A Letter to Christians in the Dating World

Dear Christians in the dating world,

I know sometimes it seems rough and the pickings are slim. I know it seems like every person you meet seems super awesome until they tell you they have a collection of glass-encased Furbies. I know it seems like either someone is too "holier than thou" or too lacking in any sort of conviction. I know finding men who believe in being the leaders of their families and providers for their homes is not only hard to find, but somehow frowned upon in today's society. I know finding women who are willing to fulfill a supportive role is also hard to find and again, somewhat frowned upon.

But friends, don't give up. Don't let go of those ideals. Know that God's timeless plan for marriage and each role is truly unique and expertly planned. God will not require you to settle, but He may require you to forgive. Well definitely, actually, because we are all in need of forgiveness.

Look for those men who hold the door for you, pick up the check, and walk you to the door. Not because you couldn't do any of those things yourself, but because it gives you a glimpse into the sort of man he is. If he's a man that respects you (and all women) and puts you and your safety above his own, he's a man worth getting to know. As a woman who was once well-known for her independent demeanor and "no need of a man" mentality, I can assure you it's the men who insist on taking care of you for two or three measly hours on a date that prove to also be the men who will take care of you for life. Sometimes I think women believe chivalry, or the "role of the man" is about providing a roof over your head or food to eat, but it's so much more than that. It's providing you with emotional security and a safe place for you to break down into a million pieces or get so excited you could scream. It's about making sure all your needs are met before his own. It's an unselfish love and the farthest thing from the idea of him lording over you with his mighty fist. It's a love that protects, encourages, and cherishes.

Look for those women who stick to their convictions. Who are gracious to others, rich in spirit, and receptive to your gestures of respect toward her. Strong women recognize strong men, and strong women also recognize men with hidden agendas. They know their worth, and have standards that respectful men and God's Word have set for them. They do not settle for 'boys' and have a character that speaks louder than any outfit they wear or amount of makeup they put on. Women who model the role of "the helper" and the support, know that it's not a role that means cowardice or suppression. They know this role to be one of great value. One that requires strength of heart, patience, and unselfish sacrifice. They love fiercely, set examples of strength and dignity, and respect their spouse as much as he respects her.

The media shows us examples of dating in the world today, and it personally makes me cringe. Though I've been married nearly four years, dating in the last decade was hard. It was a world filled with the need for validation. It was trying to fit into the mold of what someone wanted instead of who God calls you to be. It was making excuses for the poor behaviors of others and giving up too much of oneself in hopes of a deeper return on investment. It was doting on someone in hopes they'd "owe" you a little something on the side. It was men acting like boys, and women acting like girls. It was a world fraught with emptiness and little respect for common sense treatment of one human to another. It was shallow wanderings of people with no respect for themselves, and therefore little to dole out.

But there is hope, friends. There are people out there who value the same things and are waiting for you (in more ways than one). God has a plan for them, and for you. I encourage you to pray for your future spouse. Dig deep into God's Word. Be patient, grow strong in spirit and convictions, be open minded, forgiving, and content in God's plan for you in this moment. You may find yourself feeling lost or lonely, but remember that these things often come from the most unexpected places, or the places right under our noses. In the meantime, go out confidently into the world and let God's light shine forth through you. It's a light that some will recognize more clearly than others, but regardless of who may see it, you'll know where your joy and your confidence is based. Not in any thing, or person, or place, but on the sure foundation that is Christ.