3 Things That Happen When You Find Your Future Wife

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, each of us spends a fair amount of time looking for our future wife. Maybe it’s because we think a man isn’t a man unless he’s gotten a woman to agree to marry him. Or maybe it’s because we don’t want to be alone for the rest of our life. Regardless, quite a bit of time and energy can be put into the search for the future Mrs. You.

For some of us, this is a self-assigned mission, steeped in heartache and error-filled trials; for others, it’s an itch in the back of our brains, a passing thought of fancy that flitters in and out of our brainwaves from time to time. And whether the search is a full-time obsession or a shrug of the shoulders, what few of us fail to consider is what will happen (or not happen) once we do find the one woman we want to spend the rest of our days with.

Therein lies the majesty of the unknown.

For the sake of complete transparency, you should know that I’ve already found the woman who will soon be my wife. And I’m not just saying that in faith. I presented her a ring and she was kind enough to say yes to a lifetime with me. So when I speak of what’s to follow, I speak from a place of experience and truth, not misguided hopes and unfulfilled dreams.

First, you should know that when you find your one true love, things will change. Your life and way of thinking will change. And more importantly, you will change, as a person, a soul, and a man. But you aren’t being forced to change by her. No, she will love you just as you are, unaltered and raw. Instead, it’s that complete love that will make you want to change. You’ll want to be more considerate and thoughtful. You’ll want to be more responsible and mindful of her wants and needs. You’ll even find yourself smiling more, with no rhyme or reason to explain it. That one woman is a changer and whether you realize it now or not, she will change you from top to bottom without offering a single suggestion or passive aggressive thought. You will want to change because you know she deserves the absolute best version of yourself. And that’s what you’ll strive to give her.

Second (and this is important), when you meet your future wife, you’ll look back on the time you spent as a single chap and you’ll be able to rightly see every single mistake you made in this vicious fight known as romance. You’ll see how foolish and/or desperate you were. You’ll see the missteps and the mistakes. You’ll see where you tried too hard and when you didn’t try hard enough. You’ll see why things didn’t work out with that one girl, even though you were sure they would. You’ll see why you failed in love before because this love you have now will be impossible to compare against. [quote]You’ll see why you failed in love before because this love you have now will be impossible to compare against. [/quote]You’ll see that those past relationships couldn’t have lasted because they didn’t have what you have now. You weren’t complete in those past partners the way you are now. Through everything you’ve experienced and fought against, this love—this completeness—allows you to see why you fell short so many times before. It’s because it wasn’t with her. She’s the reason it works now and she’s the reason you know this is now forever.

Lastly, when you meet the woman you’ll marry, you’ll begin to work. And I don’t mean in the way that earns a paycheck or promotion. No, you’ll begin to work at this relationship in ways you never knew love required. Because you realize that her saying yes to your proposal isn’t the end of your journey, but only the beginning.

You’ve found her, but now you have to keep her. And through this given wisdom, you’ll realize that to make this wonderful, mesmerizing, beautiful gift work, you’re going to have to work and sweat and bleed. Because while love feels easy and breezy, it’s not. It’s a beast that requires work and struggle. And yet, while you work to make this relationship as strong as you can, you’ll do it with a smile and joyful step. Because even though you’re working and working and working, it’s with your best friend and the work isn’t a job, but a privilege.

The Bible says that he who finds a wife, finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22). And once you find this one woman who captures you heart, mind, and soul, you’ll know it to be true.

If you haven’t found your one true love yet, don’t be discouraged. Personally, I had to grow through a failed marriage and numerous failed loves and relationships to find the woman who made it all worth the fight. So don’t give up, do not surrender. Just be prepared for the day that you do find her, you will change, you will be made wise, and you will begin to work. This I promise you.

Does Surprise Exist In Relationships Anymore?

I can’t imagine growing up in my parents’ generation. If my father liked a girl, he actually had to, you know… get to know her. It sounds crazy. In today’s culture, we know nothing about the “getting to know her” phase. Instead of:

Boy meets girl.
Boy asks girl out.
Boy gets to know girl.
Boy and girl date or never speak again.

