When Looking For Love, Check Your Standards
A few months ago, a Christian woman in her 20s and I were discussing dating. Her girlfriends often seem to say yes to any guy that asks just so they don’t have to sit at home lonely on a Friday night. My new friend seemed frustrated. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there. Instead of being selective and hanging out with the “Say Yes To The Dress” marathon all night, you say yes to a guy who doesn’t meet the standards of what you want in a husband. Lowering our standards can lower our loneliness. For a fleeting moment.
Another woman I know is struggling through whether or not to accept her man’s strip club trips and open use of porn even though that goes against her Christian values and beliefs. She thinks that all men struggle with these things, so she won’t ever be able to find a man who doesn’t do them. In reality, she fears saying no to him because he may say no to her. Anyone else relate?
Lowering our standards can lower our risk of rejection. But only for a brief amount of time.
Personally, one reason I would talk myself into going out on “just one date” with a guy is because I didn’t want to judge. I didn’t want to seem more “holier than thou”. Jesus loved everyone, right?
Oh, sister. The lowering happens so softly and innocently. We slowly lower the bar and lower the bar until we surrender our desire to feel special, honored, and pursued, just so we don’t have to feel lonely, rejected, or ignored.
But the shallow gratification of now cannot be traded for the deeper connection of forever. Surrendering your standards and desires will only leave you feeling like the victim in the end.
No one wins when you surrender who you are.
So…standards. Have them and have high ones.
Checking Your Standards
Back when I was a young spring chicken (around 23), someone told my Bible study group to write down everything we wanted in a future husband. Write it out and give it to the Lord. I wrote it all out and folded it up and “gave” it to the Lord.
But I wish they had told me to dig deeper before giving it.
This wasn’t just a prayer request. I needed to determine what my nonnegotiables were. I needed to think about what was important to me, what I wanted out of life, and what kind of person would make the best teammate.
So I am now passing along some steps on how to dig deeper. Here are three things to help you determine the non-negotiable, or standards, as you date and look for love.
Make sure you know your values.
What are your values? Please DO NOT say you want him to play the guitar and have long hair! We’re talking what’s going to bring joy and love to your forever relationship. What do you want to still see when this man is 70 years old? What do you want to see in him when life gets hard? Those are your standards.
A very good friend of mine had an artsy musician type. Then she met her man who wore high water jeans and was in IT. Ultimately, she had standards, and he met them. They are still one of my favorite couples to this day because of the way they treat and honor each other. Don’t depend on your type. Think about your standards.
Some of these may help you define what your standards are. Jot them down in your journal. Write a list. Decide.
Listens to sermons or goes to church. (Or both!) Cherishes me.
Asks me about me. Protects me physically and emotionally.
Wants to learn about me. Listens to the good and bad.
Wants to learn and study Jesus. Is educated and wants to learn.
Treats adults with respect. Is a responsible adult.
Respects my time. Respectful and kind to his family.
Wants to learn about my friends. Wants to take care of his body and be healthy.
Will be humble. Has friends and can have fun.
Can laugh at himself. Will find humor in the hard stuff.
Honest with me. Can be vulnerable.
Wants children. Enjoys family time.
Takes care of himself physically. Is financially responsible.
2. Find your 10.
Please know that you nor him are, and never will, be a “10”. No one is perfect. Literally. But figuratively speaking, you look for a “10”. The 10 is what’s perfect for you.
Do NOT apologize for your standards. In fact, as you consider your standards, you might see if they align with what God says are his standards for his followers. God already said those standards are His best for you.
I wanted a man who wanted to know and love Jesus, travel, and drink a beer without feeling like he was sinning or an alcoholic. He needed to be a responsible, mature man who was educated, physically healthy, and respected who I was. I wanted a man who would be a servant, but who was also a leader.
That was my 10. I focused on big picture things that I value in my life. I value spirituality, family, travel, career, and health more than anything. If he happened to play the guitar, know sports, have an advanced degree, and could sing like George Straight, it would be a bonus. (Which Darin does, actually) But none of those things were going to make a lasting marriage.
As I became clear on what my 10 was, it was a lot easier to weed out the 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s. I listened to my intuition and stopped wasting my time seeing if the guy would eventually be respectful, responsible, a servant, leader, etc.
Spoiler alert: my 10 came with step-kids. This was not on my “dream guy” list, if you know what I’m saying. My 10 came with a long previous marriage and a long drive to the mountains of Kentucky for visits. Not exactly on my dream guy list. But it wasn’t counter to my standards list either. In fact, because of his divorce and kids, I got to see how dedicated he was to his kids and how respectful he was to his ex. Family & respect are on my list.
Find out what is your 10, and then look for it. Don’t settle for a 7. God didn’t create the beauty of the world and rescue you from hell so you could settle. You are the daughter of a King. Look for your prince.
Have a good filter in place.
One thing I did that helped me filter was to use a dating service that matched people based on their values. I was asked out and set up a lot. And from the previous years of dating, I knew I needed better help with the weeding. I didn’t want to use a service that matched based on looks because I didn’t want a man who was deciding on me based on looks. Not one of my standards. Jesus looks at the heart. That’s what I wanted. You might use a friend or a parent or wise mentor. Just have something that helps you filter out anyone not in line with your standards.
Part of filtering is looking for red flags.
Remember, if you’re just getting used to having high standards, then you will naturally overlook red flags. Like real red flags. High water jeans are not red flags. Look for the things that go against your standards.
For example, if the man is married, say no. I know this seems obvious, right? But yet, married men are having affairs. They’re dating someone. Do not give the benefit of the doubt on things you know are God’s standards.
Hear me now. If you’re into living God’s standards, then it’s okay to ask the same for the guy you want to marry. Filter.
You or someone you know is falling into this slow seduction of lowering the bar. Your roommate, co-worker, neighbor, niece, sister, etc. They are not aware they have lowered the bar. Lovingly ask them about their standards and what they want in a marriage. Encourage them not to settle. It does not matter what they look like or how old they are, if they are divorced or have 6 cats and never been married. They are still daughters of the King. He still wants His best for them. He wants His best for you.
The last thing I want you to know and sear in your brain is what my preacher preached to me (and maybe a few thousand other people) almost a decade ago. Become the woman who the man you’re looking for is looking for. You want him to have standards too.