Photo Credit: TBD.
I am not a superhero. I can’t solve all your problems or make you complete. Jesus Christ already makes you complete. As a single person I cannot say I am fully satisfied in my current station, but I can say I am fully satisfied in Jesus Christ. This isn’t a contradiction, I am confident there’s a season for both. In my season of singleness I am pursuing a legacy of service to God. I am dedicating a lot of time to God by writing, spending time in the Word, and prayerfully considering where He would take me. I know that a chief part of my calling is writing, but I don’t know if becoming an author is its full extent.
I am unsure if I will be called to become a pastor or if God desires me to do speaking engagements. I can see myself doing missionary work, but I don’t think I am being led to move out of the country permanently. I like familiarity, consistency, and some degree of comfort – but I am not afraid to step out of that comfort zone when God calls me to. Even if I was afraid I would do it anyways, because when push comes to shove, I want to obey God.
Not long ago I still liked to have way too much figured out. About my future, I wanted the illusion of control. I am learning slowly to trust God more by letting Him guide me daily. Every time I pursue a woman, I think it could be you. I am fairly certain this has been the case since I was really young. I have envisioned a long path with women I know, I suppose you could say I am a hopeless romantic. The difference is I have hope and I am also a realist. So there’s no hopelessness there, it’s more of a calculated approach. That probably takes the romance right out of the expression, but it still works for me. I plan 5 steps ahead, but I know if we haven’t hit step 1. By knowing, I mean I know with the current woman I am looking at as a prospective wife. If I am dating you, it means that I see potential for marriage in our future. I am not a fan of wasting time, I like to cut through the fluff straight away and speak boldly about my intentions.
There are pros and cons to being transparent and honest, but this isn’t an area of consideration. There’s no opportunity to compromise here, it’s the way I am, and it’s the way I should be. I may kill some aspects of mystery, spontaneity, and romance once in a while by revealing too much of myself. I tend to reveal too much of whom I am, what I stand for, and even my emotion. Wearing them on my sleeve, but often not in animated matter. So I will answer to a question in an unambiguous fashion that doesn’t leave you thinking where you stand. There’s no suspense in it, so the girls that are looking for drama will be disappointed. The girls looking for only physical intimacy will be discontent. The women looking for a man of God will see one here. I fear God; I have a heart after God, and He will always come first in my life. Being second in my life is a great spot to be in, because I am capable of empathy. I haven’t had a long-standing relationship, but the few I have I have tried my best to remain on good terms with the girls involved. Boys will not be willing to resolve a situation or break-up with a girl in clear, mutual understanding. Men will be willing to take some heat to give her the benefit of closure, to let her know that she is really cared for even if things didn’t work out. Some people have a fight or flight sentiment regarding situations like this, particularly when they can get animated or become somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster. This is the price that we pay when there were too many areas of discord, or at least one thing that may be a deal-breaker.
To me it’s very simple, but very hard to find what I want in a future spouse. I have to find her physically attractive, but if I approach her she already is. She has to be a Christian, she cannot smoke/do drugs, and she has to desire to bring God glory. It’s not a long list, but it’s a definitive list. I have thought about the statistical ramifications of this small list. The overall dating pool of women is probably close to 50% in terms of a male/female ratio. The statistics of Christians as a whole is overstated, because a lot of people hold Christian ideals where convenient, but don’t hold a Christian way of life overall. I don’t want to spend much time here; this is supposed to be a letter to my future wife. The reality is only God can provide her, because what I am getting at is the odds are quite low. Even among Christian circles, I can see the scarcity of both men and women of God. If anything the ladies have it even more challenging, realistically I think there is a lack of male leadership if the general consensus is accurate. I cannot be sure because I haven’t visited all the Churches in South FL., let alone the nation. Going by either logic though, the scarcity is conveyed accurately.
There are many things that I would view as a pro, and of course many things that could be a con, but don’t have to ruin our possibilities. I am not particularly fond of having pets in the house, but I could wrap my head around some sort of compromise. Maybe we could buy fish! (lol). Fish are an awesome pet, you only have to feed them and clean the tank once every 3 months or so. The idea of having a dog jump on my bed, shed hair all over the room, and smell the place up, isn’t outweighed by the potential companionship of “man’s best friend”. There are many women that would view my Poker playing a negative. I would consider some elements of compromise here, but I don’t guarantee that I will quit unless God leads me to.
