Read your list very carefully. If your qualities sound like they may be describing your best girl friend (sweet, sensitive, watches romantic movies with you), you might want to refocus and truly prioritize. Or, if your list includes your man building you your dream house, ripping off his shirt regularly, kissing you in the rain daily, or climbing a ferris wheel for you, you might be describing Noah from The Notebook.
You might just need to rip that list and start over.
Listen: I’m not saying that men won’t or can’t be sensitive, sweet, caring, or romantic. Most wonderful men in this world have all of those qualities. However, our culture has placed extremely unrealistic and unfair expectations on men. We feel entitled to the “fairytale.” We believe that we deserve prince charming 100% of the time. We are told to settle for nothing less than perfect romance every single day.
Each Tuesday for Twos-Day (since scripture tells us that two are better than one), I am interviewing women of wisdom in my life to talk about healthy relationships. Today, I talked to my dear friend and mentor, Rachel Z. Davis. Here is what she had to say on the topic of realistic expectations:
“It is culture and all the rom-com movies and Disney fairytale endings that tell me as a woman I am entitled to be loved the way I want. Truthfully though, many of us want our husbands to love us the way a woman loves. That is simply unfair. It also sets our men up to fail 99.999 % of the time. Men are men. Women are women. We each love differently and each have different needs. Women need to feel loved, men need to feel respected.”
When we place unrealistic expectations on men, we are setting them up for failure. It was crucial for me to get amazing girl friends in my life, that way my fiance doesn’t have the pressure of having to be my best gal pal and boy at the same time.
Also, real love centered around God is beautiful. Your story with whatever godly man you end up with will be far more exciting than any Nicholas Sparks novel. If you are currently in a relationship, men want to show us more love the more they feel respected. Don’t set him up for failure. Encourage him. Tell him what you love about him. Praise him when he does something right. Don’t point out flaws, faults, and shortcomings. As women, we are fixers. We love to point out everything that isn’t perfect. This is something I am working on and always will be. Telling a man that he is disappointing you isn’t going to make him any more excited to buy you flowers.
If you are single, instead of praying for the perfect man, be in prayer that God will prepare your heart for a relationship. God had a lot of mending to do in my life before I was in a healthy enough place to be engaged to the man of my dreams.
If you are in a relationship and feel tempted to complain to your significant other or tell him what you wish he were doing, I encourage you to take that complaint to God in prayer. Think on it. Pray on it. And in the midst of the struggle, I challenge you to build your man up even more. Encourage him and remind yourself of all the wonderful qualities he has.
Prioritize your “must have” list…and remember that if you are with a godly man who loves Jesus, every little flaw or irritation is worth overlooking.