Finding ‘the right girl’, is easier… and harder… than you think.
It’s easier because there are way, way more great girls out there than you think.
It’s harder because their being ‘the right girl’, depends to large degree… on you fellas.
Most men are not out and about looking for their life partner the same way that they go to a car yard, looking for a new car. We never have a list of prospective partners in mind that we’re comparing and trying to decide in a logical way which one is most preferable. But we’re still looking…
There is definitely a subtler sense in which, you’re available, and you’re keeping your eye out for the girl that grabs your attention. You have friends, and you make acquaintances and you’re mentally sizing up girls you meet based on whatever limited information you have about them (not the least of which being how hot they are), based on the theoretical possibility that they might show an interest in you.
When a man is dating a woman, again, he’s not looking her up and down and keeping a well defined list of pros and cons and making an objective, mechanical decision about the relationship. It’s definitely more subjective than that. Nonetheless, it is on a man’s mind, ‘is this the right girl for me?’. Are we sufficiently compatible? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Can I see myself being with this girl for the rest of my life? Do I like her parents?
Before we get into it, I know some of you might be thinking that you don’t have any criteria. “Hell I’ll be happy just to know she likes me” you’ll say. Or you think it’s best to just wait for the right girl to come along. Because, of course that conveniently avoids the all the awkwardness of having to be rejected right? Just wait until you bump into the right one and let fate take care of itself.
This is definitely not ideal. The right girl is not the corner of a table you smack your little toe on, on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night… in winter.
She also does not want to marry you under the pretense that you would’ve just as easily married a shaved monkey if you could only catch it.
Stop being a self defeating mop. Step up, and give yourself some credit. Christ died for you remember, you’re not the bottom of the barrel.
The problem with typical relationship advice
We have relationship advice based on personality types, mutual interest (are we both Christians, do we both like the same kind of Jazz music), even science (apparently). We have relationship advice based on personal characteristics; the right girl has to be neat, a good cook, not a phoney, not materialistic (but not a slob). They describe potential pitfalls, red flags, must have qualities, compatibility requirements. You name it, it’s out there.
The fact is, this kind of pro-con, compatibility styled advice about matchmaking has serious limitations…
People inevitably change over time
For starters, no one is perfect, and nothing ever stays the same. This one is not a real shocker, everybody knows ‘no ones perfect’, it’s on TV, it’s in the movies, it’s in the Bible, it’s all over the web.
But it’s more complicated than that. It’s not enough to know that no one is perfect. We’re not just ‘imperfect’ in the sense that we are all different and we will never find some exactly like us; we’re also not static creatures with rigid unchanging personalities.
People are naturally complex, dynamic creatures and our relationships, ideals, moods, character traits, etc. are fluid and malleable. We underestimate how much we are affected by little environmental cues and changes. Slight variations in our brain chemistry from one day to the next are constantly shaping us and influencing our mood and values.
We learn constantly and we reflect and think deeply, we change our minds. We change our tastes and desires over time as our brain receives new information, and as it is being processed and organised… we respond accordingly. Rightly so too, this is part of what makes us human.
We really have no idea what we want
Secondly, we’re assuming we actually know what we want (and that it never changes). Most of us have no idea what we really want. Worse still, what we want is likely to change depending on our circumstances. All that learning and processing that we do day to day, month to month, year to year, is being processed by our brains and new information and experiences often test our assumptions about the world. Things we were once certain of become less so. Some days I wake up and I feel carved out of stone. I can do my thing and I’m in the zone; ‘cake?’, ‘no thanks, trying to cut down’… the next day it’s like I know before I even get out bed, poor choices are going be made.
We want what we can’t have. Often our desires are self contradictory. People are notoriously indecisive, and we often regret many of the decisions we make over time.
My poor wife. I get distracted when I am driving… easily. This is less problematic when I’m driving alone, since I haven’t driven off a cliff yet. But when my wife is in the car, who likes to talk, and ask me about my day, it’s not at all uncommon for me to engage in conversation, and miss a turn off (that I have taken a million times before without a hitch).
Understandably, she doesn’t like it when I do this. So she tries to very graciously remind me to take the right turns.
I, less understandably, get annoyed when my wife tells me to take a turn I know to take (because I have taken it a million times before without a hitch, except like once). I also get annoyed when I miss a turn off.
It really would be so much simpler if my wife could read my mind, and intuitively know exactly when I was brewing up a nice big brain fart, so that then, and only then, she could kindly remind me where we were going. It’s really not that much to ask. But that still wouldn’t solve the problem of me feeling hopelessly (and needlessly) emasculated by the inevitable reminder that I do not have a Jason Bourne level of awareness.
The right girl now will not necessarily be the right girl in the future, or tomorrow. Moreover, the kind of person your future squeeze will be when you meet her, will not be the same person ten years from now, or 50 years from now. “we just started to want different things”, “we’re not the same people we were when we were 20”. It’s such a tragedy to hear these kinds of excuses, as if it is somehow surprising.
The future is necessarily and delightfully uncertain
Thirdly, entering a relationship with a set of criteria, whether it is well defined or not, is that it assumes that dating a person for any length of time will allow you to accurately make an informed decision about the potential success of the relationship for the distant future, based on the current circumstances.
This is madness.
If nothing else, merely getting married changes the dynamic of a relationship. Even a long-term de-facto relationship, once the knot is tied, changes. It’s more permanent.
Couples date for however long, believing that once they make the decision to get married, it’s because they now know enough about the person to make an informed decision. But jobs, homes, friends, etc. will all come and go. If you have children, it is impossible to predict how this will affect your relationship ahead of schedule. The deaths of family members. Anything.
