The key to quick and accurate dating is to know yourself. To the extent that you understand yourself, you can dramatically increase your effectiveness in choosing your mate.

I teach a man who is a very successful diamond dealer. He's been in the business for over 25 years. I asked him the following question: "If I introduce you to someone who claims to be an expert in diamonds, how long does it take to assess his skills?"

He answered, "In a minute. As soon as he picks up the stones and the instruments, I can tell how much he knows."

A person who doesn't understand depression won't pick up the signs even if they're staring him in the face.

Whatever your profession, if you know it well, you can quickly assess a colleague's expertise. Similarly, it's a known fact that recovering alcoholics are the best detectors of closet alcoholics. Been there, done that.

The same can be applied -- with caution -- to dating. To achieve this, you'll need more than one hour. But I don't believe you need a year.

If you want to marry a happy person, and you understand from your own life experiences what happiness and depression are, you'll see it quickly in the other person. A person who doesn't understand depression won't pick up the signs even if they're staring him in the face.

APPRECIATING THE VIRTUE

Some people claim "love at first sight." I'm usually skeptical of such claims. Understanding someone enough to want to love them takes acute perception, time and self-awareness.

The verse in Leviticus 19:18 -- "Love your neighbor as yourself" -- teaches an important dynamic in the art of loving. You can only love another to the extent that you already love yourself. In other words, what I don't or can not appreciate within myself will be lost when present in another.

What's not already beloved to me will never turn me on to you.

For example: If I don't appreciate poetry (at least to some degree), how can I possibly have feelings of admiration for you as a poet? I can love and appreciate you for many of your other virtues -- but not for this particular virtue. What's not already beloved to me will never turn me on to you.

However, if I have the capacity to appreciate something within myself then I'll be able to love the same within another. Even if I'm not a poet, but I enjoy reading poetry and try to and understand it as an art form, can I appreciate your virtue.

Self-knowledge and self-love are prerequisites for loving another. And both of these take time to master.