When you were single--or if you are currently--you were probably asked the age-old question at some point: What do you look for in a mate? Most people's responses would probably be along the same lines: somewhat close in age, adhering to the same faith, similar interests, etc. I'll admit that I haven't been the best about potential mates; not only did I want to marry Hilary Duff back in the day, but, even the female friends I pursued relationships with--including right many I never actually asked out--weren't good matches for one reason or another, as I eventually found out. For a while, the presence of a single Christian woman made me go nuts; I'm over that now, but, I still love hanging out with my female friends...regardless of age, marital status, or whatever. When it comes to what I currently look for in a relationship, it's actually more complex than most people would think.
So, what do I look for in a mate? First off: She must be of the same faith. Everyone reading this knows I'm a Christian, and have been one since 2003. However, I'm not just looking for a woman who calls herself a Christian; people say they identify with the faith, but have mouths like sailors, or regularly indulge in filthy media, or love to go out and get drunk. Not only that, but, she must be a member of the Church of Christ specifically. That may narrow the pool of potential mates greatly, but, I couldn't marry a Catholic or a Methodist, because I'd be afraid I'd end up converting to their faith, which is a big no-no. You may say, "Well, why don't you try to convert her?" I have seen that happen before; I know a woman who was raised in the Church of Christ...but married a Catholic guy. He had known for a while that he needed to get baptized in the right way, but dragged his feet about it...until she got serious with him and said, "If you walk out on that street and get hit by a car and killed, you would go to hell!" That Sunday, he was baptized. However, I don't possess such a power; I have never been able to get anyone to do much of anything. How many of you can say that you started watching Disney Channel or attending garage sales because I endorsed them regularly on Facebook? Didn't think so. So, if she and I didn't agree on faith matters, it would just lead to endless squabbling...and who wants that?
Second off: She must believe in the value of media discernment. Pretty much everyone I've ever known--including almost all of the Christians--would watch, play, listen to, read, etc., whatever, without any thought to its content. Maybe they'd draw the line at hardcore pornography, but, that's about it. However, my mom instilled the value of media discernment in me, and it's something I'll stick to for the rest of my life, even if I start living on my own, because it's what I believe God wants. I can't see how people would think Jesus would be okay with his followers sitting through raunchy sex comedies or torture-porn flicks; if he were in a room where Christians were gathered watching such a thing, I'm pretty sure that room would eventually be in shambles. However, nobody else seems to realize that.
I've noticed that entertainment is something people tend to take very seriously. Back in February 2004, I was on the way to a youth retreat, and the driver of the church van saw a car with a spoiler, and jokingly called it "a fin". Attempting to joke back, I said, "You watch too much Finding Nemo," a film that was insanely popular at the time. The guy--who was usually the nicest, most easygoing sort of fellow--got a bit upset and said, "No, I don't watch any Finding Nemo!" He went on to say that he didn't care for the blockbuster animated film just because Ellen DeGeneres, an avowed lesbian, was the voice of Dory; other than some punk kid who was too "hard" for such a thing, that church van driver was the only person I knew who wasn't a fan of that movie. Around the same time, I had a discussion with another guy about the live-action Cat in the Hat flick starring Mike Myers. The guy didn't want to see it, because, to quote him, "Dr. Seuss books shouldn't be live-action"; I didn't want to, either, but I had different reasons. I told him what I'd read in the paper: that Audrey Geisel, the widow of the late children's book author, didn't care for the film because she couldn't believe that they got Myers, who is known for being crude, to play the title role. My friend replied by saying, "Oh, I didn't know it was Mike Myers; I thought it was Doofus again," then added, "Yes, I know; Jim Carrey." Both of those individuals--and others I've known as well--take the entertainment they don't care for very seriously...and so do I; the difference is: I'm up for pretty much any entertainment that isn't morally offensive. That's a broad spectrum, and most people probably like something that falls into it...but, they probably are also fans of right much that doesn't even come close to hitting that mark. They could go from watching a Disney movie to an uncensored HBO special without even blinking. If my friends want to do that, fine; I'll let God be your judge. However, I can't be in a relationship with someone who does that...because, then, I'll be expected to join in, which would mean a one way ticket to Splitsville.
