Dating is often a crazy, complicated thing to navigate. It can be a time of growth, a time of stress or maybe a time of peace for some people. It can also be a time that many look back on, regretting what they did.
Christian blogger Lindsey Maestas recently wrote a piece about her relationship with dating. Like many girls, she grew up feeling unworthy of a man’s love because of her past relationships. She saw herself as tarnished, broken and damaged, but one man saw her differently.
“When I was 19, I was asked out on a date by a friend of mine who had no reason to be pursuing a girl like me. He was one of the good ones – the kind of man who gives you a glimpse into God’s love and kindness. In my eyes, I was tarnished. I looked in the mirror and saw damaged goods by every definition of the word. But he still pursued me relentlessly – because he was one of the good ones.”
Maestas was surprised that a guy like this would even pay attention to her, let alone pursue her in a Godly way.
She eventually realized that she was not alone in her view of her self-worth, and that many young women struggle with the same thoughts. Many of us have a past filled with bad memories, mistakes, and regret.
But Maestas encourages girls to change their mindset. She reminds them that if they believe they are broken, then they will never find a healthy relationship that is worthy of a child of God.
“Had I continued believing that ‘broken’ was all that God had for me, I never would have found a truly good man,” she writes.
Maestas describes her experience with dating and how her desire for attention and affection led her into some relationships with men who were not worthy of her.
She tells girls that if they are clinging to ungodly men, then they need to let them go. It’s hard, she acknowledges, but it is necessary for those striving to be with someone who will honor and cherish them the way Christ does.
Maestas adds that a Christian woman shouldn’t waste time with someone who is not a man of God.
“I chose to be with men who treated me like dirt rather than choosing to wait on God for the man who would love me like Christ loved the church,” she writes.
In her piece, Maestas includes a few qualities to look for in the person you’re dating, and what to avoid.
Three qualities you should look for in a significant other:
- Honesty. If you are dating someone, he should be open with you, and he shouldn’t keep secrets from you. Maestas shares that honesty is one of the major virtues that attracted her to her now-husband:
“He was honest. He wrote me a letter early on that said, ‘Lindsey, whatever you want to know, I will tell you. Whatever you want access to, I will show you. I want you to be able to know everything that you want about my life because I care about you.'”
- Kindness. He should show patience and kindness towards you. If he is slow to anger when you mess up, that’s a good sign. If he listens to you and hears you instead of just brushing you off, that’s a good sign.
“He was kind. He asked questions about me and truly listened. He took notes and remembered the things in my life that I considered important. He honored me physically and worked hard to know me emotionally.”
- Pursuit. Modern dating is often colored by “hooking up.” But Maestas notes that it’s important that a man pursues you in your relationship and makes his intentions known.
“He was available. He made it clear that I was the only girl he was interested in. He always told me exactly how he felt. He took the time to find cute ways to ask me out on (actual) dates and was always eager and willing to talk to me.”
Three qualities you should be wary of in a significant other:
- Lying. You should not waste any time with a person who cannot be honest with you, Maestas notes. Lying is a trait to avoid, as it is detrimental in any relationship, but especially in a marriage. When she first started dating her now-husband, Maestas says she “wasn’t used to honest.”
“I was used to working my way around the lies to find a portion of the truth,” she writes.
- Moody. You should not be with someone whose mood changes like the weather. Temperance is key in a solid relationship. Being with someone who is nice one moment and verbally abusive the next is not something anyone should tolerate.
“I wasn’t used to kind,” Maestas writes of one past relationship. “I was used to ‘kind when he felt like it.’”
- Mind Games. If a guy plays manipulative mind games, you should get out of the situation immediately, Maestas cautions. This is a clear sign of immaturity, and it can be detrimental later down the line.
“I wasn’t used to available. I was used to craving affirmation from guys who played game after game. I was used to the sinking feeling in my stomach when I called and they didn’t pick up – wondering what they were doing and who they were with.”
Just because you are not used to honesty, kindness, and pursuit does not mean you don’t deserve it, Maestas writes. Every woman deserves these things.
“That ‘good’ guy who asked me out at 19 is now my sweet husband,” Maestas concludes. “And he is still so good to me. He relies on Jesus in his failures and imperfections and reminds me that my own [do] not define me.”
Women: Have faith that God will bring a man into your life that will be deserving of you. Do not let yourself think that you are not good enough for a man of God. There is redemption in all people, and as Maestas confirms, the “good” guy is worth waiting for.