How do you find the perfect Valentine? One where you can make it permanent? Well, I really like the Marriage Foundation, and have found their advice great for me, so I’m passing that on to you. To start, stay clear of the Hollywood dating rules. Instead, read this Dating 101 guide.
But the dating scene’s like Hollywood, baby! Mary meets Hank at a nightclub, wearing her tightest skirt and clingiest blouse. Days later, she’s heading to Hank’s home, ready to spend the night. Who knows if it will last, she thinks. At least it will be fun, right? And who knows—maybe we’ll live happily ever after.
Wrong! At least according to the Marriage Foundation, she’s wasting her time. She should be vetting a lifelong companion, not Hank the pickup artist. She’s just messed up her love life by spending the night with Hank. She spent too much time listening to the mantra: “Friends with benefits.” Sex complicates dating. Sex can bind you prematurely to the wrong person.
What if the guy has a history of assault charges? What if the guy has anger management issues? What if the guy is a pig when she hates a mess? Or what if the guy drives her to his home in the countryside without another home for miles? So much for happily ever after.
So, who is the right person? Who is your perfect Valentine?
First, try to visualize yourself spending your entire life with your Valentine. If you can’t, you’re wasting your time.
So, how do you know if he or she makes a good Valentine? Before you date, you should spend a month coming up with a list of traits you would wish to see in a Valentine, according to the guide. You might have “happy, loyal, and spiritual” at the top of your list. But you might also have “fit, muscular, non-drinker, non-smoker, soft-spoken, and no tattoos” on your list. Jot down everything you’d love to discover in the person of your dreams. Then spend the rest of the month ordering your traits from highest priority to lowest priority. Put a line that divides the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.
Then, make a list of deal-breakers. You might list “smokes marijuana, drinks alcohol, watches Football, raises his voice, sports a tattoo, or looks like a convict.” Make sure you don’t have these traits either. If you do, change them.
After that, consider how you might embody those traits. If you want a loyal partner, are you loyal? If not, you’ll need to work on your loyalty. If you want a non-drinker, do you drink? If so, you’ll want to put aside your drinking habit. If you want a happy guy, are you happy? And so on. In the dating world, like attracts like. So, you’ll need to cultivate the same traits you wish to find in your perfect Valentine.
By the way, The Marriage Foundation says that if you want a loyal partner, a religious person may make a good choice. After all, if someone can commit to God, chances are they’ll commit to you. But are you religious? At least loyal? Again, like attracts like.
After three to five dates, you should know whether you want to go steady with this person. If so, you go into the next stage: courting. Courting should last anywhere from one to two or more years, again ideally nonsexual. During the courting period, you go exclusive with your date, interviewing the person to see if he or she fits your list. Does he or she want kids? Why or why not? How does he or she fare living with another person? Why did he or she end a prior relationship? Find out as much as you can. After all, this may be your lifelong Valentine.
But don’t dress sexy during your dating or courting period. Wear modest clothing and light, not heavy, makeup. You’re in it for a lifelong Valentine, not a one-night stand. And don’t act like your over-the-top, enamored with him right away. In other words, don’t signal you want to spend the night. Sex will make a mess of your courting time, binding you to someone who may not be a suitable spouse.
If during the courting period, you discover a deal-breaker, don’t be shy to break off the relationship. After all, you want to be happy, right? So, choose wisely.
After the courting period comes the engagement, which is the time you plan your wedding. Keep on investigating your potential lifelong Valentine. If you encounter a deal-breaker, break it off before the wedding.
When you reach your wedding day, you’ll know you’ve found your perfect Valentine.