If he is told he can't, he gets confused. He takes your opinion about everything, even when it comes to your opinion of him. When you require too much too soon, your child starts to worry: What is wrong with me that I can't remember what Mommy thinks is important? What is wrong with me that I can't grasp what Daddy keeps referring to? For a while, you are your child's world. I imagine many of you--like many of my clients--are already in that critical window. I don't mean to make you feel behind. I just want to encourage you to take yourself seriously and start dating someone who has the potential to be a serious partner. Be honest with yourself. Do you tend to date Prom Dates or Life Partners? A client once told me she'd gone on several dates with a guy who lived alone. When she visited his apartment and used the bathroom, she was met with a sink full of beard hair trimmings, an overflowing trash can, and no toilet paper. This woman is a successful, talented professional. She's thirty-four, and she told me she wants to have many kids. I'm not saying that a guy with a filthy bathroom couldn't make a great husband and father. They pet sit each other's cats and dogs. They have a community spirit and connection that happened because one person said, Let's do it. It was really an exercise in moving through the fear with the goal of human connection, Stephanie told us. I wanted my outside life to be more fulfilled. People want connections--not the shallow ones that breed negativity.

We yearn for honest, authentic, and real human connections. There are more people out there craving this, needing this in their lives, just like you. And when you find these people, and this community, it can open up your life in miraculous ways. Our minds are powerful problem-solvers. They seek patterns, weaving together elaborate stories about the way the world works and why some experiences happen to us, devising clever ways to keep us safe. He imagines everyone as being like you. If you see him as inadequate because he can't say thank you at the right moment or shake hands the way you think he should, he thinks the world believes as you do. When you were young, didn't you expect people outside the family to respond to you the way your parents responded to you? How old were you when you first realized that your parent's opinions weren't necessarily everyone's? If you want your child to grasp what is important in life, make sure you are demonstrating what you think that is. If you want him to thank you for every little gift that comes his way, thank him for every little gift he brings to you. If you want him to practice his musical instrument on a day-to-day basis, practice your talent on a day-to-day basis. If you want him to be an early achiever, achieve your goals sooner than you expected to. Don't worry if he'll catch on. If he sees you enjoying yourself in whatever you are doing, he'll copy you in whatever he is doing. But if she's thirty-four and wants to give birth to a brood of children, she realistically needs to start soon. And who's more likely to be ready to start a family--a guy with a clean bathroom or a man who still acts like he lives in a dorm? I advised her to say goodbye to this Prom Date and focus her energy on finding a Life Partner. To shift toward pursuing the Life Partner, you must learn to recognize the present bias and deliberately work against it. WHAT WE GET WRONG ABOUT WHAT MATTERS

In addition to coaching, I also work as a matchmaker and set my clients up on dates. I started this work when I learned how many of my friends and clients were struggling on the apps. As a matchmaker, I've met with dozens of people to learn what they're looking for in a partner. Hundreds have filled out the matchmaking form on my website to join Logan's List. Through this process, I've collected enough data to understand what people think matters most in a serious partner. When it comes to grappling with emotions, our minds often get us in trouble. We have to stop thinking and learn to listen to our inner voice, the wise and timeless one. To quiet our mind, sometimes we have to bring in something that is beyond it, bigger than any one person. We're talking about the Divine, God, Allah, the Universe, the Great Mystery, the Life Force, or any name that feels right to you. It's the higher power that animates the world and moves all living things. Since time began, civilizations have had different names for the thousands of faces they've created to explain the Divine. Trauma often disconnects us from the source of all that is. But if we can find our way back, it will help us to create a foundation on which we can order our lives and move through the world, facing anything and everything that we encounter. Faith in something bigger and higher than ourselves can give us strength to look at our resentments, anger, and suffering. It can help us make sense of the world, our place in it, and how we choose to move forward from this day until our last. A child has a lot to explore in the early years of his life. If he hears constant nagging that his behavior isn't polite, his learning skills aren't good enough, and his appearance isn't tidy, he feels pressured to be more than he can be. Something is wrong; Mother isn't pleased. Something is amiss;

Daddy is irritated. Then he tries harder to get your approval: look at this, look at that, is this okay, is that okay, am I okay and are you pleased? Stop what you are doing and praise him in a way that is appropriate. Children go through phases when they need more reassurance of your love. Whatever takes your attention away from them then becomes the competitor: a phone call, preparing a meal, siblings, chores, or the job you do at home. We can compare that to what the academic field of relationship science tells us actually matters for long-term relationship success. We can thank John Gottman for many of these relationship science insights. He spent more than four decades studying romantic relationships. For years, he and his colleague Robert Levenson brought couples into an observational research laboratory dubbed the Love Lab by the media. There, he recorded them discussing their relationship. He asked couples to share the story of how they met and then recount a recent fight. He even invited couples to spend a weekend in an apartment he'd decked out with cameras to observe how they interacted during everyday moments. Years after they participated in the apartment study, Gottman followed up with the couples to check on their relationships. They fell into two camps: the masters, couples who were still happily married; He studied the original tapes of these two types of couples to learn what patterns separated the masters from the disasters. It restores hope and inspiration and reminds us that this world has both the dark and the light, the bad and the good, the selfish and the selfless. Spiritual healing is often looked at as the most profound healing that we can give ourselves, explained Darcy Lubbers, a board-certified clinical art therapist and marriage and family therapist. As we connect to all aspects of who we are--physical, emotional, mental, spiritual beings--we can shift our perspective and foster a sense of who we are at our essence and what our connection is to other beings in this universe. What does it mean to have a spiritual practice that self-nurtures? How do we figure out what it means, especially when we may still be reeling from our traumas?

How do we move through anger, bitterness, and rage at the Divine because of what we've suffered? For some of us, it can be hard to move through that and reach a place where we can believe in a force that's loving, kind, and compassionate. Let's face it, there is so much pain and suffering and, yes, darkness with some terrible acts in this world that it can feel too hard to walk the path back to the Divine. Several of the experts we spoke to said that many people go through periods of being agnostic. If you're at that place, it's okay. When your child becomes uncertain of your love, take his hand or put your arm around his shoulder to acknowledge his presence. Then ask him to give you a minute or two while you finish the present task; When you are ready, give him your full attention until he is satisfied that he is important to you, too. The next time you sense his insecurity, give him the same reassurance. Eventually, he realizes that you have time for him regardless of other interests in your life. If one child is trying to take your attention away from another child, this is your opportunity to demonstrate the beauty of taking turns. Give each of them the attention needed by addressing their concerns individually. And be sure to treat each of their concerns as equally important to you. Of course, situations arise when none of the above is helpful. You could be preparing a meal where interruptions could endanger those around you or ruin the food. When we look at Gottman's findings, and the work of other relationship scientists, we can see clearly which qualities contribute to long-term relationship success. In other words, the research tells us what makes a good Life Partner. However, these are not the traits my matchmaking clients tend to ask for. Instead, they focus on short-term desirability--or the characteristics of a good Prom Date. WHAT MATTERS LESS THAN WE THINK