There’s a new show on Netflix called Back With The Ex that has a unique premise. Four former couples – who dated and separated for various reasons – have a chance to re-unite and decide: Do we want to give this another go? Or should we stay apart, forever? It’s interesting to watch couples go through what is essentially an autopsy of their relationship. As a single woman, I’ve watched this series with a critical eye. For one couple in particular, I can’t help but think that the goal of marriage must be on one of the women’s minds – considering that she clearly wants it and he, well, has not proven himself to be a family man.
For Christian singles, there’s so much being said about dating, courting, and so on. Some of it is good and some of it is lacking. I believe that now more than ever one thing is for certain: if you are a true, deep in your heart Christian, it’s tough to be a “Christian single”! The path can be lonely so please know that if you’re a Christian single who desires to be married and you are patiently waiting for your future spouse, I understand where you’re sitting in life, because that’s exactly where I am. And no matter where you’re sitting in your life – maybe you’re single again, had a broken engagement, or just getting into the whole dating world, please know that the Father loves you more than anyone in this world can.
I think it can be helpful for Christian singles to think about what their non-negotiables are when looking for someone to potentially share their lives with. Especially Christian women – because it can seem like eligible Christian women outnumber Christian men – if you feel like you’ve been waiting forever, you need to anchor yourself to what your are looking for in a partner. Remember, you are are NOT crazy if you’re asking for these things:
Care and Concern for Others – I’ve done my share of church hopping and I no longer attend a church. But I do remember one congregation that gave people the opportunity to pray out loud during the service (if they wanted to). One man in our group – who society might unfairly expect to be out of touch with things – would pray in great detail for so many people. His prayers included world events because he kept up with things. His compassion was evident. While he depended on others for certain things, he was clearly a man of prayer, compassion, care, and concern for others.
As we go about our lives, whether it’s sizing up a potential mate or striving for our own character improvement, we can look at the traits of care and concern for others. These can manifest themselves in various forms. If we look at ourselves and see that these qualities are lacking, we can always ask God to give us more empathy (but beware, ask and you shall receive!) And if you’re looking at a relationship, you can ask the Lord if this area is lacking in the person so much that it is a red flag or if it’s an area where he or she is growing (as we all grow and mature).
While not everyone will have the gift of deep prayer, your love interest could have another gift, like wanting to give to the needy, or being a great listener, or performing acts of service. Maybe she sings in the choir at church, or he does manual work for free or just speaking a kind word to someone without anyone else knowing it can be an expression of a caring heart. Having a caring, concerned heart for those in need is a wonderful trait when you consider spending a lifetime with this person. Having no concern, no empathy, no care is something to certainly think twice about. Proceed with caution (or not at all) if you suspect this to be the case.
Fidelity/Faithfulness/Integrity – Ever seen the show Cheaters? The poor folks who ask the producers of the show to find out if their beloved is cheating on them… such a sad situation. Not having trust in a relationship really leaves nothing left; perhaps this is why the divorce rate is so high. It’s critical to know that the person you’ve chosen will be faithful to you. This is not about casting judgement towards other people, but this is about what we, as singles, want for our own lives.
Christian women (and men), if you want a partner who is loyal and faithful to you only, you might feel like you’re waiting forever, but you are not crazy! Want a guy who is dating you but doesn’t get an ego boost from flirting with other women? Yeah, you might feel like that’s a rare catch, too! The saying goes that how you catch them is how you keep them, so while you might feel lonely not trying to catch a man with short skirts and low cut tops, you’re more likely to “catch” a man who is like-minded, morally speaking.
Solid Work Ethic – Charm, looks, muscles and a good tan – sounds good, doesn’t it girls? But I have to tell you what my mom has always told me (and still feels the need to tell me) – it ain’t all about that. One of my favorite YouTubers says that we all get old and we all get ugly – that’s also another way to put it! The person you’re interested in – do they have a desire to work? (At least while their employer is paying them to?) Does she want to be a Proverbs 31 woman so she can create a warm, loving household or a successful business venture? Got your eyes on that man at the office, girls? Those TPS reports he has to do at work may seem stupid, but does he do his work as unto the Lord? Work comes in various forms, so look at the person you’re interested in and ask yourself (and God) if they have the character trait of a good work ethic. While we all like to rest and have fun (I certainly do), there’s a time for work too. A man (or woman) who abuses their employer’s time will probably find themselves without a job (or at the very least, on thin ice), which can cause a great amount of stress.
Good Steward of Resources – Does he blow all his money gambling? Does he spend more than he earns? Does she have to have the best of everything, getting all tied up in having a high status, top appearance, and making other people think she’s the best? Or does he try to save a little bit, even if it means he can’t have the fanciest car? Even if you don’t believe in God, there’s a good reason to look for this in a potential marriage partner – most married couples would probably say that money is the top cause for arguments. And, while there are times in life that we can fall upon bad luck through no fault of our own, you can ask yourself if the person is, in general, a good steward of their resources. Do they think about the future in general terms of what they want? Or are they irresponsible, making huge, messed up choices, that could impact you or your children, in a big way? No one is perfect and we all do things we shouldn’t. No one is in perfect condition – we are all works in progress and will be until the day we die. But if you’re attracted to someone who has a major issue of irresponsible living, it will impact you. Especially when there is no desire to change, it’s probably best to just cut your losses and move on, and consider that you’ve dodged a bullet.
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