March 29, 2015 by Mathew
This will be the first in a series of posts regarding an issue that I began having serious concerns about a little over four years ago:
How does a man know a particular woman is the right one to marry?
That question was posed to me by a young man over two years ago after he read the list I shared in my post entitled “The Garden.” He was looking for more than the standard answers people usually give. Since God had blessed me with a certain insight regarding marriage, the young man assumed I would also have some insight regarding this. I really didn’t have an answer for him at the time.
For most of my adulthood, for twelve straight years, I didn’t worry about this. I won’t go into detail but, I had my reasons for not worrying. Suffice to say, I formed the notion that God would put the woman He wanted me to marry, into my life when it was time. We would be uber-soulmates and just automatically fall in love and get married. I wouldn’t be the first Christian to end up seeing things that way. A little over four years ago, as he is inclined to do every once in a while, God yanked the carpet out from under me, leaving my little world entirely upturned.
Suddenly, I found myself faced with the fact that if I was ever going to be married, God wasn’t going to make it happen like magic. He made it clear that I was going to have to get my hands dirty and wade neck deep into the water. I would be required to have discernment and to make hard choices. I would have to surrender myself to His guidance in this matter if I was to avoid making a mess of both my own life and someone else’s.
In the four years since becoming aware of all of this, I have arrived at a certain page in my life regarding this matter. I have spent this past week trying to decide how I wanted to put this next series of posts together. I’ve come to the conclusion that I will begin by sharing something I wrote four months ago. After writing it, I had one of those moments where God just beamed inside of me. He was proud of me, proud of who I have become in my heart.
I wrote this after reading a rant written by a woman who was angry that none of the men who wanted to date her, met her materialistic requirements. What she wrote ended up being very condescending and disrespectful to people that hadn’t achieved the same small measure of success that she had in life. That rant, combined with many other similarly materialistic rants that I’ve read, written by various men and women over the past few years, struck a nerve in me.
So many people won’t even look at the inner qualities of a potential romantic interest unless that person first meets all of their – often lofty – worldly requirements. Looks, career, money, prestige, social status, car, where the person lives, body type, what kind of clothes the person wears, even things as silly as hair color – almost everything else is viewed and judged before who a person is in their heart, mind, and spirit is even looked at, much less taken into consideration.
The following was my response to all of this.
God has spent most of my time in this world, particularly my adulthood, humbling the daylights out of me. As a result, I do my best to not judge people for where they have ended up in life. Prison, prostitution, poverty, being homeless, addiction, mental health issues, middle aged and living in a parent’s basement – most people who are considered failures or less than successful have a story and reasons why they ended up where they are. They are human beings who need love, care, respect, understanding, and acceptance yet; they are often treated as or looked down upon as something less than human and unworthy of those things.
At this point, if God led me to the love of my life and she was an overweight, middle aged former prostitute with three kids, no job, and living in her elderly parents home yes, I would consider dating and marrying her. I imagine a lot of people might view that as never-married, thirty-something desperation. It isn’t. It’s spiritual maturity and what happens when God fires and hammers you into a man after his own heart.
Certainly it would depend on her heart and who she is because that is what matters above all else. Definitely I would consider her story, her reasons for her current situation, her attitude, and her outlook. If she was THE woman for me then yes, I would give her a chance and do my best to make the relationship work. I would give her a type of love that accepts her in full and doesn’t falter for any reason. I would show her a love that is so deep, so emotionally intimate, and so powerful that most women only encounter such a thing in their dreams. I believe God has done no less for me and I would be a hypocrite if I wasn’t willing to do the same. I believe that is the type of love a husband must have if he is to be worthy of a wife and a marriage.
On the flip side of things, I often wonder if there is a woman out there who would do the same thing for me if she encountered and found me in a similar situation. Someone once asked me how a man knows when he has found the right woman to marry. At the time, I didn’t have a good answer. Since then, after prayer, thought, and a little more maturity and life experience I have an answer. It’s not the whole equation but, it is a necessary component.
The notion I’ve had for some time now is that, the woman who sees me at my lowest point, sees me at my worst, sees me when I am considered a loser and nothing by everyone else but, chooses me anyway, loves me anyway; that is the woman who has a right to be my wife and who is worthy of my love. That is the woman who has a right to share in and partake of any successes I may have in life. A woman who will not consider me when I am at my lowest point is a woman who is unworthy of being considered by me when I am at my best.
A woman who will not choose me when I am at my lowest is a woman that I would very likely not be able to trust when life, as it inevitably does, gets rough, dirty, and unpleasant. I am inclined to believe that she would bail out of our marriage when things became hard and less than comfortable. In fact, I have observed wives do this very thing more times than I can remember. The husband loses his job, gets hurt, or truly does collapse into a clinical depression. Within six to twelve months the wife has moved out and has either divorced him or filed for divorce. I’ve seen the roles reversed as well. The wife puts on a lot of weight, her looks begin to fade as she approaches middle age or, she collapses into a depression. The husband divorces her and finds someone younger and better looking. These spouses who left weren’t true husbands and wives. They were weak, self-centered opportunists who played house so long as it was convenient for them to do so then, jumped ship when the grass looked a little greener elsewhere.
With the high percentage of grown males in our society who willfully choose to be non-men, I don’t think it is wrong or unreasonable for a woman to insist that a guy demonstrate a capacity and willingness to be responsible before she considers dating him or having a relationship with him. However, I think people take this and a lot of other sound reasonable principles, twist and distort them, roll in extreme materialism, inflate them beyond the realm of reason, then – to our society’s great detriment – incorporate these grossly distorted principles into daily life.
The result is a culture where any male is written off as a failure and, ultimately, as sub-human trash if he doesn’t achieve and maintain, until the day he dies, certain prestige and financial success. The result is a culture where any female is deemed undesirable if she doesn’t have obvious physical sex appeal and she is thrown away the moment such appeal begins to fade. People in our society miss out on so much of what is true life and beauty simply because they are foolishly narrow minded and materialistic.
That’s where I was at over four months ago and I’m still there. In upcoming posts I intend to provide some insight as to how I arrived at this viewpoint, perhaps expand upon it and, provide other insights that I have regarding this subject.
I will close by stating that I see good men and women, amazing men and women, who don’t even get acknowledged, much less considered for romance or marriage because the “frosting” on their cake isn’t as sweet or pretty as that of others. Why would anyone care so much about the frosting or, even the cake, for that matter? It’s the meal itself, the meat and potatoes, the core of someone’s being that makes them worthy of marriage and romance — not the frosting.