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The Business of Love

If you want to be successful at both, be careful whom you marry

(page 4 of 5)

How to Pick a Partner

Finding the right mate starts at home, says Joe Spillman, chair of counselor education and supervision at Argosy University. He says individuals should know what they want and need in a relationship on four dimensions: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. “Self-awareness means you can start looking for someone to have an interdependent relationship with,” Spillman says.

Susan Ray, a licensed marriage, family and couples therapist, says singles looking for love should approach dating with a purpose. “I know it sounds kind of unromantic and methodical, but you really need to have a checklist – at least a mental one – of what you’re looking for.” She says it’s important to be honest with yourself and if you recognize that a relationship is not going to work, move on.

There is truth to the idea that women tend to be attracted to men like their fathers and that men are often attracted to women like their mothers, she adds, because that’s what they’re familiar with. However, people aren’t only drawn to the positive, familiar qualities; sometimes they are attracted to familiar bad behavior as well.

Ray says partner selection is similar to a business negotiation, especially if a person is divorced and trying to bring two families together. “At this point, it’s not just about following your heart. It’s about making sure the situation works for everyone.”

Both she and Spillman say premarital counseling is a good way to help couples constructively address issues about finances, children and future goals that might arise later.

“Most smart business people would never take on a $30,000 or $40,000 investment – which is what some people these days pay for weddings – without having serious discussions about future plans, expectations or getting advice from a business consultant,” Ray says. “Marriage should be no exception.”

The 5 Cs of Coupling

You could save years – and a lot of heartache – if you consider these five aspects when choosing your mate, says Joe Spillman, chair of counselor education and supervision at Argosy University.

  1. Communication: It’s the most important thing in a relationship. Notice how the other person communicates and if it fits with the way you communicate. You can avoid assumptions, misunderstandings, false expectations and hurt feelings with open, honest communication.
  2. Church: It’s not necessary for couples to share the same spiritual beliefs, but, if you don’t, be sure your partner accepts and respects yours. This is also huge when it comes to raising children.
  3. Children: It’s crucial to discuss parenting styles and roles. Is someone going to stay home to raise the children? How will you discipline them? Parents need to show a united front if they want to be effective, so discuss these things before you marry and start a family.
  4. Career: Select a partner who will support your personal development. Couples must be flexible and negotiate which career might take priority, and then adjust depending on work schedules, parenting duties and finances.
  5. Coitus: Sexual compatibility is very important because it encompasses physical attraction, communication, intimacy, trust and closeness. People tend to not talk about sex much but it is a vital part of many marriages.
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Hawaii Business,February