Don't worry if you're a little confused about what you really want in a mate. I've known brilliant women with master's degrees and PhDs from the best schools, who were clueless about what's most important to them. In fact, it's usually the smartest ones who take the longest to get married, because they can't get their minds in sync with their hearts and bodies. They lean too heavily on the intellectual, at the expense of just about everything else. We all live in five distinct worlds: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and Financial. Of course, none of us divide our time equally between them. Think about which worlds are most important to you. Now think about how important it is for your ideal mate to match up to your preferences in each of these categories. If this sounds complicated, let me give you a little help.

Spiritual: You don't have to be religious to be spiritual—this just means that you have a connection with someone or something beyond the physical world. I consider myself a spiritual person. I was raised in the Jewish faith, but I consider myself more of a Food Jew—when the food shows up, I show up. I'm observant on significant holidays, because I like to spend them with those I love. But I'm very metaphysical. I don't belong to any particular organized congregation. I believe that organized religion is manufactured by man, not God. But I do believe in the power of the universe. I call on it often, and I do my best to keep in sync with it.

Sounds a little airy-fairy, I know, but it works for me. The point I'm making about spirituality is that yours should mesh with your ideal mate's. You don't need to have the exact same beliefs, but you should respect each other's and honor them. If either one of you feels resentful or derisive of the other's faith, it's not going to be a good match. And he needs to be more than just tolerant of the faith you practice, or the faith you grew up with.

Here's a crazy story about faith for you: I know of a really fabulous woman who escaped from a polygamist compound on the southern Utah/Arizona strip. Although she no longer believed in The Principle, she was worried that no man in his right mind would ever love a woman with a background like hers. She enrolled in a university, went to grad school, and there she met a man who was not only tolerant of her past, he encouraged her to associate with her family and even helped some of her half brothers and sisters start productive lives outside of the compound. He is a truly spiritual person in that he believes in the good of all mankind and works to help his fellow human beings find their true path.

It's also very important that neither one of you feels that you are giving up your religion or sacrificing spirituality for the other. This will only lead to disharmony and frustration in the long run, and when one of you finds someone who is more spiritually compatible, the temptation to stray will be irresistible. Even though your devotion to your beliefs may be unique and may limit your options, if your particular faith is really important to you, I encourage you to stand firm. As my grandmother used to say, there's a lid for every pot. Yours is out there; it just might take you a little longer to find him. Besides, places of worship are great for finding your perfect match.

Beware the hypocrites, however. People are probably more hypocritical about their spirituality than just about any other aspect of their personality. Actually, a lot of my clients are like that. I had a super Zen yoga master who lied, cheated on his wife with his devotees, and yelled at his staff. A man who is hypocritical about his spirituality is going to be dishonest in other areas of his life as well, so be careful. There are men out there who will tell you what they think you want to hear. It's very hip to be "spiritual" right now, but if that's important to you, you need to make sure he walks the walk and talks the talk.
Become Your Own Matchmaker by Patti Stanger. Published by Atria Books. ?? 2009


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