It’s now:

Boy sometimes (but not always) meets girl.
Boy initiates contact via Facebook.
Boy and girl Facebook the you-know-what out of each other.
Boy and girl hang out.
Boy and girl randomly know too much about the other person, but play it off as mere coincidence.
Boy judges girl because of risque spring break pictures from Cabo in 2007.
Girl judges boy because he doesn’t have 1 Corinthians 13 listed in his “favorite quotations.”
Boy and girl grow tired of each other, and cease contact, because the fun of getting to know someone is completely minimized.

Does surprise exist in relationships anymore? I don’t think so.

What happens above happens in many (if not most) circumstances. We’re so ready to meet and marry that we’re willing to forego any semblance of getting to know another person.

With the advent of social media, nothing is shrouded in secrecy. I mean… you can easily decipher whether “Mrs. Right” is the perfect match based upon a seven-second Facebook stalk or Twitter search, right?

Wrong.

You see, the problem is that we are so willing to see if our prospective wifey meets specific dating criteria, that we are willing to forego intimacy. It says in 1 Thessalonians 4 (MSG) that God wants you to live a pure life. Prior to that, Paul says:

We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance.

Paul is urging us to live a spirited dance of purity. And yes, the physical side is crucially important, but the mental side is paramount. We refuse to hear this, most times.

“As long as I’m keeping it in my pants, I’m good.”

And that’s a lie. You can marry yourself to someone in your mind if you’re not careful. You can date someone in your mind if you’re not careful. If you engage in the Facebook stalk, you’re asking to put this person under the microscope. There’s no purity there. You’re committing to somebody in your mind, or you’re leaving them for dead before they even know what’s hit them.

Embrace The Infatuation Phase

I’ve heard people rail against the infatuation phase, but really, I don’t think it’s all that bad. Sure, you might abandon all sense of self-control and go AWOL to your friends and family, but at the very least, the infatuation phase is honest.

The infatuation phase serves its’ purpose because despite the sheer amount of time spent together, it’s like one giant scavenger hunt. You’re finding something new about them, they’re finding something new about you. Repeat.

But that’s weird. And we don’t do that anymore, right? Because they could be awkward… or they might think you could be awkward. And it takes vulnerability to figure that out. So instead, we turn into miniature private eyes and seek to dissect everything about Mrs. Right before we even take our first walk together.

Hashtag awkward.

Make Her Worth The Wait

I’m preaching to myself here. Far too often, I’ve shelved great relationships with great women because they didn’t pass the test (whatever that means). Here and now, let’s commit to waiting. This seems way down the rabbit hole of what’s counter-cultural, but to see a different relationship you’re going to have to do something different. We need to keep our eyes on the prize: Jesus.

Find Jesus instead of the best possible version of her. Considering that our social media accounts are just highlight reels anyway, you’ll find that Jesus is the highlight reel God. The Bible is his immaculate Facebook. You’ll never find something about him that doesn’t meet your list of standards, because he is the standard. And I can guarantee you this:

You won’t care. The more you press in, the less she matters. And that’s not in an arrogant way, but in a “Jesus determines my love, so who cares what she did in Cabo” kind of way. It’s that simple.

#12in12: The Myth Of “The Friend Zone”

[colored_box color=”grey”]Ed. Note: Happy Holidays, Quarterlifers! We’re really excited about QM’s new look; I hope you are as well. In honor of a great 2012 and and even better 2013 to come, we are doing #12in12, a tribute to the twelve best stories of this year. If you have an opinion of what you liked, let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

–Thanks, JS[/colored_box]


 

2. The Myth Of “The Friend Zone”

by Jayson Schmidt – January 16, 2012

All of this talk about the friend zone had to finally be rebuked, and in the post it was. Relationships and friendships are never black and white.


Stop right now. Just stop it.

I know what you’re going to say…

“I read the title and I’m going to pre-judge!! There is a friend zone! Ryan Reynolds was brilliant in a movie about it!!!”

See? I read your mind. And I know… there was a movie called Just Friends and Ryan Reynolds wasbrilliant. But let me dig into this topic a little bit first:

Read more.

