Are You a Match? How Values Matter in Dating
A guest post for men by Elias Josué Calisto
Dating advice and techniques are as abundant and varied as there are people and cultures in the world. “Do these 10 simple things to make her fall for you,” says one magazine. “Top 5 things to avoid when asking a girl out,” says another. “How to get the girl, guaranteed” might read yet another headline (I’m making these up as I write, but I’m sure a simple search on a search engine will return something similar).
For the young man just starting his romantic pursuits and who has no guidance on this journey, discerning between good and bad advice becomes increasingly difficult if he doesn’t know himself and doesn’t know what he is looking for. It gets even harder when you start realizing how much of the advice tends to contradict itself.
My dating history is very short (i.e., I have very little experience), which I am very glad about since I never had a goal of dating as many people as possible. However, some of the things I have learned, especially those learned the hard way, have helped me learn some principles that can be applied to everyone regardless of background or interest when it comes to dating.
I don’t want to add to the confusion. I don’t want to provide a list of things or a recipe for Christian dating since every individual is different and what might work in one relationship might not work when applied to another one. Instead, I want to focus on one of these principles for the remainder of this article. I want to focus on one variable of the equation. It is one variable that carries a lot of weight and that, if set properly, can help establish a firm foundation in a relationship and greatly affect the course it takes. The principle I want to focus on is this: in unimportant matters, opposites attract, but when it comes to core values, like attracts like.
It is good to date someone different than you. After all, who wants to date a copy of himself? I, for example, am very introverted. I’ve never liked being the center of attention. While my younger brother loved having birthday parties and inviting friends over, I would always ask my mom to just take the three of us out for lunch and then to the store to pick out a couple of presents for me. Being introverted is one reason why I’ve always wanted to marry someone more outgoing, and it is one of the areas in which my fiancée’s personality greatly complements mine.
I tend to be quieter, especially as the number of people in the room increases, whereas she tends to be more talkative. She likes to go to sleep late and wake up late; I like to sleep early and wake up early. I try to be careful where I buy meat from to make sure the animal was raised properly, while she doesn’t put as much thought into it. These are just some of the areas in which we differ. Some complement each other; others are just general differences between us. Regardless of the many areas in which we differ, the reason why we have a loving relationship and are close to each other is because at the foundation of our relationship, we share the same values. We have the same (or similar) ideals regarding our political views, our love for God, goals we want to achieve as Christians, family size, etc.
It is important for a man to look for someone with the same core values as him when it’s time for a serious relationship. It’s not just about looks. It lays a weak foundation to base a relationship and future marriage on. The girl I dated before meeting my fiancée was a girl I was very much attracted to. However, as we got to know each other, we started to notice big differences in our values. I wanted a big family; she didn’t. I wanted to have pets in our home if we got married someday; she didn’t. I liked to talk about God, the Bible, and other religious topics; she didn’t. My attraction to her was not enough to make up for these large differences, and a few months later we broke up. When it comes to dating, values matter.
There’s a reason why the Bible warns about being unequally yoked in a relationship. If you and the person you’re in a relationship with are not pulling in the same direction, you will eventually end up wearing each other out. It’s much easier and more efficient to be with someone who is pulling in the same direction as you. It’s more beneficial when the foundation you are both laying for a future marriage is the same.
For more information on sex, marriage, and finding the person who is right for you, get a copy of Becoming the One by Salomé Roat. Click here to learn more.