Over the age of 35 and sick of being told by well-meaning people that she had a better chance of being struck by lightning twice than getting married, Bari Lyman knew something had to change. But after dating the same wrong guy over and over again, Bari realized maybe her problem was really from within. So she embarked on her own personal journey to discover and fix her own “relationship blockages” by understanding how her lonely childhood made the adult Bari feel like there was something wrong with her. This realization led to her personal transformation into a confident, purposeful dater who knew exactly what she was looking for in a marriage partner. Married soon after to Michael, “her soul mate and partner in life,” Bari is now determined to help other “marriage-minded singles” experience similar breakthroughs.
Utilizing her business skills as a former recruiter aka career matchmaker, Bari made the leap to “dating for marriage evangelist,” created the Meet to Marry program and published her first book by the same name. Recently, I sat down with Bari for a phone interview to discuss her dating program and new book and to get advice from an expert.
Oy!Chicago: Why did you write this book?
I wrote the book because I really learned from my own life experience and wanted to help other singles to find their ideal life partner. I had no problem finding people to date, but I tended to attract people who were wrong for me. I had these relationship blind spots…and though I was attractive, successful, in therapy and self-aware, it didn’t matter when it came to relationships. The guys I attracted were always the same—not appropriate. For instance, I attracted guys who were not Jewish. There was a point in time after all these experiences when I thought, ‘it can’t always be outside of myself. Why is it that I always feel this way in relationships?’ So I started a journey to really figure this out. And it was not about anything outside of me. When I changed, everything changed.
What do you tell singles who say, “there are no good men/women out there to meet?”
I can tell you assuredly that they are wrong and that it’s never ever outside them. Honestly and truly wherever you go, you are. Every person needs some kind of person to attract to create a lifetime partner— but they’re not being marriage-minded. One thing singles do wrong is guys and girls are hanging out together. They all say to me, everyone is friends with everyone else and there is a pact mentality. I can take any single and have them stand on their own and uncover their blind spots and when they become aware of what makes them marriage-minded, then they can transcend wherever they are.
Also, men want to get married as much as women do, but since they too are mystery dating they are not attracting the right kind of women for them. For example, take a guy who lives on the Upper West Side of New York, he’s 32 and a lawyer and let’s say he is Orthodox minded, but not shomer shabbos. Here’s a guy who desperately wants to get married, but you’d never know it by the women he attracts or goes for— super model gorgeous women. Who he is authentically, is a marriage-minded, loving, kind guy, but he doesn’t articulate it. He was going to bars and picking up women and asking externally, “why don’t I connect with them? Why do I always attract the wrong women?”
Half the people I coach are men and they are wounded little boys and this is why people are not connecting. Because we are all wounded from being phony externally to protect ourselves from this scary dating scene we hate. There is a gap the size of the Grand Canyon between who we are being and what we want and what we are sharing when we are out there [dating.]
Do you have any tips for connecting and dating for marriage?
Dating truly is a numbers game. We need to meet a lot of people [to] find the one. The idea is to go out and be marriage-minded and marriage-ready. You want to know what is involved in getting into a long-term commitment—which is being generous, mature and self-aware. So that’s one of the tips, be marriageable, healthy and available. Another tip: be free of previous relationships. If you want to find the one you want to definitely be completely free from other relationships, so you are a vessel and there is room to bring someone new into your life.
What do you think of matchmakers like Patti Stanger?
My take, without saying anything negative, is I think that we need to really love ourselves and to not stereotype human beings. When it comes to finding love we need to be sensitive to each other’s needs. And I think constructive criticism is great especially if someone’s true desire is to get married.
I’ll give you an example. I was at a Shabbat dinner recently and this woman told everyone how she was working on her PhD and doing medical research. So when you’d see this woman, you’d look at her as this career woman who is really motivated to get her PhD. So when she heard about my book, she took me aside and said, ‘you know, I really want to get married. This PhD thing is just really a fall back.’ So I asked her, ‘why don’t you share what you really want and who you are, so you can enroll your community to help you?’ And she said, ‘I’ve had a lot of bad dating experiences.’ So I said to her, ‘So when you eat a bad sandwich do you stop eating sandwiches? Of course not!'
What I’m saying about Patti is that I don’t think when you take a mean approach to dating it's appropriate. I think stereotyping men is awful. I also think it’s very important to be married to coach other people. Someone who hasn’t been married, I don’t think they can really know. I think we need to embrace everyone’s humanity and inspire them to find a meaningful and loving connection. There is nothing more wonderful than being married and to find someone who can love you unconditionally and be there for you no matter what. I think that’s what is important and that’s how I feel about her. Needless to say, I’m not happy about her.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I’d just leave with them this message: There is someone out there for each of your [single] readers. Read the book, check out the website and experience the coaching— see it as a personal support system for dating. I arranged a special webinar event just for your readers! They can visit www.MeetToMarry.com/OyChicago to participate in a special webinar on October 24 on a very special dating for marriage topic.
For more information about Bari and Meet to Marry, and to purchase the book, visit http://www.meettomarry.com/