Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What should men look for in women?

* This post is the first opinion piece I've wrote on dating. If you have critical comments, I urge you to be constructive because I'm sure this post isn't very strong *

What are things to look for in a woman? You're sure to find countless writings on the best things to look for in a woman so I hope this post doesn't find you uninterested or expecting the same old information. I hope to bring something refreshing, interesting, and to borrow a phrase from Greg Koukl, to "put a stone in your shoe." This is going to be the typical Reformed Seth post in that it will be *quick* thoughts on the subject and not exhaustive thoughts on the subject.

Reason and Virtue
I'm persuaded that one of the traits to look for in a woman is reason. Is she a student of reason? Is she a lover of truth? Often, I'm guilty of this, man will look past 'reason' in a woman because physical traits are what attract him first which is understandable but if a man pursues the woman packaged with traits prized by the superficial man who is void of reason instead of the woman who is a lover of truth then he is destined to meet regret in the future. A woman devoted to wisdom, reason, truth etc. is a woman worth pursuing. You can find this out during your courtship. Ask her questions to see if she is open to following evidence wherever the evidence may take her. See if she can follow the evidence past tradition, society, and dogma.

Good reason will also lead to virtue. I'm not going to explore that idea here in this post but understand that a person of reason will also be a person of virtue. A pursuit of truth is a life of virtue because a reasonable person understands the need to let virtue and reason govern her passions, which leads to the next trait to be valued in a woman.

Some may disagree with me on this, but a woman without passion just doesn't seem right you know? Often, in literature and in film, a woman's passion is her downfall; it's frowned upon by others which is understandable because this passion that is her downfall is ungoverned passion. For example, think of the character Lorelai Gilmore in the tv show Gilmore Girls. If ever there was a modern example of a woman who is ruled by her passions it is Loerelai Gilmore. She makes one immature decision after the next without any consideration of the risks involved or the conclusions of her decisions. I think the only wise decisions she makes is in her career at the Inn she runs with two business partners. This woman is run by her passions. If you've never watched the show check it out because you can learn from this woman about the good life in that if you want such a life don't pattern your life after Ms. Gilmore. An example from literature of a woman enslaved to her passions is Emma Bovary from Flaubert's Madame Bovary which is a book worth reading.

Passion governed by virtue is the best passion. A life without passion would be just terrible wouldn't it? No laughing, longing, music, etc. Human beings, women more so than men, experience passions and not just passions but colossal passions that are destructive if not governed by virtue, e.g. moderation, to guide the ever moving from high to low ship of passion named human life. A woman who is a slave to her passions isn't to be desired but a woman who has reasonable passion is definitely a woman to be desired because she understands and seeks the balance between high and low, virtue and passion, evidence and intuition. She lets the best of her passions stand out while putting into submission her extreme passions. A woman like this understands emotions and isn't scared of them.

Physical Beauty
In Emile the author, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, goes into detail about the woman who is right for his student Emile. The young woman's name is Sophie and Rousseau writes, "Sophie is not beautiful, but in her company men forget beautiful women, and beautiful women are dissatisfied with themselves." I'm fascinated at how well Rousseau described Sophie in that short sentence. Notice he doesn't say Sophie is ugly just that she isn't beautiful which is probably compared to the superficial standard of the day but there is much more said about Sophie in that sentence than what is said about her beauty. Rousseau wrote that men in the company of Sophie forget "beautiful" women and that "beautiful" women become dissatisfied with themselves in the presence of her. Physical beauty is important to finding a future spouse, but it's not the core of a person, it's not the soul of a person. Sophie obviously is a woman of virtue. She is an Elizabeth Bennet. A woman of virtue draws men, good men, in with her mind and her heart; she cuts away the presuppositions of what is considered "sexy" and she reveals the artificiality of the women around her just by being herself. A virtuous woman can and may be physically beautiful. I'm not saying don't go by physical attraction or that it's not important. I am saying that physical beauty should be the backup singer to the lead singer, i.e. reasonable passion. 

I think the above three traits are what men should look for in a woman: reason/virtue, passion, and physical beauty. You may not find a woman possessing all three in the beginning which is fine because we are all (hopefully) maturing every day and are on different paths at different times in life. Why are these traits desirable? Because a woman with these traits means she is on the path to understand the rich, romantic essence and philosophical depth of love; the truth of the world; how to raise a family; basically learning what the good life is here on earth.

What you must find out during dating is if she is willing to try a new way of thinking about reality. Does she see the importance of reason in her life? She may be full of reason and no passion so I would ask: does she see the importance of healthy passion? What is her view on life? Does she care and see the importance of having a view of reality? You may find a woman you're physically attracted to who is going to be your partner in the grandest adventure of all from friendship to love to marriage.

This little list also isn't exhaustive. I think it's very important that two people agree on the essentials before they marry, i.e. that their worldviews match. If a couple disagrees on the essentials then their marriage will likely fail. Shared interests in movies, shows, music and recreational activities won't save two people who can't agree on how to raise a child or how to live the good life (or if there is even a good life to live).

Related posts
The Foundation of Love  
WK Blog: How Christian women can make Christian men marry without using sex appeal 

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