Life, in itself is a big process of change management. We grow from Infancy to Childhood to adolescent to being adult. On relations front, we have parents. We have relatives. We get in touch with many people; interact with some people and then we make few friends, some as Professional Friends and few as Social Friends but there is one and only one (these days, I can use the term “few”) person in our life to whom we promise our life-long commitment. We want to spend rest of our life with this person. Before making such commitment, we want to be double sure of ourselves. We consult all our friends and relatives before making such commitment. Those are the decisions that we like to take once and only once in our life and we don’t want to regret those decisions in the later stage of our life. If we take a wrong decision or make a wrong choice, it haunts us for the rest of our life.
So, what are the parameters or factors that one considers or keeps in mind before accepting the proposal of marriage? What goes in their mind when someone proposes them? How do they prepare themselves before proposing someone?
Some Common Parameters and Factors
Being a friend with someone of opposite gender is one thing. One can also go for dating. But, marrying someone and making a life-long commitment is altogether a different thing. Males and females have different criteria and parameters which they consider and keep in mind while accepting the marriage proposal. Then, those parameters are in different order of priority and differ from male-to-male and female-to-female. I spoke to a few people across India to find out what parameters they consider before making a life long commitment to someone? Hence, these parameters reflect Indian Culture and thinking pattern of Indian People, particularly Indian Youths.
Parameters for Males
Males consider following parameters before making a life long commitment to a female.
1. Looks, features and other physical attributes
2. Respect for his parents and relatives
3. Character and Values of girl
4. Social – Status of the family
5. Financial Status of the family
6. Past of the girl
8. Emotional Stability
9. Must be willing to take-up household responsibilities
10. Should support him in all situations and circumstances
11. Considering the present economic scenario…she is expected to be a professional
(Order of Preference may vary from Male-to-Male)
We discussed this with many people and tried to know and understand their views and thoughts on this. Some of the responses from Males are as follows:
1) Raphael Gilbert (Consultant at Modis International): From my experience, commitment from a woman depends upon her age.
1) Under 25 – Commitment is based purely on looks. They fall in love easily but frankly are only interested in having fun/short term commitments that “in general” lead nowhere.
2) Over 25 – Once a woman has had enough ‘fun’ they gradually begin to realize that they want children – a family etc, and frankly the guys they considered fun are in no way a good role-model. They begin to change their priorities from looks… to salary package/stability/career prospects and secondly (and this is generally a must) a sense of humor (as if they can’t have the looks they want a guy who can at least make them laugh!). It’s a sad but true fact – but they settle for us guys thinking (Well he may not be Tom Hanks but at least I’ll have a good life/cash/a nice family and I wont be alone).
This sadly, is true for I’d say 80% of women. I am quite lucky and have found the girl of my dreams who VERY luckily for me doesn’t fall into this category, however, I challenge any woman to tell me I’m wrong!
(I’m going to get slaughtered for writing this).
Men on the other hand….
We’re shallow bastards – If we can’t walk down the street being proud of holding hands with our potential partners then frankly they haven’t a chance of commitment. We’re as shallow as a kid’s paddling pool and at least I’m brave enough to admit it.
Men’s priority =
2) Is the sex good
3) Does she make me smile
4) Could I spend the rest of my life with this girl?
5) How much BAGGAGE does she have
If 1 and 2 aren’t yes… a man will never give commitment
2) Andrew Meyer (Owner, Capability Alignment Professionals): I take a bit of a different approach on this. Most of my experience is in the US, but I would think anywhere that both people have equal choice about who they date, these factors would come into play.
The next thing to point out is that there’s what people say they look for and then there’s what people respond to. Dating is not an intellectual exercise. I don’t think there are checklists or much intelligence that goes into the equation. There might be some after-the-fact rationalization, but let’s be honest, it’s not thinking that’s going on.
That said, I’ll start with what I’m an expert on, being a man.
1) Is a woman physically attractive to you?
2) Do you sync with her.
3) Women who meet those two criteria will be dropped if they put up a major red flag. Major red flags include – having no female friends; major issues; etc.
From my observation of women:
1) Challenge – how challenging is the guy to get/control. The more challenging the guy, the better
2) How does he make her feel?
There are plenty of things that can cause a relationship to go wrong or never start, but those are the things that trigger the start of a relationship and lead to commitment.
3) Pete Berghold (Unix Professional and Perl Hacker at IBM): My reasons for marrying my wife some 30 years ago are as follows:
She is my best friend. My wife is the one person from who I have no secrets. None. I don’t even try to keep secrets because she’d see right through me anyway and figure out I was holding something back.
