28 August 2013

My List

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.

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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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33 comments:

  1. Hi Mara! I am intrigued and delighted to have stumbled upon your blog at a very pivotal time in my life. I have been married for 5 years and thought I had done my duel diligence. I did all the right things to prepare myself for a strong and healthy marriage: I went to counseling and worked out my issues, invested in myself, built up a support system, and was emotional and financially independent...but my spiritual conviction was lacking.

    I came from a spiritual / religious home that shared warmth and love, but somewhere along the way I lost my faith. I always believed in a higher being, but never built a relationship with God until now at age 37. It has been a struggle because my passion and faith is growing and pulling me in new (welcomed) directions; however, my husband is not "welcoming" the new path I am on. God is opening doors and possibly windows too ��and your blog has been an inspiration to me... Also we are exploring fertility "next steps" too.. Thank you for your candor, grace, love, and humility.

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  2. I think when it comes to spirituality, it's really helpful to have common beliefs/priorities. It can work without them (many people do all the time) but there are so many things to overcome and work through in a relationship anyway (hello, life!), it brings a difficulty that you don't need.

    I was in a relationship many years ago where we were both members of the same religion but definitely had different ideas of what that meant. Despite being an emotionally abusive relationship, it added a whole extra level of stress, expectations and disappointment.

    If I had of known early on, how fundamentally different our feelings about the gospel were, it would've saved a lot of time being in such a hurtful relationship.

    That being said, I wouldn't change anything because I know all the lessons I learnt from that experience means I'm so much happier and grateful for what I have today.

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  3. I spent most time of my life dating people who did not believe in anything religious, but it only worked out when they respected my beliefs, my religious activities and my engagements.

    Then I dated someone that shared the same religion, but not the same movement inside the religion, and it was very nice because we would share our experiences and motivate each other in our spiritual lives.

    Finally I married someone who is very religious but from another religion and it's been great. We don't believe exactly in the same things, but we share the same values and goals and we support each other's spiritual path... it's just the landscaping and the gears that are different.So, when he has a spiritual retreat, I am supportive and when I have one, so is he. Once we moved from a city so he could be closer to a community and some years later, we moved to another city so I could be closer to mine. And it has been great.


    We have a child and we decided to present him not only to our religions, but also to other ones. We decided not to "baptize" him in mine or his religion until he decides where he feels called to. But we did ask for blessings from our own religions. So, we also have a jewish friend who tells the history of the religion to him and it's values, rites.
    We have a sufi friend that does that too. We have been presenting christianism to him (for it is my background, although I converted into something else). And my brother who does not follow any religion always talks to him about this too.

    We want him to know as much as he can and have the chance to learn about different cultures and beliefs, make his own experiences and feel free to choose whatever suits him.

    The beauty of it is that he sees more of the common points of religions than what divides them: as the golden rule of compassion, love, forgiveness and faith. And even my brother who is an atheist is one of the most ethical and full of good values person I know and has the deepest respect to all religions... so even if he chooses not to follow anything in particular, we have been setting high standards of values, ethics and respect.

    I think that if spirituality is of major importance in your life, you should try to be with someone who respects profoundly your faith and engagements. If you share a spiritual or religious approach to life, it can enrichen your relationship and self growth, if again there is profound respect to your experiences, beliefs, etc. As Jessica said, you can be with someone who shares the same religion and not necessarily the same views and comprehension of it, so it's more than just sharing a common object, but a view, a life engagement. My hubbie and I don't share the same religion, but how much we have grown spiritually since we've met... our mentors always tell us that... but we share a view and a deep respect.

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    1. What a lovely gift to your child. So often people try to make things seem right or wrong, black or white, to children. Letting your child see that he can find his own journey to faith and that you love and support him in his choice is really quite touching!

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    2. Thank you so much, not everyone understands this! ; )

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  4. I agree 100%! You've beautifully put into words my thoughts, exactly!

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  5. my husband and I came from similar religious (/spiritual) backgrounds growing up, and had similar experiences of coming to a new denomination, both of which mean so much to us now. The God we both know gives us a foundation on which we grow together. How my husband understands where I came from and the dear pieces of that religious tradition, as well as where I am/we are now is invaluable as we both continue to work hard to get to know and to serve our Lord.
    As you've said before yourself, I'm learning again and again and more and more that it all comes down to prayer--prayer together, prayer for each other, prayer for yourself, prayer for others, prayer just listening, prayer in all moments. (a habit i'm convicted to work on!)

