My Definition– A date is a meeting with another person where you are looking for connection and compatibility. Connection happens on four levels- the intellectual, the emotional, the spiritual , meaning values of living, and the physical. If any of these connections are lacking, there will not be compatibility. Let me be more specific.
INTELLECTUAL – Two people need to be similar in their level of intelligence. If not, the relationship will become boring. The word relationship comes from the word to” relate.” And we do this primarily through speech. If two people are not on a similar intellectual level, they will soon run out of mutually interesting things and ideas to talk about. One may want to share certain things, where the other either is not interested or does not understand. This could breed dissatisfaction, frustration, and eventual resentment and distance. So if both of you like the world of books, learning and ideas, that’s great. And if both of you don’t, that is fine, too. Just make sure you are both either on the same page.
EMOTIONAL– There are two major types of emotional categories- the connectors and distancers– In more psychological terms, these categories represent our basic fears of engulfment or abandonment given our histories in our families of origin. Generally speaking, these two types seem to be drawn to each other. The reason being is that this person allows us to work through our childhood wounds for healing. However, the struggle can be long , hard, and frustrating. If you are a connector- meaning that you enjoy emotional closeness, sharing of feelings, working on issues and conflicts openly, doing lots of things together, lots of general communication, like socializing with others because you are a people person- you need to find a connector.
However- if you are more of a distancer- that is, do not like much communication, are uncomfortable talking about and sharing feelings, prefer to be alone rather than do a lot of things with a partner and/or other people, like solitary activities, would rather not deal with conflict- then you are better off finding someone similar to you. The book, The River, the Kettle, the Bird by Rabbi Aharon Feldman is a good resource explaining the different levels of relationship.
SPIRITUAL– If you have a spiritual life and value system, it is essential that you find someone who either shares yours, or is respectful and interested in that aspect of you. We all have two aspects to our being, the animal and the spiritual. If you are looking for a relationship on just purely the animal level, you will be looking for very different things than a spiritual partnership. There would be more of a parallel togetherness, more like a companionship or activity buddy. There would not be a lot of in- depth communication and conflict resolution, but rather having fun together, enjoying each other on a level that is not too demanding. You would be looking more for external qualities in the person rather than internal.
However, if you are looking for more of a spiritual connection and relationship, your outlook would be that a relationship is the vehicle for personal and spiritual growth. The relationship has much communication, conflict resolution, and sharing of feelings, The result is that the two of you are more developed and refined people than when you started, because you are together.The phrase, Know Thyself, has never rung more true. It is imperative that you are very clear about who you are and who you are not. It is only with this clarity that you can date and be able to discern who may or may not be a good match for you.
PHYSICAL– Physical attraction is important and needs to be present. However, this connection will not be lasting without the other three. Most of the relationship is about relating, and that means talking to each other. However, keep in mind the following as physicality is often the first level of connection. Sex is not a short-cut to intimacy. Real intimacy happens with your clothes on. In fact, it can work quite the opposite. Intimacy grows slowly over time. Intimacy: into-me-see – is a slow process of allowing oneself to become known, and therefore , vulnerable. It is a slow unfolding process as comfort and trust increase. Physical intimacy can greatly interfere with this process as the development of the relationship may be rushed into what easily becomes an embarrassing situation. The emotional, spiritual, and intellectual have not been developed enough. Space must be given for all the other connections to flourish. Then, if the dating and relationship develop into a commitment of marriage, you know you are on steady ground. The physical level is the easiest. It is essential that the other levels are all compatible. Sexuality can easily cloud one’s vision of the other person . Marriage is too important to be making choices with a cloudy vision. One must maintain clarity with both eyes wide open. If love is blind, marriage restores your sight.