|Publisher:||Health Communications, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Bari Lyman, founder of MeetToMarry.com, is dating for marriage evangelist who is passionate about helping singles achieve their dreams of finding meaningful love. After years of consistently attracting the "wrong ones," Bari had a revelation that transformed her life. It was this revelation that allowed her to meet and marry her ideal spouse over eight years ago. Meet to Marry turns Bari's dating revelation into a marriage readiness revolution! Via her book and the MeetToMarry site and coaching programs, she encourages singles to have their own dating revelation, much like she had.
Read an Excerpt
There are more than 100 million singles in America alone according to the U.S. Census Bureau; that's 40 percent of Americans. With statistics like that, and a trend toward living together rather than getting married, our society is demonstrating an aversion to, or a fear of, that which we were built for: deep and meaningful committed relationships.
We are all connected: our society, our planet, and all of humanity. We share our visions and values through relationships. We were born to connect and relate to each other and to be acknowledged. As human beings, we crave meaning in our lives. Most of us will, at some point, ask the ever-important question, 'Why am I here?' and we will look to our relationships, at least in part, for answers.
Fifty years ago, before the explosion of pop culture and technology, there would be no need for this book. When people dated in generations past, they dated to marry, and the approach they took to find potential matches was quite unlike today. Most people married young and dated within their communities, within their culture, and within their houses of worship or their clubs, and the expectation was that they were looking for a good husband or wife with whom they could build a family and a life.
They shared values because they were from the same tribes. They shared similar ideals, perspectives, and worldviewsthere was commonality. Technology and a 'flat world' have given us more choices of people to meet, but unfortunately, many of them will not share our values or ideals because they grew up in different cultures or with different value systems. More choices can be great, but only if you know what to look for.
Today, we live in a society where ideals and values have changed, and many of our role models are not great teachers or leaders with strong morals and values. More often, it's the rich and famous, rock stars, models, and sports figures we idealize. We are bombarded with superficial messages from the media and our culture that sex, good looks, and money are the ultimate ideals to strive for, and gender stereotypes are alive and well. The not-so-subtle message you receive about relationships is that they are disposable, and we all pay a big price for that thinking.
Why Should We All Be Concerned?
With 40 percent of Americans single and a divorce rate of 50 percent among first marriages and 60 percent among second and third marriages, our society is experiencing a real breakdown. Divorce is brutal and it affects our entire societyespecially kids. As a child of divorce, I can tell you that stability begins at home with loving, mature parents who provide strong examples and an environment where kids can experience stability and emotional safety and develop healthy self-esteem. Functional, happy, healthy families can only be built through authentic relationships built on a solid foundation.
As we'll discuss in the upcoming chapters, a strong foundation begins with being a marriage-ready, mature person and then choosing a spouse you can be devoted to for a lifetime, through the good times and difficult times, especially those times when you need to be giving, understanding, and compassionate, and to close all exits when you feel like running the other way. (It's typical that when we leave an 'unworkable' marriage, we usually find the same 'unworkability' in the next marriage; only the partner is different.) By being marriage-ready and identifying a marriage-ready spouse, a marriage partner who shares your values, your vision, and your life goalsrather than buying into the disposable, superficial notion of marriagewe can all come to know a clear path to an enduring marriage.
So, in our society, where divorce is so prevalent, it's no wonder that many kids grow up to be confused and blocked in the relationship arena. Another way to go, a principled option, is to see marriage as a sacred bond worthy of commitment, introspection, and appreciation rather than the easy-come, easy-go, easy out. At the heart of it, we all desire a meaningful connection, and that connection is found in relationships. As a society, we need to reinvent what is really important to us and what gives our lives true meaning. Most of us will define our successes by the lifetime of simple moments and important memories we shared with people we love and the difference we made with them.
