by Kenneth Justice
~Yesterday I received a phone call from a single friend of mine who began complaining about the dating scene, “What do women really want in a man?” he said, “It seems as though they only care about two things; a guy who has a magnetic personality and who earns a ton of money, doesn’t my intelligence count for anything?” he asked?
I tried to explain to him that younger women (and men) definitely might display a tendency toward looking for qualities in a mate that might be on the more ‘superficial’ side….but as we mature we learn that there are more important qualities that matter when it comes to choosing a significant other.
Yet even as I write that last paragraph….I find myself wondering how many of us actually do grow ‘more mature’ in the area of choosing a mate as we get older. After all, we know that 50% of marriages end in divorce, and of the marriages that end up lasting over the long haul; psychologists have actually found that most marriages don’t bring a very high percentage of increased happiness to an individual’s life. So are we really looking for the right qualities in another person when we date?
What qualities should we be looking for?
If I’m going to be honest with you, I have to admit that ‘money’ pops into my mind when it comes to long term relational happiness. After all, study after study has found that the number one area of conflict in marriages is always connected to money. But if we look at wealthy couples…..they demonstrate the same level of proclivity toward divorce, infidelity and other marital problems….so I guess a spouse who earns a ton of money really doesn’t change things very much….does it?
Often times when I discuss the topic of marriage people will say its a ‘dying institution” and even though my Christian upbringing wants to object to that kind of mindset…..I can’t deny the statistics; divorce, infidelity, low levels of happiness among married people.
But, maybe the problem isn’t that marriage is a dying institution; perhaps the problem is that too many people looked for the wrong qualities in a mate, and maybe there are a lot of people out there that never should have gotten married in the first place.
Perhaps its time we begin telling our children that ‘marriage isn’t for everyone’ and for those people that it is for; maybe we need to realign our philosophy when it comes to qualities we should look for in a mate.
One of the problems with living in the Western World is that we are a very individualistic people. Compared to other cultures we are much more isolated and much more disconnected from each other. While I’m not advocating some type of radical communism, there is much we could learn from countries which are more communal in their social structures. Thus, I often wonder if it isn’t our individualistic attitudes in the West that is contributing to the massive breakdown we see in marriage and intimate relationships; perhaps we are looking to get more out of a relationship than one person could ever give to us.
Since we are social creatures at our core, perhaps the lack of deeper social community has contributed to out-of-whack expectations when it comes to relationships.
Psychologists have determined that a higher level of a specific protein in the female brain has ‘wired’ women to using on average as many as 13,000 more words-per-day than men. Doesn’t this then tell us that women need more than merely ‘one man’ (or one woman) in their life to entirely satisfy their need for communication and intelligent stimulation?
Yet what do we so often see in the dating scene; people who date tend to spend an exorbitant amount of time with each other. Especially amongst younger daters…there is often a tendency to spend a lot of time with each other, often at the expense of their other friendships. However, its having a larger quality social group that could benefit our relationships.
Perhaps the key to successful relationships and marriages; is a successful social community. Maybe when we say, “it takes a village to raise a child”, we should also add, “It takes a village to create a good marriage”.
Then again….perhaps all the coffee I drink has numbed my neural receptors and I’m typing a bunch of nonsense…….which reminds me; I think I’ll have another coffee now,