Our personalities mesh. Where she leaves off I pick up and where I leave off she picks up.
This is not to say that we don’t ever have our differences. There is no way in Creation that two people are ever going to live with one another without there being something that sets each other off.
The difference comes in where how we deal with these differences and at the end of the day we respect each other and care for one another enough that the differences don’t make a big deal.
When an issue arises where we have a difference we work it out. And we don’t let others “help” us work it out either.
We also tend (with minor differences) to have the same values.
After 30 years of being together and we are still crazy about each other we must be doing something right.
4) Phil Johnson, MBL Coach (Master of Business Leadership Coach): My wife Brenda is my best friend.
She is full of love, courage, integrity, optimism, hope and faith. She has always inspired me to be who I am. Neither of us needs the other to be complete – but the world is a gentler, happier place when we are together. I make her laugh and a smile often appears on my face when we are together. Each year since we were married we renew our wedding vows. I ask her if she would be willing to put up with me for another year.
We are blessed to have found each other and we know it. This is especially true this year as Brenda was diagnosed with cancer last spring. Her radiation and chemo treatments have been completed and things look good. We are like two raccoons or blue jays … mated for life. I could not imagine making this journey with anyone else.
Parameters for Females
Females consider following parameters before making a life long commitment to a female.
1. Security of Present (A guy must be employed; working in a reputed company, at a powerful position and of course with a handsome salary package…the more it is the better it is.)
2. Good Education (Preferably from Good…reputed institute)
3. Security of Future (Must have dreams to chase; goals to achieve. In short, must have potential to become known, famous and popular)
6. Looks and Appearance
7. Love and Care for her
8. Character and Values of a Guy
9. Respect for her parents and her relatives
10. Should not look at other girls or even have any thought about them
(Order of Preference may vary from female-to-female)
We discussed this with many people and tried to know and understand their views and thoughts on this. Some of the responses from females are as follows:
1) Dev Deepika (HR Professional At Maersk): Not sure what each individual looks at as expectations of each individual is different. I am enclosing excerpt from a book that I read, which states “Finding and Keeping a Life Partner”…I understand that these have been stated by Dov Heller, M.A.
If you ask most couples who are engaged why they’re getting married, they’ll say: “We’re in love”; Choosing a life partner should never be based on love. Love is the result of a good marriage not the basis.
Give questions you must ask yourself if you’re serious about finding and keeping a life partner.
QUESTION 1: Do we share a common life purpose?
Why is this so important? If you’re married for 20 or 30 years, that’s a long time to live with someone. What do you plan to do with each other all that time? Travel, eat and jog together? You need to share something deeper and more meaningful. You need a common life purpose.
Two things can happen in a marriage: (1) You can grow together, or (2) you can grow apart. 50% of the people out there are growing apart.
Bottom line; marry someone who wants the same thing.
QUESTION 2: Do I feel safe expressing my feelings and thoughts with this person?
Feeling safe means you can communicate openly with this person. The basis of having good communication is trust – i.e. trust that I won’t
get “punished”; or hurt for expressing my honest thoughts and feelings. A colleague of mine defines an abusive person as someone
with whom you feel afraid to express your thoughts and feelings. Be honest with yourself on this one. Make sure you feel emotionally safe with the person you plan to marry.
QUESTION 3: Is he/she a menace?
A menace is someone who is a refined and sensitive person. How can you test? Do they work on personal growth on a regular basis? Are they serious about improving themselves? A teacher of mine defines a good person as “someone who is always striving to be good and do the right “;. So ask about your significant other: What do they do with their time? Is this person materialistic? Usually a
materialistic person is not someone whose top priority is character refinement.
There are essentially two types of people in the world: (1) People who are dedicated to personal growth and (2) people who are dedicated to
seeking comfort. Someone whose goal in life is to be comfortable will put personal comfort ahead of doing the right thing. You need to know
that before walking down the aisle.
QUESTION 4: How does he/she treat other people?
The one most important thing that makes any relationship work is the ability to give. By giving, we mean the ability to give another person
Ask: Is this someone who enjoys giving pleasure to others or are they wrapped up in themselves and self- absorbed?
To measure this, think about the following: How do they treat people whom they do not have to be nice to, such as waiters, bus boys, taxi
drivers, etc… How do they treat their parents and siblings? Do they have gratitude and appreciation?
