Getting to “I Do”
4 steps to help you clarify if this is your soul mate.
How do you go from just liking someone to wanting to actually marry them? Dating is not going to be the same journey for everybody. The relationship roadmap is all about clarity. Once you gain the clarity you need, you should be able to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t work for you.
Here are some tips that can help you get there:
Evaluate Your Values.
The first thing you need to do is to get clear about your values. Your values are what you want in another person, and what you need in a relationship to make it work.
When you're dating another person, you have to figure out how that other person is going to fit into your life, and how the two of you will build a life together. Some good values to look for may include being growth-oriented, easy-going, and passionate about Judaism. Come up with your top 5-10 values. Think about personality type, character traits like kindness and patience, and specific issues that you feel you need to see eye-to-eye on, like having kids, where you want to live, lifestyle etc.
If the other person’s values are overwhelmingly positive for you, but they are lacking in one or two areas, you might want to still consider the possibility that they are a good fit for you.
What Bothers You?
When you’re in a relationship, nothing is perfect. Every relationship has its “perfect imperfections”. If you aren't bothered by anything, view it as potential red flag. You might be infatuated. Unless you're the most calm, even-keeled person who is okay with everybody all the time, you won't see your relationship as perfect all the time.
Things that bother you could be that your date picks their teeth, has a high-pitched voice, is shorter than your ideal or has a lack of etiquette. Perhaps they have an annoying habit of clearing their throat too much, or they don’t have the warm family that you always envisioned marrying into. If they do have most of your values, and you can overlook these small things that bother you, this may be the person for you. And remember you’ll never like this trait but you’ll choose to live with it because of the overwhelming good that exists in the relationship.
Get in Touch with Your Fears.
We all have fears when it comes to relationships. Sometimes we're in a relationship with someone who really triggers our fears. Sometimes we're in a relationship with a person who eases our worries when it comes to being with them. We have to learn a little bit about our fears. Fears may include randomly being broken-up with, or being married to someone with an anger issue or the prospect of divorce.
Ask yourself if you see major fears being triggered in your current relationship. Try to get to the bottom of what is triggering it. It may not be your partner; it may derive from another source (childhood trauma, for example) that will require your attention.
If your partner is triggering your fear, determine to what extent it is bothering you. If the fear is consistently coming up and you feel unstable about it, then it’s clearly something you'll need to address. If you struggle with anxiety, depression, stress problems, and have a difficult time navigating relationships, you’ll probably need to dig into that deeper with therapy.
What are bonuses? These are perks that you weren’t expecting in your significant other. If you’re starting to weigh your options, then the bonuses might outweigh some of your values and you might start to compromise on them. If they’re not such a great person, and their values don’t match up with yours, it is a big no-no. You have to be happy with the values the person has, “the package”.
Bonuses don't weigh into the relationship. They're just nice to have. So if they are kind and patient, and you can overlook a small annoyance or two, then you choose the package. Bonus: they play guitar! So now you have an extra perk, but your main decisions should be based on the values they bring to the table, not the extra bonus.
When the positives overwhelmingly outweigh the negatives about the other person, you’ll know that this is a good person for you.
May this list help you gain clarity on the road to finding the right person and taking your relationship to the next level.