Dating is a lot like shopping — if you don't make up a list of what you need ahead of time, you'll probably end up coming home with the wrong item.
I had this epiphany while searching for my mate. If you are ready to get married and you are dating with this purpose in mind then you need to stay focused. The goal is to optimize your search time.
This is something I learned early on — the more time you spend with the wrong person the more time it will take you to find the right person.
Remember, your time is precious because you are important and everyone wants a piece of you!
Here is a good shopping/dating tip: The best way to stay focused and to sort through the clutter is to determine what you need before your temptation is activated. We've all gone to the store to buy one thing and then left with a new CD that caught our eye. The problem comes when you get home and you realize you haven't even listened to the last three CD's that you've bought. That's giving into temptation over your needs.
It's just as easy when you are on a date to become impressed by your date's physical qualities, life story, or sense of humor. Once you feel impressed your temptation gets activated. Once your temptation is activated you forget why you're there and what you are looking for. Temptation is hard to resist and hard to control. The only way you have any shot at it is by being prepared, which brings me back to shopping: if you're going to go, then you need to make a list of what you need!
Actually there are three lists you should probably have:
- The "I need him or her to" list — i.e. to be of a certain religion or background, to want to have kids, to be ready for marriage, to have a professional career, communication style, etc.
- The "I want him or her to" list — i.e. to be a certain height, to be as active as you, to have the same hobbies as you, to be educated to a certain level, etc.
- The "I won't put up with these" list — i.e. smoking/drinking habits, kids from another marriage, employment status, commitment phobias, emotional/mental issues, any oversized baggage, etc.
It's important to take the time to fill out all the qualities that you are looking for in a mate for each of the above categories. You must decide on all of these factors before you even try to meet the right person. Otherwise, you might find yourself on a date with someone who has a charming personality and who makes you laugh, and forget that he or she has way too many "I won't put up with these" issues. By the time you realize that the he or she has too many issues that you are not willing to deal with, you are already dealing with them.