Thinking with You
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Relationships.life

Dating.Marriage.Motherhood

Where is the Love?

My heart really does go out to all 30+ single Christian women in this day and age.  It’s flipping hard to find any decent guys who are single, and then to actually have them pursue you, and to turn out to be mainly issue-free?  It’s like finding the golden ticket.  Very, very rare. 

So what’s a girl to do?  Well, there are things you can do to increase your chances.  But it depends how much you want it.  If you are fairly happy the way you are, pretty satisfied with your current social group, moderately pleased with your position in life, and still optimistic about your romantic future, you will probably want to keep rolling along the way you are.  But if you are sick of your situation and are willing to do whatever it takes to get to that fragile and life-changing state of marriage (and children, please God!), then here are some tips for you.

Okay, so first of all you do need a basic idea of the kind of guy you want.  Now I’m not talking about a crazy long list of features that combine Thor, Brian Houston and Bill Gates into one imaginary and non-existent freak of nature.  What you actually need to do is to figure out who you are.  This will then give you an idea of what type of guy will be the right ‘fit’ for you.

I was at a marriage seminar once where local counsellor Peter Janetzki referred to a really cool acronym that has always stuck with me.  I’m pretty sure he attributed it to a psychiatrist colleague Dr John Warlow, and hopefully I can do it justice.  (Thanks guys!)  The acronym was described as a way to define the core elements of yourself, in order to see if the person you are dating is indeed a general ‘match’ in these five areas:

Body

Emotions

Intellect

Neighbour

God

Your BEING is who you are.  Now it was suggested that if you want to put these in order of importance, you should start at the bottom and work your way up.  I would tend to agree.  Here’s what they really mean:

God: your faith, and your maturity within your faith.  Your commitment to your faith and the level of importance it has in your life.  You need a man who has a similar level of commitment to the (same!) faith as you.

Neighbour: your ability to be friends with this man, and his ability to be friends with you (make sure it’s not all about him all the time).  The level of your ‘neighbourliness’, your goodwill, your ability to shoot the breeze with this person and to enjoy being with them.  Do you feel inclined to help each other out? Most of marriage is working and talking. Can you talk to this guy, or are you struggling for conversation topics after the first hour? Imagine living with him for 60 years! You need a man who is your friend, with whom you can ‘hang out’ and feel at ease.

Intellect: your level of intelligence, your IQ, your smarts.  You need a man who is on par with you intellectually.  This is very important for a smart woman!  You must be able to respect your husband – and it’s not easy to respect a man who is not as bright as you (unless he excels in another area that makes you admire him). Note that this trait will have a major influence on your entire lifestyle – the kind of work he does, your combined income, his social group, where you live, etc.  So it’s a biggie.  That said, you don’t want to marry an ego-centric narcissist who thinks he’s God’s gift to the literary/medical/political/etc. world. Smart and humble, that’s the winning combo!

Emotions: your temperament, personality, conflict style, expressiveness, and so on.  While you don’t need someone who is exactly the same as you in this area, you do need a man who can handle your emotions and who you can ‘mesh’ with when it comes to communication, conflict and romance. NB.  You don’t want a ‘sensitive’ man in terms of him being sensitive about everything.  You want a sensitive man in terms of his sensitivity to you and your needs. Big difference.

Body: your looks, height, health (health problems, diet, drinking, smoking), age, fitness, the way you dress, hairstyle, tattoos, piercings, how much priority you put on physical exercise and sport, etc.  You need a man who thinks that YOU are beautiful!  (Very important.)  Don’t marry a man who is much better looking than you.  This is old-fashioned advice that is always true – it’s very possible that his eyes will eventually wander!  You will potentially be insecure for your whole marriage. Guys are visual and they need to think you are just the best thing that ever happened to them.  But don’t marry someone who you think is repulsive.  You have to want to have sex with him!  You need a man who you are not embarrassed to be seen with in public.  (You may be able to influence his dress sense, and possibly what he does with his hair/beard. But maybe not. And beyond that, who he is is who he is!)

Non PC side-note: be careful about marrying someone who is really overweight, if this bothers you – because as the woman, you will almost certainly be the one in charge of the food, and if he is passive and gluttonous (secretly snacking on KFC every night, and refusing to exercise) this may drive you to the edge of your sanity!  And remember, while women want men to change and believe that they will be able to ‘fix their man’, usually men don’t want to change.  What you see is what you get.  Don’t think that marriage will change his ways!