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  6. Once again, this is just so perfectly timed! Mara, are you in my brain?! Just this weekend, I was at my little brother's wedding. The next day I hung out with two different male friends, and it served as such a case study for me of this point! One I've known for years, and we are good friends. Of course, since we're both single and are so close, everyone tells us to date. He's handsome and intelligent and funny, but taking our friendship to the next level never felt right to me, as I could tell some big things were missing (although I'm not sure if I knew what for a long time). This weekend, he vocalized some spiritual feelings to me, and I realized that that was what was missing to me. I'll be there for him no matter what, but just as a friend. Immediately after, I went to spend time with a boy I've only met earlier this year. The contrast was so easy to see, and I was hit with a ton of bricks, thinking, "Camille! Duh! This is exactly the kind of guy you should be looking for-- someone who is so incredibly kind and has a testimony/lives the Gospel!" Honestly, those were the two things that stuck out to me as being the most important characteristics to look for! It's really been a wake up call for me, too. Love this post (and you)!

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  7. This is a great discussion.
    I think a lot about why I got married and what emotional state I was in at the time. I still am married {for 6 years} and we have been growing together. I definitely would require way different things not. The number one thing is financial security. I don't need to make tons of money AT ALL. However I need you to have some savings, be working on debt repayment, and have some kind of plan. My hubby and I are working on this now, we have an open dialouge about this...but when we were just dating about 8 years ago...this was not a major topic of discussion.

    Spiritually? My hubby grew up in church. His father has been a pastor for over 30 years. I have been in church myself for over 15 years. The most important thing for me and our marriage is that we are in a relationship with God. We want to know Him, and strive for this everyday. We attend church 2-3 times a week {Bible Study, Prayer, Worship Service} and it is a part of our lifestyle. It is our life.

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  8. I think surviving bad marriages and ultimately dating and remarrying in itself creates new lists and how you view the world. AND it will depend on your life experience why your list changes to what.

    I know for me, my list changed to 2, as well, in between my first and second marriages. They were 1. SECURITY. I needed that in my life and someone who took it seriously. And 2. Someone who was kind when he didn't have to be. We have 2 family mottos, now. "Be silly. Be honest. Be kind." (emerson) and "Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle". They guide how we raise our son and, ultimately, how we weave the gospel into our lives. For us (and I could write for days about it!) it isn't about the culture of our church and the surface 'to make yourself look or feel good', but it's about being kind to everyone - whatever that looks like in the situation.

    I was saying to someone yesterday that I refuse to apologize for raising a son who is, above all, kind. There is such a call out there to toughen our boys up - to make them hold emotion in and refuse to be a part of that. Because someday? Some woman will be looking for a partner who is kind. I want that to radiate from his soul so she can find him.

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    1. Way to go Tawnya! Kindness is what the world needs! being kind does not mean that your buys can't handle trials and tough situations, it just means they can handle it with compassion! And we need this - not only for the women he will meet, but for theentire humanity!

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    2. Yes. YES! It starts at home, but we are in dire need of those who are kind all around.

      Thank you for your kind words.

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  9. Hi Mara! I couldn't agree more! I am 42 and have never been married, and I know this for sure...I would rather be single forever than be with the wrong person. I like your "list"! It makes perfect sense to me. While I have never put it into words before, I think you summed up MY list perfectly!

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  10. What a wonderful post! My husband and I have an "Odd Couple" type relationship but our core values are the same. Spiritually? We're both Christians, but grew up in very different denominations. That is an area that we really work hard at, but at times have to take an agree to disagree stance. I grew up in a very accepting family and was pretty much taught not to judge others because they sin differently than I do, whereas he grew up in a stricter, take the Bible literally environment. We made the decision to pick a home church that speaks to both of us and not just go to a church because one of us grew up in that environment and the other has to accept it. It's a work in progress, but that is ok.

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  11. I love this. The older I get (at the ripe old age of 24) I realize more and more that I need someone who lifts me up and is a positive influence in my life, including the spiritual side of my life. I want someone who is of the same faith as me, with the same convictions, so that we can raise a family on common ground. I have cousins whose parents are of completely different faiths and I can see the difference it makes in their lives. It causes confusion as the faiths contradict each other and leads to no spiritual common ground at all. In a world that is quickly falling to pieces and moral standards are being thrown out the window, I think now more than ever children need to be raised in a home where they are taught by both parents the same faith, standards and values. Kids need stability and what better stability than our Heavenly Father?

