I’ve spoken to so many girls who have been told their standards are too high. I’ve even been told that myself. But, as a friend recently reassured me, high standards attract high standards. I think it’s natural for many men to be initially intimidated by women with high standards. That doesn’t make them any less of a man. The test is whether they’re willing to push through the fear and ask you out anyway because they believe you’re worth that risk.
Whether I’ve accepted their invitation or not, I’ve had more respect for guys who have explicitly and intentionally asked me out on a date than those who have casually dodged the point or vaguely suggested we “get together sometime.” In demanding intentionality and responsibility, I’ve been able to see them flourish or wither. A man who withers under the pressure of those high standards in the early stages merely shows that he won’t live up to them in marriage. A man who tackles the challenges you lay before him head on and pursues you with sincerity and commitment is ultimately the man who will prove worthy of winning your heart.
You deserve someone who will lead you to Christ. Someone who will give everything they have and everything they are to make you a saint. Someone who will willingly lay down their life for you as Christ did for the Church. But if we want men to step up and be men in that way, we have to give them the space, opportunity and encouragement to do so. That means setting high standards and challenging them to meet them.
“To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, and goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.” Fulton Sheen
In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge writes that “I married a woman I thought would never challenge me as a man.” I don’t want to be a woman who doesn’t challenge a man to be a man. I want to be a woman who draws that man out of himself, affirms him in his strength and inspires him to greatness. Allowing men to settle for what’s comfortable isn’t loving them authentically. As women, we need to show them that we believe they’re capable of more, and—in love—motivate them to reach their potential.
The beauty of God’s design for men and women is that we complement each other perfectly. When we’re at our best, we enable each other to be our best. Being our best means seeking God’s best for us—knowing that His plan is always ‘to prosper and not to harm us’ (Jer. 29:11). If you know that someone doesn’t meet the standards you have in your heart, then don’t settle in your relationship. Trust God that He has something better in mind for you.
“Dear young people, do not settle for anything less than the highest ideals.” – Saint John Paul II
Ultimately it’s not just you that your choice of husband or wife will affect: it’s also your future family. Women—look for a man who will strengthen and affirm your sons, and instil a firm sense of dignity and worth in your daughters. Men—seek a woman who will nurture your family as it grows, and build you up in your fatherhood.
You deserve God’s best for you. Don’t settle!
Esther Rich has a bachelor degree in Psychology from Oxford University, UK, and is currently completing the Sion Community Youth Foundation Year, working on their youth ministry team. She loves Theology of the Body, Papa Francesco and a good worship band. She is passionate about empowering women to be who they were created to be, and blogs at “For Such A Time As This.”