 

#12in12: Seeing Dating For What It Is

Ed. Note: Happy Holidays, Quarterlifers! We’re really excited about QM’s new look; I hope you are as well. In honor of a great 2012 and and even better 2013 to come, we are doing #12in12, a tribute to the twelve best stories of this year. If you have an opinion of what you liked, let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

–Thanks, JS


 

8. Seeing Dating For What It Is

by Shane Stoltzfus – May 29, 2012

This article was a beacon of truth the moment it hit Quarterlife Man. Addressing men and women alike, Shane’s candid approach (I’m just adding to the conversation … As a single Christian guy I am trying to find where I belong in all of this.) was edifying and very well done. Take a read if you’re ready to learn.


Dating is something that I have never really thought was an issue that mattered to God because of how minuscule it can seem when compared to deeper issues. Even the word itself has a specific stigma to it. It’s as if this word holds some sort of power that causes conversations to get awkward and people to get either extremely happy or ridiculously sad. Some people even get angry at the very thought of the word.

Most people that write about dating come across as if they are the ultimate authority on the issue. They all have written a dozen books about it and although each author differs in opinion and logic they somehow all remain correct. It’s ridiculous, as if a self help book is going to launch you into a Godly relationship with the opposite sex. I’m not even going to pretend to be like that because the truth is I don’t have it figured out.

I’m just adding to the conversation… taking the things I’ve noticed and mixing them with a few things that I have learned. As a single Christian guy I am trying to find where I belong in all of this. I love the idea of marriage and I realize that dating is a prerequisite to that endeavor. My problem with dating is that it has been completely abused and in some situations it has become extremely unhealthy.

Read more.

#12in12: Knights in Shining Armor Need Not Apply

Ed. Note: Happy Holidays, Quarterlifers! We’re really excited about QM’s new look; I hope you are as well. In honor of a great 2012 and and even better 2013 to come, we are doing #12in12, a tribute to the twelve best stories of this year. If you have an opinion of what you liked, let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

–Thanks, JS


 

9. Knights in Shining Armor Need Not Apply

by Brittany Miller – January 12, 2012

This article, published last January, was the first from ‘ole B. She graduated from this great piece to our Coffee Shop Talk feature, which we all dearly miss. Enjoy what lies below and send her some encouragement!


All of us ladies have been told since we were little to hold out for our “Prince Charming,” to be swept away on a valiant steed by our “Knight in Shining Armor.”

Well, I’m about to rip the flood gates open on that load of crap… so gentlemen, pay close attention.

If we’re going to be honest, we have to start at the very beginning and get one thing straight.Girls are brain washed and delusional. You can thank Walt Disney and the first slumber party for that. We sit and watch these movies where the woman leads such a tragic life and magically a man makes it all better with a single kiss before the last rose petal falls.

Read more.

#12in12: When Knowing Isn’t Enough

Ed. Note: Happy Holidays, Quarterlifers! We’re really excited about QM’s new look; I hope you are as well. In honor of a great 2012 and and even better 2013 to come, we are doing #12in12, a tribute to the twelve best stories of this year. If you have an opinion of what you liked, let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

–Thanks, JS


 

10. When Knowing Isn’t Enough

by Cory Copeland – February 7, 2012

This post from Cory Copeland dissects the old saying, “When you know, you know,” and does it with truth and clarity. I remember reading this and immediately flashing over to relationships gone sour, taking what I had learned and applying it. Everyone should read this article.


When you know, you know. And when you don’t know, you still know.

This is a saying I use on an almost daily basis when people ask me for relationship advice (I know; I’m surprised as you are). I think I came up with it myself, but considering the amount of movies, music, and television I ingest, I wouldn’t doubt that I subconsciously stole it from someone (as long as it wasn’t Nickelback…).

Regardless, this saying can not only be applied to most of life’s situations, but more specifically, to love. “When you know, you know…” How many times have we heard that from a freshly engaged male or female as they smile and try to explain why they’ve popped that magical question or answered yes to it. And you know what? It’s the truth. When you love someone, you know that you love them. If you aren’t sure if you love them or not, guess what “…you still know” (here’s a hint: you don’t).

Read more.

