Spirituality -- Spirituality refers to internal faith and beliefs.  While connected to religion, it is different. In this context, religion refers to externals: things like the church you attend, what denomination you practice, what traditions and rituals you follow.  Spiritual persons can often have little to do with religion.  There is a great opportunity for conflict between a person who seeks answers to problems in prayer and meditation and one that solves issues by problem-solving and logic.

Character -- A person's character gets to the very essence of his or her being.  Character reflects traits like honesty, courage, and commitment, things that are absolutes when creating a relationship.  The task here is not so much to decide what character traits are important, but to discern absolutely that your potential partner has a strong character and holds your values as important.

Creativity -- Are you a creative person?  If so, can you imagine spending your life with a person who is extremely analytical and logical, who doesn't understand or appreciate your unique viewpoint?  If you are not particularly creative, would you enjoy living with a creative person who often falls short in other areas?  It is important that your partner appreciate your creative tendencies.

Parenting --  Whatever your plans and dreams regarding children, it is of paramount importance that your partner agrees with you.  This is often a subject that gets ignored early in the dating process, because the mention of it tends to give a certain unfavorable impression.  If you do want children at any point in the future, you should try and determine what parenting skills your potential partner has.  How do they act around nieces, nephews, or young children?  Are you attracted to their parenting manner?  Of course, if a family life is of no interest to you, you should also make that known early to avoid any misunderstanding.

Authenticity --  Authenticity is hard for some people. They have been raised to accommodate people and avoid disagreement.  But in order to share a brilliant relationship, both partners must be themselves.  Of course, the authentic path is not always the most "harmonious" path.  You must come to terms with the benefits of a relationship based on the emotional stability of two people who are being true to themselves.

At the end of this exercise, Dr. Warren asks that you complete one last task.  Take the 10 traits discussed above and rank them in order of importance to you.  It will be difficult to meet someone who is perfect for you in every single category. If you've ranked them, you will already know which are essential to you and on which you are willing to compromise.


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