We often may not fully realize how small differences in our ideologies can later lead to separation.
When we make friends, we migrate to seek others with similar interests. Football fanatics like to hang with other footballers, yelling at the screen as if their “couch-coaching” is somehow going to affect the results of the play. Movie buffs enjoy a good dissection of the latest psychological thriller’s “real” meaning, and guys who enjoy a choice wine or maduro cigar will soon make friends with other connoisseurs.
Nothing is different when it comes to choosing your partner. When you show up for church each week and she’s still fast asleep working on her “beauty routine,” or you’re ready for the next Understanding Your Zodiac Sign seminar and she’s at a weekly Bible study, chances are, eventually, you will conclude that you might have been attracted to someone with whom you have very little in common.
Shared beliefs are an important attribute to a strong, lasting relationship. Now, I’m not saying you both won’t survive if you’re not “equally yoked,” i.e., in the same religion, but rather that if you both don’t have the same level of commitment to those beliefs, it will be very hard to overcome.
It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist. What your beliefs are, is not the issue. It’s how important those beliefs are to you. If you were born into a Jewish family but seldom practice or keep the sacred holidays, then getting together with an equally apathetic woman, of any religion, may actually work for you. If you’re both equally as disinterested in religion as a whole, then both of you actually share a value. You might have similar responses to family tugs to participate in special occasions. You will both probably enjoy the uniqueness and the cultural differences and not fight over whose faith wins out. Religious beliefs will not be what you have in common, but rather that you both place a low value on religion as a whole.
The same can be said if religious beliefs are one of your values. If you find yourself falling in love with a woman who is very zealous about her religion or belief system, you will share that passion for the spiritual. What makes this tricky is that most religions have their own nuances that make them unique from other faiths. You may find that although you have some shared beliefs, you have contradictory views on other subjects. Take the time to discuss your viewpoints, share with each other and grow with each other. There’s a lot that can draw you closer when you’re both actively seeking knowledge and understanding. Once again, when you have a shared value of learning, it helps to bring you together harmoniously.
Meeting a woman in a place of worship doesn’t guarantee that you’re actually on the same page, so don’t be fooled. Take the time to have a deep conversation early on about what matters to this woman, what she believes. She may not articulate it so much as show it by what gets her upset, what makes her cry or what makes her react.
A woman who has a strong sense of self will quickly show that she wants to be respected and heard. If you don’t appreciate that value and can’t reciprocate with understanding and good listening skills, you will probably see the end quickly, as soon she feels like something just isn’t “right “ between the two of you…
It’s as important to you to be with someone who shares your values, as it is for your love interest to find her ideal partner. Don’t play the game of pretending to be the man of her dreams only to later crush them. Be true to yourself and you’ll be much happier and be in a more fulfilling relationship in the end. When we try to meet another person’s expectations just to convince them we’re the real deal, we disrespect ourselves and the unique attributes and beliefs that make us individuals.
Take some time to contemplate your beliefs. Ask yourself some important questions. What matters most to you? What do you value? Does family matter? Do you want to be a hands-on dad? Do you want kids at all? Do you value a well-thought-out argument or does it bother you when someone doesn’t respond immediately? Are you the helpful kind of guy that stops whenever you see someone in need? Or do you value your time and think minding your own business is best?
All of these feelings and beliefs have pros and cons. Too much independence and you’re a hermit; too helpful and you’re suddenly a pest. Of course, there are degrees of thought on any subject. What will help you is to determine how you feel about something and, possibly, why you feel that why. Examine your beliefs.
Knowing yourself helps you to know who will be a compatible mate for you in the future. Of course, a pretty face and a great figure will always turn a head or two, but realize that if you don’t share similar values on the big things in life, the longevity of your relationship is at risk.
You might find that you’re attracted to a woman who is the complete opposite of how you see yourself, but the important thing is not how she acts or how she appears. It’s what she believes deep down inside. If you have similar beliefs and values, ones that mean the world to each of you, you will better navigate together through life’s twisting road.
Nothing is more pleasing than enjoying someone’s company, doing stuff you both love to do. But most girls aren’t going to be football fanatics, hoops lovers or even car buffs (although I’m sure you have plenty of guy friends that can fill those needs). But even if she’s not into every hobby or pastime you’re into, it makes a big difference if she realizes how important they are to you and acknowledges your need to spend effort and time on them. With that said, hopefully you will be equally understanding when she plans time with her girlfriends for shopping, watching the latest reality show or discussing makeup trends.
That’s what having shared values can do for a relationship: provide the balance to let each person flourish and yet still be appreciated.
Relationship Coach Monica S.
This article was originally published at How To Get The Woman of Your Dreams . Reprinted with permission from the author.