That's the general goal of much or most of dating today? That's right. It's all over the sitcoms, lots of the "chick flicks," R-rated movies and conversations among teens and young adults in school hallways and social hangouts. There's just one primary message about what too many guys and girls want of each other—and it's not good conversation, fine friendship or eventual marriage.
What's the endgame of wrong and promiscuous dating? Right again. Ragged and jaded emotions; sinfully violated bodies (both genders); a haunting, sad-eyed, brokenhearted, guilty conscience; premarital pregnancies ending in either the weary and lonely existence of single-mom-misery or tiny aborted lives snuffed out before they can even cry for help.
Need we even mention sexually transmitted diseases and the statistical tendency of sexually active young people to engage in other risky behavior like smoking, drinking and illegal drug use with the related criminal paths that can lead to? That's a crummy kind of dating.
Now what about you? Consider two questions. First, what kind of dating does the loving God who made you expect you to do? Correct—a better kind of dating than that described above. Second, what as a guy do you want in a girl, or what as a girl do you want in a guy?
Remember, whether you're in your teens or 20s (or later), dating often leads to marriage. Right dating provides you the opportunity in the meantime to build good character and polish your personality as you get to know a variety of people, until ultimately you find your own true love.
The most famous British leader of the 20th century, Sir Winston Churchill, observed it this way: "Where does family start? It starts with a young man falling in love with a girl. No superior alternative has yet to be found."
Or ever will be. That's why God made us male and female. Marriage and family are God's way. The book of Proverbs frames the beauty of dating and true romantic love like this: "There are three things which are too wonderful for me, yes, four which I do not understand." The fourth one, perhaps most wonderful of all, was the way of a man with a young woman (Proverbs 30:18-19).
So what should a guy want to see in a girl, and what should a girl want to see in a guy? This reporter recently posed that question to a group of more than 20 teens and young adults, mostly singles with a handful of young married couples. Their answers proved most insightful and instructive.
Ladies first: What girls want in guys
Gentleness and kindness, genuineness and sincerity. No interest here in the broody, hot-tempered and rough or the obsessively jealous. Easy to communicate with. They were silent on the silent type. Maturity on demand. Fun-loving is fine, but foolish is out. Chivalrous, respectful and eager to serve. A fellow who opens doors for them and keeps his armor of honor well shined.
Appropriate self-confidence with a strong work ethic, finding joy in his work. When this kind of young man matures, he can and will provide well for his wife—and children. That's a serious concern on girls' minds, guys—girls who are thinking, that is. Self-control with money, toys and temper. There are few things worse than being shackled to a broke, hot-tempered goof-off.
Patience with women and with womanly behavior they don't fully understand. This is very important when dating and in marriage. Not self-centered; interested in all types of people. This is the kind of guy girls love to be around. Thoughtful and appreciative—one "thank you" goes a long way. The females of the species get far too little credit for all they do, gentlemen.
A positive attitude when facing the challenges and trials of life. This is a sign and act of leadership. Tamed down heroism in the daily details of life. This means he brings flowers, sends cards, etc. Creative attentiveness; he knows what to do and when (or at least takes such advice well). Takes initiative in making decisions. Remember, fellows, God made the man to be the primary leader of the family (see Ephesians 5).
Then came the guys' turn to comment on girls.
What guys want in girls
Honesty with diplomacy—a girl who kindly speaks her mind. Uncomplicated, and says what she means. Too much feminine mystique can be a mistake. Thinks for herself and is not clingy. A girl who fosters intelligent opinions and has the confidence and poise to pose them.
Gracefully polite and courteous. Manners matter to good guys. Graceful in damage control. She adroitly resolves difficulties and keeps her cool. Graceful in posture; fit and strong. Did you know that, all the girls' sports programs notwithstanding, American girls statistically stop exercising at age 13? Guys can't help but notice the fit and strong ideal girl/woman of Proverbs 31:17.
A good sense of style and modesty in dress. Bugs and guys that sting are attracted by bare skin; not the kind of guy you want to win. Cleanliness in person and housekeeping. This reveals much about who you are inside (and it applies to guys too!). Empathetic; notices the needs of others and is willing to serve. This is the essence of Christian love for fellow man. Desire to teach children. Remember, dating eventually leads to marriage, which leads to kids.
Good cook and good driver. Trust guys to think of the practical. Joyful, happy personality with a good sense of humor; a complete person. The girl who is balanced, comfortable with herself, emotionally healthy and who doesn't take herself too seriously is the kind of girl that guys are drawn to. Strong in the faith and dedicated to God and His ways. High spiritual standards may not make you popular with a lot of fellows, but they're not the ones you want to date anyway.
Then a funny thing happened in our discussion—the girls decided that they needed to add to their list of what they want to see in guys. Perhaps it's not surprising, though, because communications experts say that the average man speaks about 15,000 words a day, but the average woman intones closer to 30,000. So speak on, ladies.
More of what girls want
A good cook and a good eater. Lasses like lads who won't starve when they're on their own and who can lend a hand in the kitchen. Emotionally secure, with absolute trust and trustworthiness. Someone who is steady at the wheel and loyal to the core. Ability to compromise on practical matters (and who doesn't pout when he doesn't get his own way). Common sense and intelligence. These are vital when a girl seeks to follow a guy's lead on a date or in life.
Willingness to change when needed. Stubbornness is unattractive in both genders. Ability to rightly prioritize his life. This kind of a fellow can get some traction. Right kind of ambition; a go-getter. This applies to education and career, and wise girls notice it. Most importantly, a strong belief in God and His way of life. Spiritual wishy-washiness is a danger sign to girls with eyes to see.
It was a fascinating discussion. It was straight-up, vertical thinking from a perceptive group of your peers. Why not give this list a vertical thought or two of your own? It may prove most useful in making your true dating experiences in family, group and couple settings come alive with value.
Don't sell yourself short. Don't give your heart—or body—to the wrong kind of person or at the wrong time. Right dating is a fine art that builds life skills with practice. In the middle of that emotional battlefield of the sexes, called modern dating, grows a single, perfect rose. Ask God to lead you to it, and when the time is right, with His blessing, to carry it home and make it your own. VT