“I just want someone to love me.”

This is the mindset that many have when dating— they're looking to be loved. Will he make me feel special? Will she give me what I want?

But this focus is the reason why so many singles end up frustrated and often alone. “Looking to be loved” is not the same as looking for the right person; in fact, it’s the complete opposite.

When you are looking to be loved, your primary focus is on yourself; what the other person needs to do to make you feel good, happy and whole. However, Judaism teaches us to extend beyond ourselves. A truly successful marriage involves two individuals whose focus is not on themselves, but rather on the other person.

When you focus on the other person, you are less troubled by times in life when perhaps you are not given 100% love all the time. You are not completely dependent on it so you can more easily overcome challenges together. In this way feelings, unpredictable as they can be, can go through ups and downs without the threat of the relationship falling apart.

Where do your needs come into the picture when looking for the right one?

When you can answer the following three questions:

  1. What do I have to offer to a potential mate?
  2. What is my mission in life?
  3. What do I value in life?

When you know what you have to offer to another human being, your needs become finding someone who is willing to receive what you can easily provide.

Secondly, when you know what drives you — what you have to give to life (your mission) — your needs become finding someone with a complementary life mission so that your future involves the both of you living together and facing the same direction, instead of growing apart.

Thirdly, your values will greatly determine where you will focus much of your time and attention, your outlook on life and what is important to you.

When you can answer the above three questions, your needs become simply to find the person who most closely complements your life’s mission and values and who is openly willing to receive what you have to give.

Contrast this with simply looking to be loved, which has more to do with emotions instead of a secure union that is likely to build a true partnership.

The following seven dating rules will help you find your soul mate and give you the greatest chance to create a truly successful marriage.

  1. Switch from thinking of yourself as “single” and instead think of yourself as “ready to get married.” This doesn’t mean heading off to shop for a bridal dress or tux. This means you are dating with a purpose and not with a “whatever I feel like doing” attitude. You are not blowing your time and money on self indulgent activities, or having close friendships with the opposite sex — after all, you are not single. You are ready to get married! And when you are ready to get married you send out a message to the world that you are looking for your soul mate.
     
  2. Hold off on dating when you are going through life challenges that are draining you emotionally — including breaking off from a recent relationship that you are still emotional about. If you are unable to put aside you past emotional baggage, then you should not be dating. Dating for the purpose of marriage is sacred and deserving of the greatest respect and dignity. This is the person who you will share your life with — who deserves to meet you when you are fully available and capable of giving of yourself, without interferences.
     
  3. Look for real chemistry. The kind of chemistry that truly counts is not only based on physical attraction. It is based on the complementary interaction between the man and the woman; their ease in communication, their ability to draw out the good in each other, to understand one another. Two compatible personalities have the greatest chance for chemistry that lasts.
     
  4. Be aware of your weaknesses and limitations while continually striving to better your character. Humble yourself and reduce your ego. We only have the capability of changing ourselves. The more you dedicate yourself to improving your character, the more you have to offer to not only your soul mate, but to the world at large.
     
  5. Our sages teach us that before birth, our soul is split into two and our quest in life becomes to find our other half. For this to happen, we must focus on finding the soul of the individual. Instead of separating a person’s physical side from his inner qualities, view the individual as a whole. Allow his soul to move you gradually by getting to know him. Observe his actions and get a true sense of who he really is. What is his mission? What does he value? What moves him? What drives him?
     
  6. When it seems that you will never meet your pre destined soul mate, practice trusting what God brings your way. Remind yourself that in trusting what you cannot control, you can let go of the unknown…the “how?” and the “when?” And focus simply on the here and now.
     
  7. Many pray that they should meet their other half. Why not also pray for your other half? That God should keep him safe from harm…that he is happy and living life with purpose. After all, just because you haven’t found him yet doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist or that he couldn’t benefit from your prayers. And you can benefit in knowing that even though you haven’t met your soul mate yet…you can do the one thing that true love depends on — you can make the choice to give.