By Zach Goodrow
Over the past couple months I have been thinking about what to write to you about next. I can tell you many things in person, but if I am ever gone or unavailable, what do I need to make sure you know?
And after months of racking my brain, I think I have something that may be of use to you later on. Much, much, much, much later on. My advice is this, when it comes time for you to date: Only entertain a strong man.
Now, let me break that down a little bit so you know exactly what I mean. For clarity, I am going to define that sentence in reverse order so that you can build a better foundation for any potential suitor.
By man I do mean an adult human male. Culture now demands specificity on that. However, I also mean more than that.
Because there are many males who are over the age of eighteen that do not qualify as men yet, here are some good indicators that you have found someone who is a man and not merely a boy.
- He works and has a history of working. Some boys have been working since they were eight or thirteen and now that they can work as a sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen-year-old they often do work. And work diligently. Some boys are forced to work as a nineteen-year-old because their parents are finally starting to realize it’s time for this oversized baby to start pulling his weight. Consider the former. Avoid the latter.
- He has a plan to leave adolescence. Whether that is through college or trade or beginning his own company, if this young man has a plan in place to begin taking responsibility, he is in a much greater position to be a romantic interest for you then someone who wants to prolong adolescence as long as they can. If he plays video games in his spare time that is no red flag. But if you ask him what he plans on doing in two years and his answer is “play video games”, flee this child before he throws a tantrum.
- He honors his parents. A man will not love you well if he does not love his parents well. This does not mean he has a perfect relationship with his mom or dad. But this does mean that he does love them and has tried to make his relationship with them as healthy as possible.
Until this point, I have said nothing of Christ. But that is because it is possible to be a man without Jesus. But he it’s not possible to be a good man without Jesus. It is possible to be responsible without Jesus, but no man will be selflessly sacrificial without Jesus. It is possible for a man to be temperamentally stable without Christ, but a man will not be strong without Christ.
So, do not look for a man who is not already in Christ. If you are trying to missionary date that will end badly. If he is not in Christ, and you are, you will be stronger than him. And he cannot attempt to lead in a way that honors God and loves you if you are the only follower of Jesus in the relationship.
Strong Christian men do exist, though it may seem otherwise in today’s world. However, I think it is a little difficult to define clearly what a strong Christian man looks like other than to say he looks like Jesus. One man may be weak in stature, but strong in character. One man may seem to be well adjusted, but he knows it is only the Lord that holds him together. One man may look rough and ragged but may have been freed from years of addiction. All of these men would be strong, but it may be hard to initially see them as strong. But strong men are known by their fruits.
But, my dear Charlotte, there are also weak Christian men. So how can you tell the difference between the two? Since both of these kinds of men exist, what practical tests can you use to tell the fruits of a weak Christian or a strong one?
A strong Christian man looks something like this.
- He embraces hard Biblical truths. If he tries to “nuance” his way out of saying something is sin when the Bible clearly says it is sin, this is a weak believer and a weak man. Strong men can have moments of weakness or lapses in judgement in the heat of the moment, but a strong Christian man will boldly say what the Bible says no matter who’s listening. How can you expect this man to take seriously the command to love his wife if he also does not take seriously the command to forsake sexual sin, or racism, or any of the other sins Scripture is clear about? A strong man will unapologetically hold to all of what Scripture teaches.
- He refuses to prolong dating. To be clear, I do not mean someone who wants to wait a year or two while dating before getting married. Most people have some kind of serious test or trial in a two year span and you can see how they respond. But dating only ends in one of two ways; marriage or a break up. So work towards marriage or you’re working towards a break up, and if he is dragging his feet on getting married, it may be time to consider looking other directions. This does not mean that he isn’t a believer, but he may not be the believer for you. If this man has a legitimate, reasonable timeline on when you two could be wed, then he is a man worthy of your affection.
- He is easy to respect, even if you disagree. As a potential Christian wife, your call will be to respect your husband. If you think it difficult to respect him before you’re married what makes you think it will be easier to respect him after you’re married? Is your respect for him supposed to magically grow when you can finally smell his morning breath? If the brother is a Christian man, but you find it hard to respect him then maybe don’t date that man. However, if you find yourself respecting this man even when he (inevitably) says something you disagree with, then he may be a good marriage candidate.
By entertain I mean three things. Giving a man your:
And I do mean them in that order.
Weak men, Christian and non-Christian, will beg for your attention. But do not give those pearls to those swine. A strong man will catch your attention. Something he says, or the way he carries himself, or the unique way Jesus works through him will catch your eye and your thoughts may begin to lead toward the second category.
You will find yourself admiring fewer men than the ones who caught your attention. Maybe the guy who caught your attention was worth a coffee date. But the one who has your admiration may be worth a dinner or two. Genuine conversations will spring up almost naturally because he is not scared to be around you, and you won’t be scared to be around him. You’ll probably enjoy your time together and develop a pretty lasting friendship as well. However, you can admire many men, but only one man should get your affection.
Affection is the most vulnerable of the three, but also the most valuable. If you are able to give a man your affection, “entertain” no longer aptly describes the kind of relationship you have with him, but I assume you understand my point. Only a strong Christian man should have your affection. But you can give it to someone unworthy. So my advice to you, my dear niece, is to not even give attention to men who would not earn your affection. Look to the examples of godly men in your life and only give your affection to men who act like them.
Charlotte, as I close this letter I want you to know that I have been praying for you and your spouse since you were little. There have been weak men in your life, that much is clear. But that does not mean that you have to pick a weak man to marry. If you are a strong woman, many men will want to get your attention. But if you find a strong man, it will be easy for you to give him your affection because that is how God has designed us.
Until next time,
Your Uncle Zach
One thought on “My Dear, Only Entertain a Strong Man”