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Laura Riley, Ph.D. Headshot

3 Tips For Finding the Perfect Mate

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Like anything worth having, it takes planning and work to find the perfect mate. Maybe Nana can help. This is serious business. It takes time. For best result,s you don't just put on your stiletto heels and hit the sports bars.

Finding a life-long partner is like buying a new car; before you go to the showroom, you should know what you want and what you're willing to pay. Here's a love-finding strategy guaranteed to work:

1. Know what you want.
Make a list of all the qualities you'd like in your spouse. Title it "What I Want." Pretend Nana has a magic wand and can give you exactly what you desire. Don't be limited by reality. Search your deepest desires. Want to marry a rock star, a veteran or an astronaut? Put it down. If you don't mention a quality, you'll get nothing there. If you don't mention "healthy," you may get a sickly husband. If you don't mention "careful with money" or "generous with money," you may get a miser or a spendthrift.

This is a very important exercise. Take a week and jot down requirements as you think of them. Hopefully, you'll have an array of at least 50 qualities. Then put the list away for seven days. Have patience; this is your life, and this is important. Don't skimp by hurrying to the end. Let your unconscious mind mull this over. You may notice that you have some contradictory desires. You may want a quiet, shy husband who's the life of the party.

2. Now make a list titled "What I have to offer."
What do you bring to the relationship? How will you enrich the other person, expand his view of the world, lighten his worries, make him smile? Why would he want to spend his life with you? List everything. Take your time. When it's finished, put it in a drawer for seven days. Your unconscious mind will be working on it.

3. Compare the two lists.
How do they match? Perhaps you asked for a jazz-loving spouse who plays a musical instrument and you offered a jazz-loving woman who plays a musical instrument. The two requests match. What you have to offer equals what you want. But, what if you asked for a triathlete husband but you smoke, live on hamburgers and fries and hate exercise? You're asking for more than you have to offer. A triathlete will probably not be attracted to you unless you change your health habits and become more like him. Are you willing to do that?

Marriages are often happiest between people who are similar to each other in backgrounds, values and characteristics. Opposites may attract, but they don't have happy marriages. "Birds of a feather flock together" is true. People are comfortable with, go around with and marry people like themselves. Happy couples match each other in looks, mental health and intelligence. It's important to marry someone similar to you in their outlook on life. If you're constantly anxious and barely holding on, your spouse is probably equally distraught. It may not manifest in the same way, but the degree of mental turmoil is comparable in the two spouses. And finally, recent studies find that people are almost identical to their spouses in intelligence. So, if you think your spouse is smart, you probably are too.