#12in12: Men Are Complicated, Women Are Complicated

Ed. Note: Happy Holidays, Quarterlifers! We’re really excited about QM’s new look; I hope you are as well. In honor of a great 2012 and and even better 2013 to come, we are doing #12in12, a tribute to the twelve best stories of this year. If you have an opinion of what you liked, let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

–Thanks, JS


 

11. Men Are Complicated, Women Are Complicated

by Aliza Rosen – February 14, 2012

Aliza’s post came to us via the female perspective and killed it. This #ValentinesWeek post was one of the many gems that came out of that week, which is why we’re excited to do it again this year.


Note: I feel prompted to paint a scenario that is descriptive enough to make a difference. Our generation was taught what ‘not to do’ in churches, but often the ‘why’ was left unanswered. This article is simply a step toward redeeming the mentality of this generation by pumping culturally relevant truth into the dialogue, with the sincere hope for a resuscitation of our values for the sake of our God.

We have it backwards. We all do. Sex and relationships in this culture makes for some serious confusion. The mixed messages make it seem impossible to do the relationship thing the “right” way. We bargain with God and ourselves. And when we bargain, we lose ground.

Many guys I’ve spoken with about the subject will generally admit that if they cross major physical boundaries with a girl, they lose interest in having a serious relationship with them. Well, what sparks the loss of interest? This physical act downgrades the ‘good girl’ he’s pursued and considered introducing to his parents, and strips her down to some chick he doesn’t want to take 5 seconds to text back because he wants her off his back…

Read more.

The Theology of “How I Met Your Mother”

I think I understand why so many people like the TV show How I Met Your Mother.

I recently had talk with a girl who I thought was pretty cool and who I wanted to pursue. Through our honest conversation she let me know that she was not interested in me that way and I was essentially friend-zoned.

Which was fine. Honestly, I learned a lot about how I approach relationships and what is important to me. Also, I felt very pushed out of my comfort zone to even have that sort of conversation with a woman. I did learn how to bring up and discuss something as complicated as a relationship.  So despite the outcome not going quite where I would have liked. I know God has shown me a lot.

Part of the reason I have not been upset about the girl saying no is because I am starting to understand the nature of God’s story.

I know that God has my relationships in the palm of his hand. I know that my God is in control. This understanding shifted how I view relationships. The girl (or guy) you have in mind is never the sole point of your story. Instead, God wants to use the journey of getting to know another human being to bring you closer to him. I chose to view this situation as a way that my faith in God could grow. Through this process of pursuing someone, I learned how to trust him particularly in what relationship he has in store for me. Now obviously, I would have liked to pursue this certain girl, but I know deep down that God has his own story and timing for me.

 

Here is where this connects to How I Met Your Mother:

For those unfamiliar with the TV show, Ted Mosby (the main character), is telling his kids through video flashbacks all the circumstances leading up to–––you guessed it–––”How I Met Your Mother.”

In a typical episode, Ted falls in love with someone. He dates her then she breaks up with him. The reason this show doesn’t become some sad drama is that at the end of every episode we share Ted’s perspective of living in the epilogue. He is looking back at his past and seeing how all those decisions led to him meeting his wife. So we hear him voice over, “That was how I met your mother’s roommate” or “that was how I first saw your mother.” We know that he ends up with his wife in the end.

We are all craving–––desperately craving–––meaning in the stories of our lives. We want to believe that all of our hurts and mistakes will mean something someday in the light of some grander story. For those who do not know God, they can only hope to someday look back and see “how I met your mother despite all this pain and hurt.” Only in retrospect can they see where their lives have led them.

But because we serve a good and loving God we know that Romans 8:28 is true for us, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him.” We know that every single issue we encounter is only the middle of the story. That God has a grand unveiling waiting for us at the end of days where he will say to us “Look at that! You thought the girl was the point of that relationship, I was just trying to teach you to trust me in your relationships!” or “I know that was painful, but look at how you are able to speak to those who have been through your same pain!”

I can just picture God in heaven speaking a celestial voiceover on my life. “And that was when Luke learned to trust me with his relationships…”

I am so thankful for a God who loves me, this crazy character. No matter what plot twists and turns I go through, he is writing a story with my life!

I can’t seem to find any good theological lessons from Barney Stinson yet… I’ll get back to you on that!

[alert style=”info”] Sound Off: Are you a How I Met Your Mother fan? Do you see parallel circumstances in your life? Let us know in the comments below. [/alert]

Purity: Asking All The Wrong Questions (Plus Giveaway!)

