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How to Win

The Best Way to Choose a Spouse

A friend of mine once went to Italy to explore his ethnic roots.

While there, he had the chance to study a courtship ritual. The groom’s family put out the word that he was looking for a wife. Then the would-be brides and their families were invited to make what amounted to a sales pitch.

Then it fell upon the groom to do the same thing that colleges, businesses and coaches must do: choose the right person.

This particular groom began by asking the young women if they had a trade, on the theory that someone with a trade could bring value to the marriage. He also wanted to hear of their interests to see if there was any substance to them.

Finally, he looked at the family, particularly at the mother, because he believed the girl would eventually look like the mother.

With my friend watching all of this, the groom made his choice. She had a trade, some solid interests and a slim, attractive mother.

A while later, my friend chatted with the groom, teasing him about the process. “Do you really think this is the way to choose a mate?” he said.

Replied the groom, “And you meet your girlfriends in a bar?”

Point taken. On a choice as vital as lifelong partner, what is the best way to choose a spouse? In old Italy, the choice sounds like a business deal. In the United Stares, it revolves around something that people call love.

What’s your opinion on the best way to meet a spouse? Or to pick someone for anything, for that matter?

Here’s a post-script on the marriage. Years later, my friend ran into the groom. It turns out that he and his wife were happily married. She never worked at her trade, and she had ballooned to obesity. But they were happily married.

Maybe no one can figure all the angles.

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