Women gossiping in a tailor's shop
Die Gartenlaube (1880) via Wikimedia Commons
Die Gartenlaube (1880) via Wikimedia Commons
This was how I phrased the question.
Which of these traits are most likely to cause you to fall in love with a guy?
A] Playfulness (Flirtatiousness and light-heartedness)
B] Manliness (Physical strength and confidence)
C] Sweetness (Protectiveness and tenderness)
D] Wealth (Expensive gifts and exciting date activities)
Though there were different opinions from different women, the majority seemed to agree that a mixture of B and C (confidence and tenderness) was the winning combination. But there were many other traits that my friends told me were important to them too.
So guys, in case you were wondering, here is what women really value:
1. Sweetness: Not mere romantic gestures, and sentimental platitudes, but a real tenderness in the way you look out for the woman you love. It needs to be a special sweetness just for her, more than chivalry, or kindness, definitely not condescending or more about you than her (look at what a good guy I am/you can't look after yourself so I will). It manifests itself in many little ways. But though there are many attractive qualities women notice in men, it is tenderness that wins our hearts, and allows us to trust.
2. Confidence: Please don't be cocky, or arrogant. That has never been attractive. Humility and confidence can go hand in hand. No matter what you look like, how much money you have, or where you stand on the social status scale, if you have confidence when you go a-wooing, women will give you a second look. But this confidence comes from a deep place of knowing your identity in Christ, being aware of your flaws, but knowing you are more than that, and you DO have something to offer - a heart full of love.
3. Playfulness: 'Creativity is intelligence having fun.' There is something about a man who doesn't take himself too seriously that is very attractive. Romance needs fun more than it needs intensity. And when you're growing old, or facing crises together, it helps to have someone who knows how to make you laugh... or knows how to find the humour in any situation. I once asked an older married couple for marriage tips, and they said what helped them the most was that they learned to laugh when things went wrong instead of making everything into a big deal. Disclaimer: playful doesn't mean never taking anything seriously.
4. The way he treats people: When we see men who are genuinely kind to people when they think no one is watching, we know we've met a keeper. Do you greet maids, or chat with street sellers? Or are you too important or self-absorbed to do so? Do you offer to give a ride to anyone who needs it, or are your selfless acts reserved for girls you're trying to impress? Do you notice beggars on the street? Do you play and chat with children or treat them like they are a nuisance or invisible? Are you patient when your family members make demands on you, or rude or short-tempered? It all adds up.
5. Integrity: Do you do what is right even when it costs you? I hate the idea that women are supposed to be the upholders of morality and convert the men they marry into reluctant paragons. Women are looking for men who value the truth, and are willing to stand up for it. 'Is it right?' should always be a higher priority than 'Is it convenient?'
6. Maturity: I know that this may be a tough one to evaluate yourself on, because it's always easier to see immaturity in others than in oneself. But here are some questions that may help. Do you sulk when you don't get your way? Do you insist you're right long after you've been proved to be wrong? Are you able to apologize when called out on bad behaviour? Or do you just try to move on without acknowledging it? When is the last time you apologized sincerely to someone? Are you able to take or make lighthearted jokes at your own expense?
7. Love for God: For those of us who are disciples, we're looking not just for 'religious' or 'god-fearing' men. We're looking for men who KNOW God and LOVE God. If you want to be able to love a woman well, you need to be in contact with the Source of all love, the original and best Lover of our souls. That comes down to men who prioritize personal prayer and scripture reading, who are able to easily talk about what God has been saying to them.
8. Aware of people's needs: Men are notorious for being oblivious to the needs of the people around them. Not all men are like that, but enough are that this may need to be said - if you see the people around you bustling around doing things while you sit and chat or read a newspaper or scroll through your phone, maybe you need to stop and ask, "Is there anything I can do to help?" When in doubt, start washing dishes. If you see someone crying or visibly upset, ask "Is something wrong?" You don't have to solve all the problems, just show that you care and are available to help if you can. (Side note to women, you also need to communicate your needs without resentment that he 'should have noticed'.)
9. Sincerity: Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Don't flirt with women unless you have a real intention of pursuing her. Don't play games, or try to manipulate us. Ugh. We hate that. Be real! Authenticity is so much needed in the world today. If you mess up, don't cover up, but share about it honestly. If you want to move on, talk to the woman honestly about it. Have the 'define the relationship' talk sooner rather than later. If you're not sure where a woman is, ask her. Don't pay compliments that you don't mean. Don't say things just because you think we want to hear it. And don't be afraid to have difficult conversations when necessary.
10. Optimism: A lot of us struggle with negativity and self-doubt. What a gift to have someone who sees and calls out the good within us and in the world around us. What a gift when we can see all the beautiful potential in the future, not just all the potential pitfalls. 'What if I fail?' Oh but my darling, what if you fly?' We need encouragers, optimists, people who speak LIFE. Don't let the darkness consume you. Stop obsessing about the pitiful state of our country, how corrupt everyone is, and start talking about the beautiful encounter you had yesterday, the signs of hope you noticed, and the ways you can together bring light to the world. Optimism is attractive.
You may have noticed that most of these traits could just as easily be applied to women. So women, you may need to work on this stuff too, and not just wait for a man to show up to make up for all your lacks. Be the kind of woman who a man like this would want to marry. And you know, whether you're single or married, these are just marks of the kind of human being I would want to have in my life. (And I actually have many humans like this in my life. Yay for friends!)
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