I track my results in a fiscally responsible manner. You have to understand that I am a huge nerd, and Poker isn’t simply a vehicle to gamble for me. I have only won marginally at this point in time, since I just lost about $1,400 in the past two weeks. I won $1,600 the month before that, but now due to recent losses I have elected to take a break from the game for at least two months. I need to psychologically distance myself from the recent losses in order to perform better the next time I play. You can play your best game, and still lose. You can play terribly, and still win. In the short term anything can happen, but if you continue to make mathematically profitable plays the long run is your friend. You will see the fruit of that discipline, and you will be profitable. For me playing low stakes Poker at the ½ no limit level bears an average of about $10 per hour, and the 2/4 limit kind I have eliminated but is a net loss given the high rake structure of the game. This is my long-winded defense of one of my favorite hobbies, but this isn’t something I cannot quit. I am sure I would be willing to concede this as a bargaining chip in our house. As a man, I know I am fully satisfied in Jesus Christ. That also entails fully aiming to obey Him. So if God called me to quit because I wasn’t redeeming the time at the Poker table, I would like to answer that call immediately. However, if we were allowed to have a Poker table at home, I could see myself quitting casino Poker games for the most part and sticking to home games with friends 1-4 times a month. As long as it wasn’t something that bothered you, and you might even want to get involved in if you were a fan of strategy games like I am. When we’re alone, strip Poker is a fantastic variant. If we played some strip Poker, some home games with friends, and actually had our own table – then who cares about playing at the card room? It’s not like I do it for income. It’s a hobby, it’s for the strategic stimulation of my mind, and it’s for fun. If those three qualities are satisfied at home, then the other isn’t really a necessity. If it became financially unfeasible to support my hobby, then I would quit. If I weren’t winning enough to allow it to self-sustain so that my same $2,000 or whatever the figure might be wasn’t cutting it, then I probably would need to quit because my bankroll was lost. I don’t like the idea of playing a game that I am not winning at, so I would probably quit and find something I was better at. Preferably something that had no financial strings attached, such as billiards for instance. After you buy a pool cue, and pay some table time when you go once in a while, your expenses are minimal.
While I am discussing hobbies, I think it’s good for my wife to have her own share of hobbies. I can see myself wanting to spend tons of time together, even some time in hobbies together, but I think that giving each other space is pivotal to maintaining a balanced relationship. If I always needed her or if she always needed me around, it’s unhealthy. There’s something wrong with it, I don’t want to be the couple that texts one another back every 10 minutes. There’s an insecurity there that needs to be resolved. My absence will only make my presence that much better when we get back together. Your absence will do the same for me. I will appreciate you a degree higher the next time we get back together. We need to get to a place, built on the foundation of a mutual focus on Jesus Christ, where by a cord of three strands we have achieved trust and respect towards each other. If we keep God at the focal point, our marriage has the capacity to bring the same or more glory to God, in comparison to our single lives. If that’s not the case, then we have no business getting married. I need to improve you, and you need to improve me to some level. We need to compliment one another, and it should make sense in terms of eternity. I want a woman who is eternally minded, she needs to desire to store up heavenly treasure. She needs to know those are the ones that count forever, and that some sacrifices on earth to get to those are small in comparison to the glory that awaits us in Heaven. (V*1).
I think before we get to marriage, we need to spend a fair amount of time courting/dating before we can expect to consider it. I am not afraid of commitment by any means, but I don’t want to jump into the ship together before I am confident that we’ve prepared. The vessel should be seaworthy; we need to make sure we’ve got it all together because there aren’t any escape rafts from this boat.
We’re in it together, and we’ll be in it through thick and thin for our entire lives. God is the captain of our ship, Jesus Christ is our focus, and the Holy Spirit is our guide. I want to spend so much time with you before I marry you that I know how you act in a diverse array of situations. I want to know how angry you get when you’re mad, I want to know how capable you are of handling mildly stressful and highly stressful situations, I want to know how you cope with loss, I want to see you when you’re happy. I want to understand whether your default demeanor is enthusiastic, mild-tempered, or indifferent. I want to know whether you’re optimistic or cynical. I want to see if you appreciate dark humor or think it’s crass, rude, and depraved. I want to know if you love or hate surprises, or for that matter if you love or hate anything. I want to know what your biggest faults and weaknesses are, to see if my strengths compliment them, and to be confident enough to share mine to see how you feel about them.
