As I help people discover and define their genuine Core Desires, I find that the area that stands out most is the longing for a personal love relationship.
You must determine if you are the kind of person you want to be. Can you attract the kind of person you want to be with? We usually have a great deal in common with those we are closest to. Think about the people you feel close to. You probably have similar beliefs, laugh at the same jokes, and share interests in movies, sports, styles, food, and hobbies. The more you have in common with a person, the more enjoyable the relationship will be and the faster it will grow and thrive.
In any relationship, there will always be some things that you won't have in common-that's to be expected and accepted. When I met my wife, I was very involved and passionate about karate. She wasn't. Instead, she loved musicals. I didn't. But we found that the things of most importance were the things we had in common. If you can share values and principles, ideas about how to raise children, religion-the things that really matter-then you can easily get past karate or musicals.
'We all have many God-given gifts. The challenge with which we are each faced is to discover these gifts and then make full use of them by serving others. That is how our soul grows. But though our soul thrives when we give of ourselves, we must realize that we cannot give love unless we can receive love. Our ability to receive love is based upon our ability to feel, because it is through our feelings that we are able to receive support and then be motivated to give support. To give of ourselves, we must nurture ourselves. One of the ways we receive this nurturing is through having a good relationship. This gives us the opportunity to serve our partner-and serving others nurtures our own souls.
"Men and women receive love differently. The primary way to love a man and help him get in touch with his feelings is to appreciate him for what he does. You must repeatedly send him the message that he makes a difference, that his actions are worthwhile. You must also let him know that when his actions are mistakes, they are forgivable. You must assure him that he is accepted just the way he is. If you try to correct him or tell him what to do, he will only resist. And if he does not resist he will weaken; he will lose touch with the inner guidance that he needs to control his actions. Women often need to feel in control of their feelings. The way to nurture a woman's soul is to give her the support she needs to freely express herself, to talk about her feelings, her wants, and wishes. Don't try to correct her feelings or talk her out of her feelings. If she is feeling bad or afraid or angry, do not be critical of that.
"Once we have learned how to nurture our partners, we can then go out and make a difference in the world. Giving unconditional love nurtures us and fulfills our purpose in life. When you give of yourself without expecting anything in return, you become a bigger person."
In any highly successful relationship, you must be open and honest, as well as willing to look at-and own-your weaknesses and mistakes. Only then can you make the changes needed to allow the relationship to operate at the highest level possible.
When I was twenty-four years old, I was very much in love with a woman who hardly knew I existed. She was beautiful and successful, and I decided to create the opportunity for her to fall in love with and marry me. It was my genuine Core Desire at the time.
I began what I called "Project Pam." I researched all her likes and dislikes, I got inside information from some of her friends, and I received clear directions on how to be the kind of man she would want to have. I shaped myself into the type of man she should love. It was quite a project, and she ended up wearing my engagement ring.
Wedding invitations had been purchased, and we were to be married in a few weeks. Then disaster struck on a Friday: Pam called everything off. She said she just didn't feel right about going through with the marriage. I was devastated. The following Sunday, feeling angry and hurt, I asked God why this didn't work out. I thought Pam was everything I wanted. I was immediately overcome with the knowledge that there was someone better out there for me. I was overwhelmed by the intensity of that experience, and I trusted it completely. I no longer felt hurt, and I was over Pam. That same day I began looking for that someone. Within two weeks I met my wife, Marci.
I could have chosen to pine away, feel sorry for myself, and feel anger and bitterness toward Pam. But I chose to become excited at the prospect of finding someone else.
Marci and I were very sincere with one another from the start. We didn't just chitchat about our high school experiences; we talked about each other's attitudes, concerns, and desires for the future. That sincerity was vital in creating an enduring relationship.
In creating a loving relationship void of pretense and hypocrisy, you'll enjoy a great deal of harmony and satisfaction. I am grateful to Pam for listening to her heart and calling off our wedding-I now know she was far wiser than I was.
Finding someone you can trust with all your heart, who will help you become all that is in you to become, is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. The secret to a loving relationship is to be dedicated to the concept of what's right, not who's right, and to make a commitment to the person to whom you have given your heart, making them feel that they are "number one" in your life.
By Jack M. Zufelt
"Mentor To Millions