You pick your potential spouse for many reasons. Many of them are related to ensuring the survival of your offspring. Traits like an inclination to protect or nurture, a strong genetic makeup, and the ability to provide food in times of hardship increase the odds that your children will survive to produce children of their own. There are also reasons for choosing a mate that have absolutely nothing to do with procreation. A great smile, a love of bird watching, and a droll sense of humor could all be essential requirements for your ideal partner.
But even if you are extraordinarily particular about your "type" and your list of necessary attributes is several pages long, on a planet of more than three billion people, I am sure there are at least a few thousand who would meet your requirements. So, what makes you choose one person and not another? Well, according to relationship expert Harville Hendrix, it is not the person's most appealing qualities that seal the deal. It is actually his or her negative traits that attract you. These are not just any negative traits, like picking one's nose or leaving clothes on the floor, but traits that trigger issues from your past. Over the years, you create a psychological imprint of what your collective emotional experience represents. When you find someone who resonates with that image, you are hooked. Hendrix calls this image the imago.
Hendrix claims that we are subconsciously drawn to people who will provide us with the opportunity to heal our childhood wounds.