In a recent column titled “The Lost Art of Discernment,” (http://arleenspenceley.com/the-lost-art-of-discernment/#more-808) my friend Arleen Spenceley looked at some things women can do to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to finding Godly men to date. I thought it was very timely advice because we live in a world that has taken men completely out of the definition of chastity. I dare say you would find one in a thousand single men on the street that would agree to have even their name in proximity to the word, even the men who do live chaste lives. Why is that? It’s because men have to make a living in this “only the strong survive” world and chastity is inexplicably linked to weakness and something less of a man. Godly single men often feel isolated, that nobody relates to them, that they have been put in the same meat bucket as other men of the world. Actually, the world will define many Godly man as losers and loners. It’s up to you to define a successful man. More importantly, it’s up to you to validate and encourage these men. So ladies if the only guys who catch your eye are the life of the parties who seem to have an unending stream of friends, then you’re probably missing the Godly men.
If you think Mr. Ideal is financially successful and is raking in a six-figure salary, you’re also missing out on meeting Godly men. Don’t forget the guys working in factories and those wearing uniforms to keep you safe at night. And please don’t make the mistake of thinking you can separate a man’s religious life from his work life. That is not possible. What worth is a man of God going to have in this world today? Probably not much. Just how far is he willing to go to make sure his Christian beliefs line up with his work? For instance, if he’s a contractor, a contractor for what? Casinos? A doctor? Does his hospital perform abortions or in vitro fertilization? A science teacher? Does he teach evolution? A photographer? Does he cover same sex weddings? Has the guy ever had to take a lesser job because of his Christian standards? If you have your priorities where they should be, this “deficit” should fall into the positive column.
Pay attention to his ego. Is he a walking advertisement for himself and his business/service? Or is he able to make light of himself and give God credit for everything he’s accomplished in life? Does he give everybody he meets a business card? When he’s talking to you, does he have his cell phone turned off? If not, does he ignore it and all internet buzzes and beeps? Do you have his undivided attention? Or is he more concerned about losing a dollar? Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can change him after your married. Big mistake.
How is he with self control? Can he disagree with someone in a civilized manner without yelling and name calling? This should be one of the first signs you notice in a guy who is saving sex until marriage. Contrary to what many books and relationship gurus will tell you, it is not your job to draw the lines of intimacy in a relationship. It is not your job to say “no.” Rather, it’s the guys responsibility to not even go there to begin with. It’s also not his job to pursue you. It’s both of your jobs to respect each other and set aside the time it takes to get to know each other. If a pursuit is what your after, then you’ll probably end up no better than the nurse on General Hospital.
And this is probably one of the biggest – A lot of virtuous men do not like being compared . . . to anybody. That is especially true on internet dating sites. If a single guy does not have his profile online for all the world to see, do you hold that against him? If you see it as a negative, you’re missing out on a lot of Godly men because they are holding on to values that were part of this country during the Greatest Generation of men, those who lived during WWII and before. They know you cannot really meet a person online. It has to be face to face. Do you insist on exchanging emails and Facebook messages first? If you’re not willing to be step back in time with him when Christian values made up the fabric of this country, you’re missing out on a lot of Godly men. Are you disappointed when your online “vetting process” turns up little information on the guy or when you can’t find his name in headlines? You’re missing out on Godly men. A virtuous Christian man is not going to have the salacious stories your looking for. He’s going to be a blank slate. You can’t shop for a guy online like you shop for a dress – or even a job. A guy with no past. No story. No experience. Are yo dizzy yet? Are you prepared to meet a guy like that? One that’s looking for someone to trust him? To have an honest conversation? If not, then I suggest you stick with the online dating sites and compare salaries and golf club memberships.
I think the first step in any relationship is based on natural physical attraction. And that cannot be based on a mug shot on a computer screen. Yes, it can give you an idea. But it doesn’t communicate a fraction of what you’ll see by sitting down five minutes and having a cup of coffee. The more obstacles we put between us, including the internet, the further we get away from God’s original intention of attraction between male and female. And for a relationship to lead to a marriage, we must be able to temper the sparkling idealism we see through a prism, As St. John Paul II spoke of. We must be able to turn the prism in such a way that we see beyond the physical attraction and hormones of the moment. In photographic terms, I think of it as transforming a color picture into the stark reality of black and white. Many times what works in color falls flat in monochrome – no line, no form, no texture. So ladies, make sure that there is some redeeming value left when you look beyond away his colorful dance and see the truth underneath. Yes, it may be uncomfortable. But a Christian man who is truly interested in you will allow you to glimpse the stark reality of his soul.