With the disheartening statistics of divorce in mind, I took it upon myself to find out what men and women really look for as essential qualities for true lasting connection... The results are as old fashioned as apple pie!
For the purpose of exploring real desires of men and women, I gathered the responses of 75 women and 60 men from two different questions: (I changed the question for the men since they tend to focus on physical qualities rather than on deeper needs)
Their responses covered over 20 different qualities with the 2 most popular qualities being INTEGRITY and FUNNY.
Yes, ladies, it seems that if a bloke has a good enough sense of humor and makes you laugh, (while not taking himself too seriously) you'll forgive him, even if he's acting like a stubborn selfish jerk! If he happens to have kind eyes and opens the door for you, that might well be grounds for some Monday Night Football with the fellas.
It would appear that if he knows who he is and is authentic and loyal, you'll cut him some slack when he struggles to express himself. If he has a confident masculine edge and is honorable and shows you respect, you'll even overlook his pride as you tell him "I told you so..." (although he loves the fact that you're always right, it's still hard for him to admit it).
But above all, as one young lady stated quite eloquently, "...having a great sense of humor weeds out a lot of unattractive character flaws". While another optimistic spouse of 20 years declared, "When all else fails you can always use a laugh!"
The mens' responses covered 10 different qualities and several different body types!
Assuming we can disregard the Maxim cover girl with a law degree and Cordon Bleu training, that leaves us with the top 2 qualities being UNCONDITIONALLY ACCEPTING and LOVING.
So, for the men, it really just might be true that if you always have his back and allow him to be the man he always wanted to be, there is a good chance that he might be more present for you and look you in the eyes for a few moments longer.
Should you allow him his freedom to express himself on his own terms, there's every indication that he might indulge you in one of those quiet nights in. Better yet, as one of my dear colleagues requested, "...if she can both appreciate all that I am right now -- and push me lovingly to be better still," I think you might well hit the jackpot - an emotionally-available man with a big vision and a true leader!
One thing seems to have emerged over the past few decades; we seem to have become pickier in our choice of partners, yet rather conditional in our commitment.
Based on many of the responses, this phenomenon appears to be equally true for my gay friends.
Which leaves me curious about how our parents and grandparents, (many of whom mastered the art of lasting commitment in long term marriage) were able to figure all this out with a modicum of fuss and drama.
Was it a deeper level of commitment to their wedding vows? Did they simply believe that love conquers all? Was it merely less bombardment of choices in the media and social-sexual awareness? Were they even happier just because they stayed together or did they just "tough it out"?
I suppose we could ask them, if we could only get them on facebook!
I would love to hear from you with any stories you have from your parents or grandparents as to how they made it work.
Maybe it's as simple as fun-loving unconditional acceptance and integrity, or is it just a sign of the times?