By: Mandy Dobbelmann
When I was a young girl I loved to dream, especially when it came to love and the nameless man who one day would capture my heart. I’d sit on the swing on my back porch on warm northern Minnesota summer evenings, listening to the crickets and staring at the blanket of stars above me. In that moment, I was fully convinced that there was a God and that He had my best interest in mind when it came to my love story.
Fast-forward 20 years to a 30-year-old woman living in Los Angeles. The more I talk with my fellow single girlfriends, the more I realize that this is most every young girl’s story.
We dreamed of a man who would see us, love us, protect us and accept us fully. But somewhere along the way in between real life and heartbreak, many of us got a bit jaded.
After years of waiting for Mr. Right, a life shattering heartbreak or two and years of, what seems like, wasted time with Mr. Wrongs, it’s easy to give up. It’s easy to feel a sense of hopelessness when it comes to your own personal love story and to assume that love is only a fairy-tale for few, and that for whatever reason, you aren’t one of the few.
So instead of being patient and trusting God, you decide to settle. You go along with the cultural model of relationships- the model that says it’s okay for a man to get into your pants before he gets to know your heart, the model that says it’s okay for a man to show some pseudo form of love.
You go along with the type of “love” that uses your body without a whole life commitment. The type of “love” that makes promises that it can’t keep. The type of “love” that only dates you for what it can get.
In the moment, that can feel fulfilling, validating, and invigorating. It can even make you feel desired and loved. But the truth of the matter is: that is not love.
Perhaps it is a form of erotic love that craves the physical and convinces the individual of its desire. But that is not the agape love that healthy marriages are built on which drives a man to pursue a woman’s heart and make a whole life commitment to her, the love that we dreamed of as little girls and that our whole being aches for.
In spite of what our childhood dreams taught us, it is not meant to be a fairy-tale. Real life love will never look like Hollywood or a Disney movie. It is not void of pain, complication and trials. It is not easy. It is nothing like we imagined it would be. But just because it won’t be a fairy-tale doesn’t mean that it won’t be beautiful, epic and so worth the wait.
Our desire for this type of real love and companionship was placed in our heart from the dawn of eternity. And the Creator of the Universe first modeled it for us. Scripture reminds us that the church is the bride of Christ and He is our Bridegroom. We can either accept that as some cheesy analogy as I did for many years, or we can allow the truth and reality of it to transform the way we see ourselves, our worth, and the standards we set for the men we date.
I think a lot of pain and heartbreak in dating relationships could be avoided through this one revelation. Because if you truly get this, if you understand the way that Christ pursued and loved you first, you will no longer continue searching the world for a man to validate you. You will no longer have to waste your time dating boys who know nothing about pursuing the heart of a woman. You will no longer allow their acceptance or lack thereof define you. You will have learned that Jesus already did that on the cross.
You will have your identity intact and know fully that what you need is not just any man who looks good and keeps you company, but a godly man who knows how to pursue your heart in a unique way; a man who is after your heart, not for what he can get, but simply for love’s sake; a man who sees you for who you are and embraces every part of you, both the beautiful and the ugly; a man who has gone through the hard work of pursuing God’s heart first in search of yours; a man who understands partnership and has the guts to partner with you and lead from a place of strength and purity. That is the type of man you should be looking for.
I’m not talking here about being a diva and expecting men to bow at your feet. I see that way too often among women in my culture. I am talking about being a woman who has the grace, strength, and humility to expect godly men to live by the standards of scripture. A godly woman is not prideful, she is simply confident in what she knows she needs; she is not unrealistic, she is simply counter cultural; she is not a prude, she simply respects her body and her worth. That is the type of woman that God calls us all to be in our relationships with men.
Don’t let culture tell you your worth is based on how good you are in bed or how many men you’ve slept with. Don’t let culture tell you that you have to be okay with giving men what they want prematurely in order to keep them around. I’ve experienced first hand what it feels like to have men pursue my heart before my body and it is the most honoring, God glorifying experience. Those men do exist ladies! Don’t settle for anything less. You are worth more. Date a man who pursues your heart.
Photo Cred: Simon Hattinga Verschure
Mandy is the founding editor of the blog, Forte E Bello. She is a writer, singer/songwriter, and music teacher from Long Beach, CA with a love for life, people, adventure, and living simply. She is passionate about using her gift for writing and music to be a voice for change.