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Dr. Laura Blog
How to Choose a Mate
How to Choose a Mate
07/28/2014

(originally published February 2, 2009)

Recently, a male listener, with a very undeveloped maturity bone, called to complain about his new wife.  It seemed that she was no longer the party girl he dated for two months prior to the well-thought out marriage, and he was upset that she was starting to "nest."   How utterly disappointing and boring.

I told him he had to dump her and find a drug addicted, alcoholic, promiscuous hussy to marry to keep the party going.   And then I went onto the next caller.  It was that kind of day.

It is important, though, to know what you want when you date; it saves time and emotion.  CNN.com posted a blog by Wendy Atterberry entitled, "Seven Traits to Investigate on a First Date."  The seven were:

  1. Pet situation, 
  2. Employment status
  3. Dream vacation
  4. Perfect Saturday night,
  5. Perfect Sunday afternoon
  6. Romantic aspirations ... dating for fun or marriage?
  7. Kissing style.     


My take is that #6 should determine whether or not to even have a date in the first place.  I have told many women on my program that they should inquire as to the long-term intentions of the man before or at the beginning of the first date. "I'm dating to look for someone to share my life with and help raise my 84 children in a forever marriage...and why are you dating?" would be a good start as far as I'm concerned.   If you both want to party, or only one is serious...it's important to know.

Numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, are interesting and have importance down the line for the sake of mutual interest and compatibility of lifestyle, although a lot of that can change when one is in love.

Number 2, employment status, is another one of those significant facts to know before you agree to a date.  Folks who are flaky, unstable, unmotivated or unprepared for adult lives shouldn't date.

I was seriously stunned that the most important issues - for example, religion --  were left out.  It is an important bonding agent to have mutual spiritual identities.

Relationship with parents is also important, as it tells you a lot about the health of the extended family.  The desire to have children and about how many is an important issue, as is the determination to raise and love children or pay hired help to "raise" them and watch them grow from a busy distance.  Finances, debts, and philosophy of saving versus spending would be good to know in advance too.  

Hobbies and other activities which can both build interest and mutual experiences, or interfere with the relationship and leave someone lonely are important as well.  Politics and life philosophy discussions would reveal similarities and differences (not always bad) in expectations, preferences, and attitudes     

Am I kidding?  Do I really think you folks should talk this seriously on the first date?  Shouldn't you just marinate in each other's furtive, sensual glances? No, I am not kidding.  Yes...even before the first date if you're spending some "get to know you" phone time.  And yes...romantic glances are wonderful.

Tags: Choose Wisely-Treat Kindly, Dating, Marriage, Relationships, Values
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