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  12. Sharing a spiritual foundation is now THE most important thing I'm looking for in a partner. In the past few years I've dated multiple guys who grew up in the same religion as me, but were on very different spiritual paths. The first guy was really hard to walk away from for many reasons you mention, but I had to realize how deeply fundamental my faith was to me. Just having fun, just sharing interests, even just sharing the same values (like the importance of family, honesty, kindness) was not enough. It got to the point that I realized I would be better off alone than in that kind of relationship, and I was sincerely okay with that. When the next guy came along with similar differences, it was easier to know I had to end it and keep looking for my match.

    The way I described it recently is that my faith is a part of everything to me - it is the lens through which I view the world. While I have a much greater understanding and compassion for how differently each person's spiritual journey is, I know that I can only form a true partnership of love and trust with someone who also views the world through a similar lens. So I'll keep looking.

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  13. Yes! I think both of these things are so important! It's amazing how many girls fall for the guy who isn't nice (I was one of them once as well). I'm so thankful that my husband is a nice guy. And it's more than being nice. He cares about others over himself. I love that he is busy on a Saturday mowing an elderly neighbor's lawn or helping a kid who doesn't have a dad with his car.

    I'm also thankful that my husband and I have the same beliefs. However, we aren't always on the exact same level. I think we have to be careful not to expect spiritual perfection from our partner as well. I agree with Anonymous that we need to respect our spouse and their beliefs. What happens when one of us struggles, changes, or doubts our beliefs? We can't rely on the fact that our spouse will always be 100% the same as us. This is where, as you say Mara, it's so important to know what you believe and why and have your OWN self worth! We can't depend on the fact that our partner will always believe as we do. But we can always encourage our spouse in love! I love this discussion!

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  14. Hi Mara,

    As someone who is on a spiritual path I think it is so important to find a partner who also is committed to this too. I haven't found my partner yet but this is the one thing I refuse to compromise on. The particular religion or form of spirituality that this is attached to is not so important to me as long as the holistic/energy/emotional qualities line up. I have spent a lot of time getting very specific about how to define what a spiritual path looks like for me and what characteristics my partner should embody. Here is my list and my definition of spirituality (which is VERY specific):

    -Lives a healthy life -non smoker, no drugs, minimal alcohol consumption, active & fit, eats healthy (basically looks after the temple of their body)
    -High emotional intelligence i.e the ability to take responsibility for their own happiness, the ability to be vulnerable, the ability to communicate their feelings and needs, a commitment to dealing with conflict calmly, and the ability to reflect on their own life, strengths and weaknesses
    -Compassion/empathy for others, willingness to serve and sense of social responsibility (taking an interest in people, the planet and the policies which affect both of these)

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    1. I forgot to add:

      -A belief that true "wealth" is not about money but rather an abundance of love, connection, learning and growth

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    2. I love you list!

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  15. Mara, you really have some wonderful insights in this post! Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts.

    I completely believe that having a spiritual life is important. I truly feel like if both partners in a relationship have the same belief it allows the relationship to be built on a good foundation. Even within the realm of having the same beliefs, there can be varying levels of devotion or worship. You can both be Christian but choose to live and demonstrate that in different ways. So, I strongly believe that it is important to not only find someone that believes similarly to you, but also someone that wants to live what they believe with you. Now, that is something that I always pay attention to in the people that I date.

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  16. Thank you Mara!

    I backslided for a few years and dated a string of non-Christian guys, having convinced myself that having different views on spiritual views did not matter. Whenever we ran into problems, however, it was futile to look to each other or ourselves to work out the situation, and eventually everything turned into nothing. I found myself completely empty inside.

    When I met my now-fiance/almost-husband, I was afraid to tell him about my Christian beliefs. But it turned out he had backslided himself and was looking for someone on a similar wavelength to get back into faith. And now that we're getting married- what a difference it makes to have God as the centre of our relationship! When we find ourselves running dry, all we need to do is to pray, to encourage each other in faith and to let God take control. It is so amazing to see the places He takes us and how He has blessed us in ways that we'd never have imagined! His sister credits me for helping get back into fellowship, but really, he has helped me just as much (I just happen to be more vocal!).

