Wow, this past Monday was a wild ride with the stock market. I don’t follow it much but listening to the pundits and analysts in the morning was very interesting. There was a lot of volatility and a lot of fear among investors. All eyes were on China with commentators admitting that no one really knows what’s going on there with so much secrecy in that communist country. A huge drop precipitated some sell offs for those fearing it would get worse. The oft repeated line was that the stock market is “no place for the faint of heart.”
I mentioned that I don’t follow it much. There’s a reason. I don’t fully understand how it all works. I do know enough to know that it’s not my wheelhouse and that knowledge is actually quite valuable for me. What I do know is that to be successful in the stock market you need to follow it. You need to analyze companies and trends and be able to predict which companies will likely make money and which ones won’t as well as when to buy and sell. The ones with the greatest skill in those areas are the ones who get rich. The seasoned investor knows how to exploit both bull and bear markets (whatever they are) and make a profit.
For many though, investing turns out to be more like gambling. You win some, you lose some. It all seems to be a matter of luck. I think the great backlash against the rich often boils down to that belief…they are simply lucky. Since luck is arbitrary, it’s unfair that some are wealthy and others are not so the government should come in and level the playing field.
I can’t help but see a parallel here in how so many people approach dating and relationships these days. It’s just luck to find the right person…and to keep them. So many people gamble away their future by trying out different people with hopes for a fairy tale ending. I’ve seen enough married couples over the years that hold onto that attitude…a good relationship just happens, just like in the movies. Do you remember Enchanted, the great Disney movie starring Amy Adams? They made the point very well.
But the seasoned dater, to coin a phrase, doesn’t just randomly throw spaghetti at the wall hoping it sticks. The people who tend to find the happiest relationships have put some time into understanding relationships and in getting to know the real person, not the romanticized image they concoct in their fantasy.
I’ve spoken a few times to Pre-Cana couples, those preparing for Christian marriage in the Church. I like to go around the room and ask their occupations and inquire about how much education or training they needed to do their jobs. Then I’ll ask which books they’ve read on marriage. The blank stares are a little amusing, although scary at the same time. Without fail they admit they haven’t read any. The most important endeavor of their lives, with not only long term but generational and eternal consequences and they’re winging it. The smarter ones catch the irony and some will start thinking. Sadly though, with the wedding date looming and plans in full swing, many simply want to get this chore over with and aren’t really interested in learning anything.
I’m the first to admit that much of life is a mystery. Figuring out which guys are likely to cheat and which women will be bad mothers often is not. Sure, some people have good instincts and intuitions that guide them but even for them getting some education about marriage, communication, and human nature can be a strong hedge against failure in the dating market.
Use this list of things to look for and consider:
• Does this person exhibit virtue? Are they honest, and even more, do they have integrity…which is basically honesty when no one is looking? If not, do you really think they’ll be honest and faithful to you?
• What is this person’s history? Have they had decent relationships in the past or does their life read like a soap opera? If so, changing the channel might be your best move.
• Have they had good examples in their life? If they come from a home with strife or divorce, how have they navigated that? Can they tell what normal is or is dysfunction the norm in their experience? Look at their relationships with the opposite sex parent. If it’s riddled with problems and strife, beware. Sometimes a repetition compulsion can make it easy for them to repeat those patterns with a future spouse.
• Does this person have some good friends? The ability to maintain long-term friendships is a positive indicator that they have some good relationship skills, but not always. Make sure those friendships are based on relationship and not just drinking or clubbing buddies.
• Is sex a requirement in your relationship or in their past relationships? This may come as a shock to many, but contrary to popular myth, sex is not a need like air, water, or food. No one has ever died due to lack of sex. Remember, the ones who can control themselves with you are the ones more likely to control themselves for you and be faithful later on.
If you’re looking for a spouse or even if you’re in a relationship or married, learning more about relationships can pay huge dividends in terms of long-term happiness. Visit our bookstore for some suggestions. We’ve hand-picked the best ones for you.
To really increase your odds of success, consider talking to a coach who can help you assess your own strengths and areas that may need improvement and to set healthy goals for a relationship that will work for the unique person you are. A little self-knowledge goes a long way and knowing where best to aim your arrows will save you so much heartache in the long run. If you’re grappling with hurts from the past, work those out with a counselor before you look for the one. The person you choose before and after healing may not be the same. Being the best version of yourself will lead you to the best spouse for you.
Lastly, choose your advisers carefully. Praying for guidance and asking God to help you be the best spouse you can be is the best insurance you can have in the tumultuous waters of the dating market. And the best part is, He’s already planned your portfolio and matches your contributions.
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