And built into those two requirements are all kind of unspoken assumptions. He will love learning. We’ll have great, intelligent, funny conversations. He’ll respect me. He’ll be kind. He’ll be basically conservative without being easily annoyed with war protesters. He’ll share my strong opinion that the Bible teaches both free will and predestination, and somehow those two things work together in the process of salvation in a way our tiny human brains can’t understand. He’ll like to give money away. He’ll be normal – someone I could actually introduce to my non-Christian friends without cringing. And as Jane would say, he should be good-looking, as any young man should be if he possibly can.
With my apologies to the handful of stellar Christian single guys I’ve met in the last few years, it’s a truth universally acknowledged among single Christian women that single Christian guys beyond a certain age are weird. We used to speculate that it had something to do with the rising sperm count, the lack of sex – that women can handle this but with guys it just makes them weirder and weirder until they are forty-two and completely beyond reach.
The church is a place for the broken. Anyone who doesn’t fit in anywhere else is certain of a welcome in the church. If you are incredibly large, if you have trouble putting two sentences together or looking a girl in the eyes, if you are uneducated or only capable of talking to other Christians, or recovering from a cocaine addiction or a messy divorce, come to our church and you’ll be welcomed. And that’s how it should be. But it doesn’t really make for good dating grounds.
It seems as well that there is something about modern evangelical Christianity in America that makes people weird. I went to coffee with one guy and he prayed loudly for our coffee time together and then asked me questions like “So what is the Lord teaching you?” which were popular in my high school youth group but I’ve since come to loathe. Modern Christian America is plagued by the sacred/secular dichotomy. If we are talking about the Lord, singing about the Lord, listening to music by other people who love the Lord, wearing t-shirts or bracelets about Jesus, calling a plumber who also loves Jesus, those are good things. Other things, regular, normal things are suspect. All of which often makes for Christians who fear and cannot relate to the world in which they live. The church is full of guys who believe this. I could never go out with them, and they probably think I’m not a very good Christian anyway.
So at thirty-three I sit on the love seat in the sunroom from time to time and pray for an amazing guy – someone normal, who loves God with all his heart, who would adore me. Believing that that is nearly impossible, but that God specializes in those kinds of things when he so chooses. Knowing that I might ultimately be happier being single, and that if that is the case, God will leave me that way.