You made the call, and Leslie Neland answers, “Yes, there are good men out there.” It’s even possible for fanboys and girls to find Mr. Right and enjoy their mate as much as our royal hip-hop couple, Beyoncé and Jay Z, who are celebrating their seventh year wedding anniversary today. Beyoncé Knowles and Shawn “Jay Z” Carter on April 4, 2008 were quietly married.
“Being a big fan of both Jay Z and Beyoncé and following their love story, they have been together since she was 20. They’ve had a friendship. Beyoncé has said in many interviews they built a strong foundation prior to entering a dating relationship, which is extremely important. I did the same thing with my husband. Even though there was a strong attraction, I still made the effort to not allow the relationship to move too quickly but start off with a friendship and get to really know each other before taking it to the next level,” Neland said.
Neland, an Atlanta-based relationship expert, speaker and author of Finding Mr. Forever, offers tips to navigate the fish in the sea and find a match for you.
How does Finding Mr. Forever help single women on their journey to find a suitable or soul mate?
It helps empower women when they are looking for their Mr. Forever. It provides A-to-Z tips on things you need to do as far as introspection and what to look for.
Have you found your Mr. Forever?
Yes. He [Quentin Neland] is the most incredible person I have ever met in my entire life. It took me a while to focus on my needs and the qualities I needed to be happy in a relationship. I am very happy.
What does it mean to “focus?”
When you’re dating and really young, you take what makes you feel good instead of following your heart and focusing on the qualities that will make you happy in the future. You tend to select someone because they are physically attractive to you but when you get into the relationship, you find that you are not as happy as you could be. I started taking steps to determine the type of man best suited for me. I did some work on myself. I thought in order to attract that type of man, I needed to be at a certain place in my life. I started to be open – I wasn’t necessarily on the hunt – and put those superficial things on the back burner.
How long after you started dating Mr. Neland did you marry?
He asked me six months into our relationship. It took almost two years before we walked down the aisle.
What types of relationships did you witness growing up?
My mom and dad were married but they had a somewhat a tumultuous relationship and stayed married for [the sake of] the children. They were committed to one another. There were ups and downs. I have three sisters that were married, divorced and remarried. For the most part, the people around me experienced ups-and-downs in their relationship, and that’s where I learned a lot of the lessons by their experiences of those close to me.
As a fan of the Carters, Jay Z and Beyoncé, what do you think is the secret sauce for their longevity?
The fact that Jay Z and Beyoncé have so much respect for one another as far as their careers. When I hear Beyoncé speak of Jay Z, it is with so much respect and admiration; it’s the same thing with Jay Z when he speaks of Beyoncé. I have heard him reference her as being ‘like the second coming’ of Michael Jackson. He has an incredible respect for her as an artist, and when speaking of her as a mom, he says he has never seen anyone more loving. That of course spills over into their relationship in terms of how nurturing and caring she is.
The fastest way to disrupt and to erode love is through disrespect. There’s no way the two [disrespect and love] can thrive together and live in the same household. You have to respect the person you love, so it can grow.
What are the three Ls to Finding Mr. Forever?
The 3Ls formula includes:
1. The List: It should consist of the most important qualities and attributes that you want your Mr. Forever to possess. It should be no less than five but no more than 10. It shouldn’t include silly stuff like he must love my cat or he must love the color blue. They should be things that are important to your happiness. For example, if you want someone who is financially stable, it needs to be on your list. It’s important because finances are what cause relationships to fall apart. If you want a family, you should seek someone who is family-oriented. If you ignore him when he says he doesn’t want a family, it becomes a problem down the road.
2. Location: Once you determine the type of man you want, you must do research and place yourself in situations where you can meet that type of man. There are women who actually aim to marry a doctor. If that’s what interests you, you need to place yourself in situations where you can meet that type of man like going to medical conference and events doctors attend all over the country. If you are interested in finding someone physically fit, then you should visit athletic clubs.
3. Love: It is important to love yourself. Men pay close attention to the way a woman treats herself. If you carry yourself with respect and you have standards, they pay attention to that and they act accordingly. It’s extremely important that you treat yourself really well.
Leslie Neland will be leading workshops around the country starting this May in Atlanta. For more information and to register, visit findingmrforever.com. The book, Finding Mr. Forever, will be available in bookstores on May 15. It is available on Amazon.con and FindingMrForever.com.