[alert style=”info”] Ed. Note: Today’s guest post is from Ally Vesterfelt. She is a writer extraordinaire and the editor-in-chief at Prodigal. You can follow her on Twitter and scroll below for the chance to win a copy of her new book! [/alert]

I used to think that being single was awesome because I didn’t have to worry about anyone but me.

In some ways, I was right.

Then I met Darrell. We started dating. And really quickly I began to realize that it isn’t really fair to say that my single life was all about me. In fact, the decisions I made before I met him affected someone other than me, someone who I didn’t even know existed at the time was was making them.

There are some decisions I made as a single woman that I wish I wouldn’t have made so flippantly. I wish I would have realized that the decisions I was making in my single life were decisions that would one day impact my husband.

I grew up in church and heard the messages about “Waiting for Marriage” from the time I was young. I was part of the “True Love Waits” generation and read books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye and When God Writes Your Love Story.

I even went on a retreat with my youth group where I started writing letters to my future husband. Between the ages of 15 & 18 I wrote a few hundred letters and kept them in a box under my bed.

Cute, right?

 

During late high school and college I decided I didn’t really want anything to do with God anymore. I was sick of all the rules I had to follow and I just wanted to hang out and have fun.

It was a slow change at first. I would kiss guys and make out with them, that sort of thing. What I was doing wasn’t that big of a deal (or so I told myself) It was just kissing. Right?

When I got to college I started drinking and that changed everything. I never made good decisions while I was drinking but at least I got to use alcohol as an excuse. I partied and hooked up with guys.

I acted like I was having fun living the “college life” but it never made me feel as good as I thought it would. Especially after the fact.

Here’s the thing. My story doesn’t get any “worse” from there. No stories of rape or pregnancy or STDs. Pretty typical “college girl” type things as far as the world is concerned, right?

I was just really, really broken and lonely.

I started dating a guy who said he loved me, and pretty soon we were having sex too. I figured it was okay because we were in love; and love was what I had been missing before.

But when that relationship went down in flames, I felt as awful as I did before, the morning after a college party, hungover and used.

“How had I ended up here?” I wondered.

I had grown up in church. I had a box full of letters promising myself to my future husband. And I had been told since I was a little girl that I was “worth waiting for.”

I would read the Bible or hear a pastor talk about “sexual immorality” and cringe a little because I knew I wanted to do things God’s way again but I didn’t know how. I couldn’t even explain why I felt that way. It just felt right.

So I re-committed myself to purity. I wasn’t really sure I deserved it and I wasn’t sure how to do it but I knew I wanted to.

It didn’t come naturally.

 

I would set rules and boundaries for myself, cross them, and get disappointed and depressed. After making mistakes, I would set stricter boundaries to safeguard myself.

Even strict boundaries were no match for the insecurity and loneliness I felt. I would do just about anything I could to get attention. I kept messing up again and again and again.

Finally, I gave up. I isolated myself. I turned down dates when they came my way. I was friends with guys, but rarely more than that, because I knew that if I let it go beyond friendship I was in danger of making the same mistakes again.

I thought I was doing a pretty good job of being faithful to my future husband.

But looking back I realize how much I was just managing my sin.

Here’s the thing. I know I’m not alone. I’m not the only one who wants to honor God with my actions, but can’t figure out how to do it. I know I’m not the only one asking, “Why are we waiting anyway?” “What’s the point?” “Is there hope for me?” and “Is it worth it?”

I’m not the only one who needs the answer to “Why should I wait for marriage to have sex?” to be more than just, “Because the Bible says so.”

That wasn’t enough for me. I needed there to be more.

And instead of fighting silently, I want to start the conversation.

So I wrote a book called Asking All The Wrong Questions: Why Christians Are Waiting for Marriage for Sex. It talks honestly about my journey, my struggle, and the answers I’ve found to the questions I’ve asked. It also admits that there aren’t answers to every question. It highlights the nature of God, and how that helps us fill in the blank spaces.

If you want to commit yourself to purity, but you’re not sure how, or you aren’t sure it’s even practical, this book is for you. I hope it helps you in your process.

 

Book Giveaway!

