Last night, I went shopping for clothing at the mall (*barf*) with my roommate in Little Rock. This is no manly exercise, but shopping with another guy guarantees you won’t stay longer than you have to in one store. You will also successfully fend off shopping for at least another year, and leave ample time for stuffing your face afterward.
The mall maintains an inordinate number of clothing stores, and therefore an inordinate number of female shoppers. It would seem that around age 11 or 12, many mall-going girls begin to wear the shortest possible skirts and shorts, the tightest blouses, and the most revealing outfits in general. This trend continues until (and sometimes beyond) the point when the body is no longer flattered by that arrangement. We’ll come back to this topic shortly.
After I left the mall, I came home and checked my e-mail. Whenever I log out, it always brings me to Yahoo’s news page. Last night said page featured a story titled, “How to tell if He’s Cheating.” I thought it would be interesting to see a female perspective on this, so I clicked through. On the following page, I found a series of increasingly disturbing articles regarding manipulation, assumptions that men are only interested in sex, and shared frustration regarding how to tell whether you’re in a relationship with the guy who sleeps with you a few times a week. In my search to find out who was writing this nonsense, I was not shocked to find that the source was my favorite magazine (when I need something to induce vomiting), Cosmopolitan.
I decided to make a list of things I would include if I were describing my dream girl. Ladies (as if any girls actually read this), if you disagree, then that’s fine. You probably wouldn’t be interested in me anyway. : ) So, on with the list:
1) She wouldn’t read Cosmo. Ever. That magazine is a pile of garbage. It is like Maxim (also a pile of garbage), but geared for women. These types of publications attempt to solve problems rooted in the heart by using physical means. They sell sensuality and eschew spirituality. I don’t want them in my home, nor do I want them to feed the heart of my relationships.
2) She would dress in a way that respects herself and me. When a girl dresses provocatively, it seems to me that she wants attention from men and she feels she can get it through her body. Unfortunately, in many cases she will be right.
I won’t lie; a good looking girl who dresses like that can momentarily capture my attention. However, I choose not to harbor interest for those girls, and you can bet I won’t be asking them for their numbers. I don’t want a girl who feels the need to manipulate my interest through lust. A girl who dresses modestly is telling me that she is so confident, she doesn’t need to go with the pack. If you’re a girl, you know it’s tough to find shorts that don’t show off most of your legs, or tops that don’t aim to display cleavage. Making the effort to reject certain fashions in the name of modesty means a lot to me.
Will you miss out on some guys if you dress chastely? Absolutely. However, you will also distinguish yourself for those men who are looking for the diamond in the rough — a girl who respects God, respects men, and respects herself. If you have a nice body, great! Show it off to your husband, not me.
3) She would be willing to help me reach my dating goals. One of my ambitions for future relationships is to avoid kissing until we’re either married, or very close to it. (I’m not sure I want my first kiss with my wife to be in front of a crowd.) My best friend and his wife maintained this standard, and they tell me that it’s one of the best decisions they’ve ever made. They have now been married for over three years and feel like their love life post-marriage is better because they maintained such restrained physical contact while they were dating and engaged.
I confess that I am more experienced physically than I would like. There are some lines I have not crossed, but I haven’t left myself much. In my understanding I’ve definitely not been pure. I’ve made several rebellious decisions because I chose physical pleasure over spiritual obedience. If I had a time machine to go back and change that, I would do it without hesitation. Although I cannot change the past, I have power to make better choices now. I do not wish to return to my own vomit, as it were.
If God grants me a wife, I want her to help me reach my goals for purity. That will mean fighting everything the world says about how people act when they are attracted to one another. She will have to discern my affection in ways not typical of our contemporaries.
I’m not going to say that if I find a girl with all of these traits, I’m going to marry her. I don’t even know if God desires for me to have a wife. (I really hope so.) These are only signs for which I am keeping my eyes open. I’ve also got to make sure I’m working to be the kind of man my dream girl would be able to love and respect.
Let me be clear here about something. I am flawed in so many ways, as are we all. Nonetheless, there is fantastic news. Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by men, and then resurrected by God three days later. These circumstances allow us to escape the sins of our past and assume a new identity in Him. If you’ve made poor choices in the past, then you are not trapped. This very day you can choose to change the course of your life, even if it’s speeding in the wrong direction. The anointed One invites us to do so daily. Who you were is not who you might be.
Robert Browning described it this way: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Or what’s a heaven for?” Relationship with Jesus (and with those who serve Him) does not entail perfection, but the unending quest to become more and more like the one we serve. I do not seek a wife who has always been perfect, but rather one who seeks out the God who is able to perfect us all.