Getting married is one of the most important events in your life, and choosing the right person to marry will change the course of your life forever. You want to be on the path to true lifetime partnership, so it’s essential to find a person who shares your vision, values and goals.

I want to start by blasting through a major misconception. Far too many people confuse liking the same things with sharing values.

Do you find yourself evaluating your date by focusing on whether or not you had a good time and enjoy the same things? If so, you’re probably falling prey to this misconception.

The fact that you both like sushi or know the same people can engender a sense of relatedness, but these superficial things aren’t good indicators that you’ll be successful, happy partners.

When I met my husband, we had different interests. He enjoyed sailing, architecture, design and running his company, whereas I spent most of my time building my recruiting company, attending spiritual lectures and matching homeless pets with adoptive parents.

We didn’t share interests – and that doesn’t matter. Why?

We were immediately inspired by each other and shared the same worldview, background, and core beliefs, which allowed us to build a strong, loving foundation based on mutual respect. We were attracted to each other emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically.

Over time, I’ve learned to sail, and we’ve taken some amazing sailing vacations together. He’s become interested in personal growth lectures, and together we rescue animals.

1. Ask The Right Questions On Your First Call 

If you are on a mission to meet and marry your perfect match, you don’t have time to waste with the wrong people.

Let’s say that spirituality is very important to you. You attend religious services every week and are active in your house of worship. You want and need a spouse who shares these values. Someone who is an atheist or wants to stay home watching TV when you want to share spiritual time together just isn’t right for you.

There’s no need to judge others for their differences. There’s no right or wrong here. The emphasis is on what resonates with your vision of building a life and family together.

So on your first phone call, you need to share this important information. In fact, you should also share that you are serious about getting married. Many singles hide this desire because they’re afraid that they’ll scare off dates, but you really need to be honest and forthright. You want to date marriage-minded people who share your values!

Here’s an example of how you could bring up these issues during an initial phone call:

“I’m super busy in my law practice, which specializes in startups, and I adore spending time on Saturdays volunteering as a Big Sister. My schedule can be hectic, but one thing is for sure. On Sundays, I’m at church. I love the community and its mission.”

Don’t stop with yourself. Get your potential date to join the conversation by saying something like:

“How about you? Do you go to church on a regular basis or practice your spirituality with a congregation? I’d love to know more about what spirituality means to you.”

This technique often sparks meaningful conversations that help you get to know each other even better.

2. Engage in Meaningful Conversations When You’re Out On A Date

It’s absolutely essential to find out who a person really is, and the best way to do that is to move beyond small talk and ask meaningful questions.

Here are some great questions:

  • Who has been your most important mentor?
  • What do you want to be remembered for?
  • What do you really want to achieve or create in your life?
  • What inspires or motivates you?What makes you most happy?

What I love about these questions is that they get people excited and allow them to tap into what truly matters to them. If you just ask someone what they value, they’ll probably freeze up and offer you stiff answers. These questions help you get to interesting stories from your date’s life and allow you to see how their values manifest themselves in their day-to-day life.

3. Discover How You Want To Grow

It’s critical that you have certain values in common, especially values related to religion, education and where and how you want to live. But even if there are other values that one person feels are really important and one person does not feel are that crucial, you can still be a great match! In fact, this can be an amazing opportunity for growth.

As I mentioned, I’m passionate about rescuing animals. When we first met, my husband liked animals, but he wasn’t active in terms of saving them and finding them good homes. However, because he values compassion and sees the positive effects of helping homeless animals, he supports me in my mission, and together we make a difference.

It’s harder to make this work when two people are on opposite sides of the spectrum. One thing that’s really important to keep in mind is that you never want to get into romantic situations where you’re wishing the other person would just change and share your values. You want to be on the same page and support each other. This is the ultimate foundation of a happy, healthy marriage.

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