If they don’t have gratitude for the people who have given them everything; can you do nearly as much for them? You can be sure that
someone, who treats others poorly, will eventually treat you poorly as well.
QUESTION 5: Is there anything I’m hoping to change about this person after we’re married?
Too many people make the mistake of marrying someone with the intention of trying to “improve” them after they’re married. If you cannot fully accept this person the way they are now, then you are not ready to marry them.
In conclusion, dating doesn’t have to be difficult and treacherous. The key is to try leading a little more with your head and less with
your heart. It pays to be as objective as possible when you are dating; to be sure to ask questions that will help you get to the key
issues. Falling in love is a great feeling, but when you wake up with a ring on your finger, you don’t want to find yourself trouble because you didn’t do your homework.
2) Sharon Hill (Sales and marketing manager at Suburban Newspapers of America): I look for a man who ISN’T looking for a woman who is willing to take up household responsibilities. YIKES. How old were these guys you were asking? I’ll do my half, but ideally I’ll pay half of the cost of the person who comes in and does it for us.
Support him in all situations and circumstances? Well, sure if I agree with him but I have a mind of my own. If I have an opposing view I’ll act on it.
Yes, he must be employed and employed well – with an entrepreneurial spirit. That’s not because I want to secure my future. I’ll secure my own future. I just admire creativity, ingenuity and ambition.
A man needs to be witty, creative, articulate, ambitious, self-motivated, positive, loyal, a good listener, adventurous and not threatened by a strong woman. He should be well groomed but doesn’t need to be handsome. His education doesn’t matter at all. Many entrepreneurs have succeeded in spite of their education – not because of it. I make my own future and my own security. I just look for someone who can make my free time enjoyable.
Oh, and you took about men’s thoughts about the “girl.” He needs to be supportive of my feminist / equality view point. If he refers to me and other adult females as a girl I’m out of there.
3) Sheilah Etheridge (Owner, SME Management: Management and Accounting Consultant): For me, I look at the following
A. Has a strong character,
B. How does he deal with life’s issues,
C. Does he grab life by the horns and make the best of it
D. Do we have a deep connection,
E. Is this someone I can wake up to everyday for the rest of my life and still smile.
F. Whether he is honest,
G. Is this someone I can openly share all aspects of life with
H. Can he handle my directness (many can’t)
I. Is he respectful
J. Can we talk about everything and agree to disagree
K. Do we compliment each other
L. When we are 90 and the sex is less frequent will there be other things we enjoy sharing
M. Do we enjoy doing “nothing” together – this is more important than you think
N. Can I trust him with my heart and my life
4) Laura Bell Greeno (Business Development Professional): From a 37 year-old Christian (female) perspective, I would not make a life commitment to a man who didn’t know God. A man’s love for God has become the most attractive thing to me.
Without similar goals, beliefs, and life objectives…I think it would be more difficult to stay together for a lifetime (although not impossible by any means).
Knowing that, my potential partner is “like-minded” spiritually. After that, as I look at your thoughts around women’s preferences, I would have to say they would be prioritized quite differently for me (USA female).
II. Sense of humor (not listed above)
III. Job (although I disagree with your thoughts around position/power/salary…not that important for me…more important would be respect from peers…that he is good at what he does)
IV. Looks and appearance (clean is good)
V. Love of God (respect/values/character/love/wealth all comes with this)
The security of future…you describe as potential, ambition…and popularity, fame, et cetera. Framed in that sense, those are of little concern to me.
Someone told me, one should not get married just because your friends are getting married or your parents want to you get married. For them, your marriage is nothing more than function and an occasion for social get together. So, you should be sure of yourself before getting committed to someone. You must be prepared for your marriage, physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. Tomorrow, you should not sit and regret your decision, because if that will happen it will have adverse effect on your life. It will affect the pace of your life.
So, take your time before making life-long commitment to someone.
I like to say thanks to following people without whom I could not have completed this article.
1. Laura Bell Greeno (Business Development Professional
2. Sheilah Etheridge (Owner, SME Management: Management and Accounting Consultant)
3. Sharon Hill (Sales and marketing manager at Suburban Newspapers of America)
4. Dev Deepika (HR Professional At Maersk)
5. Phil Johnson, MBL Coach (Master of Business Leadership Coach)
6. Pete Berghold (Unix Professional and Perl Hacker at IBM)
7. Andrew Meyer (Owner, Capability Alignment Professionals)
8. Raphael Gilbert (Consultant at Modis International)
Kindly share your comments and feedback on this article.