Changing the Way We Think About Dating and Marriage
The Meet to Marry philosophy is a paradigm shift of principled, refreshing ways to think about marriageand it's a philosophy that challenges the status quo. Imagine approaching every date as a fantastic exploration: no games, just authentic conversations with potential life partners. When dating for marriage, you discuss ideals, goals, and values up front; you do not choose a marriage partner based on interests, attraction, or media-inspired romance and fantasy.
When dating for marriage, you don't look for 'love at first sight' because real, meaningful love grows and deepens from life experiences. When seeking lasting, meaningful love, you'll learn how to identify the characteristics to match someone perfectly for you in order to create a lifetime partnership. We all know happily married couples who say that they love their spouse more today than when they met, and that is the success I wish for you.
Many will consider what I propose in this book as radical. Radical, because the norm is to subscribe to mystery dating, where you feel compelled to hide the real part of 'who you are' and wait until an unknown 'right time' to discuss the important issues. A common question asked by singles is 'How long should I wait to bring up the question of marriage with the person I am dating?'
Have you ever dated someone and didn't really know the other person's intentionsafter three months, six months, or even multiple years? In the pages that follow, I will arm you with information, tools, and a rationale to eliminate mystery dating once and for all, and provide you with key principles so you can be marriage ready.
The wedding is just the beginning of the journey. In the movies, the dramatic last scene is always the wedding; the beautiful young couple kiss and then, 'The End.' But that's backward. In real life, true love begins after the wedding. Real love grows as your appreciation for your partner grows through life's experiences, empathy, and bonding. Real love is the appreciation of someone's goodness, inner beauty, character, and commitment, and this bonding comes with time, through meaningful attachment, and experience together.
A friend of mine was sitting with his father and said to him, 'Dad, after five years of marriage, I think I finally understand what love is.' The father said, 'Wait till you're married twenty-five years, then you'll understand what love is.' The grandfather was also in the room and overheard this exchange. He told them, 'Wait till you're married fifty years. Then you'll really understand what love is.'
Creating a Powerful Marriage
This journey begins when you are open and happy with yourself, embracing your own uniqueness, clear about the kind of person you are looking for, and positive and excited about the adventure and possibilities open to you in searching for someone to share your life with.
This book is about finding someone with whom you can create a love affair and partnership that will last a lifetime. We'll discuss the elements involved in creating a marriage where love deepens over time through bonding, attachment, and life building. We'll discuss how you can attract your ideal spouse.
Attraction is important in finding your match, and yes, passion and intimacy are necessary elements in a marriage. However, lust is chemical. Lust and obsession are not enduring. The object of your love may be beautiful and handsome, and perhaps you can't stop thinking about him or her, but chances are this is infatuation. What happens when the infatuation wears off?
The Steps of the Meet to Marry Program
In this section, I'll discuss the overall structure of the program and the coaching philosophy. There are no quick fixes here, but a methodology and a path to follow if you want to find true love. The main principle upon which this program is based is the following:
To find The One, you need to Be The One.
The paradigm shift that is different from what everyone else is telling you is this: You will take personal responsibility for who you are 'being' and who shows up in your life. You will become 'the cause' of your life in the first step of the program, which is called 'ASSESS.'
1. Become your own best friend and advocate.
First, you'll connect to yourself and uncover blockages and blind spots that may be keeping you from your happiness. If you've been dating for a while, this may be just what you've been looking for. You may not be aware that what you are thinking (even unconsciously) may be keeping you from your dream life.
