Donâ€™t Be a Jerk, and Donâ€™t Marry One
The world of singles is full of jerks and the women who marry them. My very simple thesis is this: donâ€™t be a jerk, and donâ€™t marry one. A man can be a jerk in two directions: a passive pushover, or an active abuser. So, ladies, the question of the hour is how do you determine where a guy is at on that spectrum?Â
You want a man who has caught a vision for what a man is supposed to be, which rules out all unbelieving men. But what about guys who profess to be Christians? Broadly speaking, wait until a young man has gone through some form of failure, and witness how he responds. Does he throw a pity party? Does he turn into a raging bull? Or does he humbly get back up and keep marching onward. Is he known by pursuing Christ?
What sort of bridegroom is Christ?
My advice to young men is that they would spend a seasonâ€“â€“prior to pursuing a young ladyâ€“â€“to do a thorough study of what sort of Bridegroom Christ is. Look closely at how Scripture describes the way in which Christ interacts, leads, sacrifices and loves His Bride. Of course, husbands are commanded to love their wives in imitation of Christâ€™s love for the Church (Eph 5:25).Â
Youâ€™ll never be a perfect imitator, but this doesnâ€™t mean you ought not to undertake to imitate Him. Which means you need to have as clear a picture as possible of what headship, sacrificial love, leadership, forgiveness & forbearance looks like in Christ. Thus, look to Christ, look to Christ, look to Christ.
Ladies, you cannot Instagram filter your life. A real danger for young women, is to form some rosy, dramatic picture of their life and future husband in her mind, then finely adjust the contrast, brightness and saturation of that mental image until sheâ€™s constructed an image of a guy that doesnâ€™t exist. But what happens when a godly young man comes along and doesnâ€™t conform to your mental Instagram feed?Â
Of course it always ok for a woman to decline a suitorâ€¦it is well within your rights to do so. Alsoâ€“â€“though not my emphasis hereâ€“â€“this is why involving your father and mother in this process can be a profound blessing. However, refusing good suitors in the hopes that your Instagram-filtered suitor will be along shortly does not mean youâ€™re walking in wisdom. As Aslan might say, â€œYouâ€™ll never know what would have happened.â€ Donâ€™t let self-righteousness masquerade as wisdom. Let wisdom guide you. Wisdom such as these Proverbs offer: â€œEvery purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war (Pro. 20:18).â€ And: â€œWhere no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety (Pro. 11:14).â€
God is a Great Story Teller
In all of this it is vital that you remember that God is a better story-teller than you are; and He does in fact care about this dimension of your existence. He cares about the person you marry, and how you find, court, and wed them. He wants to write stories that your children and grandchildren will want to hear, and which you wonâ€™t be ashamed to tell (Gen. 2:25).Â
In trusting God to write our story, we must walk by faith and we must actually walk. Waiting on God is not a passive activity. Waiting on God to lead you to the right person, or bring the right person along, is not intended to be done through an experience on the astral plane. It is intended to happen in the context of your circle of friends and acquaintances. God is the one who has perfectly chosen your circumstances, and gives you grace and wisdom to read those circumstances through the lens a desire to honor Christ above all else.