Third off: She must be willing to stick it to the status quo. If you've known me for a while, you probably know that I've identified as a rebel, and my heroes have been people such as Christian singer Kevin Max, late Apple founder Steve Jobs, and Nintendo bigwig Shigeru Miyamoto: those who thought differently. My ideal mate would be one to join me in pursuits such as my week-long Disney marathon or reading four or five books every day for a month; even if nobody else is doing these things, she would be for my sake.
In about a week and a half, it's going to be Super Bowl Sunday. I imagine most if not all of you are going to be watching the big game, and throwing or attending a party. If you are, great...but, I won't be; as all of you probably already know, I despise sports, so, even if it is the biggest sporting event of the year, it doesn't thrill me one bit. Think about it: Would you be excited about a Siobhan Magnus concert, or a Lizzie McGuire reunion, or a new 1 Girl Nation album? Didn't think so. If I even bother staying up, I probably will do a marathon of reading and/or television watching...all by my lonesome. If I get married, my hope is that my wife would join me in that pursuit, not watch the "big game" in the other room. You may think that nobody would do that; you're probably right, which is why I'm likely doomed to remain single.
Fourth off: She must support my interests...for real! Few things break my heart more than believing that people support me and what I do, only to find out that they were faking the whole thing. You all probably know the story of the former friend who seemingly supported my adoration of Victoria Justice, only to ask later on why my parents were "not concerned" about it. Other people have done essentially the same thing, including via Facebook unfriending. I don't expect all of my friends to do the same things I do...but, if they believe I shouldn't be doing it, that's a problem that should be squashed as soon as possible. The last thing I want is a mate who sits there watching K.C. Undercover with me, all the while thinking about what she wouldn't do to be playing Grand Theft Auto or reading Fifty Shades of Grey instead.
It's getting late, so, here are the short versions of some of my other points:
- She must never bring a pet home...especially a DOG! When we lost our dog Boxley in December of 2001, it was the first time our household had ever been sans a canine...and it was a serious weight lifted off my shoulders. However, it didn't last very long, because my mom decided to bring home Sparky during the summer of 2002...which, to this day, I consider to be her biggest mistake in my lifetime. I never did like him, and my experience with him and other dogs turned me off to the canine species in general. I've always wanted a pet free home, and, if my wife ends up ruining that...hello, hotel room!
- She must be cool, calm, and collected during times of crisis. When I was in fifth grade, there was an incident where a kid got his hand caught in a paper shredder...but the major crisis was averted because the teacher, a retired Air Force pilot, responded quickly by pulling the plug. If he had panicked, it would have been much worse. Unfortunately, other teachers I had freaked out over much less. When I'm experiencing a crisis, I don't want someone who freaks out with me, or who makes fun of me; I want someone who will work with me calmly to resolve it as best as possible. Unfortunately, people like that are far too hard to come by.
- She must help me figure out what to do and how to do it. Recently, my mom taped a weekly list of chores to my wall; reason being that, lately, I hadn't been doing much at home but sitting around reading books and watching television shows. The sad truth is: Left to my own devices, that's just what I'd do. I need that guidance, or I'm not going to get much of anything done (at least, at home).
- She must be easy to respect. When I was in school, I had too many teachers who fostered disrespect by the way they treated not just me, but the whole class. School wasn't the best experience to begin with, but, they made it even worse. The last thing I want is to be stuck with some woman who doles out disrespect while expecting love and respect in return. If I was saddled with a wife like that, since divorce isn't an option, I'd probably shoot myself. The problem there is: The whole feminism/women's liberation culture tells women that it's okay to disrespect their guys. I've seen it countless times, even in Christian marriages.