To get things started, I want you to think about the kind of relationship you want in your life as of today, and what that relationship may look like in the distant future.

Can you envision it? Close your eyes if you need to.

Now the bigger question: Do you believe such a relationship exists?

Better yet, do you believe such a relationship can become reality in YOUR LIFE?

Recently I came across an article in our local newspaper that was so touching it brought me to tears.

It was about a couple named Connie and Ike who loved each other dearly, and had done so faithfully for many, many years.

In fact, Connie met Ike 38 years ago at a country-western dance hall.

Ike fondly remembers their first date it was like it was yesterday.

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They had talked all night until the sun came up.

It wasn't long before they were in love and married.

They raised two sons and looked forward to the day they would play and laugh with their grandkids on the front porch of their house.

This was part of their retirement lifestyle, as they had envisioned it.

But life took an unexpected turn along the way.

Back in 2002 Connie was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the age of 52. Ike retired early to take care of her.

As time went on, eventually he had to dress her and put double locks on the door to keep her from wandering off and getting lost.

Then one day Connie lifted a picture from the shelf and gazed at it.

It was their wedding photo.

She took it to him and asked Ike who the couple was.

"Oh, that was a killer," Ike had quoted to the newspaper reporter, his voice choking with emotion.

(I get a lump in my throat just thinking about this.)

Connie's condition worsened to the point where Ike could no longer take care of her by himself.

Today the precious time they have together is limited to visits at the nursing home where she now lives.

"I'm having to live for now, because there's no future," Ike says in the article, his voiced laden with sadness. "We were planning to retire together, to grow old together, to sit on rocking chairs and rock them grandbabies, and it's just not going to happen now."

But there are still some bright spots, according to the article.

Connie's face often lights up when Ike walks into the special care unit.

She seems to enjoy his shoulder rubs.

And after she has eaten and they go back to her room--which he has decorated with colored lights--Ike puts a country-western CD on the player.

And Connie and Ike are then able to do the one thing the fog of Alzheimer's hasn't yet destroyed:

They dance.

After reading Connie and Ike's story I cried.

But on the lighter side, Connie has the relationship she dreamed of.

She had a happy family for as long as she was able to.

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And she has a great man in her life who loves her to the point of taking care of her despite her condition.

It made me think about how relationships are so important for emotional and physical support.

But if you're not yet in a relationship or dating the wrong guy, then the question is how do you change that situation and meet a great man?

Simply put, if you don't have that relationship in your life today, what it will take to attain it?

The first step, as basic as it sounds, is to believe that such a man even exists.

Pronouncing that "all men are the same" (read: "no good at all") is NOT going to draw a man to you who thinks that changing your mind about that is a "nice challenge".

It just doesn't happen like that in the real world. The truth is that the good men will AVOID a woman like that.

Great men know that attempting to "change" a woman typically ends similarly to when we as women try to "change" a man!

The fact remains, however, that I personally know of lots of men who make great life partners.

And there ARE more out there.

The second step is to make a list of at least 10 qualities you desire in a partner with all your heart. List them in order of importance.

Make sure any man you choose to date regularly has all 10 qualities. The time to make this list is BEFORE you get emotionally involved with someone to the point of rationalizing away your "dealbreakers".

The third step is to actually make yourself available to meeting him.

If you go to work and then go straight home...every day...how is he supposed to meet you?

Get out there and do something like dancing, taking classes or joining social groups. A key tip is to remember to smile in public so you seem personable and therefore approachable.

Fourth, make it a goal to meet as many men as possible. This means being open-minded to ideas as to where and how to meet men.

Fifth, go on dates. Don't do so with the intent to quiz guys and get to know everything about them on the first date or two.

Instead, simply relax and enjoy the company of the men you meet.

Go have fun together--by going bicycling or fishing, for example.

If you click, THEN start asking some personal questions by date 3 or 4 to get to know him better.

For richer or poorer, sickness or health, Connie's husband Ike knows the meaning of "commitment". Such men are true "knights in shining armor", aren't they?

I'll be visiting with you again soon...


What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!