Why do you date?

To find someone to love for a lifetime, right?

And the best way to do that, most of us assume, is to become the best version of ourselves we can possibly be. Invest in yourself, and love will come calling.

But Ken Page has a different idea.

He wants you to stop fixing yourself and start accepting yourself, exactly as you are right now in this moment.

Because the person you are is PERFECT. Even your flaws. Even your weaknesses. Even your mistakes.

It’s what you think is worst about yourself, he says, that will lead you home.

That’s the idea behind deeper dating, a revolutionary philosophy on love that turns conventional wisdom upside down.

In a world where so many men and women spend precious resources trying to be more appealing to the opposite sex, you’d think it would be easier to find love than ever. We’re better looking. We’re more cosmopolitan. We’re more debonair. 😉

Yet today’s singles find dating to be harder than people did 100 years ago.

Modern women are more attractive, witty, and desirable than ever, yet marriages that last a lifetime are increasingly out of reach.

Could it be because dating has become increasingly artificial? Singles hide their true selves behind a mask of selfies, texts, and Spanx. Everything is designed to appeal to the opposite sex; everything that might be unappealing is carefully hidden.

So, when a man falls for a woman—and she falls for him—they’re falling for each other’s false self. They’re not seeing what’s truest about each other. They’re seeing what the other person wants them to see.

No wonder relationships fall apart so fast.

As you get closer, you begin to trust one another. You let down your guard. You reveal more of your true self. But your true self can look a little (or a lot) different from the woman he met on that first date. Maybe she was confident, but you’re shy. Maybe she was up for anything, while you’re more cautious.

Hopefully, his initial positive impression of you will sweep him past those revelations, but it might not. He might break things off when he sees you’re not the woman he imagined in his head.

Men are just as guilty of presenting a false self on a date. I’m sure you’ve experienced the kind, funny, communicative guy who turns into a dark, monosyllabic jerk once you’re in a relationship!

If what we want is solid, compatible relationships, then we’ve got to stop focusing on acing that first date. We’ve got to focus on authenticity. Showing each other who we truly are, even if that isn’t Insta-worthy.

Here’s what that might look like (and why it’s so valuable).

Recently I read about a woman who decided to stop wearing makeup on first dates. If a man could fall for her the way she genuinely looked, then she knew the attraction was genuine.

A naked face? For many women, that’s risky.

But not as risky as a naked soul.

When you commit to being real, you may find it more difficult to find your rhythm on a date. It’s so easy to slide into the same flirtatious banter, exchanging favorite bands and hobbies with a knowing wink.

Your real self may want to know what this man’s personal journey has been, what you could learn from him, whether he values integrity as much as you do, and why he chose to go out with you.

That’s incredibly intimate for a first date. Is it too intimate? Or is it exactly right, given that you’ve got this one chance to find out if your souls resonate?

“The real search for love,” Page writes, “is about embracing our most authentic self, sharing that true self with the precious people who know how to honor it, and learning to offer others the same in return.”[1]

From this view, you’re not dating to find that perfect person.

You’re dating to test out your ability to create intimacy with this person.

Perhaps he’s not one of those “precious people who know how to honor” you. If so, you need to know now.

Instead of finding out whether he likes the same bands or hobbies, find out whether he’s kind, warm, and emotionally available. Find out whether he loves those funny, weird things that make you YOU. Find out whether he knows how to tread softly around the places you’re sore.

A man who can fall in love with your good points is easy to find.

But a man who can fall in love with ALL of you, even the parts you think are bad?

He very well might be the one.

[1] Deeper Dating (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2015) 2.

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