The intention is to have a breakthrough in your relationship with yourself and in how you view dating and marriage . . . forever. You'll get to see how your blockages, blind spots, and 'stories' may be keeping you single, even if you aren't aware of them. (This is typically a mind-blowing exercise in personal transformation.) You'll learn how to become your own best friend and advocate with a new fresh attitude for dating and finding 'the one.' The tools you'll use to assess and uncover your blind spots include:
- Marriage Readiness Quiz page 28
- Reality Check page 74
- Challenge Your Thinking page 108
2. You'll become clear about yourself and the kind of person you want and need in a relationship.
In Part II of the book, you'll create a clear mental image of your future life and your ideal spouse (a tactile and powerful experience using your imagination and creativity). You'll create a picture of the kind of person you need in a relationship. Getting clear on who you are and the kind of person you need is very powerful and comes from your own inner essence. It's fun and magical to gain clarity about your own needs and use universal attraction principles (God, the universe, faith, Higher Power, etc.) to draw him/her into your life. You'll do this with the following tools:
- My Happiness & Finding My Life Partner Journal
- Meet to Marry Dream Board
Use the journal to stimulate your right brain to envision not only the practical elements of the life you'd like to create but the emotional ones as well. The questions in the journal will evoke answers from your imagination and your deepest desires. They relate not only to practical considerations of the kind of life you'd like to build, but emotional issues relating to how you'd like to feel in a relationship, how you and your partner will communicate, play together, and what it feels like to be with someone you love and who loves you unconditionally. The journal exercise, done in combination with the meditation and the dream board exercises, is a creative experience that will leave you with such clarity that when someone or something 'other' than your vision shows up, you'll know instantly.
Next, you'll create your Marriage Vision by defining your unique personality and emotional needs and articulating your values and life goals. Your Marriage Vision is a compilation of you! You'll create a full picture of what makes you you by identifying what's really important to you in the areas that matter most. This takes the mystery and confusion out of figuring out what you really need for long-term happiness and satisfaction. You'll create your Marriage Vision and get in touch with the kind of person you truly want (and need) by:
- Expressing your personality.
- Evaluating your emotional needs.
- Identifying your values.
- Articulating your goals.
You can't search for a spouse if you don't know what kind of person will be right for you and what you truly and authentically desire. Let's take a closer look at these four areas:
Personality: As you'll read in more detail in Chapter 7, one of the top ways to choose a spouse is to find someone whose personality you love, someone to admire, someone with whom you will bond and share your life. In this exercise, you'll articulate your own personality and how and why you chose these personality traits; you'll express to others how your personality shines. For example, if you choose 'kind' as one of your personality traits, you'll articulate why. Do you do charity work, volunteer with children, feel sensitive to the needs of others, and try to walk in other people's shoes? By thinking in depth about the various shades of your personality, you can articulate your personality to others and learn a few things about yourself along the way.
Emotional needs are needs that make you happy when met; when they are not met, it brings you right back to childhood (i.e., feeling and acting as you did when you were a child). And childhood is the place to look when identifying your emotional needs. We'll delve into this deeper, but to begin, here is an example of how critical it is to know your own emotional needs. My top emotional need is to be cherished. I was born into a situation where my needs were not met. So regardless of how much work I've done on myself and my level of personal transformation, I will always want and need to be cherished. In my life before my husband, Michael, my emotional needs went unarticulated, and I would twist myself into a pretzel, trying to fix myself in order to feel appreciated or cherished by the people I chose (or who chose me). In my new life, I wanted to attract and identify a husband who had the capacity to be 'cherishing.' Another important element in choosing a spouse is to find someone with whom you feel an emotional connection and bond, and a good place to start is by articulating your emotional needs.
Values are elements about yourself and another person that are very important to you. They relate to family, religion, finances, contribution, volunteerism, education, and more. They also relate to your principles, purpose, and life mission, and to personal qualities like honesty, integrity, loyalty, and generosity. By articulating what's important to you, you can remain true to your principles.
Here's how it works: You may be someone who values family. You may be clear about the fact that your marriage vision is to live in France and have many children. You may also value religion and education. You envision a life of adventure and you believe that life doesn't begin at sixty-five. In this example you prefer a life of experiences over acquiring and having 'stuff' (financial values). These are some of your core values and part of your marriage vision. If you meet someone who doesn't have marriage on his or her radar, doesn't want to travel, is not into religion, and believes in saving all of his/her money for retirement, it certainly wouldn't be a great match.