Do you want a free copy of Ally’s new book, Asking All The Wrong Questions: Why Christians Are Waiting for Marriage for Sex? We are giving away one copy of Asking All The Wrong Questions to a random Twitter follower on December 1st!

Make sure you’re following us here and then tell us why purity is important to you for another entry (tweet to @QuarterlifeMan or use the hashtag #QuarterlifeQuestion).

Good luck!

 

Allison Vesterfelt is a writer and thinker who is becoming brave enough to live and tell the truth. She loves her job as the Editor-in-Chief of Prodigal Magazine  where she gets to help people live and tell good stories. She has one foot in Portland, OR, and one in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can keep up with her by following her on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

(Full Disclosure: The link to Ally’s book is an affiliate link, which means that she/they receive a commission if you choose to purchase her book (or anything) at that link. Quarterlife Corporation does not explicitly endorse this link, so if you really feel horrible about helping their cause–––and we’re not sure why you would–––you can buy the book here.)

Be a Man and Act More Feminine

Society has done a lot to cultivate certain ideas about gender roles within relationships.  As men, we are fed misconceptions which we then hold to be truth.  Men are always supposed to be the strong ones.  Men don’t talk about their feelings.  Men don’t do housework.  Men don’t raise the children.  Well, if this is what it means to be a man, then I would say it is time to man-up and act more feminine.

 

IT’S OK TO OPEN UP

I know you’ve heard it before, but some things are cliche because they are true… relationships require communication.  Talk.  Open up.  Share your thoughts, dreams, and fears.  Nothing will ruin a relationship faster than a lack of communication.

Talk about your feelings.  You don’t always have to be the “strong one.”  Everyone has times in their life where they need to lean on someone else.  I’m not saying you have to be an emotional basket case, but don’t be ashamed of expressing how you feel.  Women want a man whose not afraid to say he needs them.

Share your thoughts, dreams, and fears.  Nothing is worse than feeling like you are going through life alone.  Discuss the things that are on your mind.  Share your excitement about goals and dreams.  Talk about what fears you face.  Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t have it all figured out (after all, none of us do).

 

HOUSEWORK DOES NOT EQUAL WOMEN’S WORK

Men, this may seem like an insignificant issue, but step up and share in the responsibilities.  Clean up after yourself.  After a romantic dinner together, blow her away and do the dishes.

Whether your married or living in your bachelor pad, your floor does not equal your hamper, and your mommy, girlfriend, or wife does not have to do the laundry.

I have been constantly reminded of the impact that the simple act of sharing in the housework can have.  On several occasions, I have heard my wife tell someone how much it means to her when I help out without being asked or complaining.  I think you’ll be shocked with what these simple acts can mean.

To all the husbands out there, if you really want to shock her, vacuum… mop… dust… clean the bathroom… trust me, the rewards can very much be in your favor.  Someday, my daughter will be very embarrassed by my sharing, but we wound up with her because I painted the house.

 

DADS, THEY NEED YOU TOO

To the dads who happen upon this article (or those who want to be a dad someday), share in the joy of raising your kids.  Change the diapers.  Rock them to sleep.  Sit down to tea parties.  Take them to the park.  Let them see you helping around the house.  Tell them how much you love them and their mommy.  Make sure they (and your wife) come before work, friends, the game on TV, golf, or anything else.  Everyone needs to relax once in a while, but make sure they know they are a priority.

 

ABOVE ALL, PLACE GOD FIRST

This one doesn’t fit the title, but I cannot write about relationships without bringing it up.  In a world were we are afraid of sounding cheesy or weird if we talk about God, take a stand.  Place Him first and everything else will fall into place.

If you’re single and looking, pray that you will be the man deserving of the woman God brings into your life.

If you are dating, pray that God will protect your relationship.  Pray that His will for your relationship will be clear.  Pray that purity will remain within your relationship.

If your married, pray that you and your spouse will remain in His will.  Pray that He will protect your marriage in the midst of a world where marriages are crumbling around you.

Wherever you are in life, lead by example.  Strive to grow closer to the God who loves you and desires to see you succeed.

[alert style=”info”]Sound Off: What does it mean to be a man, yet more feminine in your life? How is this different from how things normally are? Let us know in the comments below.[/alert]