This is the final part of the relationship Series.
If you haven't read the other 2 parts, you can read them here:
To recap, let's ask ourselves the following questions once again:
- What character traits have I valued in the past? What traits do I value now?
- Do I know myself enough to be able to meet new people and know which ones to give further emotional investment?
- How am I growing to be better at healthy relationships?
- Do I love my life? Would I be proud to give a person I was interested in, a grand tour of my life?
GETTING TO KNOW THEIR SOUL
My girlfriend Anna* has been with her long term boyfriend Nigel* for just over a year. With every respect for their flourishing relationship, it truly is a Beauty & The Beast arrangement. She is the show-stopping, front-and-centre cheerleader, and he, the overlooked, extremely average Joe.
I love listening to her talk about Nigel, because it is proof of the onion-layers theory: judge their appearance all you like, but it is their soul that actually matters.
I am guilty of judging Nigel. Anna is objectively - beautiful.
While formerly she had dated the easily handsome, community-approved-based-on-appearance male, her recent social media photos of him + her together sent my judgments spiralling. "What was she doing with him?" "She can do so much better."
Until we caught up as two girlfriends alone in my car, I experienced a peaceful, brimming-with-happiness Anna, from being adored by a man who genuinely cared for her and understood her.
"He's quite dull and doesn't talk as much as I do, but he'll put on our favourite comedy band and start randomly singing to me. He makes me laugh so hard."
"He wasn't sure if we'd be able to get the same time off work for my birthday, so he bought me a voucher for Quay restaurant and told me I could take whoever I wanted. Of course I wanted to take him!"
It is a snuggly fit for our movie-influenced-stereotypes that the "Nice Guy Gets The Girl". Not to say that good looking, smooth-talking males are all douchebags, it just seems to be a common experience amongst myself and any of my physically attractive girlfriends that most of the handsome-prince types tend to make crappy boyfriends. (We'll dig deeper into why this is in another post).
COMPATIBILITY OF PERSONHOOD
MR or MS RIGHT
As 2 people pedal slowly to assess the other's character, taking responsibility for their own happiness and being honest and upfront about who the other is, I want to share the following questions I ask myself whenever a Suitor crosses my path.
I have phrased them as concretely as possible.
Arguably, compatibility of personhood is complicated. However, it can be broken down into these following categories:
CONFIDENCE & ATTRACTION
TRUST & CHARACTER
This is not an exhaustive list, but a much-thought-out, curated one, true to my own life and road tested on a few others.
Some are self explanatory, and others will receive a tagline explanation.
- Could our conversation go on for hours without me looking at the time?
Assessing: Implicit Compatibility, connection.
- Am I genuinely impressed by what he has made of his life so far?
Assessing: Your admiration and respect of the other.
- Do I want to sleep with her?
Assessing: Physical attraction, chemistry.
In any relationship leading towards marriage, friendship love needs to prequel this. It sounds obvious but I know of a few people who believed physical attraction would grow over time, and it unfortunately never did!
- Would I ever have to babysit her at a social gathering?
Assessing: Confidence level, trust, social (extrovert/introvert) compatibility.
When you start taking her to your friend's birthday parties, drinks nights and Poetry Slams, it's comforting to know you can catch up with other people after introducing them to a few new faces and trust they can spark conversations independently.
- Does he pass the Do Nothing Together test?
Assess by: Catching the train together from Sydney to Wollongong (1.5 hours). Just the 2 of you. Alone.
Does it result in: effortless banter and comfortable silences OR pulling teeth for something else to talk about? I have used this test on many of my friends unbeknownst to them. I am sure they have also used it on me.
In the words of Tim Urban, "marriage is not made up of Valentine's Days or your 3rd Wedding Anniversary; marriage is the 324th boring Wednesday evening."
If there is no agenda and you both frolic successfully, creating fun out of the unsuspecting ether, you've got great potential for an enjoyable, happy long term relationship.
- Do we think the same jokes are funny?
Assessing: Humour style, implicit compatibility, connection.
- What was the last book he read?
Assessing: Intellectual compatibility, curiosity.
This is important for thinkers like us. S personality types tend to be less inclined to read for pleasure, and while I pass no judgment, I am less likely to believe they will make an appropriate match for me.
- Can she follow my train of thought and random tangents?
Assessing: Implicit compatibility and understanding each other.
- Could I depend on him if my car broke down on a highway?
Assessing: Trust and reliability of character.
- How does she treat wait staff, homeless people and street charity strikers?
Assessing: Humility level and character.
Another way of saying this is"how does she treat people who can offer her nothing?"
- Does he genuinely apologise when he is wrong? Is he gracious and merciful when I am wrong?
Assessing: Humility level, character, trust, ability to forgive and give grace.
- Does he actively pursue good relationships with his family?