If you meet someone and only discuss that you both love going to the movies and eating sushi and drinking wine, and you find that you're physically and/or sexually very attracted to each other, you might not find out the important issues until much later. By not discussing 'who' you are and what you want up front only serves to waste time and create potential heartbreak and disappointment later, if you are clear that you are dating to marry. While this may seem fairly obvious, it's not. And it is a radical departure from how people date today.
Goals are tied to your dreams and your vision: where you want to live, how you want to live, the things you'd like to accomplish, where you'd like to go, what you'd like to be remembered for, the how and the why of actively being you, and how you see your future. By articulating your goals, you'll be able to find someone who will share and/or support your vision and goals, which will lead to a directed life of partnership.
3. Learn how to date for marriage by having meaningful conversations.
Dating for marriage is a passionate pursuit between mature people with clear vision. It is about having meaningful conversations, and when real potential exists, it's very exciting. It's stimulating and inspiring to discuss possibilities up front rather than remain in mystery.
When you release yourself from the shackles of destructive and time-wasting dating strategies, you'll find yourself refreshed, inspired, and excited about your journey.
As I mentioned, dating for marriage is when two marriage-minded people are having meaningful conversations (not random selection: 'Oh, you're cute! You like sushi and moonlit, romantic dinners? Me too! Great, it must be love.').
When dating for marriage, you are clear about who you are and what you are looking for, so you can be warm, open, and transparent. You can meet people and not worry about apparently conflicting details like, 'Oh, but he or she looks good on paper' when your gut tells you that someone is not a match. You can be comfortable on a coffee date without looking over your shoulder wondering if you are missing out on someone better. You will express your marriage goal clearly and enroll your friends, family, and community in your vision (in the same way you might express your career goals). You will date with faith and confidence by conducting yourself like a marriage-minded individual.
You'll discuss who you are, not what you do. When? From the first conversation! Yes, that's right, from the very first conversation. When dating for marriage, you'll articulate that you are marriage-minded among other important elements of who you are. You'll discuss core issues that make up who you are. You'll discuss your family, your background, your passions; ask meaningful questions; discuss the future you envision, how you'd like to live, and your values; and you'll listen for what the other person is about. You'll compare and contrast.
You'll discuss your dreams, hopes, aspirations, and planswhat your vision is for your life, your future, and your sensibilities. You'll use the forms and exercises in Part II, the Attract section (especially Chapter 7), to define and articulate it all for yourself. Discussing interests won't get you there. The strongest marriages are made up of life partners who share a similar worldview and common vision, values, and goals (and who are passionate best friends).
We'll discuss all of these elements in the pages ahead. You'll read practical and refreshing dating tips and slogans that can be used as tools to keep you on the Meet to Marry path. No more mystery dating! No dating people whose goals are unknown! You'll learn to identify the top three ways to choose a spouse, skills that most people don't know. If you're able to make just this one distinction from reading Meet to Marry, your dating future will significantly change! You will:
- Make a Commitment to Yourself.
- Create your Dating Plan of Action.
- Follow the Tips and Slogans for Dating to Marry.
Along the way, you'll read real-life case studies and success stories, as well as stories from my life leading up to finding and marrying Michael eight years ago.
Date to Marry Tip: Timing is everything
this is the perfect time to meet your ideal spouse!
You are a unique, remarkable person. Your life's journey has brought you right to this point. At the same time, your 'perfect match' has also been traveling a similar, exceptional path, readying himself or herself for you. Hold no regrets about the pastregrets just drag you down!
'Timing is perfect' is your new mantra. Whatever your history, know this to be true: you made the best choices you could at the time, and you responded as well as you were able. You lived, you loved, and you learned.
What People are Saying About This
"Meet to Marry correctly identifies what we need to be looking for in a relationship. Smart, principled and engaging, this book works!"
--Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 3rd Alternative