This morning I heard a REALLY AWESOME message on dating. The pastor asked the single girls in the church about dating, and the girls asked, "Where have all the single guys gone, and why won't they ask us out?" When the pastor asked the church's single guys about dating, they said, "When we ask out a girl, she panics and says no."
Which made me ask (after I finished laughing): Why do all the single guys seem to be missing?
Growing up, as I was looking for this mysterious person called "the one," I regularly heard two conflicting pieces of dating advice:
- 1) Don't be too picky,
- and 2) Don't settle.
Some days, when I was losing hope of ever finding someone, I wondered if I was being too picky. Other days, when my faith soared, I decided I would never settle for less than exactly what I'd prayed for.
But here's the thing:
I was being too picky about the wrong things,
and not picky enough about the right things.
I wanted a guy who was 6'3" tall. So when I'd walk in a room and wonder, "Where are all the good, single guys? Why don't they exist?", I didn't realize that my brain was filtering everyone through a 6'3" lens. I was looking up so high, that I failed to see all the really great, single guys around me...who just weren't quite tall enough.
All those years, I thought I was asking, "Where are the good, single guys?" But I was really asking, "Where are all the great, single guys who are 6'3" tall and lead worship on Sunday mornings?" (And there was only one of those. And he was married.)
I was too picky. God started working in my heart, opening my eyes to my hypocrisy. I'd get so angry over the shallowness of guys who only asked out girls that were stunningly beautiful, without noticing me. And yet, I was doing exactly the same thing to guys, ignoring all the great guys who didn't look exactly how I thought my husband would. Or who wasn't a youth pastor. Or a worship leader.
But do those things even matter?
Does being on stage or a certain height mean ANYTHING about a person's character?
Nope. Not one smidgen.
Whether or not a guy is on a stage, and whether or not he's tall, has absolutely NOTHING to do with how great of a husband he'll be, how willingly he'll lay down his life for his family, or how faithfully he'll seek God and love you.
I had to stop being so picky about things that didn't matter.
When I met James, I thought he was going to be shorter than me. It was almost a deal breaker in my head. During our first weeks dating, he asked why I wouldn't wear this certain pair of shoes to a fancy event. I finally moaned, "Because I'll be taller than you if I'm wearing heels!" He looked at me like I had three heads and dared me to try. Even with the shoes on, he was still taller.
But he's not 6'3". He's more like 5'9". And it's perfect for me. (Side note: It's actually way easier to kiss him without getting a kink in my neck.) It's not what I thought, but it's better.
James doesn't play guitar or lead worship or pastor youth or measure to 6'3". But he steals my heart away, he romances me, he loves me with a selfless love, he serves tenaciously without wanting anyone to see his acts of service, he gets me, he knows how to talk through conflict, he works hard, and he loves Jesus with everything inside him. I trust him like I've never trusted anyone else. And the crazy thing is, he's going to travel and speak with me after we're married. Go figure!!
If I'd continued being super picky about things that didn't matter, I would have missed out on the most incredible guy, who was made to be the perfect fit for me.
But then there's the other side, called don't settle. And this side only has to do with the things that matter.
Things like work ethic, humility, teachableness, character, compatible personalities, humor, enjoying the little things together. Don't settle in those areas. I don't care how charismatic a guy's personality is, or how cute he is, if he doesn't love Jesus with all his heart and show a life of integrity and faithfulness, don't marry him.
You want someone who shows faithful commitment to the things God's given him to do, and to the family and friends closest to him, because that's a reflection of how he'll treat you someday down the road, when things get rough.
You want someone you enjoy everyday life with, because you're going to be spending every day with him.
And yes you want to be attracted to the person you're with, but surprisingly enough, that kind of attraction actually has a lot less to do with what a guy looks like and a lot more to do with who he is.
Don't settle on any of the things that will really matter in 30 years. But anything that doesn't really matter down the road? Don't be too picky.