In the early years of my dating life, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, and I was absolutely sure I was going to get it: a charming, great looking, well-built guy who dressed well, made plenty of money and drove me around to nice places in a nice car. He'd have been a bit of a bad boy in his not-so-distant past, but once he met me, he would fall so hard that he wouldn't so much as cast a glance at anything else in a skirt, forever treating me like the queen he could see I was.
Intent on this vision, I summarily rejected any guy who didn't measure up, whether it be the way he dressed, the car he drove or any other number of superficial reasons. After all, I was going for the fairytale; I didn't want to waste any time.
It took me too many years and too many rocky, failed relationships to finally figure out the problem is that it is a fairytale. It turns out all of these superficial things don't matter one bit as far as love is concerned. Fortunately, I finally figured this out before my real Prince Charming pulled up in his ten-year-old Jeep Wrangler to take me out on our first date.
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Just a few years earlier, the sight of his car would have caused me to spend the first half-hour desperately trying to think of ways to end the date early. But for the first time in my life, I saw things differently. Maybe it was because I had matured; maybe it was because I had finally learned the truth; or, maybe it was because I could see that he was a really good guy, no matter what he drove. Whatever it was, it felt right.
Looking back, with the benefit of hindsight, I realize that there were many things that made me realize that I'd found one of the good guys. Here are a few that really stood out:
1. He was grounded. While a wild and crazy "live fast, die young" kind of guy might seem exciting and oh-so romantic, marriage lasts a long time, and being with someone who is practical and grounded can make that long time much less stressful and much more pleasant.
2. He was reliable. While the flashy, charming, bad boys were certainly exciting when their attention was on me, it was not nearly as exciting when they would disappear for days on end without a trace, only to pop up again expecting to pick up right where they left off. This man actually called me when he said he would, let me know what his plans were and answered the phone when I would call him! Keep reading ...
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