Last week I wrote about the confusion and anxiety over the more recent approaches, such as the Internet, to search for love and mentioned that we would be focusing on the 7 paths to strong and lasting relationships. The first path is to build solid foundations. I also mentioned the first complication within that path as being a sense of unpredictability in how to go about searching for one’s soul mate. The second complication is the images of what we want not being shaped by our inner needs but by Hollywood, the fashion industry, and the media. Unfortunately the “shopping list” of demands of what people want in a mate is comprised by expectations of “must-have” features that spring up from who knows where. These expectations could arise from our inner needs or they could come from the culture surrounding us. The detailed, picky specifications that people express about ideal mates can become obstacles that prevent them from connecting with reality. Physical attraction, for example, does not always translate into a long-lasting profound relationship. You do not find your lifetime partner as a result of only an initial attraction. In fact that initial reaction can be brought down a few notches when we listen or speak to people and get to know them. In our society we do indeed have a tendency to “judge a book by its cover” and we really don’t look inside. We stay on the surface and this impairs our ability to get know someone on a deeper level. As a counselor when I am told things like, “I am sleeping with a stranger” or ”I don’t know this person anymore” or ” This isn’t the person I married” it can mean they fell into the trap of only knowing someone on a superficial level. The stuff of real relationships is being able to see into another person’s heart and to find the treasure that lies within. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.