Today I skimmed through parts of your "Guy's Guide to Marrying Well." It has some good advice in there for those who can use it. One of the big points seems to be that guys should take the initiative in relationships. However, this talk of initiative doesn't do a whole lot to address my dilemma of what to do when there aren't many eligible godly women around.
Don't get me wrong — I don't think I'm ignoring or dismissing anyone around me by setting unreasonable standards or anything like that. It's just that where I am these days does not seem to bring me into contact with Christian girls my age.
My church isn't huge, but the teaching is solid, I'm heavily involved there, and it's more than home to me now. There were some girls my age there when I started (in fact, I followed one there and ended up falling in love with the church instead!) but they have since graduated and left town. Right now, our young adults are mostly guys. There's a few first-year girls, but I've got probably seven years on them, so pursuing them would frankly be creepy and inappropriate at their age.
I'm more than committed to sticking with my church, and I'm glad to see that your guide strongly supports that. But unless we start recruiting mid-20-something women, I'm not going to find a wife there.
My faculty does not tend to attract a lot of women, especially not at the graduate level. Even the small Christian group I take part in on campus is mostly guys now. It seems the place I run into the most women is while waiting for allergy shots at the campus health centre.
You suggest not to sit around waiting for the perfect woman to just show up in front of you, that initiative needs to be taken. What does initiative look like when there is nothing you can find to initiate? Do I sit around and wait and hope? Or are there other avenues a Christian guy like myself can "take initiative" in so as to better position myself to encounter godly women?
Before I get into my answer, Candice Watters has give some great ideas here for seeking a mate when there seem to be few options. If you must live where you are living, and the options seem slim, then Candice will help you get some strategic and creative initiating going. In addition to Candice's advice, I want to share a bit about interacting with God in this process.
God is certainly capable of bringing spouses together where the odds seem against it. I hear those stories every now and then, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule.
Usually spouses find each other where single, marriage-minded people are in close proximity to one another, which is what I advise if it's possible. But don't think that merely bettering the natural odds make finding a spouse any less of a miracle.
Remember the story of Jesus telling the disciples, after they had spent all night fishing, to cast their nets on a certain side of the boat? They had been "initiating" all night long to no avail. But when they did so as Jesus instructed, they hauled in a load so big they were surprised it didn't tear the nets. What? Were they just so clueless as to not know where the fish were? No. These guys were expert fishermen. They knew how to fish.
What you have in this story is a sovereign God working through natural means that require supernatural faith to bring about His perfect plan. This story has application on multiple levels, but in the case of seeking a mate, I see a couple of things:
First, there is something to be said about being in the right place and the right time for the miracle to happen. These guys were at least where one would typically catch fish. They weren't dragging their nets down a dirt road wondering why they weren't catching anything. They were in the water, they did have nets, and they were trying. Once they added trust and obedience to the mix, God did a miracle. So point number one is to do whatever is within your control to be where the fish are.
Second, it not only matters that we do something, but also how we do it — the way God wants us to. We could be in a place full of eligible women and "catch" no one because we're not doing it in step with God.
In the summers of my college years I worked at a summer camp that was full of single, Christ-loving girls. A pond brimming with fish, as it were. But summer after summer, as I wildly cast my net, no catch.
It was actually a couple of years after I worked there that I began to think and pray more carefully and watch for God's guidance. God brought me together with another former summer staffer, one whom I would have never imagined as my wife. "There," I felt God say, "throw your net right there." Of course! Alfie! How could I have not seen that?
So whether you are able to go where the fishing seems great or whether God has you where it seems to be not so great, you partner with Him to cast your net wherever He says to throw. It might not be the place you expect nor the timing you expect, nor, as I learned, even the person you expect. So keep your heart wide open.
If I was a young man in your situation, here's how I would get started interacting with God on it:
Lord, you've placed the desire for marriage in my heart. I want to partner with you in that process. Am I in the right place at the right time for seeking and finding a mate? What changes do I need to make to better fit the plan you have for me? What creative ways could I initiate that I haven't thought of? Lord, give me supernatural faith to follow any means you provide to bring about your sovereign plan for my life. I have net in hand; show me where and how to cast. Amen.
I hope between some of Candice's ideas and my thoughts we might help you move forward.
Copyright 2009 John Thomas. All rights reserved.