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Is this real love?

Is this real love?

Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 8:02 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

I’m pleased to begin my mini-series of advice columns with the following excerpt from a letter I received by email:
I’m fairly certain I haven’t met the right man for me. And since I work at home and my church is mostly married, I’m not meeting very many single guys. So I joined an online matching site.
One guy lied to get a 43-cent discount on a $4 grilled cheese sandwich lunch.
One guy brought his cat on a leash to a park date/meeting. One guy forgot I was with him and was very startled when I leaned over to ask him a question about the movie we were watching.
And so it goes…How will I be able to tell when I meet Mr. Right? What am I missing in initial emails and phone conversations? Looking forward to your advice and answer. Thank you!
Looking for Love at Age 51

Dear Looking for Love,
I’m no expert on love. Anyone who says they’re an expert on love is delusional. It would be like saying I’m an expert on quantum physics. I mean, even a physicist would say there is always more to learn. Obviously, you have a sense of humor, which is a plus. Funny women make wonderful wives (or so I’ve heard). I’m neither for nor against online dating sites though obviously some participants forget to explain that they have a cat on a leash. That must not have been one of the “get to know you” questions.
The cat on a leash is an oddity, yes. But it’s morally neutral and might not be a deal breaker. However, lying to a waitress to save 43 cents on a grilled cheese sandwich is immoral and an absolute deal breaker. Finished. Game over. I take it you felt the same way. That experience spoke volumes about his character or lack thereof.  
In my humble opinion, there are two things that make a great marriage (other than a mutual faith). The first one is pretty definable. Character. Some questions to ask yourself: Does he have a respectful view of the women in his inner circle (mother, daughter, sister)? Does he have a long and consistent history with people in his life or does he tend to change jobs and best friends every six months? If he tends to move in and out of people’s lives with ease (and the parting is always other people’s fault), well, that can be a big red flag. There are many other things to address regarding character but I have a feeling you know those things. The guy with the discount grilled cheese sandwich did you a huge favor, friend. He showed his character on the very first date. What a gift from God!
The second thing that makes a great marriage is that thing we can’t define. I guess some would call it the “soul mate” factor. I don’t know why some people “connect” and others don’t. But I do know there are several things other than physical appearance that make men attractive. Prayerful dependence on God. Hard work. Integrity. The ability to ask questions. Humility. I’d rather be covered in honey and drug through an ant pile than listen to a man I hardly know tell me how wonderful he is. Secure men don’t have to sell themselves like a used car. Ask God to show you the men who are under-selling themselves on the dating site. That might be where the treasure is found. Perhaps that famous line about business applies to relationships as well. Under-promise and over-deliver.  
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website,

Published in The Messenger 10.19.11


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