A Jewish Matchmaker’s Guide to Being the Best Partner in the World…
Okay, I admit it, “Best Partner in the World”? Maybe we’re shooting a bit too high – but I got your attention, right? Before you accuse me of false advertising or the old bait-and-switch, hear me out. Most singles are so focused on what they are LOOKING for in a partner, they neglect the other side of the equation – what do they OFFER a partner?
Let’s be honest, most of us don’t spend much time thinking about the ways we can improve ourselves so that we’ll be more attractive to our perfect match. We might worry about superficial traits, such as our looks or our bank account, but how much time is actually spent in honest self-reflection? How often do we take that list of characteristics we are seeking in a partner, and evaluate how we stack up?
Many of us boast a “take me as I am” attitude, but then expect our perfect partner to be, well, perfect.
So this blog is all about how YOU can become a better partner to that partner you are seeking. How do you become the “World’s Best Partner”? As they say, practice makes perfect, so with that in mind, I’ve listed five practical exercises that you immediately implement in your quest to becoming the World’s Best Partner, or at the very least, a really fantastic one. And the bonus? Not only will you become a better partner, you’ll become a better person.
1) Practice Loving Yourself: Before you can love someone else, you have to love yourself, and before someone else can love you, you have to love yourself – so it all starts with loving yourself. You may think this is some new-age mumbo-jumbo, but I assure you – loving yourself is the key to happiness, in all areas of your life. And when you are truly loving yourself, it becomes very easy to spot predatory partners, dysfunctional partners, and abusive partners- before they ever get close enough to hurt you. Loving yourself is all about paying attention to how you feel, trusting your “gut feeling” (intuition), and refusing to put yourself in harmful situations or one-sided relationships. Loving yourself is a magic bullet, and the better you become at it, the better you become at everything else.
2) Practice the Art of Listening: Do you think you’re a good listener? How often do you listen to what someone else has to say WITHOUT responding with your own thoughts on the subject? Possibly never. Starting with your next conversation, I want you to commit to not sharing your thoughts but instead, be completely focused on what the other person is saying, and then ask questions until you have a thorough understanding of their perspective of the topic. If someone is venting about something – don’t commiserate, or offer solutions, or describe how a similar thing once happened to you – just listen. And ask questions. And listen. Let listening be your entire motivation for the conversation. Everybody wants to be “heard” and understood, yet very few of us feel that we are. Be one of those rare individuals that creates that environment for others – your partner will love you for it. Literally.
3) Practice Gratitude: Begin by being more aware of the little things that people do for you every day. Did someone hold the door for you? Don’t just utter “thanks” as you duck in- instead, look them in the eye, smile, and say a heartfelt “thank you”, because it was a really nice thing to do! All day long, small niceties unfold that make your day a little easier, a little more pleasant and usually we take them for granted. Did your sister pick up something from the store that you needed? Did your neighbor feed your dog when you were running late? Did someone share their umbrella at the bus stop? Show genuine appreciation for all the little things that people do for you and put more of your heart and attention into the acts of kindness that you do for others. Practicing gratitude helps ward off complacency that often accompanies the familiarity of a long-term relationship, so that neither you or your partner ever feels as though you are being “taken for granted”.
4) Practice Honesty: I’ve never heard someone describe themselves as dishonest, yet I’ve heard many people tell lies. No one wants to admit to that they might not be as honest as they proclaim. Why? Because nobody likes a liar, so we lie first of all to ourselves so that we won’t feel shame. If you seek honesty in a partner – if you want someone who will be straight with you even if it might hurt, then you also need to be that person. A genuinely honest person who values that trait in others, will never commit to a long-term relationship with a partner who lies. And don’t kid yourself by calling them “little white lies” or “half-truths” or “lies of omission”. A lie is a lie to an honest person. So practice honesty in all areas of your life and with all people. This isn’t a free pass to blurt out your unsolicited opinion, be rude, or to tell someone off. Tact is still a much-appreciated quality. But stop saying things that you don’t mean. Emotional maturity means taking responsibility for what you do and how you feel. Grow up and own up.
5) Practice Looking at the “Big Picture: Do you get into a lot of petty arguments with friends and family? Do you find yourself taking a lot of things “personally”? Do you often get bent-out-of-shape or offended by what someone says or does? Do you feel “disrespected” when someone doesn’t react to you with the appropriate level of consideration, attentiveness, or interest? Well, get over it. You are not the center of the universe, you are the center of your universe, and everyone else is the center of their universe and that means that sometimes the actions or words of someone else are going to seem selfish and self-absorbed. Guess what? That is okay. There is no other way for it to be. Everyone is on their own journey, their own path, their own trajectory. In everyone else’s world, you are a “bit” player (sometimes a co-star), just as they are in your world. Chill out and understand that it isn’t about you. Pull back and see the big picture – that all of us have selfish and self-absorbed moments, but unless we are that way ALL the time, it’s not a problem. This will help you learn to let go of the “small stuff” (and it’s all small stuff), so that when you meet the right partner, you won’t let petty disagreements and grievances erode the relationship.