Drop everything you're doing. Have a friend bring you and your checkbook to a car dealership. You have one hour to come home with a brand new car.

What, no research? No comparison shopping? No narrowing it down to what you truly need? Ridiculous!

Unfortunately, that's how most people choose their spouses. They let ‘gut feelings' and ‘chemistry' determine the quality of the rest of their life. Sure it's important to be attracted to someone, but it wouldn't be smart to buy a car based on gut feelings either.

The antidote? Do your homework. Figure out what you truly need to be happy -- that's your best chance of making sure that you get it.

Pickiness is nothing more than using the wrong criteria to choose your spouse. Here's how to determine what the right criteria should be:

A) MAKE A TOP TEN LIST -- develop a personalized top ten list that fits your unique personality and needs

  1. Make a list of all of the qualities that you want in a spouse. Let your mind wander, think of any positive qualities and write them down. It may run to 50 items, but get it all down on paper. This is your starter list.

  2. Next, delete all wants from your list, leaving only your true needs. This is crucial to your long-term happiness. In general, a want is something that just doesn't hold water compared with what you truly need. For instance, you may have written, ‘rich,' when in reality, it's far more important to you that your spouse be ‘compassionate.' Will a 'rich' spouse fulfill your deep spiritual needs? Probably not. Would it make it to your top ten list over other qualities such as ‘sincerity' and ‘loyal?' Doubtful.

  3. Delete all Hollywood-influenced criteria from your list. Anything that is superficial and has no bearing on long-term happiness has to go.

  4. Delete any traits that are dictated to you by society and those from your inner circle of friends and relatives that don't deeply speak to who you are and what you want to accomplish with your life.

  5. Eliminate all contradictory traits. For instance, if you want someone who is gregarious, it may be unreasonable to also want someone who is gentle.

  6. Recognize that every positive quality has a negative flip side. For instance, someone sensitive to your needs may also be overly sensitive and you'll end up walking on eggshells around them. Make sure that when you keep items on your top ten list that you are willing to live with the negative aspect to those wonderful traits.

B) TRIM YOUR LIST

  1. Trim your list to ten items -- and NO more than that. This is one of the most important parts of gaining clarity. So many people come in with a huge list of qualities they are looking for. This all but ensures that they will never find their match. Wanting everything usually results in getting nothing.

  2. Prioritize your list in order of importance. When you are on a date and find someone who has qualities that match those that are high on your list, (even if they don't have every item on your list), you know that they are certainly a good potential spouse for you. This certainly helps you to avoid the miserable feeling of coming home from a date very confused. You just pull out your list, examine it, and can much more easily determine whether there is potential in the match or not.

  3. Review your list with a close friend. Tell them to ask you, "Why do you want that?" and "What do you mean by that word?" after each trait you mention. Defend your position. If you can't, cross that item off and choose another more important character trait instead. A friend who knows you well can also often think of traits you have inadvertently left off your list.

  4. Make several copies of your top ten list -- put them on index cards. Post one on your bathroom mirror, put one in your wallet, keep one on your nightstand. The more ingrained your list is in your mind, the better your chances of finding someone who matches your needs rather than getting carried off into a relationship, only to be devastated in the end when you realize that they will never be able to meet your deep, heartfelt needs.

C) PRAY

This will not only help you find your spouse sooner, it will also help you to grow into a better person, and will give you much comfort during your search.

Having a list is so valuable when riding the emotional roller-coaster of dating. Armed with your list, you can objectively evaluate someone after a date by comparing their qualities to the qualities you have on your list. This helps you to avoid that dreadful post-dating indecisiveness – and the anxiety that comes with it. It will also help you to notice all of the items that might have bogged you down in the past because you will recognize that these ‘picky' items are far less important to you than the items you have chosen for your list.

In summary, pickiness is using arbitrary and meaningless criteria to judge someone. By creating your list, you now have the tools to recognize what criteria you should be determined to get, and which criteria are really less important, ‘picky' items that you should work on letting go of. The bottom line is, the more clarity you have about what you truly need, the better your chances of getting it. Knowing what you truly need is the best way to get a really great car, as well as a really great spouse. May it happen soon!