If I had a nickel for every time I heard "he/she's not good enough," I'd be rich!

A friend told me the following story. Still single, in his 40s, and wanting to marry, he gave it another shot. He went to a singles event, in a club with mirrored walls. He approached an attractive woman and started a conversation. The usual pleasantries were exchanged. Stealing a glance over her shoulder, he noticed yet another attractive woman. Wanting to "trade-up," he mentally juggled a number of diplomatic exit lines.

Just as he was about to say, in his most heartfelt apologetic tone, "You must excuse me. A friend just walked in whom I haven't seen in years," he realized that the "apple of his eye" was none other than the mirrored reflection of the woman he was about to ditch! He caught himself, red-handed, smitten and driven after the reflection of the lady he almost let go.

How was it possible to turn his back on the very woman he so much wanted to meet?

This self-revelatory experience shook my friend to his core. How was it possible to turn his back on the very woman he so much wanted to meet?

There are times people make questionable dating decisions because of deeper underlying psychological issues. Identifying these undercurrents and how they affect you can shed light on some surprising behavior patterns.

There are numerous reasons why we run from relationships that have great potential. A few possibilities relate to fear:

  • fear of commitment
  • fear of a failed marriage
  • fear of intimacy
  • fear of losing personal freedom
  • fear of responsibility
  • fear of losing self identity within the greater unit

Any of these phobias might compel you to run from a relationship that could be "the one." But the most common excuse for not pursuing a person is the oft-quoted myth, "He/she is good -- but not good enough." Some people have expressed it to me in the following way: "Why settle for a '96 model when you can get this year's best-seller with all the bells and whistles!"

AS THE GARDEN OF EDEN

For the record, let it be stated loud and clear: There will always be a better one. In the end -- whomever you marry -- it is guaranteed that a better one can be found.

Case in point: You want to marry a woman who is exceptionally beautiful, so you luck-out and marry this year's Ms. Universe. Isn't it true that next year there will be a new Ms. Universe? What will be 20 years from now? Your wife, the ex-Ms. Universe, certainly won't match-up with that year's winner! So what's the solution? Keep trading up to the latest model?!

This dream, to have the best, is insatiable.

Thankfully, there is a solution.

You've got to change your frame of reference.

Adam and Eve shared each other’s sole, undivided attention.

Jewish tradition says that a newlywed couple is blessed on the day of their wedding with seven special blessings. One of these blessings states that the couple should be as happy with each other as Adam and Eve, on the day of their marriage, in the Garden of Eden. What was so special about Adam and Eve's joy that we continue to use it as the standard of marital happiness?

It was their undivided attention and love for each other. There were no other human beings vying for their love. All they had was each other. So they concentrated on what each had to offer.

We must try to create a similar mindset. The unique mix of personality traits, values and accomplishment that you and your spouse share is something special. It cannot be duplicated with any other person. This one-of-a-kind collaboration needs to be highlighted, accentuated and cherished. It requires your utmost attention and appreciation. The same way that you are unique and there is no one like you in the whole world, the very same thing is true about your partner. What you create together is equally matchless.

Of course, not every stated "he/she's not good enough" is an excuse. Sometimes it's an accurate assessment. It's possible that the other person is not an appropriate match. Nevertheless, it’s my experience that many individuals prevent blockbuster relationships because of their own lackadaisical approach to appraising their beloved's virtues.

Ask yourself: What is special about what we create together?

Couples must learn to appreciate the qualities that are their trademark. Work hard at finding those collaborative interactions that are distinct to you. Ask yourself: What is special about what we create together?

If it's something exceptional and of great importance to you, you've got what it takes to be happy with your beloved. The happiness that results energizes the relationship. It can revitalize a stale one as well.

Just remember to look at your beloved with the same undivided attention and appreciation that the first couple had for one another in the Garden of Eden.

PERSONAL TRAINER WORKOUT

Commit 5-10 minutes a day over the next month to write down the following. (Trust me, there is nothing like doing this with pen and paper.)

1) Make a list of your partner’s strengths and weaknesses.

2) For 30 days, add one new virtue to your partner's virtue list and share with him/her the specific virtue you picked that day. This exercise demonstrates to your partner that you're paying attention and enjoying what is uniquely his/hers. At the same time you're training yourself to enjoy what he/she already is and not suffering what they have not yet become.

3) Does your partner have a virtue that he/she is the all-time best at? Can you think of a second one? Make sure you appreciate this specialness each day.

4) How would the quality of your life be different if your partner lacked this virtue?