This BEING acronym is a really handy rule of thumb to use whenever sizing up a potential date or boyfriend.  Of course no one is perfect, and these five elements do not take into account other important things like culture, baggage or character, but they are a good place to start in reflecting on what type of guy would be a good fit for you.  Only you can decide which areas you are happy to compromise on.  In your situation, you will probably have to make some compromises somewhere.  (Eg. maybe you can marry someone a touch shorter than you, as long as he’s smart. Or maybe you can marry someone who’s a fairly recent Christian convert, as long as you are best friends. It’s up to you.) But don’t lie to yourself – go in with your eyes wide open.  If there are flaws and major differences, be honest with yourself and really reflect on whether you could live with them.  Remember that they will affect your lifestyle, where you live, how you live, how you raise your kids, everything. Be aware of differences! Then grieve them, accept them, and move forward with the relationship!

So, let’s assume you are a fairly intelligent woman with an okay figure, you are a strongly committed Christian, very extroverted (perhaps a little on the strong side), a big talker, and love sport.  Well, where are you going to find a man who would suit you?  Hm.  You need to look at the culture of the places you frequent.  Do you only have access to super intellectual geeks with pimples and no social skills?  Are you surrounded by awesome and hot doctors – who are all married?  Is your connect group filled with women and no guys? 

Take a moment to reflect on this.  Perhaps you are always complaining ‘There’s no guys in my church.’  Well, what are you going to do about it?  Having the knowledge is not the same thing as applying the knowledge.  You have to change up your context in order to ‘widen your net’.  If you want to hunt bears, go to the woods.  If you want to hunt pigs, go to the bush.  You know that old saying, ‘There’s plenty more fish in the sea?’  Yeah, well you have to actually go to the sea, to where the fish are.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit there’s a very small pool of available guys whose BEING is similar to yours.  But there is a pool.  You just have to find them! 

If you want a really intellectual guy, start going to lectures or seminars, or hanging out at university cafes and libraries.  Attend some book launches.  Join a course or start going to the more intellectual events at church.   Go to that party hosted by your really geeky friend.  Don’t hang out 24/7 with tradies!

If you want a sporty guy, join some sports teams!  (Seems obvious.)  There’s tons out there.  And don’t just join netball, which is filled with women.  Duh.  Get onto some mixed teams.   Sign up for ParkRun or whatever local public sporting event is out there.  Do Tough Mudder and stick around to meet some other teams. Join a mixed gym and do a few classes.  Maybe you’ll have a moment with a special someone at the water cooler!

If you want a committed Christian, don’t just bank on the Sunday services at church – start going to the midweek prayer groups, different connect groups, training nights, missionary dinners, and so on.   Go to your local mixed-church events, conferences and worship nights.  And here’s one to make your elders turn in their graves – change churches!  Church-hopping gets a bad rap, but if you’re 30+ and single and your pastor is not introducing you to a new guy every week, well you have to take matters into your own hands!  There are no rules, remember.  You’re not employed by the church (or maybe you are ha ha.)  There’s no contract.  You ARE allowed to leave, you know!  I met my husband after changing churches twice.  (You gotta do what you gotta do.)  No regrets!

You get my drift.  There’s no guarantee that you’ll meet THE ONE at the first different event you attend, or sporting club you join.  But if you didn’t get a job from the first interview you had, would you give up?  No!  You just keep on putting yourself out there until you get a job.  Yes, it’s tiring, time-consuming, expensive and emotionally exhausting.  Well, so is climbing Everest.  How much do you want it? 

And may I finish with an important side-note. I’ve noticed that a lot of chronically single girls only hang out with other, chronically single girls.  May I suggest that you start spending more time with mixed groups, dating couples, married couples and families.  Most connections end up being ‘a friend of a friend’ – so you need to be regularly in the world of men in order to actually meet men.  And did you realise there’s nothing more intimidating to an approaching man than a bevy of bold, brash 30+ ladies?  Eek!  He’ll run the other way.  Most of the time it’s best to cruise around by yourself or with one other friend.  You have to be approachable. 

Give it a try girls, and feel free to DM me about your progress!  In my next post I’ll throw you some ideas on how to manage one of the BEST ways of meeting guys these days – online dating! WOOO! Xo