About six weeks ago, I thought I knew a decent amount about love. Then my first child was born. But this post isn’t actually about him. It’s about his dad. Elisha’s delivery was not textbook. It was very rough, a little scary and left me with a long recovery period after leaving the hospital. Honestly I don’t remember a lot about the first two weeks of his life besides myself crying, breastfeeding and being in pain. There is one thing I remember though – realizing I chose correctly when I decided Gio was the one for me. A newborn and an exhausted, emotional wife really brings out a man’s true colors. I also realized that so much of what people look for in a mate doesn’t matter and the things that do matter can be put on the backburner. So as we’re almost done with the month of love, here’s some things maybe you haven’t considered, but should, when deciding if you’ve found your forever.
What a woman should consider in a man:
- Does he add or subtract from my community? No one likes the girl who ditches her circle when she finds a man… yet it’s a common practice among even well-meaning women. Your friends are your community. I’m not saying the girls should be there every time you’re with your man, because that stopped being cool in high school. But if your dude doesn’t value your friendships – or if he’s threatened by them – something is wrong. If your circle doesn’t get a good vibe from your man, trust them! They’re right! Your friends love you and want you to be happy just as much as you want it for yourself. The only difference is that you’re in the love bubble with rose-colored glasses and they aren’t. Your vision has been compromised by your heart … theirs hasn’t! They’re YOU, just not drunk in love. Your man should value your friendships. You should value his. And you two should make new ones together. A couple on an island is fun for a very short amount of time. If he wants to isolate you and kick your girls to the curb, kick him there first and go celebrate Galentines Day!
- Is he confident? He needs to be. No, not that guy who takes gym selfies. I mean real confidence. Like confidence that radiates from the core of his being. An insecure guy is a big problem for a girl. Why? If he’s insecure, he’ll make sure you are too. A confident man will let you soar (think the Arod to your JLo). Guys need to be happy with who they are before they can be good boyfriends/husbands/fathers. Why? I don’t know. Women’s needs are less linear in this department. What I do know is if a man doesn’t know what he wants from life, he won’t be able to know if he wants you in his or not. And you shouldn’t have to strong-arm anyone into loving you, girl! What’ll happen is you’ll stick around, be his career counselor, therapist, maybe even pastor. And when he’s whole and healed, he’ll say thanks and dip out. Hate to say it… but… he’ll probably marry the next girl he dates. And all that time you spent being his rehab, you could’ve been with someone who was ready for you. Inhale your Hailey Bieber, exhale your Selena Gomez.
- What’s the deal with his family? This is a big one. As Obama would say, “Let me be clear,” no one should be judged because of their family. That’s why this point is less about finding certain criteria and more about making sure that you know the family situation of a possible or current partner. If you get married, that is YOUR FAMILY BOO BOO. There’s no getting around it. I’ve never been more thankful for my in-laws than in these past 6 weeks! Gio and I live 5 minutes from his parents and 10 minutes from mine. For us, it’s a dream. For others, that’s a recurring nightmare. So think about it! Are you okay with your guy’s big, opinionated, meddling relatives? Or would you be alright if he’s estranged from his parents? How’s his relationship with his siblings? Think about every holiday for the rest of your life. Think about who will be holding your precious children one day. Think about who you may have to welcome in your home when they’re elderly. Think about how close you’re willing to be with his mom and how much of your information will be shared through the family group chat. There’s no right or wrong here, just make sure you’re informed and willing to make his family yours.
What a man should consider in a woman:
*The first and third points for women can apply to you guys too!*
- Is she kind? Everyone knows that couple… the nice, jovial man who’s always apologizing for his other half. There’s a difference between a girl with some sass and a girl who’s just mean. You don’t want to be the guy who has to walk on eggshells when you go out – hoping your girl doesn’t lose it on some innocent bystander… or worse… on you in front of everyone. You don’t want a girl who’s going to embarrass you and herself by the way she speaks to people. You want a girl who has enough maturity to fight fair while dealing with issues in private. If she subtweets you, run. If she’s created a poll on social media about a fight you had, hide. If she blocks you during a disagreement, finds flaws in every human being walking this earth, can’t say one nice thing about someone, stop, drop and ROLL IT ON HOME! Find the nearest exit and use it! If not for you, for your future children. A mother’s role in nurturing her babies is so important for their self-esteem as adults. And if she bullies you, she’ll bully them too. Do it for the kids!
- Does she “mommy” you? See, this one is tricky because if they’re being honest, a lot of guys would say they are attracted to women who take the whole nurturing thing a bit far. Are you a momma’s boy? Then this might describe you! And while it might seem comforting to find a girl who can “take care” of you, just make sure there’s a healthy limit there. She can cook you dinner on your birthday, but she shouldn’t be packing your meals for you every day pre-nuptials. She can buy you a nice present on occasion, but she shouldn’t be filling up your gas tank every week. You don’t want to marry someone who patronizes you for doing the simplest of tasks while she only trusts herself with major decisions/projects. Two problems here: First, a woman who does these things for you may love you to pieces, but she won’t ever respect you the way you want her to. Just like your mom doesn’t see you as her equal, the mothering girlfriend/wife won’t either. Secondly, this will bother you at some point down the road even if it doesn’t in the present moment. And when your wife doesn’t see you as a man in the way you want her to, there will be that temptation to go out and find someone who does. **Got serious real quick, but marriage is a serious thing!
Is the effort equal? A good rule to live by is whatever you first had to do to make your girl happy, you will have to keep doing to keep her happy! When you argue, is it you who’s always apologizing? Does she want doors opened, flowers given, meals cooked but the most she’ll give you is a pat on the back? Some women want the best of both worlds. They want to be treated by modern day rules but want to hold you to 1950s standards. If you’re cool with that, mazel! But even if you can deal right now, chances are you won’t want to “til death parts us.” Girls who act like this might need a few more years to mature before they’re really ready to be in a serious relationship, and that’s okay! Plus, Christian man, the ratio of men to women at church gives you pretty much endless options. You’ll be okay!