I got a text from a girl asking me this question, “Are my expectations for a future spouse unrealistic?” A friend of hers had told her that her expectations for a spouse were unrealistic. Here were her expectations:
* One who pushed her to grow closer to Jesus.
* Challenged her with his actions, lifestyle, words,
* The continued seeking after the heart of God.
* Being a person of prayer.
Now, I would say that seems like a strong list for any girl to come up with. Seriously, I was impressed by what she said. I’ve known some girls whose basic requirement was, “Has a pulse.” This was a specific list.
Here was my suggestion. Make a list of what you are looking for in another person. This doesn’t mean they have to fit every one of your 77 key components including “favorite food is Italian” or “the perfect, golden tan.” But give yourself some specific direction. If you want a man who is seeking God with His whole heart, write it down. Write down everything you can think of that you want in a future spouse.
Then, when a guy asks you what you’re looking for in a man, you might say, “A man who loves Jesus, lives intentionally, has integrity, and loves life.”Now, those are some words that a man understands, and finds realistic.
Here is the challenge you are facing with men. We have this ONE really big fear. There are other fears, but this one big fear is that
we don’t have what it takes.
A guy may say that he is worried he isn’t enough, that he isn’t a strong enough leader, that he is too weak, that he feels like a hypocrite. Almost all of it goes back to, “Do I have what it takes to be the man I want to be?” Now, some guys out there have basically given up hope on themselves. That is when they settle. They manipulate the mind, and use the other person for their own personal gain. Not just once, but day after day, month after month, and eventually year after year.
On our worst days, in our worst moments, we’re just scared little boys.
On our best days, in our best moments, we are courageously living real, passionate lives.
So here’s the deal: You can play a little part in this with the guys in your life. Although you can not bestow masculinity upon any man, you can call the potential that rests within him into life. Back to what I was saying. If you have a list chock full of all the great, wonderful, glorious things that you want him to be, the chances are that most men don’t believe that is who they are. At the same time, you may see him as that “strong, understanding, seeking God in prayer type”.
So you may share your ideals with him with the hope that he’ll communicate back with, “Yeah, that is who I am!” Chances are he won’t because he is his own harshest critic.
However, he may be a godly man, who is learning how to walk in the Spirit, who has integrity. He may even want to challenge you, he just may not know how.
This is my suggestion. See the potential in him, and call it out of him. Here are some things you can say that will make him at least sit up and listen, and quite possibly take action.
“I really appreciate you wanting to pray before the meal a few nights ago. I respect you for putting God first.” (Prayers will probably continue.)
“I noticed your Bible is out on the coffee table. I appreciate you having the Word of God out on the table, because it shows you care about God having a prominent place in your house and in your heart. I respect you for reading your Bible.” (He may not be reading it, but I bet he’ll start after you say that.)
“You know, the other night I did really want to hang out with you, but I respect you so much for going to your men’s Bible study.” (Yeah, he’ll be pumped to go back just so you can say that to him again.)
“The other night, when you shared your past relationship struggles, and your struggle with purity, I just want you to know I respect you for being man enough to share.” (You just invited more vulnerability. Give him a different response though, one of shock and horror and I guarantee you he will feel the shame that has been in him 100x more.)
You can call the potential out of him. You can highlight his strengths, and you can be his mirror for the positive things he doesn’t see in himself. Frame the good in him in a positive light, and let him know you respect him. I remember over the past few years when girls in my life have told me they respect me. People they say they love you all the time, but the music to a man’s ears is the law of respect. You give him respect, and you compliment what He is doing right, and get ready for more of it.
In the meantime, make a list for yourself of things that you want in a guy. Just don’t show him the list. You’ll know if he makes the list quickly enough. Don’t try and save him. Just see if the positive nature of your words can’t wash some of the dirt off. If he’s a diamond in the rough, good for you. If not, move on.