Faith-based dating coach and matchmaker Amy Stevens gives her expert advice on deciding what to search for in a potential significant other.
This time of year, determining what to look for in an ideal match is on the minds of many singles. Typical approaches to addressing this topic include creating a list of qualities and characteristics you desire, as well as deal breakers you won’t put up with. Some enjoy trendy articles about how to know if the person you’re dating is good enough. There are also the one-question tests, such as “How does he treat his mother?” or “Does she inspire you to be a better person?”
While some of these options are a good way to start, I recommend four less conventional ways to find out who is right for you.
1. Focus on what you do want rather than what you don’t want. If you were hiring someone for a job, would you make a list of all the things you don’t want? Instead, you would likely make a list of qualities you are looking for.
2. Understand the “why” behind what you want and whether there is another way to get it that allows more people in than out. If you have decided you will only date people who live in your local area because you don’t want to relocate, you might be missing out on great people who live somewhere else but could be willing to travel frequently or move.
3. Consider what you can bring to the relationship. Many years ago I found myself single again after a temple marriage ended in my late 20s. As I began to date again, I realized that the men I wanted to be with had qualities and accomplishments that I did not. I could get dates with them, but deep down I didn’t feel like I was “good enough” to marry them. After sabotaging a few potentially great relationships, I decided to give more attention to being the kind of person I wanted to attract. As my focus shifted from who I wanted to be with to who I was becoming, I not only found myself dating more, but I also realized that the men I was attracting were more interesting, committed, and adoring of me.
4. Break apart your criteria for a spouse into “reactionary” traits vs. “thought-out” traits. Reactionary traits are traits you look for mainly due to hurt and pain from a previous relationship. Thought-out traits are those you have evaluated over time. They arise based on the hopes and goals you have for the future.
As with all things, seeking inspiration in the dating process is ultimately how you will know what is truly right for you. May you ever be mindful of His love and willingness to be your guide is my prayer and desire for you in your search for lasting love.