The dating habits of men and women (and why they make me want to write a book about it)

I find it interesting how men and women act around each other when they decide they’re interested in each other. It’s a fascinating dance to watch. Kind of like people watching at Wal-Mart. Everyone responds in different ways. Some guys strut. Some girls giggle. It varies completely from person to person, but it never fails to be a good show.

There are a few exceptions, though. Some folks don’t really change at all. Those are the couples I admire.

But the majority of the time, both the guy and the girl are totally absorbed with portraying the perfect image of themselves. The guy dresses nicer than normal. The girl wears more makeup. The guy listens when she yammers away about something he doesn’t care about. The girl doesn’t convince him to get his hair cut or to buy new clothes. The guy brings her flowers and chocolates and calls her all the time. The girl doesn’t nag. The guy holds her hand. The girl laughs at his jokes even if they aren’t really that funny.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

I’ve seen it happen so many times where a guy and a girl convince each other that they are different people than who they really are. And when they finally take the next step and get married, the images they’ve created to hook each other vanish, leaving them wondering where the person they fell in love with has gone.

The verse today is straightforward. So this will be brief. I actually mentioned it yesterday, as this verse is in the same chapter as yesterday’s verse.

Proverbs 31:30

 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
      but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

Now, this does come out of Proverbs 31, which is usually applied to women. But every verse in the Bible is applicable to every person in the world, whether male or female. And the truth of this particular piece of Scripture is definitely universal.

You can charm each other all you want but, in all honesty, when it comes to relationships, you need to base your real attraction on something deeper than charm . . . or outside appearance. Because one is fake and the other won’t last.

Charm is great, but let’s get real, folks. It’s a tool we use to advance a relationship. We do it at work. We do it at school. We do it at home. We do it in relationships too. Some people have more of it than others do, but generally speaking, we don’t walk around charming everybody we run across. We only try to charm the people we want to invest in . . . and, being brutally honest here, we usually only charm the people who can do something for us in return.

And beauty? Yeah. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this one because I will run out of room on this blog. Some day I’m going to write a book about beauty and what it actually is. I can honestly say I have never met a woman who needed to wear makeup, despite her age. Young or old doesn’t matter to me. I’ve never met a woman who needed to cover her face up. But society and culture tells us we need to look a certain way. And I’ve seen beautiful, absolutely stunning young women refuse to go outside because they haven’t got their makeup on yet. Where do we get the idea that beauty comes from what we put on our faces? No matter how we try to escape it, everyone gets old. Everyone goes gray. I’m not even 30 yet and I have more silver hairs than I care to admit (nobody ever believes me, but I finally convinced my dad the other day when he got a good look at my hair in the sunlight). And what the world defines as beauty is fleeting. It’s more than fleeting. It’s so brief that it’s more like a puff of smoke.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. Whatever measure of physical attractiveness you have will disappear. And have you noticed that the longer people try to keep themselves young, the stranger they end up looking by the time they get old?

Now . . . am I saying it’s wrong to want to look nice? No. Absolutely not. Somebody once told me that if you care enough about somebody else, you’ll devote the time to your appearance to demonstrate that fact. I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that . . . I can see dressing up for special occasions. But on a daily basis? Not so much. . . . But that’s me . . . and I’m still single . . . and that outlook might have something to do with that . . . =)

In any case, since charm isn’t real and beauty is going to disappear no matter how hard you hold on to it, we need to be looking at something deeper in people than what they look like or even how they act. Find out who they are inside. I know that’s something relationship gurus talk about all the time, but it’s a lot harder to put into practice than it is to just talk about.

If you can find someone who loves God and does what He says and doesn’t question His Word and wants to live for Him with everything He’s got, that’s what needs to be attractive to you. Because those qualities only get stronger as you get older. And those are drives and passions that will deepen farther than mere superficial charm. And when all the glamor of dating and courtship wears off and you realize that your wife has acne scars and hairy legs and is prone to whining . . . and your husband snores and tracks mud in the house and crunches tortilla chips loud enough to wake the dead . . . your mutual belief and desire to follow God will remain. And you can love each other for who you actually are and not for the facade you put up when you were dating.

Just be real with each other.