The other day, I was scanning through my news feed and saw an article entitled “It Matters Who You Marry,” a blogger’s Christian take on how to decide if a man was marriage material. It was an excellent article, but I didn’t think much of it, until I noticed the same author had written a similar article for men, telling them how to know if a woman was worth marrying.
It seems as if women are always putting some emphasis (and maybe more than men) on finding the right man.
When I read the article for men out of curiousity, I found myself introspecting about how I’d measure up to the author’s criteria, and I realized something surprising. I had never thought about myself, or other women, as subject to evaluation on the topic of marriage-worthiness.
This might be just me. But I don’t think it is. When I’m talking to my friends about employment, I find that we all often list out our good qualities to each other, as if to make our cases to hypothetical employers. “But I mean, I worked that summer job two summers in a row. And that shows leadership. And then I worked for that day camp. Employers love that. I’m also awesome at working in teams. I have a good chance at the job, right?”
Especially in college, this is how the conversation goes time and time again. But never once can I remember women around me (including myself) ever feeling like we needed to make the same case for marriage or dating, especially when it comes to personality. I’ve often heard girls say something to the effect of “But I’m like wayyyyy hotter than her anyhow, right? So he’s totally going to choose me over her.”
I can’t say I’ve heard anything to the effect of “…but I’m a kind person, and I’m so giving, and I know I would treat him really well. I’m intelligent and strong and loyal. I totally have a chance with him right?”
Granted, maybe this is partly because we don’t feel comfortable evaluating ourselves on such a deep level (and sharing with those around us.) I think, however, that maybe we should start. Reading that article on how men should choose who’s marriage-worthy made me wonder if women spend more time trying to find someone who’s date/marriage worthy than they do looking inward.
I think that it is easy to say “There are just no good men out there these days,” but are we really good women? Are we exhibiting the characteristics that warrant someone wanting to spend the long term with us?
Men have the same need to be supported mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually as women do. While many a joke can be made about men’s tendencies to gravitate toward the physical, men who are ready for mature relationships realize that having someone with a great figure means nothing if she can’t hold an intelligent conversation. In the long run, men are looking for someone who can challenge them, support them, and stand beside them.
(Keep in mind I’m not just talking about marriage here. Even in college dating relationships, many men are past the days of hook-ups and flings. They want the same things out of a relationship as they would a marriage, albeit at less intensity and of course less commitment.)
We as women can easily fall into the trap of “He should love me just the way I am!” When it comes to your personality, that’s absolutely true, but love on any level is an active partnership between two people. Both sides (yes, you included!) will have to support and encourage each other, and if this isn’t something that falls into “just the way you are,” it’s something you may have to work at.
I’m certainly not advocating a change in personality to make sure that you fit into some “girlfriend/wife box.” But there are basic characteristics that separate the girl that the guy brings home from the girl that the guy brings home to mom and dad.
While they may not show it (via fifty-two thousand ‘Is he the one?’ quizzes on the internet or an article in every issue of Cosmopolitan), men are evaluating women on a deeper level.
At the end of the day, Mr. Right has a checklist just like yours. And the question is, do you measure up?
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