I believe God uses marriage for His glory, and derives glory from it in several ways. Firstly, it’s a small display of the perfect marriage to come, our marriage to Jesus Christ. If we’re doing it right and I am constantly aspiring to love you like Christ loves the Church, and you’re submitting to my Spiritual leadership in the home, I believe God is glorified by it. I have no right to demand that you follow my leadership, if I am not in tune with your true desires, emotions, and person. I need to know you, we’re one flesh, and if I don’t act in a way that is mutually beneficial then it isn’t appropriate. If anything I need to learn more about how I can be of benefit to you, and learn more about sacrifice so that you’re better off. If we get into a relationship with our sight set on what we can derive selfishly, or how best it serves us, we’re looking at it from the wrong vantage point. We have a human tendency to make comparisons and gauge benefits by our nature, but this isn’t where we should dwell. These are thoughts that breed discontentment, and don’t focus on the right things.
If we are friends or dating, I cannot offer love before it is due to be rendered. I need to know whether we can both get to that place where it’s time to love one another romantically. I can offer the love of a brother in Christ who aims to love everyone. It’s the second greatest commandment, so how can I not love a sister in Christ whom I am dating in consideration of more in the future? That’s not the love I am discussing there to lack, I am talking about the deeper love that comes when two parties elect to take things to the next level. When a certain level of personal intimacy, emotional investment, and a great deal of time have been invested in facilitating such possibilities. This is why I believe, at least initially, friendship is one of the best platforms to launch a potential relationship from. From friendship you can be honest and candid with one another in a way that sometimes when romance is begun immediately you lose out on to some degree. We get so caught up in trying to impress someone that we’re not behaving like ourselves or we’re holding back part of which we are. This is not what I want, and it shouldn’t be what you want. You want to see me in all the areas I mentioned before, and many areas I didn’t mention as a friend. This way you’re not emotionally invested in the sense that you’ve guarded your heart, but at the same time we’ve investing enough attention on one another that we can learn a lot without reaching the tipping point for a long time.
Eventually there will come a time where we can have the conversation. The definitive moment where a deliberate path to marriage can be established or rejected based on our experiences with one another. For some people this path can take weeks, others months, and for still yet others years. I believe I will be in the latter camp, but only time will tell to be certain. I believe it will take at least a couple of years to truly know if we’re ready to jump into the boat together. It’s still going to take a leap of faith, a prayerful focus on God, and a dedication to one another in good and bad weather. We cannot base our readiness as a couple for marriage on a few months of smooth sailing. We need years, so we can see what it looks like when we hit the face of a squall together. Do we both grab buckets and clean up the boat effectively? Do we talk to one another as allies, as a team who will look after one another, and not just shift the blame? Of course none of us are perfect, and there might be moments where we compromise such beautiful ideals, but that’s where we need to know how to forgive. Love covers over all wrongs, but some wrongs can be forgiven and won’t be forgotten. The Bible is clear in 1 Corinthians 13:6 though that love should not keep record of right or wrong. I have put the entirety of 1 Corinthians 13 for completeness sake at the bottom of this article; we can always use a solid reminder of it. (V*2).
It’s easy to remember mistakes, and in the middle of a squall the last thing we want to do is to add some past mistakes that were already resolved to the mix. If that’s done at that point in time, even if you’d like to discuss them during a calm season, then we’re risking making that squall a serious hurricane. I think it’s important to gauge the climate of the situation before confronting issues together. Some things should be spoken of frequently, and open lines of communication are excellent, but we need to desire to get better at figuring each other’s “emotional climate” out. I heard about this concept in a Midday-Connection show on Moody radio, but I will give you the basic premise. It entails that if someone is having a certain state of mind or dealing with an issue in life, we should empathize how we’d feel in their shoes if we were to present the same circumstance to them. This begs for an example, so I will attempt to provide one. My wife had a rough day at work. I have been busy myself preparing my new manuscript for a proposal to a book publisher, and being in the final stages I have neglected some household duties. She arrives and she notices the dishes didn’t get done. She also sees the bedroom is in disorder, and without articulating as much, assumes that I expect her to clean all that and cook. Simultaneously I welcome her home, and the next thing I say before asking about her day is “Honey, could you make me a sandwich. I am starving.” Okay clearly I am out of line here. I didn’t stop to consider how her day at work was or ask her about it.
