What to Expect from Dating (When You’re Not Expecting Much)

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As I walked up to my Jeep after class, I found a little orange package and cream colored envelope conspicuously waiting for me on the hood. I happily discovered candy wrapped inside the package, and a peanut butter cup later I tore open the envelope. The curiosity was killing me. The formal cursive script across the page looked like it belonged on a wedding invitation. Then I saw my name at the top. It was a request for me to accompany a certain (very clever) gentleman to the State Fair on Saturday night. I went home to my roommates and tossed the invite on the table with a smirk. They agreed, it was a pretty endearing way for a guy me out on a date for the weekend.

It’s only been a few years, but when that story came up during a conversation recently, I realized how few of my single friends expect those kind of gestures from guys anymore. At the time, that was just how I expected guys to act. These days, most of the girls I know just feel lucky enough to get an invitation to “hang out sometime” via some form of social media.

It’s not that we don’t think we’re worth it, it’s just that we’ve adjusted to a dating world that consists of vague hangouts and fuzzy boundaries. Late night texts and hookups have replaced an actual phone call and the slow and steady process of getting to know one another.

After a tough breakup or a few disappointing dates, it’s easy to forget all those expectations we used to have, back when we were convinced we were holding out for a really great man. So we wind up entertaining the advances of guys waving more red flags than a high school color guard at half time. Let’s put that bar back in it’s rightfully high place, ladies. It’s time to pause and reevaluate.

Here are three things you can absolutely expect from a great man:

1.) You can expect a man who loves Jesus. It’s not too difficult to tell when a man’s primary loyalty and priorities are wrapped up in his relationship with Christ. It’s evident in the way he carries a conversation with you, in the way he speaks Jesus’ name often and with familiarity, and in the way he invests in the people in his life. You can absolutely expect a man to be seeking out God in a deep and authentic way, long before he begins to seek you out.

2.) You can expect a man who won’t ask you to compromise. If he truly meets criteria number 1, this one shouldn’t be too elusive either. Not only does a great man want to know your boundaries and personal values, he appreciates you more because them. And, he will make it his mission to help you maintain them. A great man loves you for who you are, and he knows that your standards are a big part of what makes you the girl he chose to be with in the first place.

3.) You can expect a man who wants to know who you really are. Those early dates can sometimes feel like a game of “20 Questions”, but a great man will continue the process of learning who you are for months, even years, into your relationship. He’ll ask you questions, yes, but he’ll take the time to remember the answers and make observations all on his own. A great man wants to know what makes you tick: the good, the bad, and the ugly, and ultimately accepts you in all your quirky, sometimes confusing, imperfect glory.

And the guy you’re looking for – he’ll expect these three things to be true of you as well. The very best relationships are those where respect is a two way street. He might not ride in on a white horse (in fact, it’s probably a safe bet that he won’t.) But, you’re not expecting too much to look for a guy who is really after your heart. Don’t settle by expecting anything less.

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