I just read Kat Richter’s blog “Are Standards Shallow?” (After I Quit My Day Job) She was responding to being accused of “getting shallow” for refusing to date any man who is not taller than she is when she’s wearing heels. Kat will probably miss out on dating some pretty terrific guys because of her preference for tall men. That’s her loss, and it’s her choice.
Having standards is not shallow. Physical attributes are not standards, however. They are merely preferences. Any woman seeking a date or a husband needs to have standards. When I was dating I had absolute standards—my line in the sand that I would not cross. In my thirty-plus years of ministering to teen-age girls I have encouraged them to decide what their standards are before they begin dating.
For me the absolute most important standard was to date only godly Christian men. Paul admonishes us in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” It was important that my future husband share my Christian beliefs and values. I was not willing to risk falling in love with the wrong man, so I avoided dating non-believers. I met my future husband in high school. I knew he was nice, but I didn’t know if he was a Christian until I saw him at my church one Sunday. Of course, church attendance doesn’t equate to salvation, but seeing him at church gave me an opening to ask him about his beliefs. My interest increased greatly as I realized how similar his beliefs were to my own.
Family values were next in importance. I love children, and I wanted a man who also loves children. As the second of nine children, my youngest siblings are considerably younger than me. I was able to witness how a potential future husband would treat and respond to children simply by taking him home to meet my family. From his first visit, Steve was comfortable with my younger siblings. He spent many a Saturday afternoon taking them fishing in the summer and building snowmen in the winter. During our senior year of college, Steve and I took my four youngest siblings to a movie. They kids ranged from 10 to 18 years younger than us. The next day one of his professors asked him about his children. I guess he thought we got a very early start on our family.
Another standard was that a future husband prioritize family over income. I can still vividly remember sitting in traffic on the Falmouth Bridge and Steve telling me that he wanted his future wife to stay home and raise their children. Those words were music to my ears. Although I was in college and planned to continue my education afterward, I still desired greatly to be home with my children when they were young. Steve added that being home when they were in high school was even more important.
We were fortunate to be able to make that happen. Steve worked hard, and I got to stay home. When the boys went to school, I went with them. For the next thirteen years, they were either enrolled in a Christian school where I taught or I was home schooling them. I cried on the twins’ last day of school (as seniors they finished up a few weeks earlier than the rest of the students) wondering how I would be able to come to school without them the next day. I am so thankful for the time I had with my boys.
Beyond those three standards, everything else was icing on the cake. It didn’t hurt that Steve is tall—a full 9 inches taller than me—and very handsome. But, I would have loved him no matter what he looked like.
I maintained my standards and married the love of my life. And there’s nothing shallow about that.