Valentine’s Day may be a happy time for couples, but it’s often a painful reminder for single Christian women of what they’re still praying for, hoping for, and – sigh – waiting for. Many of us don’t have a valentine this year because we’ve been holding out for someone special. We have high standards, and we’ve stuck to them, and now we’re having to eat the fruits of this resolve (instead of Godiva chocolates).
High standards and faithful perseverance are noble things. But sometimes we need to re-examine the honesty of our standards, and the whole spirit in which we devise them. Some of us, whether we know it or not, have made lists of suitor-requirements that look like this:
I have been very good this year, and I would really like it if you would bring me a husband who:
Is working to become just like Christ
Will love me just the way I am
Speaks several languages and plays several instruments
Will look past my inadequacies to see only my inner qualities
Will not be so carnally minded that he will care about the way I look
Isn’t interested in money
Can support me in the style I would like to be accustomed to
Is completely sold out for God
Will let me be myself
It’s good to develop noble standards for the kind of man we want to marry, but simply having a preference for good men doesn’t make us worthy of them. We often have lofty demands for suitors (well, not that lofty – just that they have Jim Elliot’s heart, C. S. Lewis’s mind, William Wallace’s courage, Clark Gable’s face, Cary Grant’s clothes, Josh Groban’s voice…), but we want them to love us just the way we are. So the men we want to marry often don’t really exist – and if they did… well… why would they want to marry us?
Janey apparently hopes that her paragon of glowing character and accomplishments won’t mind that she is (apparently) shallow and materialistic, has qualities buried so deep there’s no danger of anyone ever finding them, is not-quite-sold-out for Christ herself… and is not interested in changing. But then, we don’t really want what we deserve, do we?
So, we make our wish lists and pray that we get Missionary Martyr Malibu Ken for Christmas. But what will we have to offer him? How are we preparing to be what he might need in a wife? How long are our lists of standards and requirements for ourselves?
Our aspirations to be married to fine husbands are good; but then, that’s an aspiration that the Cinderellas and the ugly stepsisters of the world have always had in common. We need to step outside of our imaginary roles as the heroines of our own personal fairy tales, and ask ourselves: Which one am I? Why would the prince choose me?
The bad news is, none of us are naturally likeable, desirable, or eligible. Because of sin, we all start out as ugly stepsisters, and we don’t automatically become Cinderella upon reaching marriageable age. The good news is, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Pet. 2:24) And the rest of the good news is, if you find yourself Valentine-less this Valentine’s Day, that means the Lord is giving you more time to die to sin and live to righteousness, more time to make yourself ready, more time to become a better gift.
Ladies, let’s decide to do our (future) husbands good on this day (Prov. 31:12), instead of moping about the good they’re not here to do for us. On a day when women all over the world will be thinking about what they want to get from a man, let’s think instead about we’re preparing to give to one.
(With excerpts from It’s (Not That) Complicated)