It’s so funny how we know our self worth and how we should be treated when we’re single. Then suddenly, we meet the guy that shows us some flattering attention and we’re knocked off our game. Some of those lovely ideals and standards you carried for your future boyfriend flies right out the window. And because we are in loooove now, our once 20/20 vision is blurred and the values we once held don’t seem so important anymore. Our friends hear all the justifications as to why he doesn’t need to be this or that. For example, “Oh we don’t need to share the same faith, he has a good heart.” (I used that one myself.) Or, “He doesn’t have to get along with my friends, they actually are kind of annoying. I just never saw it until now.”
Then one day, we wonder how in the world we ever got to this place with this person who isn’t at all what we imagined. Deep down, we wonder if our desires and hopes are unrealistic, if maybe the way he mistreats us is our fault, that we somehow deserve to settle.
So this list is for two reasons. First, if you’re not in a relationship yet, this serves as a framework of basic qualities to keep an eye on when you’re dating and meeting new guys. Secondly, it’s for those who are in a relationship now and are looking for some clarity on whether to move forward.
Patience: There is safety with a person who doesn’t give every single inconvenience, delay or trouble the power to upset him or ruffle his feathers. Observe how he handles things when they don’t go his way. Do you constantly have to calm him down?
Kind: Your man should notice and call out the beauty in you. You should feel gorgeous, empowered and worthy when you are with him. Depending on your love language (physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gift giving & acts of service), is he intentional about making sure you feel uplifted and loved in that area? For instance, my love language is quality time so it makes my heart feel so covered when my husband purposely plans out time alone just for us. It shows me that he cares and is willing to put his other priorities aside and love me in the way that I am fueled by it the most.
Encouraging: He celebrates your talents, passions, family time and friendships. He does not envy your relationships with friends or become jealous when you receive recognition. He also doesn’t try to talk you out of opportunities that are aligned with your life’s purpose. He doesn’t allow jealousy to come between you and loved ones or your dreams.
Humble: He is able to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry” quickly. Your guy can thank and acknowledge others when they help them and also can acknowledge when he has wronged you without pointing fingers and making a trail of excuses. That gets you nowhere but backwards, and probably in a more drawn out fight, causing more damage to the relationship.
Honoring: He knows your time and heart is valuable, therefore he honors his plans and commitments he makes with you. He says what he means and means what he says, and you can trust him because of this. Most importantly, he honors your family by never speaking badly about them or instigating division. Whether he likes them or not is irrelevant, it is a matter of respect and it gives you a nice preview of how he will treat you when less than perfect patches occur in a potential marriage.
Generous: He isn’t just a taker, there must be balance. You may be the kind of woman who receives her value from giving. Giving is a wonderful thing, but it can be detrimental to your soul eventually if it is taken advantage of and not reciprocated by your man. Be sure he isn’t only with you for what you give to him, but because he genuinely finds joy in giving to you as well.
Even- Tempered: He is not easily angered or at least knows how to handle his anger when he is provoked. You may not think you would ever be the victim of his temper while you’re in the dating phase, but the way he reacts to others and particularly his own family members, shows you his true character and you will deal with it eventually. If you want a family one day, imagine how he would respond when the house is messy, loud and chaotic. You want to be with a guy who will be a safe person for not only you, but future children.
He can let it go: He knows how to move forward and never holds your mistakes or embarrassing moments against you. He covers your reputation, emotions and dignity by never seeking to humiliate you.
Voice of Reason: He helps you move past conflict or difficult situations. He doesn’t fuel the fire of conflict, instead he helps offer sound perspective with logic and truth.
Protective: You know you can always count on him to defend you or stand up for you in any situation. He should always have your back, physically and emotionally.
Trusting: He doesn’t regularly accuse you of baseless actions like flirting with another guy when you didn’t even look at him. This stirs you to constantly defend yourself, which can cause you to feel crazy and even start questioning yourself. It’s psychological and a way for him to establish control. Your man should trust you and always assume the best about you.
Persistent: He fights for you, your relationship and doesn’t abandon you when conflict arises.
You become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, so if your boyfriend gets the biggest percentage of your time, he has a huge impact on you. That’s why it is wise to align yourself with a man who brings out the best in you, not the worst.
By the way, I’m not making this list up. The definition of love is laid out here. To check how your boyfriend is doing in the love department, replace the word, “love” with his name.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
At the end of the day, of course we all aren’t going to be all 12 of these all of the time. As wise, discerning women, we can extend grace, encouragement and compassion in weak moments. What matters is that their heart is in a place where they want to be the best version of themselves and they do what it takes to see that transpire.
If this message blessed you, be a blessing by sharing with others.