I’m pro-relationships. As a relationship consultant for 16 years, I coach, teach and cheer for successful happy relationships every day.
Yet over the years, I’ve noticed something different about relationships (or rather the lack there of). For single men in 2016, picking a woman is not a top priority—not like it used to be in the late 1940’s thru the 1970’s.
I believe the increased divorce rate over the last 70 years and the subsequent dismantling of the traditional family structure have slowed men’s desire to pursue committed relationships. Single men are more focused on getting their careers and money straight over picking a woman.
Let me first address the issue of pursing careers and money over relationships. It’s not what I would recommend, based on what I learned about single-life and married-life. Waiting until you’re financially set or satisfied career-wise might cause more long-term problems than necessary.
Before I got married, life was all about me…and gettin’ mine. When I found the woman I wanted to marry, my focus shifted outward. I became more others-centered. After I got married, I realized there’s a difference in shifting my focus vs. shifting my behavior. I had to add character-specific attributes and qualities I didn’t have when I was single. I essentially had to become another person…though not in a bad way…
…I ultimately became a better, more well-rounded person. And it wasn’t easy. But because I loved my wife, I was willing to do the hard rewarding work.
If you’re a single man focusing on your careers and your money I’d like to warn you of the following: The longer you take to shift your focus…and subsequently shift your behavior, the more stuff you have to adapt to in a relationship. And the harder it gets to shift is because you’re too attached. I’ve found that some men would rather give up their relationships than shift because it’s too much work…or it’s too hard.
But what they don’t know is…
It’s through this process of shifting your focus and behavior (in order to become this more well-rounded person) that God reveals his purpose.
And if you think switching your old girl for a new one will make it easier, it won’t. The process of shifting is the same. You just have to shift different stuff. But now you’re older…with more stuff.
So that said, are you convinced and now ready to find a mate? From one married man of 18 years to a single brother, here are 7 super important non-traditional steps to help prepare you for your quest to find a relationship:
1. Discover Your Emotional Intelligence
This is your ability to manage your own needs and emotions (self awareness), as well as the needs and emotions of others (others awareness).
- Self-Awareness – Knowing who you are is important because you need to know what kind of woman best compliments you.
- Others-Awareness – Think…bull in a china shop. Know the impact your actions and decisions have on the people around you. You don’t want to inadvertently damage and trample over her feelings and concerns (her china) just by being yourself (a bull).
2. Learn How to Care
Doing something nice for a woman doesn’t mean you care about her feelings and concerns. It just means you’re nice. Expand your niceties to the level of actually caring about another woman’s feelings.
3. Practice on Other Women
Practice what? Practice how to show respect; how to date; how to communicate/listen; how to cook; how to care for someone else’s feeling other than your own. You don’t have to date them. I practiced on my female co-workers and friends at church. (It just so happened that I married one of the women I was practicing on at work…but that’s beside the point.)
4. Ask For Feedback from Other Women
The next time you’re out with a group of co-ed friends, ask them, “If you were to hook me up with one of your friends, what would you say is one of my better qualities and what quality do I need to improve?” Have each person ask this question about themselves for the group answer. This will spark a lively discussion. Most importantly, it will give you great feedback about how women see you and what things you need to work on.
5. Date Several Women at a Time
Yes I said it! This will let you know what type of woman you don’t want. Now…in full disclosure, don’t have sex or be in a committed relationship with any of them. Just date them, and be upfront about it.
6. Don’t Get Wrapped Up into Looks
Looks really don’t matter! Look…if Jay-Z can allegedly cheat on Beyonce, and if Hallie Berry and Janet Jackson can get divorced multiple times, then her looks will have nothing to do with the strength of your bond. Good looks can start a relationship, but they can NEVER sustain it. As hard as it may be, don’t focus on her body or how good she looks.
7. Focus on How She Makes You Feel
Identify those women who make you feel like…”I want to make her happy.’ Whoever they are, if you find yourself wanting to better yourself just to make her happy, that’s the type of women you need to start looking deeper into for spouse potential.
BMWK: What do you think? Is it more important to focus on your career and money than relationships? How did you prepare yourself for a relationship?