Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Word to the Unmarried Ladies

When I first wrote Being a Godly Wife back in 2012, I received TONS of emails. Many of them were from young ladies asking for a post with advice about dating, being engaged, and even from single ladies about what to look for in a spouse. I loved hearing testimonies from so many sweet gals, so many walks of life, & I truly appreciated all of the encouragement. (Got my fair share of hate mail too, but that’s going to happen when you’re teaching the Word in a fallen world.)

Anyway, here we are, four years after that little post went viral, nearly six years into marriage, and I feel like I am finally ready to offer some insight. I’m still not the expert by any means, but after studying LOTS of relationships, making my own mistakes and learning from my experiences, thinking about what I want to teach my own children as they grow up, and “counseling” multiple women (not officially, but basically), here’s what I’ve got for ya.

  • First and foremost, I want to encourage you to NOT date someone unless you can see yourself marrying them.  We live in a society that teaches “Have fun! Get lots of experience under your belt. Sow your wild oats while you’re young.” Y’all, that is garbage advice and there is NOTHING Biblical about that. Can I tell you what that “advice” breaks down to in real life? Baggage. So hear me on this…If there is something that is a deal breaker (as in you couldn’t see yourself spending the rest of your life with someone for some reason or another), end it ASAP. Even if it’s hard. Otherwise, here are the two possible outcomes: Someone in the relationship is going to get hurt, or you’ll end up falling for him and excuse what was once a non-negotiable for you (which will probably lead to problems later on).
  • Most people get this backwards, but we should really go through our dating relationships with a magnifying glass and our marriage letting the little things slide. Most of us put our blinders on during the dating season because we are so “in loooooove” and just excuse the faults, but when we get married, we make mountains out of those molehills where we once turned a blind eye.
  • Pray for a  man that loves Jesus the most. Even more than you. Pretty much every (Christian) gal that I know claims to want this, but in reality, her actions/attitudes sometimes show that she actually wants her man to put her first. She’ll never admit it, but I’ve seen it over and over. Here’s the thing…when the lovey dovey honeymoon feelings go away (because they do, and I am saying that as someone who is madly in love with my husband, just in a different, deeper way), you will WANT a man who is sold out to Jesus. Who will lead your family & follow Christ above all. Only then will he truly be able to love you the way you want to be loved anyway. So don’t come between his relationship with the Lord. Encourage it!
  • Don’t give too much of yourself to a person until you’ve said “I Do.”  I mean physically, emotionally, or mentally. When you do that, in the case it ends (I know, you think it’ll never happen #untilitdoes) and then you end up bringing baggage into your marriage. I can assure you, you will never regret being able to give you FULL self to your husband! However, you most likely WILL regret having given too much of yourself to someone else. Every little piece you give away to someone you’re dating is a little less of yourself you have to give to your husband. And baggage? Not cool.
  • You can’t expect God to bless your relationship if you’re living in sin. There are consequences. You reap what you sow. Just gonna leave that right there.
  • Try to make sure you’re on the same page and have the same big picture life goals. When it comes to things like where you want to live, church, mission work, how many kids you want, if you want to stay home with them, how you spend money, etc., you want to have the same general big picture goals. Obviously you can’t plan your whole life and you never know what God has in store, but some of those biggies can be deal breakers.
  • He needs to pursue you. Ladies, do not chase after a man or pursue him. I’m not saying play “hard to get” or any games, but he should be calling you, setting dates, etc. Jonathan always tells everyone the story of the first time we met (in the parking lot after his sister’s softball game…he parked next to my car) and I told him he’d have to call me if he wanted to hang out because I was a very traditional girl. Haha! Well, he did.

