking about it at all and I DO believe that with some patience and some work, you can figure it out. But I say to be proactive about it. Take care of yourself and work on healing if you need to. Think of people you want to be like. Think about the kind of legacy you want to leave.
And, I'm curious - for those of you who seek after a spiritual life of some kind - would you say it's important to have that in your partner? Also, what does living a spiritual life mean to you? What does it look like for you? I can't wait to discuss!
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