One single mom asked:
“How do I find a good Christian man?”
Single moms are more than just single moms.
At our core, we’re simply women, right? With the same desires to be loved, to be known, and to be in a loving marriage with someone who walks through life alongside of us. Just like every other woman—and upcoming woman—on this planet.
Some single moms would say that they swore off men forever the day they became a single mom. Some would suggest we don’t have the right to date and remarry. Some would insist that we set aside our lives until our children leave home.
But, I’m not one of them. I don’t believe that we are called to any of those things.
We are simply women, who love the Lord, and long to have what He saw as the perfect solution for our need for close companionship: marriage. Becoming a single mom doesn’t squelch that desire any more than becoming a parent squelches the desire to still have a relationship with our own parents.
It’s okay to long for a husband, for a marriage, for a partner in life.
We just have to use this second opportunity at that wisely.
I’ve talked a lot about how important it is to get yourself to a healthy place before even considering dating because I believe that so many single moms rush into the next relationship for the wrong reasons—dooming it to failure—and them and their children to further strife.
Loneliness, financial problems, sexual needs, or simply being overwhelmed at the workload, are just some of the reasons that many fall into bad marriages instead of waiting on God’s best. Honestly, some of those reasons may be why we married the first time.
And they are simply not enough.
Because God’s best won’t place you in a loveless marriage. God’s best won’t simply meet a need. God’s best for you will fill the desires of your heart—because He knows what you need more than you know it yourself.
But, we have the ability to ruin all of that before He gets the chance to give it to us, don’t we? When we rush into a relationship, or cling to someone who is unhealthy, or simply allow things in our life that we KNOW we shouldn’t, we sidestep what His intention is for love in our lives. He clearly spells out what it should look like in the Bible.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
We get lost in that passage sometimes, don’t we? We look at the ideals of what love should be, but don’t heed what it shouldn’t be. Let’s break it down:
Love should be:
- Keeps no record of wrongs
- Rejoices with the truth
Love should not include:
- Dishonoring others
- Anger that comes easily
- Delighting in evil
These lists are things that are true of God. Because God is Love itself. Understanding Him gives us a clearer understanding of Love. It should also give us a clearer understanding of the type of man that we are to seek. Of course, no man will ever meet all of these all the time—and neither will we—we are all only human. There are things from this list of “should nots” that we have all been a part of at some point in our lives. But, seeing a list laid out like that does something, doesn’t it?
It gives us a deeper understanding of what the end goal should be. We can all look at this list outside of our marriages and see where we, or our spouses, succeeded at times and fell short at times. Can’t we? We might also see where serious concerns should have been apparent, while we may have ignored them. It’s so much easier to gain perspective with time and space. When you’re too close to something, the view is just plain blurred.
This is the exact reason that finding the love you are looking for, the one that God has meant for you, begins with a list as well.
After being in the dating world for a while—with quite the disastrous record, I might add—I eventually began to see that I was going about it all wrong. I was seeking a general “Christian man.” Meaning, I had no real plan. I was willing to talk online to almost anyone who said they were Christian because I believed that by doing so, I would open myself up to the possibility of finding the “one.” What it actually did was exhaust me. The vast majority of men I met were not only completely wrong for me, but didn’t meet any of the qualities that I deeply longed for in a husband. As the weeks and months went by, I could feel myself resigning to the fact that I would have to settle—I mean, everyone settles, right?—because there was no such thing as the perfect man for me.
But something in me made me stop that mentality. I’m giving credit to the Holy Spirit.
I began to understand that God would not have brought me to the point where I was and just show me the “meh.” No way. I began to understand that if it was a man chosen by God for me, it would be more like: “Wait. What?? Are you KIDDING me? I get THIS kind of man???”
He will literally blow you away. That’s how you know. That’s how I knew.
I decided to back away from the “meh” men I was meeting and make a list of what was important to me so that I could evaluate things more clearly.
I want you to do the same.
There’s no better time than before you start dating. But, if you’re already out there and feeling frustrated, pull back, reevaluate, and write that list.
Pray about the Type of Man God wants in your Life
I didn’t trust myself to choose the best man for myself. I wasn’t clear on what I actually needed. I only knew what I didn’t want. So, I asked God to make it clear to me as to what I should accept. Ask Him to give you wisdom on the qualities that you should be looking for, and ones that you need to be wary of. I covered every aspect that I could think of in my conversation with God from his faith, to his height, and even his manners (If you think that last one is ridiculous, you’ve haven’t been on recent dates.) Be honest. Holding back from expressing what you want out of some sense of shame is simply not being honest with God. Seriously, He knows anyway. Have a frank conversation with Him, and listen out for any indication that what you are asking for is something you should avoid.
Consider the Things that are Must-haves
Think of your personal, deepest hopes for marriage. What does it look like to you? What kind of personality traits are important to you? At this point in our lives, we all know what we appreciate in others and what we hope to have in our own future marriages someday. Make a list of non-negotiables that you have to have. Christian faith being at the top of that list, sweet friends. God doesn’t make a ton of things clear when it comes to choosing a spouse, but He does specifically address that we are not to bind ourselves to non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:15). Stop negotiating that one. Seriously. Don’t get involved with non-believers who don’t already have a committed faith. You are only asking for further heartbreak when they turn out to have no interest in something that means so much to you.
Don’t Get in Your Own Way
Sometimes, we can use pickiness as a shield around our hearts. There’s a difference between having standards, and being ridiculously picky. When you create your list of non-negotiables, only include the top 5-7 things that are the MOST important to you. The things that would be important to you whether you admit it or not. My list included physical attraction. I didn’t specifically list qualities, just that I wanted to be seriously attracted to my spouse. That’s important whether we want to admit it or not. And I fully believe that if God didn’t want that for us, He wouldn’t give us that desire. What purpose would it serve in a marriage if our spouse wasn’t the person we were most attracted to in this world? There is no shame in wanting whatever must-have you consider crucial. These are the desires of your heart.
Don’t be Surprised if the Package Doesn’t Arrive Like You Expect
Remember that attractiveness thing? I’ve never been more attracted to anyone than my current fiancé. But, if you had asked me to write out physical qualities that I wanted, I’m not sure that I would have listed his tattoos, earring, goatee, shaved head, or penchant for heavy metal and motorcycles. He was so far from every other man that I’d dated in my life that I had people flat out tell me they were shocked at the connection. But, he is everything I ever hoped for, and everything God knew I needed. And I love that God knew that about him. Don’t be surprised if your list aligns perfectly with someone you would have never expected. God doesn’t work like the rest of the world.
No man is perfect. But, neither are we, right? The point isn’t seeking perfection, it’s seeking what God has in mind for our futures. Write the list fully believing that God wants to give you the desires of your heart, and that He will honor the list, because you are letting Him lead you as you write it. That’s called staying in His will. Then, before you begin to consider any man as dating potential, don’t—unless he meets everything on your list. Say it with me: everything. Trust me when I say that it will keep you from getting emotionally invested in the wrong kind of men. Our search as Christian women won’t look like the typical search. We are called to think differently. Be thankful that we have guidance—and use it wisely.