Last time we talked about knowing yourself and then looking for someone who meets you in who you are, one who is a match for your personality, emotions, likes and dislikes – who will be the true companion to all of you. The belief that opposites attract is out there, but research has shown that opposites divorce at a higher rate than those who are more alike. That isn’t too hard to believe! I’ve found in years of counseling couples that the ones who have the happiest marriage are those who are most alike. Less similar couples can make a good marriage of it too. But to have a match for your soul is a blessing that lets you wake up every day and look forward to being with your wife or husband, and lets you think of them or look at them and feel your heart and soul smile.
Let’s go further though. If you’ve made a list of who and what you need, let this be the “list of non-negotiables.” These are the things that you will not shade or bargain away without absolute care and honesty. If you have fifteen things on this list and someone meets fourteen, you must ask if you can live without that one item. It is so important that in that part of your soul, you without that one item you will be lonely? Maybe the other things are so powerful that they can compensate for that one loss, or maybe he or she can develop in that area. But be ruthlessly honest with yourself, and have some family and close friends whom you can trust in on this decision; it’s too important to make alone. Does this person meet who you are? That is the most important question, for to be lonely in marriage is one of the worst of feelings.
There a second list, I call it “The percentage list.” The essential things you need are on the other list. On this list are things that you want, but they are of lesser importance. You can take less of these and be ok. When I was looking for my wife I had someone who was 5’4” in this list. My wife is 4’11”, and we couldn’t be happier! Height was important, but not essential. And I feel 6’ tall now! So know the difference between essential and non-essential.
There are two more important things to consider. They are character and passion, usually called chemistry. I’ll save character for the next installment because is it so important that it needs a blog of it’s own. Chemistry is essential, too, but is easier to describe because we all know what it is. If you’ve seen the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding than you remember Ian’s parents and how Toula’s parents described them: They are like dry toast. That is what a marriage is without chemistry or passion. Marriages can drift into this if we allow it, but to start out this way is to almost assure that a marriage will be bland, like warm flat Coke on a hot, muggy August day. Chemistry in marriage is what we all dream of. We want a passionate spouse who will be the one who makes life beautiful, sensual, and full of life. It is passion that elevates having sex to something beautiful making love.
You can find someone who meets your lists, and find someone who has great character, but without passion it will not be enough. If you remember in the first installment I referred to a scene in the movie, Meet Joe Black. Here it is again; I can’t say it any better.