We've been fed the "perfect" romantic stories since before we could walk. Girl is born into royalty. Girl meets really charming royal guy. Royal guy thinks she's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen and is falling all over himself trying to impress her. Evil forces try to tear them apart. Evil force is conquered by charming royal guy. Girl thinks guy is greatest thing since sliced bread. Guy marries girl. They live happily ever after. Yay.
But no relationship, as we all come to find out, is even remotely like that. Ladies, no guy is prince charming. He's not going to bring you flowers every Friday at work. He's not going to remember every daily, weekly, or monthly anniversary. He's not going to be able to take you out on a fancy date every week or buy you a diamond ring so big people are afraid to shake your hand.
But you know who is real? Guys that love Jesus, pursue sexual purity, are hard workers, are smart and funny, are willing to compromise, genuinely care about your well-being, are faithful, kind, sweet, and enjoy cuddling. And yes, a lot of them are quite handsome, too. That sounds like some solid marriage material, right?
These same guys are going to get really annoyed with you at times, are going to be tired during moments you want them to be energetic, might not have the easiest time being excited about the really pretty nail polish you just bought, may say things a little too bluntly or not listen quite close enough, might forget about plans you've made together, and might have to bail due to a last minute work-related issue. These same guys are going to disappoint you, hurt you, make you really angry, make you cry, be inconsiderate and selfish and lazy. But homeboy is human.
There's this saying that women like to throw around as advice, "Don't settle." Well, I'm going to have to disagree. Love isn't something that happens instantly between two people that lock eyes across a crowded room. Love is forgiving someone when they've hurt you, encouraging them when they've messed up, constantly putting your wants and needs aside to better meet theirs. Love is a choice.
Don’t pretend for a second that we’re just a piece of cake to deal with all the time. Girls are annoying as shiz. We complain about stupid things. We make decisions based on emotion and not logic or emotion that disguises itself as logic. We’re needy and insecure and manipulative. We’re prideful and envious and just downright mean at times. Men have a hard time understanding us and sometimes we have a hard time understanding ourselves.
In case you are still lost in the romance abyss, lemme tell you what you're looking for in a man (in no particular order, but also sorta in order):
- A guy that loves Jesus and has an active relationship with him
- A guy that promotes your spiritual, physical, and mental well-being
- A guy that is on the same level intellectually, one that you can talk to
- A guy that doesn't abuse you verbally or emotionally (if a man has ever laid a hand on you in a harmful way or talks to you in a disrespectful manner on a regular basis, you need to move on)
- A guy that compliments you, not completes you. There is a difference.
- A guy that respects you. If you disregard everything else I've said in this post, please do not disregard this. He protects your integrity when you’re with or without him. Values your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual worth. Treats you with patience, equality, and trust.
If you need a more detailed checklist, fine. Here are a couple random relationship golden nuggets to look for, but not necessary to a successful relationship:
- Your family and friends like him
- You have the same taste in food
- He’s good with money and adult things
- Dresses well
- Understand politics
- Wants the same amount of kids, has the same standards on topics like abortion and gay rights
- Is nice to people other than you, particularly in a public setting
- Has a humor that is at least close to yours
- You two are super physically attracted to each other
I've been in some really bad relationships over long periods of time. And now, praise the Lord, I'm finally in a good one. And ladies, there is no comparison. He may not do all those things I listed earlier, but lemme tell you some things you will get to enjoy: he'll think you're just as beautiful, if not more, without make-up, he'll bring you flowers when you've had a bad day at work, he'll pray for you, he'll sacrifice doing guy things he wants to do to hangout with you, he'll sacrifice sleep to come see you at 2:00 in the morning just to give you a hug when you're freaking out over being home alone, he'll hold your hand through the entire movie, he'll buy you and your best friend cake pops, and post just enough sweet things on social media to make you feel special and not annoy everyone else.
Guys, I haven't forgotten about you. I know it can be a struggle to pursue a woman and to continue to pursue her when she's your lady (particularly when she's being a hormonal psychopath.) If you're having difficulties meeting a lady or deciding whether or not you want to pursue someone, here's what you're looking for:
- A lady that loves Jesus and has an active relationship with him
- A lady that is willing and able to serve you and others
- A lady that promotes your spiritual, physical, and emotional well being
- A lady that respects and appreciates you. She doesn't complain about you to her friends, that helps protect your witness, and calls you out when you're being a moron, but in a loving way
- A lady that encourages you and forgives you through every failure and success and challenges you to always do your best
- A lady that doesn't need you to complete her. That's what Jesus is for.
Some golden relationship nuggets for you (again, a plus, but not necessary):
- Homegirl can cook
- Her friends and family like you
- You have similar senses of humor
- You have similar interests and life goals
- Dresses herself with respect
- Is kind to people other than you, strangers or friends
- You're super physically attracted to her
Another quick bit of advice, free of charge, if your excuse not to pursue a girl is that you're not sure you're ready for a relationship, lemme tell you that you will never be ready. You'll never be "prepared" for marriage. Sure, there are some bits of knowledge that might help things run more smoothly, but relationships are a process and a constant learning experience. A constant cycle of sacrifice and forgiveness.
Now don't get me wrong, romance is a real thing. It's those butterflies you get when you're getting ready for a big date. It's the lighting in the room when you realize you like him more than a friend. It's the excitement of seeing her name pop up on your home screen. It's the way she laughs at your jokes and the way she looks in a sundress with her hair grazing her shoulders.
But my warning is don't get caught up in fairy tales, whether they're modern day or old as knights in shining armor. You don't have to have the perfect shape and perfect hair and teeth and eyes and nails and skin to be valuable. Every joke you tell doesn't have to be funny, you don't have to have the highest paying job or be a musician to be loved. You don't have to have a "moment from across the room" to meet your wife. Your husband may not know he wants to marry you the moment he meets you. Forget about the storybook romance for awhile and learn how you can really invest in the people around you, particularly your guy or lady.
Again, I remind you that love is a choice; sometimes it comes down to not wanting to be frustrated with anyone else but the person you're with. And other times being with them is absolutely effortless.
So, enjoy your romantic comedies and chick flicks and Disney movies. I'm sure that they can spark some good ideas for pursuing your guy or lady, but they aren't the end-all-be-all. I mean come on, do you really wanna lose your voice for three days and comb your hair with a fork or look like a fat wolf with horns for a segment of your life and then get stabbed by a psycho hunter on a roof in a storm? Yeah, probably not.