In the recently released movie Knocked Up, professional journalist Alison discovers she is pregnant from a drunken one-night stand with loser Ben. She doesnít want to raise the child alone, so she chases Ben down and tries to turn him into fatherhood material. I think Alisonís onto something. Single parenthood is a rough road, and Alison knows that her baby will need a dad.
Unfortunately, Alison did everything backwards. She got into a relationship without realizing that this guy may end up being the father of her children. Itís better to make sure a guy will make a good dad before you wind up pregnant. For many young women, though, fatherhood material is the last thing on their minds. Theyíre looking for cool, popular, even a little dangerous, or simply someone to like them. None of those things ultimately holds up.
So to prepare for Fatherís Day, I thought Iíd explore what makes a guy a good catch. My friend Richard, who has four daughters, has imprinted the following qualities into his girlsí heads, and theyíre so good I wanted to share them with everybody.
Number one: a guy should be a Provider. Now I know that sounds sexist and many of you are ready to line your birdcages with this paper right about now. But think about it: if you want to stay home with your kids, at least for a while, you need to be with someone who can pay the bills, not someone who will sponge off of you. That doesnít mean he has to be rich! It simply means that the guy should have a good work ethic, should be motivated to find a job, and should take this responsibility seriously. It also means that he canít have any major addictions that are going to keep him from working. Alcoholics, chronic drug users, or gamblers should be disqualified immediately. Youíre relying on this man to help keep your family together, so choose well.
Next, he needs to be a Protector. Youíre giving him your heart; how is he going to treat it? Will he be faithful, or will he think only of himself? Will he be kind, or will be constantly berate you? And how does he treat your body? Does he value that, too, or does he pressure you into things youíd rather not do? Thatís not real love, and thatís definitely grounds for dumping him before the relationship goes too far.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he has to be a Pearl. Donít marry the grain of sand expecting that one day a pearl will emerge. Find the pearl first. Many of us women marry the sandóthe potential that we see inside our guys. But what if that potential stays hidden forever? You canít change someone, and it could be that your sandy guy actually likes his rough edges. If you want to marry a good guy, then only date good guys.
That may sound like a pretty tall order, but I think too many girls give up, figure such a thing isnít possible, and date losers instead. Treat yourself, and your future children, with more respect. Once youíre in a dysfunctional relationship, itís much harder to get out, and, like Alison, you may find yourself tied to this guy forever. Itís better to be alone than with someone who will end up being bad for your kids. And ironically, the more we treat ourselves with respect, the more likely it is that we will start to attract these Pearls.