Some good news for me to report with the onset of spring is that, upon my recommendation, many of my women clients are now reading or have read Lori Gottlieb’s book “Marry Me.” No, I don’t get a commission on book sales. But it makes my matchmaker heart soar to receive emails telling me that clients are learning and growing, revising limiting ways of thinking and moving towards more healthy decisions for themselves. Information is power after all. And emails thanking me for the recommendation are always nice, too.
Modesty aside, the printed word can sound more compelling than the same advice might sound coming from little old me, no matter how convincing I am. Especially since the author is younger and is dating herself.
Last month in Berkshires’ Best, I began to talk about some of the interesting research Gottlieb has garnered for her best-selling book and I thought I’d give it one more go-around here in this issue. But if you know any woman of any age who is dating, the book would make a super nice gift. The younger the woman the better -- before bad habits begin. I certainly can’t do it justice but:
Here are some more juicy tidbits to consider:
The dating coach whom Gottlieb consulted urged her to differentiate between needs and wants and to narrow the list to three things. His reasoning is that if you have too many needs then you have more reasons to eliminate someone. That’s of course why the research suggests that many people wouldn’t have chosen their spouses (if they adhered to some list) because they weren’t what they thought they wanted. “Until they met them,” that is.
And why the lists I often get from clients with so many requirements are pretty much useless.
When people join dating services or do online dating, they often think they are in a candy store and can pick from a bunch of criteria and end up with a “perfect” match. But at least with dating services a matchmaker like me can take a chance and do some intuitive tweaking and see what happens. Sometimes I match people with folks who don’t fit their particular parameters. They are free to say no, of course, but often surprising and wonderful results have incurred when they took the leap of faith.
I don’t get credit for this one, but I certainly learned from it when I first began matchmaking 8 years ago. I met with a man in his fifties, a charming and educated man who happened to be quite short. This man wanted matches who were very petite—height was a deal breaker—and also someone very active and outdoorsy and sporty like he was. It did make a certain sense to me at the time.
Well, he ended up with a woman he had known before he came to me and not only is she quite tall -- much taller than he is -- but also not very sporty.
Some examples: A young woman asked to be matched with a man who had a minimum of a Masters Degree — she was working on her Ph.D. I took a chance because I happened to have a wonderful young man as a client who had the same intellectual interests and pursuits she did and similar values—he just happened to have gotten a great job out of high school and a career was born without him going back to school. They have been together ever since.
Then there was a man who wanted an athletic woman whose children were grown like his were—he was ready to take off on a whim. I matched him with a woman who had one young child because they seemed so suited for each other and they, too, have been together ever since.
One man came to me in his late fifties who insisted the women I match him with have no children and be no older than 45. I gradually worked him up to 49. He decided not to rule out women with kids. I told him about a woman over 50 who I thought he would really like, and guess what? He does.
These kind of stories go on and on, and I have even been thanked by people who met someone on their own because they opened their minds and hearts and followed some advice I gave them. The woman who met the formerly perceived too short man and is now engaged. The woman who met the formerly perceived too old man and is now with him.
And that, of course, is why when Gottlieb conferred with an Indian-born researcher of arranged marriages, she learned why people in those marriages were often more satisfied than those in marriages of choice. The common values are there, the realistic expectations are there, and if similar goals also are there, then voila. The researcher’s advice to dating women is to first find a good match and then fall in love. And learn to argue well and with grace.
On this point, Bud and I saw a really cute movie called Arranged. It wasn’t that the young women teachers, an Orthodox Jew and a conservative Muslim, who taught and became friends in the same Brooklyn school, were forced to marry anyone they found repulsive or incompatible. But you certainly had the feeling that after they agreed to the matches arranged for them, they might move into the sunset a lot more sustainably than their American colleagues at the school where they taught.
It really isn’t rocket science, of course. And it isn't about arranged marriages. But it is about arranging your priorities. Do your homework: Use your head, open your heart and mind to what truly matters, and you will be fine.
Finding You the Right One, Not Just Anyone
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