1938 dating guide for women
Today I am talking to the single ladies out there.
I am no expert, but I do have some experience and for whatever reason the topic of dating has been rattling around in my brain lately. So, I decided to write out what I know to be true for me and share it with you just in case it would be helpful.
My advice is simple, but I really really believe in it. So here it goes...
1. FRIENDSHIP: If you wouldn't be friends with him, you shouldn't be dating him. Seriously, this one seems SO SIMPLE. But us woman, we get all sorts of excited and swept up in potential and someone completing us and blah blah blah that we often don't take a step back and go...waaaait a minute, I would probably not even want to be friends with this guy if we weren't dating! Marriage is amazing, but if you marry someone you wouldn't hang out with if you weren't married to them, you have a loooooong road ahead of you.
2. DON'T BE STUBBORN: If your close friends and family aren't into him, consider this a big crazy red flag flapping in the wind. People in your inner circle should be supportive and excited about the guy in your life. I understand that there are situations out there where your Mom is overbearing or your friend is super jealous...but you know what I am saying here. There are people in your life that you trust, and if they are uneasy or straight up upset about who you are dating, don't ignore them. They can see and sense things that someone experiencing the drug-like hormones of new love cannot.
3. SEX: If he pressures to go farther physically than you are comfortable. Out.
4. OBSERVE: Hang out in groups. See how he relates to other people. Make sure to see him in a lot of different situations both enjoyable and stressful. If possible, just be friends with him for at least a little while before dating. Watch for how he problems solves and how he talks about people when they aren't around. How does he talk about women? How does he treat the waiter/waitress?
5. A SIMPLE EXERCISE: Believe it or not I accepted and wore two diamond rings from two separate guys (before Drew Jones) and didn't end up marrying either. Why? My heart whispered no and my mind tried to reason it out and say yes. This can go the other way around when your heart is saying YES and your mind is going ohhh no no no! Your mind AND heart must both be saying YES. With one of those circumstances I remember I would close my eyes and picture myself behind a pair of doors in a white dress on the arm of my Dad about to walk down the aisle to marry the man I was with and I just couldn't get past the doors. I felt panic. I felt anxiety. There was a lack of peace. My soul said no. Years later I did the same exercise with Drew and everything in me was peaceful. Everything in me felt like a resounding YES. There wasn't even a whisper of a doubt. I believe in being in that place before you say yes to a ring, and most definitely before you say yes to a lifetime. Imagine if I had married either one of those men. No Drew Jones, no Westley. It is unthinkable.
6. ATTRACTION: Don't feel shallow. Being physically attracted to your guy is important. And the way I figure it, your kids have a 50% chance of looking like him, so theres that. ;)
7. DEAL BREAKER: If a man is consistently mean/rude/inconsiderate to you
If you marry him I guarantee you that it will get worse. I believe two things...1. that people tell you who they are. 2. that you should listen. Amen? Amen.
8. COMPANY HE KEEPS: Are his friends tools? Then guess what my friend? He probably is too. Just sayin.
9. THE LIST: Write down a list of what you want in a man. I know it sounds cheesy, but I'm serious. I wrote down a list of what I wanted and included all kinds of things from, "leaves me little love notes" to "is a complete gentleman" to "has a man-crush on Justin Timberlake". I wrote this 2 years before I met Drew Jones and he fulfilled every single wish on that list. It's almost eerie. I believe you have to put out there what you want. You have to be honest about it and not hold back because you think it is silly or that you don't deserve it or it could never be. I believed that I could have that. I believed it was possible. I was committed to waiting for it. Lets be honest, I would have budged on the Justin Timberlake thing (but I didn't have to).
10. EQUALLY YOKED: God knew what he was talking about when he said to be equally yoked with a person. Am I saying that you can't be successfully married if you're not? No. Am I saying it will probably be more difficult than those of us who have the same faith? Yes.
11. THREE TRAITS: The three most important traits to look for in a man (based on my experience being married)
1. He has grace.
2. He is patient.
3. He has a sense of humor.
Grace because you'll need it.
Patience because he'll need it.
and a sense of humor because you literally must be able to laugh to stay (happily) married. Period.
And if you want and expect those things in a man, you must bring them to the table as well.
12. ALONE TIME: It is so important to come to a place of being completely at peace with being single. Especially if you are the type of girl who is constantly in relationships. A friend said something funny yet profound to me the other day. She said, "Would I go swimming in a pool someone crapped in? No. Even if all the pools in the whole world had crap in them then I would just not swim in pools." It's a poop parable of sorts. It is better to be single than to be dating a bad egg. I think if we expect more of men, they will deliver. If all the women of the world would stop dating men that act like losers then those men would a: be forced to change or b:at least not be wreaking havoc in your life and heart.
13. PRAYER: It is also important to pray. Thankful prayers, prayers for your future husband, prayers for direction and guidance. God speaks to us all in different ways and it is important to really learn how to listen. Everything I talked about in #5 is basically about listening to God. You probably will not hear an audible voice but you will sense something. You will feel something one way or another. Don't ignore this! It takes courage to walk away from a relationship when you sense a "no" but are afraid of being alone. Be brave, have faith and listen to God when he speaks.
14. RESPECT: Love, respect and trust are really all one in the same. If you don't respect your partner things are gonna get ugly reaaaal fast. I've dated men that I didn't have respect for and it was no good. When you respect your man you will fight more fairly and have more grace because in the end you trust them. In the end you know that they don't want to be hurting you so you can suspend your own hurt and listen and be reasonable. You will probably rarely get into arguments where you throw around words you don't mean like daggers. Also you cannot force respect. I think you can feign it, but that will only last so long. In order to have respect for the man you are dating or love I believe that all of the other things I talked about must be in place. I know that no one is perfect, but the points I have made just describe decent human beings who are open and kind.
15. YOU: Work on yourself. Do you want a clean man who doesn't leave his dirty socks everywhere? Do you want a man that hears you when you are upset and takes interest in your interests? Then you have to be that as well. You can't complain that your boyfriend's apartment is a wreck when you are the girl with the perpetual stack of dirty dishes in her sink. If all your ex-boyfriends were "crazy" consider that you may be drawing crazy to you because there is a lesson you need to learn. And that crazy will continue to show up on your doorstep until you learn the lesson. Once the lesson is learned (for real) when crazy comes a knockin' you will not have time to answer. And most of the time when you learn the lesson, somehow crazy knows it and just doesn't come around anymore.
And that is my list!
I'd love to hear your thoughts and anything you have to add to it.