This Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d do something different. People who follow my writing know that I rarely give guy’s dating advice. I feel that it can be hard for a woman to effectively mentor a man on dating, because let’s face it: we have not walked in their shoes. Nevertheless, a sincere Catholic man recently asked me for dating tips. From a woman’s perspective, this is what I offered:
1) Get comfortable with taking the lead in your relationships: Not in a bossy, domineering sort of way, but in a kind, cheerful and confident way. I say this because women will lose hope and “move on” if a relationship is not going anywhere. Catholic girls are typically relying on the man to take the initiative.
If you are clear that you want to get married and have discerned thoroughly, it behooves you to get serious about your life direction and relationship goals. Do this by nudging your relationships forward when it’s time. Your special lady will love you for it.
2) Put yourself out there: A smart guy can find opportunities in many venues and get the courage to ask for dates. Even if you are shy at big, in-person social events, I promise you that you can find some good catches online. If you do not have luck on the Christian sites, what about secular dating sites? This is a wall that many Catholics are afraid to jump over, but I assure you that Catholic girls are everywhere.
Get involved in your parish if you are in a good location with lots of singles, but ask yourself if there are other parishes in your area with more singles? What events have more to offer? Are there opportunities for speed-dating? Lectures with receptions afterwards? Volunteer activities? It depends on the area, so the answers can vary, but if you are creative, you will find some fun options that suit your personality.
3) Get your career and finances in order: A guy with a ton of unmanageable debt is totally unattractive to a woman who wants to have a family. A man who wants to attract a good wife should have a career path or at least have some sort of plan for how he is going to earn a decent living. Even if he is not going to be the only breadwinner, this is important, because the woman will not want to enter a situation where she has to “carry” the guy barring temporary crises or severe illnesses that pop up after marriage.
Modern women tend to be multi-talented and capable in a variety of arenas, but she is still the more vulnerable person when it comes to pregnancy. Be the strong man she needs you to be and get ready to provide some measure of financial security.
4) Take care of your health and appearance: Women will usually prioritize a guy’s personality, heart and words when it’s time to choose a mate, but they do notice appearance when they are closely evaluating between different guys. If a woman is online and actively dating, she could have a few dates in one week, so try to make the best first impressions that you can. Exercise, eat well, get your sleep, and buy some new and flattering clothes and shoes.
5) Get to the root of any emotional obstacles: I know guys don’t typically like the touchy feely type of stuff, but really, if you’ve got some buried emotional hurts that are affecting your relationships, it’s to your benefit to deal with them. You can get the most beautiful, faith-filled woman to date you and lose her through infantile temper tantrums, a reluctance to commit, or abusive behavior. Nobody is perfect and we are all works in progress, but being the best you can be will strengthen your relationships.