    Tricia
    nihaonewyork.blogspot.com

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  17. Mara, you are incredible!!!! You are an amazing example to so many. You and Danny are so perfect for each other.

    Todd

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  18. Wow! I love this and it resonated with me so much. I think if you have ever been in a relationship with a "not nice" person then nice is at the very top of your list of qualities. When I first met my husband 20 years ago I was struck by how kind he was and the strength of his character. I had been engaged to someone very fun and exciting but not very nice before so that's all I was really used to. I thought this guy can't be for real. He wanted to do nice things for me and to take care of me. And not only does he want to be kind to me he was kind to my family as well My Mom lives alone on a farm and Chris is there most every weekend helping her. And this is hard work- fencing, digging post holes, etc. He genuinely cares about others. One of my friends asked me how I knew he was the right person for me after I met him. I think she asked me because he seemed so different from the other guys I had dated. My answer was that he was genuinely good and kind. And that is so, so important. It doesn't mean that someone is boring when they are kind and spiritual. It just means they know what's truly important. I will say that after 19 years of marriage that kindness and love has gotten us through the roughest spots in life like the untimely death of my stepfather and seven years of infertility. My advice to my daughter will be to look for the man who is kind. You may not notice him at first. But he will be the one who is always there for the people he loves. He may be quiet and won't be singing his own praises. But I know there are men like this because I found your Dad. Anyway, I think I just made myself tear up :) Love your blog! Good luck with your IVF. I am so hoping it works for you!

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  19. Both of those things are HUGE for me. But I have a question for you:

    Obviously you can't change or fix your spouse. But how do I encourage my husband to do his home teaching, or to do personal scripture study? I don't want to nag or seem self righteous. I have tried doing those things consistently for months, trying to set an example and work on myself, but he just doesn't seem interested. I know he has a testimony, he is just busy and doesn't make those things a priority. How do I encourage him to be the strong priesthood leader in our home? Or how do you encourage your spouse to do anything (I'm not talking just doing the dishes, but more important things.) Thanks!

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  20. my friends give me the hardest time because i'm always saying "nice isn't good enough" - but it's deserving of explanation! "nice" is the first, most obvious thing people say about someone when they're trying to set me up on a blind date or introduce me to someone new... "he's nice". (most) everyone's nice! i want to hear something else! nice has lost a little bit of its luster in my mind... maybe since it's been overused? or because it's so immediately used as a descriptor? "kind" on the other hand... if someone tells me that he's kind, i'll believe them :)

    my list has never been long - but it's been "refined" with every person i've dated along the way... we obviously have to share the same gospel ideals, that one is non-negotiable for me. but there are just two things anymore...

    1. must be slow to anger. (which is maybe the flip side to nice :)) i wish i could remember their names, but we had an emeritus member of the seventy and his wife teach institute at our church building a few years ago. their number one recommendation for character traits we should seek in a spouse was 'slow to anger'. it resonated so strongly that night! and still does! i've always been sensitive to "mean talk" - sharp tongues and mean words instantly curl me in a ball! i suppose being glued to a mean-talker wouldn't last very long.

    2. motivated... ambitious... contributing to society. i've dated some duuuuuuuds. (why?!) ones who lived at home in their late 20s, their mom did their laundry, cooked their meals, changed their sheets, yada. it killed me! while i was hustling my little self through my career and my homeownership... he was doing what?! working at the grocery store he'd worked at since he was 15... stocking the shelves... NOT putting to use his college degree because it was easier for his mom to take care of him (his words, even!) i knew i'd reached my limit when i found myself ultimately frustrated in the middle of the laundry soap aisle at target. i was spending my money on a $17 tide bottle and he wasn't! it was the silliest thing, but he was a complete dud who had no interest in growing out of it. i've worked so hard to make a really good life for myself, i couldn't ever see us seeing eye to eye on our goals for the future.

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  21. Niceness, as you say, is so important. A willingness to nurture and support the other person, rather than compete or try to control or criticise. My recent relationship ended when I realised that my boyfriend was intensely critical of his ex-wife, after initially seeming quite philosophical about their relationship - and then I discovered that he had formed a relationship with someone at work with whom he could secretly "vent" about the defects he saw in me. I had thought I had found someone who was communicative and supportive, but that was far from the truth. It took me a while to see that his perceptions have more to do with him, his personality and character and needs, and hence his capacity to love, than they do with me.

