How to Not Marry a Jerk

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This is again going outside of my comfort zone. As in different time zone kind of outside. But I have some things that I need to say after something I witnessed at work.

A girl who is otherwise nice went out of her way to apologize to a guy who had gone out of his way to be a jerk to her because she did something he didn’t like. She barely speaks to me, who goes out of my way to be nice and friendly to her.

My own advice on how not to marry a jerk is as follows:

1) Don’t date jerks.

I know it sounds past obvious, but so many girls will marry the handsome guy who treats them like garbage thinking that her love will change him over time. Since this is a Baptist blog, I will say bull-oney.

Guys are who they are. They generally don’t change all that much. Who you see now is what you’ll see ten years down the road. If you’re thinking of marrying (or even dating to marry) someone, ask, “Can I live with this person exactly like he is now for the rest of my life?” and “Would I be proud to have a son exactly like him?”

I know there will be someone who knows someone who married a frog and ended up with a prince. For every one of those, there are a hundred more stuck in bad marriages or living out the pain and shame of a broken marriage.

Even in Beauty and the Beast, the Beast learns to love and become a gentleman BEFORE the beauty falls in love with him and marries him.

Check how he (the man not the beast) treats his parents and his siblings. Watch how he treats servers at restaurants and cashiers at the store. Especially watch how he acts when he’s angry.

Learn to distinguish between confidence and cockiness. Confidence doesn’t always have to prove itself or show itself like a peacock preening its feathers. Also, know the difference between a man who is willing to fight for you and a guy who just likes to fight. The first will cherish you; the second will belittle you and cut you down and make you feel worthless. He might even abuse you verbally and/or physically.

2) It’s better to be alone than with the wrong person.

Don’t date someone who doesn’t share your faith. Period. You will end up either feeling alone in your marriage or your faith will suffer. And I don’t just mean date a guy who says he’s a Christian. Go for the man of God who strives to be like Christ and who lives out his faith on a daily basis.

Date a man who loves Jesus more than he loves you, not the other way around. If he loves Jesus most, he will love you unconditionally and with the love of Christ. If he loves you most, he will make you into an idol in his life and place expectations on you that only Jesus can meet.

Don’t date just to date. The danger with that is that if you date a guy you don’t intend to marry, you could end up falling for him and disregarding all those red flags and warning signs.

On a side note, don’t go for a guy who is 30-something and still lives with mom and dad. If he mooches off of them, he will mooch off of you. If a guy like that says he loves you, respond with three words in return– “get a job!” I stole that one from Mike Glenn.

Date who you want to marry. I personally believe the best marriages start out as friendships before they become romances. And if you keep ending up with guys who treat you badly and use you, maybe you need to step back and look at you. Look at what vibes you’re sending out, where you’re going to meet people (a bar is generally where you find a real gentleman), and how guys perceive you (as a godly woman or as a flirt who likes to date around). If you hop from relationship to relationship, that will turn off a true gentleman.

Looks and attraction matter, but they’re not everything. Character matters. Kindness matters. Over time, you will see that true beauty can’t be seen with the eyes but felt with the heart. And beauty is who a person is on the inside that shows up in their actions and behavior more that what you wear or look like on the outside.

Men, you have to be just as diligent. But that will have to wait for another blog on another night. Sadly, gender equality means that both men and women can now be jerks.

These are my thoughts on the matter. I don’t claim to be infallible or know even close to everything about love or dating or romance.

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