And you know what? That’s great!
Being together forever, is not going to happen because you never change, it’s going to happen because you change together.
There’s so much uncertainty in the external factors that affect your relationship. It’s literally impossible to know whether a relationship will work, purely on the basis of your compatibility in the present climate.
So what’s a man to do?
“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies.” – Proverbs 31:10
When marriages seem like such a crapshoot, how can we possibly end up in a relationship that will last?
The real secret
What is the major limitation with most relationship advice?
It is the reliance on external factors, or non-intrinsic factors, to do the heavy lifting of the relationship. It’s believing that character traits, are enough and are the key ingredient.
This misses the most important component of any relationship.
We have the choice, every day, to make the relationship work, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse.
As a man, it is your responsibility to make the choice to commit. Your relationship is not defined by your compatibility, or your ability to communicate effectively, it is defined by your attitude, and by the deliberate conscious choice to make it work, to weather every storm, to accept change, to adapt, and to love your woman, till death parts you. You’re armed with the knowledge that the future is necessarily uncertain, so don’t let it be an excuse.
You make a choice now, for life, no exceptions.
That’s pretty much it…
Why what were you expecting me to say?
It’s not that complicated fellas. Part of the reason that these relationship guides exist is because we all feel like there is some ingredient that we’re all missing out on, some little hack that our dad’s didn’t tell us and we’re searching for that one sure piece of advice. Nobody likes the uncomfortable truth that the onus is on us, as men. For better or worse, you make your life. You make your marriage. Stop looking for a cheat code.
How to find the right girl?
Now that’s all well and good. But obviously, your future love interest has to have the same attitude. It’s no good being all in if she’s the one that bails on you ten years down the track right?
How can you possibly know ahead of time that she won’t run off with the mail man?
Well there’s a couple things you can do to ensure that you’re getting the attention of the kind of girl you can bring home to your parents.
Well… since I can’t think of any clever way to segue into this point, I’ll just say this… be better than the mail man.
Become excellent, devote yourself to effectiveness, Godly wisdom and character, and you will open yourself up to the kind of virtuous woman described in Proverbs for whom “The heart of her husband safely trusts her”.
The kind of woman looking for a decent, trustworthy, honourable man of God, is going to be looking for a decent, trustworthy, honourable man of God (shocking).
Even if you’re not a Christian, when you model yourself on the backbone of integrity, honour and strength, you will find yourself becoming very attractive to the kind of woman for whom attitude is very important.
How do you do this?
Well you can start by subscribing to this blog. I know it’s pretty light on at the moment, but I’ll be filling it up with great information about how to start taking yourself more seriously as a man, both inside and out, how to become more effective and confident, and generally how to start taking control of the things that you have the power to change, and getting into the drivers seat of your own life.
There’s also tons, and tons, of great information out there already.
Brett Mackay over at the Art of Manliness, the Holy Grail of all things manly, has a seven year head start on me. His site is simply packed with everything from manly philosophy and wisdom, to truly badass skills like lockpicking, rope climbing, surviving a bear attack and more.
Another huge influence for me is Antonio Centeno of Real Men Real Style. Ever wondered why you have a favourite outfit, and every time you rock it you look amazing, but you can’t quite put your finger on why? Antonio will teach you why, and how to replicate that with your whole wardrobe. You will no longer have a favourite outfit, because everything looks sick, and you’ll know what to look for.
And I would be remiss not to mention the Holy Scriptures.
2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”. Need I say more?
If you’re reading this, and you’re wanting this; if you’re sick of being passive about every decision you make, sick of taking the path of least resistance. If you’re ready to take the narrow path, the narrow path that leads to life, then don’t wait for me mate. Today is the day.
Widen your search field
Last but not least, stop thinking that there’s no fish in the sea. This is possibly the most important point.
Finding a great trustworthy woman who will stick by you through the tough times might sound like a long shot, except that there are far more of them than you probably think there are. They’re out there wondering the same thing you are. How can I possibly find someone who is going to protect me, and care for me when the going gets tough?
Where are all the men?
There are so many really great girls out there just waiting to be found.
The goal of dating is not to find out if she’s the one.
Instead, before you ask, assume that she is the one, because you asked, and be ready to go with it. Chances are you’ve hung out with the girl a couple times before she really got your attention (or before you drummed up the cajones to ask her out), by now many of the most obvious reasons that she’s not a keeper will be clear. If not then a first date is going to take care of that.
… “of course the cops never found out about that”
… “My favourite show is Home and Away”
… “So I’m studying at Griffith at the moment…”
Now you’re going to be throwing your fishing rod into a much, much bigger ocean. Moreover, you’re going to spend far less time fishing. It will not take you three years to figure out if her attitude towards marriage is the same as yours.
This is not the same as lowering your standards. I’m not saying you should be willing to marry anyone, just because. I’m saying that when you have the right attitude, and the right priorities, then the number of women who meet your standards gets much, much larger.
Finally, this does not mean that she’s not special, or unique. On the contrary, what is special and unique about her, is not that she has some arbitrary quality that you just happen to like, but that you chose her, and she chose you.
She is the right girl because you asked her to be, and you didn’t ask someone else.
Because when you ask her, what you’re really asking is:
“Will you allow me to dedicate my life to you, and you alone, for the rest of our lives, no exceptions?”
Thanks a lot for reading fellas, I hope you found this useful and/or entertaining.
If not then make sure to leave a comment and tell me what I can do to make it better for you.
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