Wednesday, April 22, 2009

3 Years down, time & all eternity to go

Like all people who have been married for a very short amount of time, I’m full of unsolicited advice about dating and marriage. Exactly 3 years ago I ended a long, fun run of singlehood- since one of my 6 readers happens to be single, here’s my unsolicited advice:

You choose who you fall in love with
Contrary to every romantic comedy around- you decide who you fall in love with. You decide what is attractive. Now, many people fall in love with less than desirables- my question is: why are you dating a less than desirable in the first place? You want to marry someone that is out of debt and has a steady job- you only date people that are out of debt and have steady jobs. You want to marry someone nice, only date nice people. This “I can’t help it, I love them” is a load of crap.

You can’t teach nice
You also can’t teach work ethic. Most girls want to date someone who is spontaneous, will make them laugh until they cry & loves to travel. Not many men are afraid of traveling, or hate laughing. So what if he isn’t the funniest guy in the world. Those things can be learned, but look for inherent traits that can’t be learned- like kindness, work ethic, loyalty….

There is a difference between attractive and hot
An attractive 25 year old will be an attractive 45 year old. A hot 25 year old, you’ve got no such guarantee.

Do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always got

Don’t look for apples on an orange tree
My grandfather use to say, “If you want to find apples, go to an apple tree” A friend of mine wants to marry a good church going girl- but he kept picking up girls at bars- um, newsflash, if you want to marry a church going girl…go to church.

You knew what it was when you picked it up
It kills me how many men marry a princess and then are genuinely surprised when she acts like a princess.

I'm opening this up to the rest of you- what piece of advice would you give a person that is on the hunt for a mate?


Steve said...

I think most people try to hard, thus come off looking desperate or too picky. I've always found love when I really didn't even want to find it, haha. And a great place to pick up women is the grocery store!

Sara said...

I couldn't agree more! I think my Aha! moment came when I decided if someone didn't like me for me just as I am then he wasn't right for me. Enjoying your blog!

Kamilli Vanilli said...

Go in with your eyes totally open. When you're dating, you have the right and luxury to be selective about certain things that matter. I know women(and this applies to men too)who have "signed up" to date men who are really needy or have serious issues, thinking that they can "solve" the man's problems and help them. The girls love feeling needed and wanted and important...and sometimes they really can help the guy they're dating. But they should take a hard look at what those issues are and decide if they are something they really want to deal with for the rest of their life in a marriage. Once you're married, you don't have that luxury anymore. You're committed to that person AND whatever baggage that person brings along. So you better decide beforehand if the baggage is too heavy to carry for the rest of your life.

Along with Steve and Sara's comments, if somebody doesn't like you, or has dumped or rejected you, Yeah, it hurts. And it will take time to get over it. But don't wallow in your misery and try to "convince" the person they've made a mistake. Nothing worse than a groveling, begging, desperate mate. And since it's wise to take all relationship advice from Bonnie Raitt :): "can't make you love me if you don't. You can't make your heart feel something it won't."
You just can't force love.

Robin said...

It's been too long for me to give advice on dating. Unless you are my child, then I have too much advice.

Happy Anniversary! I love that picture.

Della Hill said...

Happy Anniversary!
I remembered that today was your anniversary because it's mine too.
But I've got 9 years on you. lol
My advice would be to find someone that you can be yourself with.
Someone that you want to spend your lifetime, or even longer with, is someone who should be able to accept you for who and what you are.
And never settle. I don't care who you are, you deserve the best.

Steve said...

Della said it best, "someone you can be yourself with." Seriously, if the person you are dating irritates you or you find this or that or doing stuff to assist them as annoying, then move on, b/c it only gets harder, yet more rewarding. If you can't walk around nekkid in front of them while brushing your teeth, then you shouldn't marry them!

Courtney said...

So, as one of your single readers, I appreciate all of the advice and comments. It's nice to hear that there are others out there who think that there's nothing wrong with being really picky.

Melissa said...

I really love the way you think Kory. :) Happy Anniversary.

Crystal said...

Invest in yourself: your education, your spirituality, your physical & emotional health.
You will ultimately be more attractive, more confident and more capable of contributing to the partnership of a healthy relationship.
You will never regret spending time improving yourself and you will be prepared for whatever the future holds (marriage or not).

cropstar said...

I love everything you said. Loved the comments too. I love that you are so wise and are willing to share your wisdom.

Happy Anniversary!

Steve said...

Courtney - There is a difference between being really picky and being unrealistic. Mr./Ms. Perfect doesn't exist. And as soon as you think he/she does, you are setting yourself up for a big letdown.

bechtold clan said...

I agree with Steve- too picky and youve got a problem. I found Mr. Perfect- by being willing to open myself to possibilities that from the outside didnt look "perfect". The guy that didnt have the perfect job, or the "right" college degree. I dated someone that wasnt the most handsome, or wasnt perhaps the most fashionable. I found that even though I didnt marry them, it opened myself to possibilities. I wasnt waiting for perfect guy, and being so picky about the list. I became flexible and adjusted what really was important and what wasnt. Ultimately when I met my hubby, I realized I found what I wanted not because he was the perfect guy- but because we worked so well for eachother.

ray said...

I'm with Robin, dating advice is for my children. And that advice would include not reading the ridiculous "Twilight" books. But that's just because I want my daughter to think that love is about more than just looks, athletic ability, intense feelings, and the intrigue of being forbidden. "Sense and Sensibility", anyone?

Mama McKinley said...

Kory, what an awesome post!! I love it. This should be given as a talk to every young man and woman as they start the dating process (and then as a reminder in every singles ward). I also love what Crystal had to say in her comment.

Jo's Outlet said...

I'm a little late commenting, but I love this post and I agree with all the comments.

Happy anniversary, Salty!!

I, too, was single for a "long time" (in Mormon years, one year over age 21 is like 7 years non-Mormon-time.) I knew I wasn't too picky (hey, I dated not-so-attractive, less intelligent guys and "sweet spirits" along with handsome and intelligent guys.) Even though I had people tell me I was too picky, I knew I was just looking for the right guy for ME. I was waiting for it to feel right. I'd say go with your gut -- not just your heart. I would get too attached and that ruined my decision-making ability. I would get too upset after a breakup, even when I did the breaking up!! Your gut really tells you if you're just attached or if the person really is good for you and you for them. (Your "gut" is also the Spirit, in Mormon terms.)

Because no one is perfect, you have to decide which "Mr. Imperfect" you want to live with forever and you can deal with. Are your imperfections complimented by Mr. Imperfect's imperfections? And vice versa.

Also - do his imperfections NOT include abuse of any kind, sins he is not willing to admit and repent for, etc...I mean, we could have a huge list here, but it's based on YOUR values, not anybody else's. The bottom line is what everyone else said, especially Kamilli Vanilli - decide if that baggage is too heavy to carry for you. That person will have to carry YOUR baggage too, so while you're single, take the time you need to prepare yourself in every way. I agree that work ethic is not easy to teach and not worth teaching. If it's a value of yours, find someone with that same value, and also exhibit that value in yourself first.