Christian Singles & Dating

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A Great Date, But a Lousy Mate: Telling the Difference

  • Dr. David B. Hawkins The Relationship Doctor
  • Published May 19, 2006
A Great Date, But a Lousy Mate:  Telling the Difference

Cynthia bubbled with excitement as she told her friends about her latest acquaintance. All three had been divorced and met weekly for lattes to discuss and commiserate over the wild, wooly world of dating. 

“He is sooo good looking,” she exuded. “I’ve seen Paul a couple of times in the past week. He’s the perfect gentleman. He held the door open for me, took me to Palisades on the water, and ordered the appetizers. It was fabulous. We watched the sun set over the Olympic Mountains from a window table – the boats coming up the canal. Wow!”

“I told you there were some good men left,” her friend Barbara exclaimed. “It may take a bit of looking, but they’re out there.”

“Well, I’d still be cautious,” her other friend Melody said. “Don’t get swept off your feet just yet.”

“It looks like it’s too late for that,” Barbara said, poking Cynthia on the arm. “I can see that look in her eyes.”

“So tell us more about him,” Melody said. “What does he do for a living? Where does he live? Give us the details, girl.” she said, laughing.

“Well, he isn’t working right now. He’s temporarily out of work. But, he’s a computer geek who has worked for Boeing. He’s had some great contracts, I guess, but he’s looking for work now. He’s been married before – a couple of times, I think.  But he said it wasn't his fault. His first wife walked out on him and his second one asked for a divorce. He’s had some bad luck.”

Barbara and Melody looked at one another. All of a sudden the picture didn’t look so rosy.

“So, where does he live?” Melody asked.

“He’s living with his brother in Everett. He says it’s a temporary situation until he gets his feet back on the ground. He’s really smart and I’m sure it really is a temporary thing. He’s really sensitive, kind and gentle. I like that about him.”

“How many times did you say he’s been divorced?

“Twice, but neither of them his fault,” Cynthia said defensively. “He’s just had some bad luck. He was a perfect gentleman at dinner. I’m telling you, he was great. We’ve talked for several hours. I think he’s the real deal.”

“So,” Melody started carefully. “Would you know if he was a great date, but lousy mate material?”

“I can’t believe you’d ask something like that,” Cynthia replied sharply. “I’m not thinking of a mate at this point. And yes, I’d know the difference. And he definitely fits the mate category – not just the date category.”

Barbara sat silently, listening to her friends.

“So, what are you thinking,” Cynthia asked.

“It’s an interesting question,” Barbara said. “What’s the difference between a great date and a lousy mate, and how would you know the difference?”

“Okay,” Melody said, grabbing a napkin. “Let’s make a list and save womankind from the calamities of a lousy mate. Great ideas always happen on napkins!”

All three laughed and agreed to make a list. They brainstormed what would make someone a great date, but be lousy long-term husband material.”

  • A great date is fun and a great conversationalist
  • A lousy mate cannot sustain a conversation over consecutive dates

  • A great date wants to be with you – tonight
  • A lousy mate is unavailable for a committed relationship – preferring serial dating or “playing the field”

  • A great date is thoughtful, considerate and genuinely wants to know about your life
  • A lousy mate is self-centered, able to focus on you for only limited moments

  • A great date is enthusiastic about seeing you
  • A lousy mate is enthusiastic about seeing you, until some better opportunity comes along – and it does

  • A great date is good looking
  • A lousy mate may be good looking – during the date – but later shows less regard for their physical condition

  • A great date exhibits responsibility in their lifestyle, including finances and work life
  • A lousy mate has patterns of irresponsibility, showing itself in areas such as finances, work stability, management of resources

  • A great date takes responsibility for past failures
  • A lousy mate blames their problems on others, making excuses for failures

  • A great date is excited, says he's spiritual and would love to attend church with you
  • A lousy mate loses interest in spiritual matters pretty quickly, creating all kinds of roadblocks to worshipping with you, preferring instead to worship the back of his eyelids Sunday morning 

“All right,” Cynthia interjected, obviously anxious. “Enough of this. You’re making me question Paul. From what I’ve told you, do you think I’m making a mistake?”

Melody touched Cynthia’s arm.

“Look, Cyn. We don’t know Paul. We’re not about to tell you he’s lousy mate material. It just seems like you need to use wisdom and take it slow. It is certainly something the three of us can pray about.”

“Yeah,” Barbara added. “What’s that scripture? ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.’ You can ask God to show you Paul’s character. If you are willing to see the truth, God will show it to you.”

“Well,” Cynthia shared. “I’d love to pray with you two about this. I’d love for this to work out with Paul, but I sure don’t want to get hurt in the process.”

“Right on,” Melody said. “Let’s pray for wisdom and see how God guides you. A great date, but lousy mate? God will let you know.” 

Click here to read the first article in this series.

David Hawkins, PhD., has worked with couples and families to improve the quality of their lives by resolving personal issues for the last 30 years. 

He is the author of over 18 books, including
  "Love Lost: Living Beyond a Broken Marriage," "Saying It So He'll Listen," and  "When Pleasing Others Is Hurting You." His newest book is titled "When the Man in Your Life Can’t Commit."  Dr. Hawkins grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and lives with his wife on Puget Sound, where he enjoys sailing, biking, and skiing. He has active practices in two Washington cities.