What a summer. I’ll have to do a recap at some point. Driving the entire length of California, some time in Denver, my families’ cabin was threatened by the Rim Fire…
Now that summer’s coming to a close, lots of people are getting serious about their relationships. Have you ever heard of a fall fling? Nope, me neither 😉
Getting serious is fun. Being exclusive, really getting to know someone, diving into the labels and your potential future together…
But it’s also a little scary. Letting someone in and hoping he’ll accept you.There a chance of rejection and loss. And that would mean being single. Again. Starting all over.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Searching for a boy/girlfriend is so tiring. It is! When you are evaluating everyone around you, it shallows relationships. It seriously limits prospects, too. Think about it. If you go around rating people before befriending them and getting to really know them, you could accidentally sort out some keepers. And it changes how people perceive you. You might not know it…and it may not be obvious, but when you’re on the prowl, you’re distracted. You’re not your best self because you’re not all there. Carefully wording sentences, being self-conscious, wondering how others will respond to you and think of you…It’s exhausting.
Guys on the other hand…I think guys have it down. They shoot for girls who are waaayyy out of their league 😉 They go for the best. Ladies, we’re more likely to settle. Why? I dare you to seek out God’s best. Is that what you’re honestly waiting for?
Want my opinion on some important qualities and factors in a great date? No? Then why are you reading this? Stop now, it’s coming up 😉
Some things I think ladies should look for in a significant other – not necessarily in this order ;):
Ability to forgive. Let’s face it- we all mess up. Relationships are work and sometimes we fall on our faces. If the person you’re pursuing holds grudges, beware. So serious, but seriously. It may not end well and who wants a bitter ex? Or, who wants to be in a relationship with someone who is missing healthy relationships with others? Yikes.
Commitment. You wanna know that this person is in it for the long run. Do they easily abandon friendships due to conflict? What’s their dating history like? Can they hold a steady job? Did they finish school? You don’t want to be dedicated to someone who runs away from a major commitment in the long run…like a shiny ring 😉
Compassion. Compassionate people are usually good listeners, good relaters, and good supporters. It also helps at the end of a hard day to have someone emotionally-available enough to share in your experiences.
Sense of humor. It helps to break the ice on those first few awkward dates and laughing is good for the soul 🙂
Protective. Mostly a guy thing. Biblically, men are protectors and providers. They should stand up for you and defend you when appropriate. They should fight for your dreams. Also a good sign in potential fathers 😉
Attraction. I don’t think I need to explain this one.
Ability to compromise. Chances are you won’t agree on everything once you’ve been together awhile. I think most couples discover their differences after they’ve figured out their similarities. This will help you when solving your issues. Compromise is an important skill – not just in personal relationships, but also in the workplace. So stretch yourself! You can’t always have everything your way. As long as you’re not compromising about your values…not sure I need to explain that one either…Actually, I will. Read on.
Work ethic. Because relationships take hard work and a positive attitude. And if you haven’t had to work for yours yet, dig deeper. Don’t hide your real thoughts or true self to avoid conflict – it isn’t always a bad thing!
A sense of self. You don’t want to be with someone who becomes the opposite-sex version of you. That would be weird. And everything that attracted you to them would disappear.
Loyalty. If you’re going to share your secrets, dreams and thoughts with someone, you don’t want everyone to know the next day. Do they speak positively of their friends? Are they careful with others’ personal info? Or do they have a loose tongue?
Sense of adventure. Do stuff together. Have fun! Get out and go try something new. See if you have some favorite activities in common and if your SO is willing to go out on a limb to do something he hasn’t before.
A common faith. Super important. With this usually comes common values and morals. If he’s pushing you to do something that compromises you or doesn’t adhere to your standard of beliefs, be careful. Ok, more than careful. Address it and reevaluate.
Chivalry. It’s not dead, I promise. If a guy doesn’t pay for dinner on your first date without explaining why beforehand, it’s a red flag! My husband still opens doors for me. That stuff really does matter! It shows how much he values you.
Someone who’s willing to wait for you. If you’re not ready to date, don’t put up with someone who’s pushy and impatient. You’re worth it. And chances are, if they can’t put your needs before theirs before you’re dating, they won’t once you are. Just saying’. And if a guy wants to rush into talking marriage, call him out on it. He should be secure enough to give it a few months before putting a ring on it or talking a wedding-countdown. I personally am a big fan of the “dating for a year” thing. Ya, it’s a thing 😉 Then, once you’re close to that 12 month mark and if it’s appropriate, start talking seriously about timing and engagement. Otherwise, it adds unnecessary stress and expectations to your relationship. That doesn’t mean you can’t bring it up and talk about whether or not you see yourselves together in the future. But if you’re going to have to date for several years – like many young people do -, it’s silly to start getting antsy and anxious about wedding bells right away. And as far a physical boundaries go – if a guy is ever, ever, ever pushing you to do something you don’t want to do, move on.
As for love languages: It’s important to identify your partner’s love language so they feel appreciated and cared for. And then it’s important for you to learn how to speak their love language. It takes some time and practice (at least, it did for me), but it’s so worth it.
About dating in general…Ladies, guard your hearts (Proverbs 4:23). Have fun, feel treasured and pursued, laugh and get dressed up, write his last name with your first name on your notebook…
Does anyone really do that?
But be careful before bearing your soul. Chances are you’re going to be dating this person over a period of time, so don’t charge in. Be secure in the supreme knowledge of your heavenly Father and the plans He has for you – secure enough that you don’t feel the need to lay claim to the first nice guy that comes along. I would suggest letting any guy you’re talking to know that you take dating seriously. But that doesn’t mean you have to agree to marry him on the first date. Remember, it’ll take awhile to really get to know this guy, even if you feel like you’ve known him forever because he’s your soulmate 😉 If, for whatever reason, things don’t work out and you’ve been talking marriage and future plans since day one, it’s oh so much more painful when you’re trying to untangle your heart from that relationship. And if you’re talking marriage because you want to force the commitment out of a guy, it won’t work.
I’ve been there. The amount of Kleenex I used when it ended was criminal.
If you’re young and you’re looking at a few years before getting married, take it slow! Build a friendship, enjoy knowing you’re with someone special, but save those thoughts of marriage for the appropriate time (Songs 8:4). It’ll make that season of pre-engagement and engagement all the more exciting. Kinda like saving sex for marriage. Ok, I’ll spare you. But seriously worth it 😉
And ladies, I know telling someone that you love him is special. But if you tell him so before you’ve seen him at his worst, you could really do some damage with your reaction to his worst when you do experience it!
Don’t get me wrong – if you’ve found that guy, that guy you think is the one, consider telling him. If he’s a great guy (I do trust your judgement), he will skip cloud nine altogether and be walking on sunshine with that knowledge. But help him protect you by putting up boundaries to protect your heart. If you can’t get married for a year or two, talking about it day-in-and-day-out might be fun at first, but it will make things tough in the long run. Even setting timelines for engagement can set expectations that may or may not be reachable in the future…because a ring costs, ladies 😉 So once the subjects been breeched, be sure you’re communicating well about it. If you’ve already discussed an October engagement and the time’s coming up but you feel like it’s not going to happen, don’t assume the worst and don’t nag about it. Talk to your guy. Gently, ladies. Have a DTR and I’m sure he will reassure you and let you know what’s up and if things need to be more flexible.
Enjoy things one step at a time! And seriously, enjoy every minute of dating. It’s all about learning and sharing with someone who could possibly be your spouse!
Man, I love love. Don’t you?