So, I wrote a looong list of advice for Christian young men in our day and age and it only seemed fair (or maybe just symmetrical in my slightly OCD mind) to have a version for the ladies. What can an unmarried, childless woman tell you about life as a Christian woman and being a good future spouse? As it happens, quite a bit:
- Read your Bible. Like I told the guys: find an email subscription, an app, a weekly Bible study or all of the above and make it a serious habit. The more scripture you know, the better-equipped you’ll be for life and how to navigate the ups and downs.
- Find mature women who are 40+ and spend time with them. These ladies need to be strong believers with a lot of life experience (not your friend who is two years older than you and married for six months). All of us need mentors and support in our lives. Get used to listening to advice (you’re going to need this skill for the rest of your life!) and watching how to be a strong woman of God.
- Pray for your future husband and your future relationship. If you’re a marriage-minded young lady, you need to get into the habit of praying for your husband. He’s got a big job to do as a Biblical spouse and you should also be praying that God will help you to be an excellent support, encouragement, and life partner (not doormat!) to him.
- If you’re not interested in dating a guy, don’t spend time with him alone. This “we’re just friends” stuff tends to be one-sided when we’re talking guy/girl relationships. One of you is going to fall for the other. So, unless you’re willing to potentially date this guy, don’t accept an invitation to coffee. Keep your interactions to group scenarios. There’s no need to lead someone on unnecessarily.
- Don’t write someone off because you don’t think he’s attractive. If a believer (a must!) has all the right qualities except that you don’t find him physically attractive, it’s totally worth trying to get to know him. Seeing a guy live his faith can be very attractive as time goes on. No, you shouldn’t force it but don’t give a guy the boot just because of the way he combs his hair.
- Wait to be pursued. I’m not saying play hard to get or to pretend you aren’t interested. I am saying that men need to be the ones to make the first move. It’s not feminist but it is Biblical which is what we need to be worried about. If you’re taking matters into your own hands because you can’t stand to wait on the Lord, things might not go so well.
- Waiting doesn’t mean a state of suspended animation. Live your life like you’ll never be married. Get an education, get a job, travel, volunteer, learn another language… Just don’t sit around waiting for a husband to show up. Make good use of your singleness and understand that God has you here for a very good reason. A reason that you may not understand until much, much later.
- Do not (I repeat: DO NOT) date a dude who doesn’t love Jesus. I know all the excuses (I’ve tried them, myself!): “Christian guys aren’t interested in me.” / “He’s a really nice guy… nicer than the guys at youth group!” / “Christian guys don’t know how to treat women and he does!” / “I can’t tell him that I can’t date him just because of my religion. That would be mean.” / “Maybe he’ll convert!” (No, no, no, no, no!) Ultimately what happens in these situations is that: 1) you end up doing things you previously didn’t believe in. 2) as a result of #1 he may not respect you as much. 3) if you marry him, you stop going to church. and/or 4) if you marry him, he resents that you love God more than you love him. So, yeah, just don’t do it. I promise you that it is better for everyone involved if you just walk away. Be prepared that guys other than the one God has planned for you will think you’re pretty awesome. Flattery can do dumb things to a girl’s logic. So, wait on God’s timing and not yours.
- Be self-aware. If there is something big in your past or some sin that could really compromise your ability to be a good girlfriend and future mate, you need to hold off dating. Get your mentors (or even a counselor in certain cases) to help you work through or move past the big issues. There isn’t anything in your past that God can’t (and hasn’t already!) forgiven you for. But you need to be sure that you’ve mentally and emotionally dealt with these things as well. And if it’s something like sexual abuse, there’s nothing to forgive you for. There is nothing you did to deserve to be treated in such a callous manner. You will, however, need the tools to deal with the pain and shame constructively. (Don’t bottle it up inside.) You need to know and believe that you are loved by God and are more than worthy to be loved by a wonderful man someday.
- Be aware of who you are dating. Just because a Christian guy is interested in you and has gone to church all his life, it doesn’t mean he walks the walk. A guy can wax poetic about his faith, lead a youth group, go on missions trips every year, and still be a massive, massive jerk. (Christians are sinners just like everyone else!) So, be cautious and really get to know someone before you commit to marriage. Be very aware of red flags and trust your gut instincts when things don’t seem quite right. If you have trouble with this stuff, talk to your mentors about it. Don’t shackle yourself to a guy who isn’t capable of thinking of anyone other than himself.
OK, ladies, that’s my two (more like ten) cents. My prayer is that it helps you put certain things into perspective and maybe keeps a couple of you from some major heartbreak. As always: continue to seek God’s will. He doesn’t shout from the sky or write on walls, anymore, but if you keep moving, He will guide your path.