When I was in my 20s and single I spent a lot of time looking for the right person and making myself attractive to guys. I used many resources (time, money, and energy) on going to parties, dessert nights, singles events, and trips; shopping for new clothes; going to the gym (I’d be dishonest if I said I only went for my health); getting my hair and nails done, and so on—all in pursuit of a husband. At the time this seemed like the right way to score a great guy, but looking back, I realize my priorities were misaligned.
Don’t get me wrong; you have to put yourself out there to meet people, and it is important to keep yourself attractive. But the truth is, putting yourself out there is only the first step in the dating process, and looks only get your foot in the door. Who you are is what hooks them and makes them want to stay.
Being the right person
Being the right person is something I didn’t put much effort into until my early 30s. What I mean by “being the right person” is being the person you want to attract. We tend to be attracted to traits that are similar to ours. So if you’re seeking someone with a good job, they are probably looking for someone who is working hard at their own job. If spiritual depth is an important partner trait, that type of person is probably looking for someone who makes spiritual things a priority in their life. If you want someone who is fit, they are probably looking for someone who is choosing to live a fit and healthy life too.
Being a little better
A few years ago I decided I wanted to be better. I went through a process to purge my life of things that weren’t adding value or were dragging me down in subtle ways. This included letting go of some unhealthy relationships and getting rid of some stuff that wasn’t particularly uplifting. I started focusing more on my faith and my personal goals and less on superfluous stuff that used to distract me. I tried to spend less time absorbed with my life and be more concerned about others. I wanted to be a better person, and this was my start.
This refining process was for me, but the secondary result of my efforts was that I started attracting more quality guys. These guys were stellar. They had the same priorities as me and they were accomplished, smart, kind, thoughtful, and spiritual. They inspired and impressed me and made me want to continually improve myself.
And the guy I married—I knew he was awesome, but it wasn’t until the family dinner the night before we got married that I truly understood the character of this incredible man. The stories his family and a close friend shared completely floored me. That night I realized I was “marrying up” in a major way. My husband, Brian, is a better version of me, and I feel so lucky that I was able to attract a man of his caliber. Isn’t that what we all want, someone a little better than ourselves?
Attract who and what you want
So if you are looking for “the one,” ask yourself and be honest, “Would the perfect person I’m looking for want to be with me? Do I possess the qualities I want in a spouse?” This is the first step in attracting the person you want in your life. And if you need to work on some things, put in the time and effort to make some changes. You are in control of your destiny, but it is shaped by the small choices you make every day, and choices make us who we are. So choose to be a magnet for whatever (or whomever) you want to attract.
Continually attracting your spouse
As a newlywed, I’ve realized that getting married isn’t the end of putting your best self forward. It’s not a finish line, but more of a new beginning. Your status may have changed from single to married, but by no means is it time to “let yourself go” or stop trying to make your spouse fall more in love with you. Most couples set out to have a happy marriage that endures the test of time, a “happily ever after” kind of marriage. I believe this is possible, but it takes constant personal investment. It is important to continually attract your spouse. If you were going to the gym before you got married, keep going. If learning French was your thing, keep at it. If you surprised your love with flowers every month, keep that aspect of your love rolling. Constant self-improvement and making your spouse a priority will strengthen your marriage.
Marriage provides opportunities to hone life skills such as compromise, communication, trust, and forgiveness. But it also gives you opportunities to grow together. Finding a common interest or goal to work toward can help you bond in unique ways and infuse excitement into your relationship. As husband and wife it’s critical to evolve together, shaping your lives around one another so that you can truly weather the different seasons of life “as one.”