If you’re a woman, dating is tough. There’s no other way to say it — Dating is hard work. The awkwardness of being asked out. The forced conversation on the first date. The agony of waiting to be called back because the guy is trying to figure out how long he should wait before picking up the phone. Add to that the rise of modern technology and dating apps, websites, social media, etc and it just gets downright crazy. On top of all of that, after the relationship has begun, many women are left asking themselves, “Am I dating the wrong guy?”
Dating for the Christian woman may be even harder. Not only do you have to deal with all of the awkwardness above, but you’ve also got some very specific Biblical guidelines by which to examine a prospective husband and determine whether he is suitable for marriage. After all, there is no casual dating for the Christian. All dating should be with an eye set toward marriage. So you’re constantly asking yourself, “Would he make a good, godly husband? Am I dating the wrong guy?”
Because of these difficulties and the pressure being placed by the world and even the church around her, many women today settle in their dating relationships. You know what the Bible says you should be looking for in a husband, but all the good ones just seem to be taken. Plus, you’re not getting any younger, are you? Add to that the constant pressure from friends, family, coworkers, church members, and others always wanting an update on your current dating situation, and the pressure on today’s young Christian women is overbearing.
A New Book
In a new book titled She’s Got the Wrong Guy: Why Smart Women Settle, Deepak Reju seeks to help Christian women understand what sort of man they should be looking for, and why it is that they are often tempted and prone to settle for less than what God would have for them. As the pastor of biblical counseling and families at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, Deepak Reju has had his fair share of relationship counseling sessions – married, engaged, dating, and single. As such, he has seen many success stories, many horror stories, and many examples of women simply settling for a man whom she knows isn’t exactly who God would have her marry. Why is that?
Why Do Women Settle?
In the first part of the book, Reju begins with this simple thesis: “In the midst of the contemporary challenges to dating and marriage, the greatest need for a single woman is to ground her life in Christ” (1). The fact is that there are many contemporary challenges to dating and marriage — sex is everywhere, it’s hard to find good men, technology is changing the way we do relationships, men are intimidated by strong and confident women, and many many are wanting to be single longer and get married later, just to name a few. The challenges abound.
In light of those challenges, why do women settle? Reju offers a few reasons that he has seen firsthand in his counseling office.
First, many women are putting marriage first. They have taken the good gift of marriage (and that it is) and elevated it to the place of an idol — something that they must have, and if they don’t have, they are unhappy, unfulfilled, or incomplete.
Second, Reju identifies personal baggage as another reason women settle. Perhaps they have a fear of rejection from past relationships, poor role models as they grew up, etc. Whatever the case may be, there is personal baggage that leads to settling.
Third, love is blind. As such, many women allow themselves to get so emotionally attached to the wrong kind of guy that she begins to compromise on many principles she never thoughts she would compromise on.
Fourth, many women live under the tyranny of their fear and anxiety — fear that she’ll be lonely for the rest of her life, fear that she won’t ever have children, fear that no one will take care of her when she’s old or feeble, and fear that she won’t be loved for who she is. The list of fears could go on and on. Those fears and anxieties cause her to compromise and settle for the wrong man.
Fifth, many women are looking for the wrong things. At the top of her list is physical attributes, a particular sense of humor, or a certain kind of impressive job. While these things can be contributing factors, they should pale in comparison to the things that she should be looking for in a godly, holy, Christ-honoring and Christ-pursuing man.
Are You Dating the Wrong Guy?
In the first part of the book, which we summarized above, Reju looks at why women settle. Now in the second part, which is the bulk of the book, he looks at 10 kinds of men that Christian women should avoid. Reju says: “Apart from genuine repentance, faith, and humility, these men are not worthy of your time … it’s unwise to marry these ten kinds of men” (32). So who are these men? Below are the ten:
- The Control Freak
- The Promiscuous Guy
- The Unchurch Guy
- The New Convert
- The Unbeliever
- The Angry Man
- The Lone Ranger
- The Commitment-Phobic Man
- The Passive Man
- The Unteachable Guy
Reju devotes a chapter to why each of these men is unsuitable for a Christian woman looking to date a man that will one day become her husband. In each chapter, he includes a story of a wife and a husband who is the type of man depicted in that chapter. Following that story, Reju includes some reasons why that type of man should be avoided, and what some of the reasons are that a woman would be tempted to settle for that particular man. In each chapter, Reju’s goal is to warn the single woman about what her future could (and probably will) hold if she continues in her relationship with that type of man.
The Quest for a Godly Man
In the final section of the book, Reju turns his attention to how the Christian woman should go about (a) breaking up with one of those ten men and (b) go about finding a godly man who is worthy of her and is suitable for marriage. After giving 11 questions to ask whether or not to end a current relationship, and assuming the answer is “yes,” he then gives 17 incredibly helpful bits of advice on breaking up to the glory of God. Finally, he ends with a couple of chapters encouraging women not to expect perfection (because it will never happen) as well as to be okay with waiting. Waiting is difficult for most of us for a variety of reasons, but it is often the primary posture for a Christian, especially a woman waiting for the man who is fit to be her husband for the rest of her life.
He ends the book with these words:
“Hold out for the man who is committed to Christ, not just in his words, but with his entire life … Look for the guy who shows through his life that godliness matters. For some of you, that might mean choosing singleness, because that godly guy will never come around. For others, the godly guy may one day come, but for now you must wait and be patient. Whether your waiting lasts for a season, or for life, Christ will sustain you as you wait. Lean into him. He is enough for this life and for the life to come” (162).
I am very thankful for Deepak Reju and his writing of this book. He writes the book from personal experience in counseling with hundreds of couples throughout his ministry. In this book, you will find biblical wisdom, sound reason, and Christ-exalting advice for single Christian women. I do not know of any better commendation than to tell you that, as we are currently expecting our first daughter next year, I will certainly be saving my copy of this book to go through with her when the time comes to help her navigate this difficult world of dating. If you have a daughter, a granddaughter, or have a relationship with a single woman of any age, I would encourage you to do the same.
In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank New Growth press and Litfuse Publicity for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.