  • Make a list of the things you’re looking for in a spouse, and then ask yourself “Who do i have to become in order to attract that kind of man?” I don’t mean put on a phony front pretending to be someone you’re not. Most men will see right through that, and even if they don’t. your marriage will be miserable if you become a different person after the “I do’s.” I’m talking about true growth. Surround yourself with wise women. Read. Study the Word. Grow up. Focus more on becoming beautiful inside than out. (But don’t neglect the outside.) Learn what it means to be “in Christ” & your role as a help meet in the future. The good news? The Bible gives us some clear instructions as women (Titus 2:3-5) and goals to strive for as a virtuous woman (Proverbs 31).
  • Speaking of lists, these are some of the things that popped up on my list before I got married: someone who has a relationship with the Lord and will lead our family spiritually, someone who is athletic (I am an athlete, and if I can throw a ball harder than you…just no), someone who is FUNNY (I love to laugh!), someone who likes to be active and take care of himself (so he’ll eat my healthy cooking & we can make a healthy lifestyle a priority together), someone who is big on FAMILY, a manly man (I just can’t do super sensitive/soft…& ability to grow some good facial hair is a plus), someone my family likes (my whole family ADORES Jonathan, by the way! they may even like him better than me! Ha!), tall, someone who would be a hands-on, involved daddy, someone I could TRUST, and someone who makes me feel good about myself (just being honest- that was definitely important to me back then- although I’ve grown out of that.) I didn’t care much about looks …Jon just happens to be handsome. I also didn’t care about how much money he made, as long as he was a hard worker and I was confident he would do what it takes to provide. (I have ZERO tolerance for a lazy man. ZERO!).
  • Now that I’ve been with Jonathan for almost TEN years (what?!?!), he definitely encompasses all of those, but here are a few of the qualities I appreciate the very most about him. Qualities I didn’t even know were important to me, I wasn’t necessarily looking for, but thankfully the Lord gave me in Jonathan. I would highly encourage you to pray some of these in your future spouse.

                 * Discernment. I don’t even know that i knew what that word meant when I was younger, but I am SO thankful for Jonathan’s discernment. He has one of the best discerning spirits I’ve ever been around. It is truly a gift from the Lord. He is a great judge of character and can see right through people. His discernment helps him make wise, cautious decisions for our family- especially regarding who we allow to influence our lives and be around the boys.

                 * A learner. This is one of my favorites! He is such a hard worker, which I love, but when you pair that with a man who is a learner, you have an AWESOME combo! He tells me that when he was about twenty or so, he remembers clear as day thinkin “Son, you don’t know how to do anything. If you want to make something of yourself, you’re gonna have to learn some skills.” And so it began. He is a self-taught master mind in SO many areas….it’s ridiculous. (Awesome.) He researches, reads, watches videos, and learns how to do everything the best, most efficient, most solid way possible. He can build/fix anything and knows a LOT about a LOT. People call him all the time for advice and help because they know he knows. He is super, super humble about it and is even cautious sharing all he knows with others because he never wants to seem like a know-it-all. I can’t imagine the tens of thousands of dollars he has saved us by being a willing, lifelong learner.

                 * Integrity. He is the definition of “character”…doing the right thing even when no one is looking. He goes above and beyond in everything he does. He does work for others the way he would want it done for us, and he is PICKY, so that’s saying a lot. He does what he says he’s going to do. He’s a man of his word. If you are solid enough to earn a place in his inner circle, he would do just about anything for you and doesn’t expect anything in return other than genuine appreciation.

                * And he plays guitar, so there’s that.

{Our FIRST picture together….back in 2006. WHOA!}

In praying for your future spouse, I would pray for for wisdom, strength, direction, a man after God’s own heart, and protection from the enemy and any evil. I would pray for many of the characteristics you wrote out on your “list.” Pray for his heart, mind, experiences, decisions, and friends. Pray he has self-control and seeks the Lord.

And while you are waiting to meet him, act, dress, talk, behave around other men like you want other young ladies acting, dressing, talking, and behaving around your future husband. (Does that make sense?) Respect the guys you are around as someone else’s future husband. Classy & modest!

Marriage is more than a commitment and a ceremony. It is a COVENANT. A vow before the Lord. Our society teaches that we have an easy way out now with divorce, but God HATES divorce. That is abundantly clear in the Word. It is not a decision to take lightly or rush into. Definitely take some time to pray over some of these things, and start praying over your future husband NOW. You’re going to be ONE with that man…forever…so he deserves nothing short of your best prayers.

3 comments:

Diane Kraus said...

You are an amazing woman, Danielle!

Traci Young said...

Love this. We have 6 kids, and 4 are daughters. I will share this with them!

Emily J said...

Thank you for sharing this!
Spot on and encouraging to hear another young woman saying these things.
I will def be sharing with some single/dating friends of mine.