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  22. I loved this post because it pretty well encapsulates the things that were important to me when looking for a man to date. I also feel really lucky to have decided on those priorities without having to go through a bad marriage first.
    I guess I learned from the guys I dated as a teen. I dated one who was of a different faith and it felt like spiritual synchrony was missing even though he had many of the same standards as I did. I dated another guy who was in my same faith, but he seemed much more interested in the dimension of physical attraction and I noticed that we had arguments about faith questions. (I was glad it happened over the phone rather than in person..)
    I looked for someone who was 1) kind 2) in the same faith as me 3) slow to anger 4) with similar media standards.

    “Nice” and “kind” are not necessarily synonymous, which is why I think “kind” is a better thing to look for. To me, “Nice” denotes a certain social polish and ability handle social situations well. Like “polite.” But “kind” denotes someone who is genuinely compassionate to others, even when he won’t gain anything from it, even when no one is watching, even it if is a small thing, even if it is an inconvenience.

    “Slow to anger” is important because we know we will have misunderstandings and miscommunications and have bad days, and someone who is slow to anger will be capable of absorbing that stuff without giving it back just as bad or worse. (And of course, I knew it was important to work to become that kind of person too..) When I was dating guys and around guys, I tried to pay attention to the types of things they got mad or frustrated at, and the way they expressed their anger and whether they could productively handle it. I was in engineering for a while which gave me lots of opportunities to see guys frustrated with problems.

    Similar media standards was important to me because media can be a big part of our lives and how we choose to have fun and relax. We absorb emotional energy from media—music, games, videos, books, etc.—and to me, I was determined to try to surround myself with as positive and uplifting energy from media as possible. If I married someone who liked screamy music, gory movies, shoot-em-up video games, and so forth, I knew I would be uncomfortable. My man didn’t have to like the same styles as me, but I was looking for someone who had a similar philosophy and media content standards.

    To me, living a spiritual life means going to church, trying to keep the commandments, giving time and talents in church service, personal and family prayer, scripture study, and generally seeking for guidance from the Lord. It means willingness to keep on doing those things even when life gets hard. It means repenting and forgiving.

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  23. AMEN SISTER! A person's relationship with God is THE defining relationship-a relationship that if you don't share, you will truly share little else. Also, if your spiritual relationships are not on the same page, your personal lives will take drastically different routes- something that will make maintaining a healthy relationship much more difficult.
    PS- I LOVE your blog. Seriously, almost more than pinterest :) I love your vulnerability, optimism, and wisdom. THANK YOU!

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  24. So, I adore you, Mara, and I completely respect that those two criteria were central to how you chose a partner, and it clearly worked! But, I have to say that it isn't always necessary. Sometimes we can become very controlling about our partner's spiritual path, instead of seeing what is good and holy about that person already. My husband, who I've been with for a total of 15 years, is an agnostic whom I persuaded to convert to Judaism for me when we got married. He has been able to find the beauty in being part of a spiritual community, but he doesn't feel comfortable with personal prayer, and he will never be a SEEKER the way that I am. My spiritual path has really evolved and I am now thinking seriously about becoming a member in the LDS church. I know! It's a huge shift! While I would like my husband to take that journey with me, I know that he probably never will, and I'm at peace with that. He is still my best friend, the father of my baby, and the most beautiful person I have ever met. We have a truly gorgeous marriage, and part of that is because I have learned not to persuade him to be different from who he is. He is allowing me to pursue this path and I allow him to pursue his. I'm really grateful for that. For me, that's what spiritual enlightenment looks like : )

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    1. It might be worth saying that the kind of seeking/path doesn't in our mind always include a religious institution nor the rites and standards. For example, I'd be much more impressed with someone who actually lived "gospel" teachings of loving their neighbor, serving, selflessness, and all that other stuff, yet didn't believe in God.....than I would with a person who fulfilled all religious norms and yet was spiteful and abusive to people who didn't believe as they did.

      I wholeheartedly agree with you....we are not to control our spouse or our children into a spiritual path we enjoy....because part of our spiritual path should be respect for another's ability to choose and experience according to what they feel ready for or desire to practice.

      My guess, based on your post, is we agree more than you might have thought :)

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