Daily Archives: May 17, 2009

Settle the Issue

“Don’t settle for anything less than the best in choosing who to date and marry.”

You ever heard this? I have. I actually was a poster boy for it in the past. I had a list of about 15 qualities I was looking for in a wife….No kidding…the terse adjective “hot” summarized about 10 or 11 of the qualities.

There’s a bit of wisdom in this ditty. But it can be taken in the wrong way that hinders folks from moving forward in a relationship, even getting into a relationship. As Mark Dever, pastor of some church somewhere, said (on a completely unrelated topic), “a half truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth.”

Half truths like this one can be quite dangerous.

What I’ve noticed is that men and women my age tend to settle on the wrong things (like “strong disciple of Christ”) and not settle on personal preferences (height, musical ability, athletic). We give lip service to the important things, mind you…we say we want a spouse/date that takes Christ seriously. But we often go back on that as soon as we meet someone who immediately makes the butterflies in our stomach flutter.

Why is this? Haven’t been able to figure this out, to tell you the truth. Perhaps it has something to do with the concept of the “soul mate,” which, I’m convinced, is more Hollywood theology than Bible theology. Plus, what we use to evaluate whether someone is a “soul mate” is the presence (or not) of a subjective, emotional feeling. If this “spark” isn’t immediately present, well…next.

Maybe its that we don’t care as much about obeying Christ as much as we say we do.

Candace Watters, in her Boundless article “When to Settle,” puts it nicely:

“When Steve and I started dating, one of my close friends said she was worried that we’d end up getting married. What in the world? I thought. We’ve only been dating a few days. Marriage? And so what if we do? What would be so bad about that?

’I just don’t want to see you settle,’ she said. At the time, Steve was still planning to use his degree to go back to his small hometown to be the principal of his dad’s church-sponsored school. I guess in her eyes that was beneath me. Me, a soon to be holder of a master’s degree. ’You’ve got so much ambition,’ she said. ’I’d hate to find you, years from now, disappointed in him. A frustrated wife who ’under married.’’

My friend was a believer in the notion that to marry a man without certain traits or ambitions would be settling. And in her mind, settling was bad. No longer just a guideline, not settling was itself a goal. Something worth striving for. As in: Finish that report for work, lose 20 pounds, get a boyfriend, don’t settle.

And so we find ourselves in the midst of a massive shift in marriage trends: women waiting longer than ever to marry, all the while holding out for their soul mate — ’the one.’ When a nice guy asks a woman out, if the sparks of attraction aren’t hot from the start, she turns him down, reasoning, sure, I want to get married someday, but I’m not about to … settle.”

She’s onto something.

Guys, yeah, we are visual creatures…boy are we ever. But don’t count a girl out just because she’s not drop-dead gorgeous. You might just be missing out by making that so important.

A few years back I was at a wedding. While talking to a friend, I pointed out to him a girl I was interested in. Although I thought she was very attractive, his standards were higher, evidently. Condescendingly, he said, “Rich, you can do better than that!”

Even rating women in that way is, well…you know…wrong.

I really should have said something to him. Unfortunately, I muttered something about the champagne, and changed the subject…

Women: Just because he doesn’t make you giggle “like that” when you talk to him doesn’t mean he’s not for you.

Like I said to the guys, you might be missing out.

And don’t even get me started on height….c’mon! Yeah, I get it, it has something to do with your urge to feel protected (which is a natural urge, I admit), and you don’t want to feel like amazon woman. However, there are some guys on the shorter end of the spectrum that could easily knock Shaq back to the stone age (google Matt Serra, BJ Penn, Jens Pulver). Most wrestlers, in my humble-yet-always-accurate-and-completely-unbiased-opinion, fit this category…ahem. Plus, with work, your feeling can be overcome.

“You’re biased, Rich….you’re short, so go away.” You got me on that one…but just because I’m short doesn’t mean I’m wrong…gotta love ad hominems.

At any rate, it shouldn’t be so important that you stand from a distance and don’t even consider the advance of an otherwise great guy….this happens more than you might want to admit.

And both men and women: don’t even think about getting into a relationship with someone who isn’t serious about Christ. Don’t kid yourself on this one. It’ll get you in nothin’ but trouble. That’s not to say that many non-Christians aren’t good, decent people. Its just that the foundation for your life and his/her life are completely different, and its gonna cause problems down the road or you’ll have to compromise. That’s the way it works out, 999 times out of 1000. Plus, its disobedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 6:14ff).

What I’m not saying is “go with the closest warm body…marry em before its too late!”

I am saying there are things that matter, and things that don’t. Candace’s friend was stressing the things that don’t matter too much. Candace disregarded her advice, and she is happier as a result.

At the end of the day, I say, choose someone that you can grow in Christlikenes with, and “settle” the issue.