Let’s Talk About Dating, Part 2: Holding Out

People are always evaluating each other like, 'Are you it? Will you meet the criteria? " Stop holding out. You might be missing an opportunity.

Read Part 1 of the series here.

I had an interesting conversation on a plane the other day. I was sitting next to a single, Christian guy (I know, how often does that happen?), and we began discussing the Christian dating scene. “It seems like the majority of Christian singles are holding out for something,” my new friend said. “Like the guys are waiting for a pastor’s daughter/cheerleader that just popped out of Bible college, and girls are looking for…I don’t know, a guy who just returned from a four-year missions trip to Peru.”

I smiled at that analysis. I’m sure each single could generate his or her own similar “fantasy.” And true, this notion that something better (or cuter or funnier) may be just around the corner, has the tendency to paralyze us in the “choosing” process.

Candice considers this very topic in her article “When to Settle.” She explains that when she began dating Steve, a friend questioned whether she might be “settling,” because Steve planned to use his degree to be a small town principal. Candice writes:

My friend was a believer in the notion that to marry a man without certain traits or ambitions would be settling. And in her mind, settling was bad. No longer just a guideline, not settling was itself a goal. Something worth striving for. As in: Finish that report for work, lose 20 pounds, get a boyfriend, don’t settle.

And so we find ourselves in the midst of a massive shift in marriage trends: women waiting longer than ever to marry, all the while holding out for their soul mate — “the one.” When a nice guy asks a woman out, if the sparks of attraction aren’t hot from the start, she turns him down, reasoning, sure, I want to get married someday, but I’m not about to … settle.

But this kind of “holding out” may be hurting us in the end. As my new friend observed,” It creates this weird vibe. People are always evaluating each other like, ‘Are you it? Will you meet the criteria? ” That, plus the fear of settling may drive us to pass by perfectly good options. Candice explains:

Have you ever known a man that you’ve thought about dating, but in the end, ruled him out because to do otherwise would be settling? If you’re holding out for perfection, or have a long list of must-haves, it’s possible you’re overlooking some good men who are already in your life. Knowing what about a potential mate is worth appreciating and what’s just eye candy has everything to do with when you should “settle.”

Choosing to marry a man — whomever he is — inevitably involves compromise (on his part, and yours). That’s why it’s not truly settling. It’s just making a decision. Something we do every time we pick one thing over another. In most areas, it’s called being decisive. For some reason we’ve made indecision noble when it comes to dating.

And that’s the crux of this issue. We’ve spiritualized “holding out.” And yet is there even one biblical character who passed up perfectly good marriage options in the name of not settling? No. Read Candice’s article. She provides a great list to evaluate whether a person has the potential to be God’s best for you. Then move forward with confidence!

Read Part 3 of the series here.

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About the Author

Suzanne Gosselin
Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a freelance writer and editor. She graduated from Multnomah University with a degree in journalism and biblical theology. She lives in California with her husband, Kevin, who is a family pastor, and her four young children: Josiah, Sadie, Amelia and Jackson. When she’s not hanging out with her kids, Suzanne loves a good cup of coffee, conversation with friends, musical theater and a trip to the beautiful California coast.

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