I think I’ll blame my 30s.
That’s when my dating got out of control.
Really, I was trying to make up for my 20s, which were basically a dating wasteland. Thinking I had all the time in the world, I had used my 20s to focus on my career. I put dating and marriage on the back burner, assuming if I became successful and self-actualized, a smart, funny, godly, and incredibly hot man would snatch me up as soon as I put myself on the market.
But then my 30s arrived, and smart, funny, godly, and incredibly hot single men were hard to come by. Where were they? Why weren’t they lining up to take me on hot-air balloon rides and moonlight hikes? Didn’t they realize after a decade of climbing the corporate ladder, I was finally ready to meet my practically perfect Prince Charming and settle down?
Reality hit as my phone stayed eerily silent and my Saturday nights sadly date-free. This prompted a semi-freak-out whereby I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I entered the season of Too Many Chances.
Chucking the List
Armed with lowered expectations and memberships to at least five online dating sites, I started chatting with, meeting, and dating guys from all over the world.
There was the guy from Portland. And San Francisco. Oh, and one from the Netherlands (hey, far be it from me to let language, culture, a couple continents, and an eight-hour time difference stand in the way of true love). I even managed to date a few guys from my own town. All of these men were professing Christians—surely that was enough?
I was torn. In my 20s, I’d kept my 50-item list of Things I Want in a Future Husband close at hand. I’d written it in junior high after hearing an especially zealous talk on purity during Sunday night youth group. It fed my lofty expectations and kept me from dating, well, pretty much anyone. But now, determined to make up for lost time, I chucked the list, closed my eyes, and opened the relationship floodgates. What flowed through was a tsunami of ambiguity and excuses.
San Francisco wanted a prenup—was that really a big deal?
Should I be concerned that Portland’s previous dating relationship had lasted nine years?
Were the significant doctrinal differences between me and Holland significant enough?
I figured Jesus could work all these things out. I needed to be less picky. We’re all sinners—works in progress who need grace each day. I was sure that with my stellar example and considerable influence, these guys would turn out just fine.
But cracks started to show. Upon closer inspection, maybe I wasn’t okay with my husband-to-be’s friends being frat-boy losers. I guess I actually did want a man who could fight biblically instead of walk away. Maybe minimizing past addictions and ignoring solid counsel was actually a relationship red flag.