Often when I talk to guys about dating and marriage I hear a lot about what they are looking for in a woman. They have a whole list of demands that are non-negotiable. Normally, if you add the list up the women they’re describing sounds a lot like them. I barely ever hear a guy talk about how he can become a better man for his future and unknown wife. The problem is, if you are just focused on pleasing yourself, you are going to end up by yourself.
So to help my fellow man, I’ve compiled a short list to help you begin working to become the man of every woman’s dreams—or at least not a man of every woman’s nightmares. I’ve made many mistakes on my way to getting married. I’ve also gotten to see a lot of other guys make mistakes during their bachelor years. This list comes from many of those experiences.
Now, when I refer to “single guys,” I’m not talking about being without a girlfriend, although many of these things can contribute to that too. I’m talking about single as in what you have to put on your taxes. Unmarried.
Keep in mind that just because you stop making these mistakes does not mean a wife will appear on your doorstep. But your odds of husbandhood will increase dramatically.
**Results may vary according to personality and God’s will.**
1. You don’t clean anything.
Of all my mistakes made in my single years, I may be most ashamed of this. My room in college was so bad that literally you could not see the carpet. My belongings and clothes didn’t just cover the floor, it was in layers—like stratified geologic timeline, layers. The deeper I dug, the farther in the past I could travel, finding things that were months old just lying there. Instead of stepping on my stuff—you never know what your foot may crunch on—I perfected the eight-foot jump from my door to my bed. (Which of course was not on a bed frame or box-spring. Just on the floor.)
When Rebecca and I were dating, she one time saw my bathroom and started crying. Wish I was joking.
If you don’t know how to take care of your space, it reflects on you. That doesn’t mean you need to be OCD and vacuum every speck of dust as it appears. But you should have a general cleanliness that proves you live in a developed country with electricity.
Hot tip: Cleanliness will automatically set you apart from the pack because so many men neglect it.
Laundry is good too.
2. You don’t clean yourself.
Learn how to keep yourself well-groomed. This means you take showers and actually use the soap and shampoo. Don’t forget to put deodorant on.
And shave. The patchy mustache may be fun for your guy friends but according to an informal poll I took of four women I randomly asked, they do not share your sentiments. Most women don’t think it’s as funny as you do.
Also the hair. Unless you know the girl you are into likes long hair, keep it shorter and nice. You don’t need to have some sort of fancy hipster Prohibition-era cut, but you should look like you have a job and a home. Which brings me to my next point.
3. You don’t have a job and are not working towards one.
Some may take issue with this but I think it’s important. Guys, we were created to work. To get callouses on our hands. To get dirt under our fingernails. To sweat. To create. To cultivate. To provide.
If you don’t have money for a date, you shouldn’t try to go on them. And you definitely shouldn’t try to make her pay for one.
If you don’t have a job but are pursuing one, that’s better than being static on the couch while your mom cooks up your Hot Pockets for you. Of course there are exceptions because of circumstances, but most likely you don’t qualify for such an exception.
4. You spend more time with pixels than people.
This includes video games, TV, movies, iPhone, iPad, social media, Candy Crush, or whatever. You eventually need to go outside. Learn to interact with flesh and blood. Learn to have real life conversations where you talk about more than just the latest Halo game or fantasy football league.
Learn to feel what other people feel. It’s called relationships and community. Just like we were created to work, we were created to know and be known. Your shoot-em-up buddies on Xbox Live from Sweden do not count.
If you don’t know how to interact with people, than you will not know how to treat a woman.
5. You are addicted to pornography
On a more serious note.
She may not know about your addiction, but I don’t care. You are not fit to date any daughter of God until you get this under control, let alone marry them.
This is not an unfair standard.
Much porn is linked to prostitution (Normally under-aged prostitution). If you are viewing pornography, even on “free” websites, you are feeding a monstrous system that preys on young and vulnerable women who have no power. At the very least, you are perpetuating a culture that objectifies women and treats them as objects to be used instead of women made in the image of God, whom Jesus loves and died for. Those women are daughters, sisters, and even mothers.
If you think it’s not as big of a deal as it is, read my series for the Ekklesia blog on pornography. It’s a big deal.
Get help and kill your sin.
Women: Don’t lower your standards. You deserve better.
6. You don’t know how to lead.
Specifically, I’m talking about leading spiritually. You should know how to point everyone around you to Christ—especially a woman you’re dating.
You know you’re ready to lead spiritually when you’re able to lead yourself spiritually. This means, you’re disciplined in your relationship with Christ. You know how to study the Bible. You’re a part of a vibrant church that preaches the Gospel and upholds Scripture. You seek the Lord in prayer. You serve your church and give to your church. And so many more things.
Ultimately, it’s not about going through a checklist of things and magically becoming ready to lead. It’s about your heart (Matthew 6:21). Is Christ the greatest treasure of your life? If not, then you need to work on that first.
If something else is the greatest treasure of your life, you don’t know how to lead yourself spiritually, let alone a woman. If you’re not leading, then very easily your sin will lead. If your sin is leading, then you may drag one of God’s daughters down with you. If your relationship is not about Jesus or honoring Him, then you’re not loving her like she deserves to be loved.
7. You don’t pursue women.
Assuming you’ve worked on the previous six problems, if you want to marry a woman, you must first talk to one—actually get to know one.
Don’t sit around and wait for her to come to you. She may never walk up to you because your silence is telling her that you’re not interested. You know what’s going to happen? Some other guy is going to come in and make her feel like a million dollars. Guess which guy she’ll be getting coffee with the next day?
But don’t overcompensate and be a player—or obnoxious. Making multiple women at the same time think you are interested in them is not pursuing a woman. That’s toying with their emotions. You’re using them.
To pursue a woman you have to get to know her. Ask her questions. What are her dreams, hopes, fears, desires, hurts? You should talk less about yourself and more about her.
If you’re growing in these things, pursuing Christ, and you see a woman you’re interested in, calm down. Take a deep breath. Put yourself out there. But this is important to know: If she says no or doesn’t seem to show interest, it means no, so don’t keep bugging her (It’s cute in the movies but creepy in real life). If she says yes, get to know her and see what adventures happen next.
I’m sure I could’ve added more, but seven felt like a good number. If you have more suggestions, I would love to hear them in the comment section!