Assessing: emotional responsibility, resilience, perseverance, proactivity with involuntary relationships.
Basically: no one gets to choose their family, only their friends. So if the state of his family is in a mess, but he attends counselling, takes his Mum out to lunch once a week, and tries to make amends with his absent Father, that is a good sign.
- Do I get on with their closest friends?
Assessing: Their identity and self-perception. If we are the average of our 5 closest friends, it is a reflection of who we have chosen to influence us deeply, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
- Is he following a plan for his career? (May not be as important to men as it is to women).
Assessing: Financial responsibility. Can he take care of you? Is he driven? Does he take initiative?
I'm very passionate about work as a tool to restore dignity and instil purpose. Work ethic is a reflection of a person's character and understanding of how to take responsibility.
- Does he relish in taking care of me?
Assessing: Trust and character.
For women - watch out for his attitude toward acts of service. Little deeds of thoughtfulness like taking the cheque at dinner, buying you a macchiato when you're tired, remembering your big presentation at work will prove that he cares about what is going on in your life.
- Do we share the same expectations for where this relationship is going?
Assessing: Trust, character, equal intentions.
I am pro-clarity and honesty. Once I have been on a few dates with a guy, I expect him to honour my emotional investment by letting me know whether we are just friends or more than that.
Not to say you are only befriending him for an outcome, but high volumes of exclusive time usually equals intimacy. It's just how we're wired.
I hope these articles have been helpful in your personal journey towards finding the love of your life! Being single should be fun; a period of self-exploration and building identity capital.
Once we truly know and understand ourselves, we will have clarity about the kind of person we will want to spend the rest of our lives with.
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READ MORE OF THE WEEKLY COMFORT BLOG:
- May 31, 2017 How To Not Be Intimidated By Really Attractive People May 31, 2017
- Apr 21, 2017 How To Let Him Pursue You Apr 21, 2017
- Jan 18, 2017 A Note on Work Ethic Jan 18, 2017
- Nov 1, 2016 9 Thoughts on Christian App & Online Dating Nov 1, 2016
- Oct 25, 2016 A Note to The Creatives Oct 25, 2016
- Jul 31, 2016 A Note on Money Jul 31, 2016
- Jun 30, 2016 Like Does He Have A Car? Why Financial Stability Is So Important To Women Jun 30, 2016
- Jun 8, 2016 Part 5. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: The 10 Blindspots of Faith-Filled Single Gents Jun 8, 2016
- Jun 1, 2016 Part 4. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: The 10 Blindspots of Faith-Filled Single Ladies Jun 1, 2016
- May 26, 2016 Part 3. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: In Defence of the Friend Zone May 26, 2016
- May 19, 2016 Part 2. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: Some Practical Applications May 19, 2016
- May 10, 2016 Part 1. Introduction to Navigating The Christian Dating Culture May 10, 2016
- May 4, 2016 The Self-Respecting Person's Guide to Networking May 4, 2016
- April 2016
- Mar 30, 2016 The Love We Crave Series: Parents Mar 30, 2016
- Mar 24, 2016 A Note on Intimacy Mar 24, 2016
- Mar 17, 2016 So Cool Was SoCal: Mexican Food, Margaritas and Money Matters Mar 17, 2016
- Mar 6, 2016 So Far in SoCal: Observations from an Asian Australian Tourist Mar 6, 2016
- Feb 24, 2016 5 Truths to Help You Annihilate Self-Doubt Feb 24, 2016
- Feb 19, 2016 4 Reasons Why I'd Like To Stop Swearing Feb 19, 2016
- Feb 10, 2016 The 7 Benefits of Being Asian Feb 10, 2016
- Feb 1, 2016 4 Things You Need To Know About Your Personality Type Feb 1, 2016
- Jan 19, 2016 Part 3 – Figuring Out Who We Want To Be In A Relationship With Jan 19, 2016
- Jan 12, 2016 Part 2 - Figuring Out Why We Want To Be In A Relationship Jan 12, 2016
- Jan 11, 2016 Part 1 - Figuring Out What We Want In A Relationship Jan 11, 2016
- Jan 4, 2016 7 Strategies for Controlling Negative Emotions Jan 4, 2016
- Dec 31, 2015 The 1 New Year's Resolution That Will Actually Work Dec 31, 2015
- Dec 29, 2015 10 Questions to Test Your Self-Awareness & Self-Respect Dec 29, 2015
- Dec 21, 2015 5 Tips On Handling Rejection Well Dec 21, 2015
- Dec 12, 2015 7 Tips to Help You Kill It On Stage Dec 12, 2015
- Dec 7, 2015 Poetry: 5 Life Lessons That Took Me Forever to Understand Dec 7, 2015
- Dec 1, 2015 Short Story: Power Dec 1, 2015
- November 2015