"Our first date went well, but he's not that strong in His faith, and…" She paused, almost apologetically. I completed her sentence. "And you desire to date a man who loves Jesus like you do."
"Well, yeah…Yes. Yes, I do." Her apology turned to confidence in speaking the desire of her heart. I experience this scenario often.
At the age of eighteen, attending Daily Mass became an integral part of my life. I found fulfillment and deep personal peace through the beauty of adoration. I was sold out for big worship and looking for big ways to build the Kingdom. Following Jesus Christ was the single most important aspect of my existence.
During this time and into my twenties, I knew one thing I wanted above all if I was going to be dating. If I was going to date, I wanted to be with a man who really, really loved Jesus…even more than I did, and even more than he loved me.
I knew my own heart, and knew that I needed to date a man who could lead me. There was no question about it, I did not want to be spiritually leading a relationship.
I desired a Christ-centered relationship and I wanted to date a man who shared in my love for all these things that were so deeply integrated into my daily life. It was extremely important to me that if I was going to be in a relationship, I wanted it to be one with a man who had a profound sense of Catholic spirituality. I wanted to date a man who loved Jesus more than I did because I wanted to learn and be challenged to grow.
I held no judgment against men who did not share in my faith or my love for Jesus, I just knew that they were not the man for me. And sisters, there will never be anything wrong with knowing what you want and what you need.
I speak with too many women who feel judged for upholding their standards…frustrated by having to explain it to friends or family…many of them share about the questions and the pressure from other people…Well, you could be missing out. No one will ever meet your standards. Why don't you just give him a chance? You're being too picky.
Women, there is no place for apologizing for what you desire in a relationship. There is no place for having to explain it to anyone, either.
We each get the individual responsibility of creating our own standards (and by standards, I am talking about realistic ones here - standards like a man who is virtuous, honest, selfless, unafraid to roll up his sleeves and serve, etc. - not height, hair color, or his ability to sing and play the guitar). It is the responsibility of every woman to be in tune with God and with what is most important to her in a man. There is no need for anyone to understand the standards you have set out except for you. Nobody else can make that call. Some women know that they yearn for a boyfriend or husband to be their spiritual leader. Some women are completely open to dating a man who has no faith and inviting him to be a part of her faith. There is no "better" scenario; we each get to choose. If a man of great faith is what you know you desire, do not apologize for it. Whatever you decide is the bar he must reach, do not go on dating men who sit below it. Do set the bar high - remember, you deserve the best. Be patient until you find the man who shares in what you know you need, and do not settle for less when he seems hard to find. It can be a challenging lesson in patience and trust in God's providence…but it is a beautifully worthwhile endeavor.
I did find that man who could lead me. I had to travel half a world away, but God did bring us together in His own timing. And as we walked together in our dating relationship, one night I whispered to Him, "I love Jesus. And I love Him more than I love you." He whispered back, "I know. I wouldn't want it any other way."
Take heart, sisters. Have patience. Keep that bar up there because though they may seem few and far between, there are incredible men in this world. And as for the apologizing...This is a journey that will always be between you and our God who provides according to His perfect time and His perfect will.