So, you're a twenty- or thirty-something year-old guy, and you'd like to get married someday.
But... you can't seem to find a date, and you're living in your parents' basement.
Okay, just kidding about the basement. I should probably be careful here, though. One time I was joking about this with a guy I had just met, and turns out he actually was living in his parents' basement. (It got pretty awkward.)
Back to the point. You'd like to get married, but you're having a hard time meeting godly women you could get to know better.
And you're stuck. You have no idea what the problem is.
It could be a ton of different things, and we can't cover them all here.
But here's one possibility: your expectations are too high. You're looking for 'the perfect woman', and she doesn't exist. (Same with us men, of course.)
In today's post - and video - I'll talk about why it's a problem, how the bible resets our expectations, and two practical ways you can realign your expectations with God's.
Who Should You Date? (The Usual Formula)
Many Christian guys want a woman like this, even if they wouldn't admit it.
- Mother Theresa
- On a high-powered career path
- Shares all my interests (you like the Minor Prophets, CrossFit and locally-sourced food, too?? No way!)
Understood properly, those aren’t necessarily bad things, right? Men, you should pursue women who...
- are godly
- attractive to you (all-around, not just physically)
- have a passion for serving God and others, and are pursuing some kind of career that reflects that
- share some common interests (actually, they help, but are seriously overrated)
Pursuing women who look more like the second description than the first is not settling. It's recalibrating our natural, selfish desires and expectations with God's.
Insisting on the Mother Theresa supermodel is like volunteering for a train wreck. It leads to ruling many godly women - who would make fantastic wives - out. It reinforces the cultural stereotypes, and tempts women to be someone God doesn't want them to be.
And, for guys who are already dating or married, it breeds dissatisfaction. Left unchecked, it can lead to the end of a relationship, or even divorce.
How To Bring Your Expectations in Line With God's: Two Challenges
So, if we find that our expectations are off, what can we do about it?
#1 Compare your goals for a relationship (or marriage) with God's
Do your expectations reflect God’s heart for marriage? Not just in theory, but in reality?
Ephesians 5:22-33 is a great starting point. There, Paul says the main point of marriage is to reflect his relationship with us, his church.
This mystery [of marriage] is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (verse 32)
Yes, marriage will often make us happy, but it's not the main thing. When Paul had the chance to say anything about marriage, he chose to focus on the way it points beyond itself to the gospel.
So, take a moment and be honest: is what you’re hoping for in a woman going to get you there?
#2 Make Godliness Your Highest Priority
You probably know this is coming, but usually what we need is not a new insight or silver bullet, but to truly embrace what we've already heard.
God has given us a portrait of the ideal, 'excellent' woman in Proverbs 31. (To be clear, it's an ideal: 'principles to be pursued, not practices to be prescribed.)
Verse 30 is the key:
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
There are so many fascinating things about this poem, but here are two that really hit me.
First, nothing is said - at all - about her physical appearance. Apparently, despite our natural tendencies as men, this is not what makes a woman 'excellent'.
While it's critical to date someone you find attractive physically, its absence here has to shape its relative priority in our hearts.
After all, beauty is 'vain'. While it reflects God's beauty and is a gift for us to enjoy, it's clearly of secondary purpose to the Lord. And as we age, it won't last.
Second, more positively, the poem ultimately celebrates the woman's godly character. A great personality ('charm') and beauty are wonderful, but godliness eats them for lunch.
After 20 years of marriage, I can promise you that this is true. My wife is beautiful inside and out, but her love for Christ and others is what really counts. It's the core part of her that spills over into everything else she is and does.
It's what makes her a fantastic wife and mom. It's what causes her to put others first, even when it costs her. Honestly, I can't even begin to mention all the blessing that has come to me and countless others because of her love for Christ.
I can't imagine trading that for everything else on that first, flawed list.
The Blessings Of Realigning Our Expectations For Women With God's
Guys, whatever you do, pursue women who are pursuing Christ as their highest priority. (And pursue Christ first yourself, of course.)
When you bring your expectations for women in line with God's, suddenly you may find that there are godly women right around you. Ones you may have missed before.
Will you pray about it?
I'd love to hear from you: how do you think guys should approach this area of expectations? Let me know by leaving a comment below.