The power of words can be phenomenal.  I’m sure you’ve seen jewelry with inspiring words. A necklace with the word “Love,” a bracelet with the word “Dream,” a trinket box with the word “Remember.”  The meaning and energy a word carries can help lift our hearts throughout the day and fill our minds with inspiration.

If you hope to find a compatible life partner and get married, these two words may be helpful to ponder: Openness and Focus.

Openness
When I type the word “openness,” I envision a healthy, optimistic, and rational openness.  Openness does not equal carelessness or naiveté.  For instance, it’s good to be thorough about getting to know new people.  It makes sense to pay attention to statistics and analysis about factors that make and break marriages.  Sometimes, it’s critical to maintain strong boundaries.

That said, a super rigid mindset won’t be helpful in dating, especially if you’ve been at it for years and are not happy with your results.  In chapter one of my book, How to Get to ‘I Do’ – A Dating Guide for Catholic Women, I point out that rigidity is a common obstacle that observant Catholic daters face.

A willingness to grow, change things up (maybe your requirements!), and accept that God’s divine plan may not be your exact plan can help you find the right person.  In my case, I joined Match.com after years of Catholic dating websites and live events.  I took a leap of faith and was outside of my comfort zone, but I met my husband within two weeks on Match.  My path may not be every girl’s path.  One size doesn’t fit all.  But, my experience taught me how easy it is to put blinders on, get self-righteous, and miss life-changing opportunities.  I learned just how important it can be to put eggs in many baskets.

Focus
Neither my husband nor I are big fans of the “I’m just going to let stuff happen” stance when we are clear about what we want. If you read articles on dating and consider yourself a marriage seeker, you know what you want.  This saying may be helpful to you: “When you pray, move your feet.”

You have amazing power through your ability to sharply focus on your goals. Put energy towards attaining your goals and watch what happens.  Through prayer, positive thinking, priority setting, and moving your feet in the direction you want to go – things start to happen.

It’s like if you want a car.  For a few months, you look more closely at the cars on the road and read reviews. Next, you crunch numbers and check prices online.  Eventually, you create a budget and go to a car dealership in person for a look.  You might do this many times before it’s time to buy, but the goal gets closer through small steps.  It all starts with a willingness to focus on the goal and invest resources in that direction.

Obviously, a spouse is a lot more important than a car.  The point is that unless your dreams fall in your lap, anything worthwhile will require some action on your part.  Some folks think they will meet their spouse when they are least expecting it.  Sometimes, it happens. A lot of times, it doesn’t.  And even if someone does “fall in your lap,” you’re going to have to nurture the relationship in the face of competing priorities.

Folks who tend to be unfocused or even scattered might worry that focusing equals obsession.  You aren’t obsessed if you give a reasonable amount of time and energy to focus on an important priority.  I keep a Goethe quote on my desk that says, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter the least.” Through focus, you ensure that you don’t major in minor things.

Openness and focus are good words for marriage seekers.  Think about them when you want to overcome rigidity and procrastination in your love life.