For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. -Psalm 84:11 KJV
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. -Luke 6:31 KJV
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. -Proverbs 31:30 MSG
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful face on an empty head. -Proverbs 11:22 MSG
Hello friends. I hope that you’re all doing well. I want to talk about the difference between unrealistic expectations in a significant other vs having Godly standards. I think that often times, young Christian people can get the two confused.
We live in a society where our ideas about love, romance and marriage are distorted by music, movies and romance novels. I can’t speak for men, but I know that most of my female friends have watched The Notebook and wondered when they’d meet a guy like Noah or watched Disney movies wishing that they’d get their fairytale ending. I know that those stories are fun, but more than likely, it won’t be your story. Real life is not a movie.
Many of us have expectations for a significant other that came from a place other than God’s word. If you fit in this category, this has to change. As Christians, our standards and expectations for everything should come from God’s word. We should desire to be with someone whose character and demeanor resembles Christ’s, not Prince Charming. Not saying that you expect them to be perfect, but they should be working to be like Christ each and everyday. So often, we miss out on the opportunity to get to know amazing people because we have man-made, unrealistic expectations. My friend Charmaine talked about this on Saturday and hit the head on the nail. She talked about how often times Christian women want a guy who loves God, is in perfect shape, will buy them a huge wedding ring, makes tons of money, will put up with their bad attitude, who will cook everyday, who will be just like their dad, who will be great at pleasing them sexually, etcetera. And it’s not just women. I recently saw a Christian guy say that if he could pick two things about his wife, he’d want her to love God and to have a big butt. I’ve also heard Christian guys say that they want a woman who loves God, has a “perfect” body, will cook everyday, will watch sports with them, will want to have sex everyday forever, will cook like a professional chef, will be a specific complexion, etc. The list can go on and on and on!
Now, there’s nothing wrong with preferences, but is it possible that we could be missing out on God’s best for us because we can’t see past all the unrealistic expectations we have created? I mean, wouldn’t it just be better to take a trip to the Build-A-Man Workshop or order a Stepford Wife? I honestly think that’s the only way that some of us will find someone that meets all of our qualifications.
Now that I have you thinking, I want to share 5 things that I think will help us keep our standards Godly and realistic at the same time.
1. Understand what marriage is actually about…
I, like many people, used to be under the impression that marriage was just God’s gift to single people. Having a wonderful, handsome man all to myself for my time here on Earth sure sounded like a treat from a loving Savior to me! lol. But recently, I’ve come to understand that marriage is not entirely about our pleasure and happiness. Ephesians 5:22-33 shows us how marriage is actually an earthly representation of God’s love for His people. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” and the verses behind it shows us that wives represent us, God’s people. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” shows us that husbands represent Christ, who came and died to save His people. Also, keep in mind that marriage should make us even more like Christ. It exists to make us holy.
When we understand that marriage is actually supposed to primarily glorify God and not just please us, we realize that the standards for a significant other really should be present to ensure that we will date or court and eventually marry someone who we can glorify God with. As a result of glorifying God, we are blessed and receive joy. When you think about it that way, it really isn’t a requirement that he gets you a huge engagement ring, is it? 🙂
2. Get your standards from God’s word, not society…
Many of us have adopted society’s standards for who we date instead of the standards that come from God’s word. We prefer looks over character and money over spiritual strength. We forget what’s most important in a significant other and start choosing people for the wrong reasons. God gives us His word so that we can utilize it in every area of our lives. Women of God, you can’t ask God for a Godly man who also resembles the world. The same goes for men of God. Don’t be lukewarm or double-minded in your determining who to have a relationship with. Look at the character, lifestyles and personalities of most important Jesus, then possibly great men and women of the Bible and adopt those as your standards.
3. We should be able to reach the standards we want in a mate…
If you know that you want to marry a woman who has a thriving prayer life, is educated, takes care of herself and has goals in life, make sure that you are a man that encompasses all of those attributes and qualities. Really, how fair is it to have a list of standards for someone else that you cannot reach? It’s not fair at all. Be willing to have as much to offer as you want to receive. If this means working on cultivating faithfulness in your own life before deciding to date, do that. I’m not saying that you have to be perfect before pursuing a relationship, but that you should be working to gain whatever qualities or attributes that you would like to see in the person that you want to marry.
4. Realize that there’s no such thing as a perfect person…
There is no such thing as a perfect person. None of us are perfect so we should not expect that from anyone else. At some point or another, the person you date will likely make you mad, annoy you, disappoint you and make mistakes. It’s apart of life. I’m sure that Boaz annoyed Ruth and that Rachel probably got on Jacob’s nerves at least once too. But if God has blessed you with someone who loves Him and has a relationship with Him, has Godly character, works to be a better Christian everyday, is working hard in other aspects of their life and truly loves and cares for you, love that person. We all live in a sinful word and we all have our past hurts, mistakes, issues and problems. Ask God to help you see that they although they aren’t perfect, that they are a blessing to your life.
5. Don’t compare…
Your husband leaves the toilet seat up and your college boyfriend never did. Your girlfriend can’t cook as well as your last one. So what? Love them anyway and encourage them to be better. So many of us are unhappy with who God has given us because we are comparing them to someone from our past. Not only is this wrong, but it’s unfair. How would you like to be compared to other people? God knows what He is doing. If you were supposed to be with the last person, you would be with them. Don’t waste your time reminiscing on what the old person used to do so well and thank God for everything that the current person is. The grass is not greener on the other side or in the past. Water your grass by supporting, loving and encouraging the one God has blessed you with.
I don’t want any of you to think that I’m saying date someone who you don’t like just because they love God or marry someone you aren’t attracted to. I believe that you should enjoy as well as be attracted to the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with. I’m just encouraging you to make sure that your standards are Biblical and all for ensuring that you settle down with the person that you can best glorify God with.
I want to make it clear that I don’t think I have any special knowledge or that I know it all. I’ve dated, but I’m not married so I have no idea what it takes. However, I read a lot. I’m going to include a short list of my favorite resource that pertain to dating/courting/marriage. They may interest you.
The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. – Ellen G. White
“This Momentary Marriage” by John Piper
“Letters to Young Lovers” by Ellen G. White
“Waiting and Dating” by Dr. Myles Munroe
Boy Meets Girl Message Series by Louie Giglio
Lionhearted and Lamblike: The Christian Husband as Head, Part 1 by John Piper
Lionhearted and Lamblike: The Christian Husband as Head, Part 2 by John Piper
The Incredible Worth of a Woman by Mark Bickle