A guy friend called me earlier this week, we'll call him A. A was (semi-)joking about how he wants to meet a girl like me where he lives. To which I responded (semi-)joking back: you won't be meeting a girl like me at the places you're hanging out. This is one of those times there's a little truth in every joke. After that we put the joking aside and had a serious conversation about meeting the right kind of people.
He told me how a mentor who's recently entered his life had challenged him that 'good christian girls' are rarely met at bars. That you may have to put down that 12th beer and get your butt to church or volunteering to meet the right girl. I listened and pondered briefly before sharing with A some advice my Dad gave me during my lost-and-wandering college years...
I will never forget the Christmas break my Dad sat me down. He said, 'Bekes, what kind of guy do you think you want to marry someday?'. If I wasn't terrified of being spanked to this day, I probably would have rolled my eyes. Instead I responded, 'Well Dad, someday not TOday, I would like to marry a solid, Christian guy who works hard... etc'. Then my Dad said the phrase that hit me like a ton of bricks... ' Bekes (this is my Dad's pet name for me btw), are you the kind of girl that a solid Christian guy would be looking for?'.
Mind you, this question wouldn't have stung if I could have answered yes. But at this point in my life I was a Christian but I was anything but solid, myself. That converstation changed my life by challenging my ideas about myself and forcing me to look at my life in perspective.
I posed this same question to A on the phone as I was taking a drive over the Howard Franklin bridge (something I love to do). I think it rocked his world about like it rocked mine 6 years ago when I had that profound conversation with my Dad. See, the key isn't to show up at church and find a girl who's wife material...though I've seen people attempt this. The key is that when you find that girl (and there are a good plenty of them, I think it's safe to say) you're the kind of guy that girl would be interested in. Taking is easy on the drinking on Saturday night to show up on Sunday morning on the hunt for her, isn't going to get that desired result. If somehow it does, it won't stick because it isn't based on reality.
See, we spend so much of our dating energy on seeking out the right person and frequently we forget to BE the right person.
My life has changed pretty drastically since that conversation with the Clydester 6 years ago. And in many ways I've started to work on becoming the kind of person I would be interested in (that comes out weird, but you know what I mean). My relationship with the Lord is constantly growing. I've worked REALLY hard to get debt free, stay debt free, and be financially responsible (something I absolutely want in a future spouse). I've used my money wisely (like buying a house), worked hard to further my career (and get a promotion), and I've made some vast improvements to my priority lists from then to now. I've started working out and taking care of myself, physically. I've worked at doing that travel I kept saying I wanted to do. And most importantly, perhaps, I've invested the right amount of energy into the right relationships.
This post is in no way a dig on my friend. He's got a lot going for him and I think in the next few years he might just find that right girl (though I admit, that girl will more than likely not be me). I share the conversation we had because I think that A and I aren't the only people who have been in this place of holding the people we date to higher standards than we hold ourselves. Over and above the unfairness of that, it also doesn't seem to yield the right results (leave it to me to be practical, yes?).
So if you're unhappy with the person/people you're dating or you keep finding yourself meeting all the wrong guy/girls then maybe it's time to take a long, hard look in the mirror. When you think about what you're looking for in your 'other half' are you sure you're the kind of person they'd be looking for?
Food for thought.