I didn’t fulfill my supposed share of the obligations to clean the dishes and organize the bedroom. I have been busy working on the proposal too, but I could have made time to make or buy my own sandwich. This is like an invitation for punishment; I am possibly even inviting an emotional breakdown if her day was difficult enough at work or if she hasn’t had enough attention from me recently.
Suppose I have gone above and beyond the call of duty in recent days, let’s say I have been on the ball with all these things for the past week. Let’s also assume that this is the first stressful day she had in a couple days, and she has been resting optimally. She also empathizes that I have grinded out more hours on my project in the final stretch to get it out to market as soon as possible, and she realizes how intense it can get when I am wrapping it up. Then the same exact situation, with the same exact words said, may be more understandable. She might respond with “Sure, I will get to it in a moment.” In the former scenario, where I have not planted these prior seeds of concern, I could see her becoming furious. I could see a response of “Make your own sandwich, I had a terrible day. <Throws keys on the countertop> <slams bathroom door> <takes 30min.+ shower to let stress go>.” That latter one is probably operating under optimal conditions I might add with an understanding wife. I rather not imagine what it might look like if it was the last straw, and elaborate on what an avalanche might look like.
My last point, derived from a conversation I had with my friends from Bible study, is the idea of love languages from Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages”. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my reading list somewhere after “Mere Christianity”. I have discussed it with friends and heard it on the radio as well. One can be touch (i.e.: physical intimacy or touching), acts of service (i.e.: getting stuff done), words of affirmation (i.e.: appreciation, validating someone’s value in a genuine manner.), acts of kindness (i.e.: opening the door, bringing them flowers, etc…), and attentiveness (being a good listener, focused attention on them instead of divided, etc…)
If we know one another’s love language or languages, and fill them regularly, our capacity to deal with life’s unexpected twists will be enhanced. If I know I am loved and appreciated, if she shows me physical intimacy, and she affirms my desires to bring God glory – she can expect me to have a much higher capacity to keep my cool in the midst of turmoil that may arise. If I provide her attentiveness and kindness, and also consider what her “love language” might be, then I have also kept her love tank supplied. She’ll be better off, and I will be better off. It’s a team effort, and when you’re one flesh with someone, it should be a pleasure to sacrifice for him or her. It’s easier to say than to do, but it should be a blessing to make her smile. It should feel like a privilege to take care of her when she’s feeling sick or depressed because she lost a loved family member. Those are the squalls of life that will come, and you’ll need to draw nearer to God and to one another like never before to survive. Make sure that God is always the captain, Jesus is always the focus, and the Holy Spirit is always our guide. Everything else will fall into place, including when and where I will meet her if I haven’t already, and when we’ll become one flesh. It’s only a matter of time, so her and I both ought to maximize this season of singleness in our lives. God will make it clear, and give me the green light to pursue her in such a way, when the time comes. She will also receive her own green light on when to embrace such pursuits, and to understand that they’re coming from a viewpoint of good intention from an imperfect man. She has the emotional and spiritual maturity to know that no man is going to complete her, but that as a team we might be better off perfecting one another by God’s grace for God’s glory than to take life on by ourselves. It may make more sense, and that’s why we have to prayerfully consider these kinds of moves. (V*3). I am enjoying my journey as a single man now, and I know that when it becomes our journey it will be a blessing as well. I will try my best to be the leader God has called me to be; I know that He will help me to.
Brainstorming based on “Happily Ever After” inspired this article. It’s a series of Biblical based teaching from our Christ Fellowship Bible study. My own thoughts and desires are expressed in consideration of Biblical teachings, and wisdom from those both older and wiser than me.
V*1- 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 (NKJV).
V*2- 13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
V*3- 17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV).
V*4- 18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love. Proverbs 5:18-19 (NKJV).