Single women, probably the most important thing you can do in order to succeed in love and relationships, is to become emotionally mature. I’m not coming from a preachy of place of “I’ve got it altogether” quite the contrary… I’m still learning and growing and maturing into the woman I want to become.
But you can be sure, I DO have in mind the woman I want to become. Do I fail at times? Yes. Am I always trying to grow as I watch women in my life (especially my mentor) who I admire and want to be like? Yes.
A word about mentors and the importance of mentoring is crucial here. You should have an idea of the woman you want to become, her qualities, the way she behaves, the way she runs her life, the way she treats her husband and children, and the way she balances the demands of her life whether she’s working or a stay at home mom. This is best met in having a mentor or woman you would like to model after in your life. She should be (probably) at least a decade older if not more, and ahead of the stage of life you are currently in. I understand in our day and age, mentoring is probably not available to you, and so you must look to women you work with, in your church, in your community or in your family that you genuinely want to be like, and work to have those qualities in your character.
Men do not appreciate women who are immature emotionally, most men put a lot of effort into thinking their decisions through rationally, and therefore desire a romantic partner who also has a grounded way of thinking. They do not appreciate women who anger easily, take things too personally (overly sensitive), spend money thoughtlessly, take care of their life and home carelessly, and so on.
Men want women who are emotionally mature.
A large part of this is being open to realizing when you have immature motivations when interacting with a guy – are you seeking to control him on some level? That’s immature and not healthy. Are you genuinely looking to add to a relationship from your point of view – be willing to work on yourself so that you can be better – for him?
When my husband and I were dating I was admittedly too close to my mom, telling her too many details so that she would worry and become overprotective. However, one time I was telling my designs on my husband (for the future). I’d managed to catch a great guy, an older guy, a guy who’d already had girlfriends and casual relationships, but I had no idea how I’d keep him to myself – he was naturally a flirt and even when he subdued it, women were still trying to draw it out. So in my mind I planned to sabotage any possibility of him being able to cheat on me. I told my mother that I hoped he’d get fat (no kidding!), not really fat, but just fat enough so that all the other women wouldn’t like him anymore!
Wow! Looking back I cannot believe I thought this way. I was desiring him to be less than his best self, out of pure selfish motivations to control him, his life, and even his health!! Talk about being emotionally immature, I wanted to control the handsome sexy guy by turning him into someone I wouldn’t have respected (or desired) after the fact!
My mother was offended at my idea and thoughts on how to keep a good-looking sexy guy, and quickly set me straight. And what she told me changed my entire way of viewing men.
Men, when they love you and are being fulfilled by you, do not want to cheat. Heck, even if they aren’t being fulfilled, most men are (when they love you) loyal enough to choose a lesser damaging option (like porn) instead of full out cheat with another woman. Most men desire that idealistic relationship when they are ready for marriage. They want a woman they won’t feel tempted to cheat on.
My mom pointed out friends I had at the time, and their boyfriends, one in particular was a girl that had great character, a Bible study leader in our clique, but was not exceptionally beautiful. She had charm and attractiveness, but my mother’s point was that her boyfriend (who honestly loved her, drove her car, took care of her) did not want to cheat on her with a woman that was maybe “more beautiful.” Do men feel temptations? Yes, because they are visual, it’s second nature for them when they are visually stimulated. But do most men in a loving relationship want to cheat? No.
Those thoughts were nipped in bud that day, and I put it out of mind. Fast forward through the years we’ve been married, he’s always been an exercise lover (and as a result, has always looked hot), and myself enjoying it with him has only added to the richness of our marriage (as written in Couples Who Play Together, Stay Together).
I want him to be at his best, no matter how many women come onto him, or how easily it would be for him to cheat on me, I want the best for him – for him to be his best. That is love in its most base form because it is absent of selfishness. I trust him completely, and a lot of that has to do with not exerting control over him (feeling that need to control him would reveal that I ultimately can’t trust him). This can only come from a place of maturity versus the desire to have him be less than his best so that I can control him… and likewise, our entire marriage and relationship.
So in becoming emotionally mature, you should try to:
- Pay attention to your motivations… are they coming from insecurity or desire to control your guy?
- Curb your irrational thoughts of mistrust or worry. If you can’t shake the feeling that you can’t trust a guy, end the relationship. Your intuition is either picking up on something that is not right, or you aren’t ready to trust fully (because of a past wound you need to deal with)
- Look at things as they really are, not as how your fear sees them.
- Check anger at the door until you rationally talk things through
- Take responsibility for your actions, own up to drama you might have caused that led to a fight, be mature enough to apologize when you realize you were wrong
- Realistically make a list of things you would bring to a marriage partner – things that would make their own life better. Many women falsly (and selfishly) think that marriage will revolve around them – that their husbands will be there to serve them, while the wife offers nothing (or very limited) benefits in return.
- Make sure you are happy and emotionally filled on your own – do not put the weight of your own happiness (which should be in your control) onto an unsuspecting future husband – it isn’t fair to him and it will never make you happy. Part of being emotionally mature is understanding how to be happy and find fulfillment on your own, as your own person, in your own right.
- A healthy marriage is comprised of two healthy people who both take responsibility for their own happiness and then work together to ensure they are meeting each other’s needs in the relationship. Make a commitment that you will not commit to a man unless you are ready to be mature enough to meet his needs.