Posted by: deerharas | February 14, 2008

Darlin’, you are such a mystery to me …

Sometime last semester I was eating dinner with a new friend when she asked me a somewhat audacious question.  “Why are you still single?”  I tried to be as transparent as you can be with a new friend, I suppose, and explained that I didn’t really date just to be dating.  Most guys who have expressed interest in the past didn’t really fit the mold of someone with whom I could see myself, hence the single state. 

Then about a month ago I had a similar conversation while riding in a car with another new friend I was just getting to know.  She asked if I was dating anyone to which I replied that I wasn’t.  I fired the same question back at her, and she offered the same response.  She then paused for a second and asked, “Why is a girl like you not?”  I was flattered and could ask the very same question of her.  My friend is pretty, considerate, creative, and she loves the Lord.  Why hadn’t some great guy found her?  Our conversation then turned to the age old question … “Where are all the good guys?” 

It seems to me that Christian males have an unfair advantage when it comes to relationships.  I can’t offer a statistic on the Christian male to female ratio, but I can say that in my own observation single committed Christian females seem to outnumber males of the same caliber.  And when I say committed, I’m talking quality.  Mature.  With depth.  Not apathetic.  A lover of God and of people and a seeker of His wisdom.  Granted, not many females fall into this category either, but it feels like these guys are almost nonexistent … or well, married.  This type of guy, even if only minimally physically attractive, could pretty much take his pick from among single Christian women, and if he’s good looking – watch out. 

While I’ve had plenty of crushes in my day, I can count on one hand the number of guys I’ve ever seriously considered, guys like the quality guy mentioned above.  I can certainly appreciate attractive qualities in the opposite sex, but there’s more to it than that.  I can’t help but echo Elisabeth Elliot who said of her first husband Jim, “I thanked God for a man who put Him first.  I could not have gotten terribly excited about one whose spiritual hunger did not parallel my own.”  As she began to realize her affection for Jim and the potential for real relationship there, she described him as “a real man, strong, broadchested, unaffected, friendly, and I thought, very handsome.  He loved God.  That was the supreme dynamic of his life.  Nothing else mattered much by comparison.”  She too could appreciate the qualities that made him attractive to the world.  However, Jim’s love for God as evidenced by his love for people was the heart of her attraction. 

This handful of “quality guys” baffles me.  The other day I remembered an old Caedmon’s Call lyric, crafted by Derek Webb in the midst of some of the relationship drama which characterized much of his earlier work.  “Darlin’, you are such a mystery to me, you know.”  While I’ve heard this sentiment from many a guy, it certainly goes both ways.  I am so thankful for my married boys, Rodney and Randy, who are always willing to help shed a little light on my sometimes bewildered state.  There’s a comfort and wisdom I find in both of them.  I have no shame in saying, “Hey, listen to this voicemail and help me parse for subtext.”  However, sometimes the “handful” confuses my married boys as well, which brings me to the real subject of this post.   

If I could gather the handful in a room and without sacrificing any dignity, ask them anything I wanted, I think it might look something like this: 

  1. How important is appearance?  Given the choice between an incredibly attractive Christian girl who is sweet, but perhaps not very deep, and a moderately pretty Christian girl with endearing flaws, perhaps a little less polished but with a real personality, which would you choose?  In the best book I ever started without finishing (Anna Karenina), Tolstoy hints at the trumping power of appearance in regard to female attraction when describing the character Levin.  “He had heard that women often love unattractive, simple people, but he did not believe it, because he judged by himself, and he could only love beautiful, mysterious and special women.”  All right girls, there you have it.
  2. How capable are you of seeing through the games and manipulation of women?  As a rule, I do my best to avoid both of these. J  That determination stems from conviction and obviously not the outcome of said tactics, because honestly, sometimes they seems to work.  I will see girls bend over backwards to “help” the handful, but completely lack a genuine concern for the welfare of others as a whole.  Do you see this?  Or do you just think, “What a nice girl!  I should ask her out.”
  3. How easy is it to tell when a girl is interested?  When culture deems it acceptable for girls to ask guys out or at least make their interest explicitly known, can you even pick up on the subtleties of less forward women?  Or are you so used to having girls throw themselves at you that you’re oblivious to the other open doors?
  4. What’s the intimidation factor?  Have you ever met a girl that you wanted to date but were too reticent to approach?  Okay, well, duh.  I’m sure every guy has, but other than appearance, what factors into that?
  5. In making dating decisions, how much do you rely on prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit?  I had another car conversation awhile back with two guys on the subject of dating.  Guy #1 shared his philosophy, which he had borrowed from a sermon on singleness, that everyone should just run wholeheartedly after the Lord and after awhile look around to see who’s running beside them.  Guy #2 interrupted with his own contradicting view.  “Sometimes you just see a cute girl and ask her out.”  While I appreciated his honesty, I was also a little disheartened, because these words were spoken from the mouth of one of the handful.

 Perhaps these questions betray a personal vulnerability unintended when I sat down to write this blog, but I’m just going to go with it.  I am looking for a partner.  Yes, I’m a girl, and I want all the silly things girls want, but most of all I am seeking partnership.  Partner in life.  Partner in ministry.  Partner in love.  And I can’t settle for someone without that same desire. 

So on Valentine’s Day 2008, I want to look forward to that partnership, not in a romantic comedy “life’s all about me” way, but with the most realistic expectations a single girl can muster.  So I leave you with some wise words on love from a much quoted favorite of mine and a poem that captures both the beauty and realism of marriage.  Enjoy, friends! 

“Maybe you’re the dream I’m waking from

‘Cause I see you everywhere I go

Darlin’, you are such a mystery to me, you know

Don’t you know that

Love is different than you’d think

It’s never in a song or on a TV screen

And love is harder than a word

Said at the right time and everything’s alright

Love is different than you think” 

Love Is Different – Caedmon’s Call 

Marriage – to Tanya

How hard it is for me, who live

in the excitement of women

and have the desire for them

in my mouth like salt.  Yet

you have taken me and quieted me.

You have been such light to me

that other women have been

your shadows.  You come near me

with the nearness of sleep.

And yet I am not quiet.

It is to be broken.  It is to be

torn open.  It is not to be

reached and come to rest in

ever.  I turn against you,

I break from you, I turn to you.

We hurt, and are hurt,

and have each other for healing.

It is healing.  It is never whole. 

– Wendell Berry


  1. great post. great questions! one thing i started asking myself a while back was ‘why am i not attracting quality guys?’ that question opened me up to some things about me that needed some work. and since then i’ve been enjoying the journey to become a more quality person. it’s a much better journey (in my opinion!) than the journey to find a more quality person 🙂

  2. Wow!

    I have pondered these very same thoughts. I do know mostly why I personally am still single, however.

    I continue to be blown away at your ability to express things so clearly in your writing. I really enjoy reading your blogs.

  3. […] Are guys/girls a mystery to you? Posted by deerharas Filed in Singleness/Dating/Marriage […]

  4. […] few days ago that Valentine’s Day was fast approaching and unlike previous years (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) I had no V-Day blog just itching to be posted.  I figured I had better get on that.  So […]

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