IMG_4215 JPGFrankly, I’m not sure I ever thought this day would come. I thought I was just going to become the first-date pro, leaving myself wondering if my standards were too high or my emotional radar were out of whack.

You see, I had my criteria that I was planning to stick to at least for a few months and then reevaluate if no one were ticking all the boxes. I have to give a shout-out to my sweet kid sister (holla, Whitney!) who gave me the idea of coming up with five things to look for in a man. Now, she pretty much meant overall, but I took it to mean on the first date. (Bar is forever and always now raised high, ladies.)

So, these are the things that had to make an appearance on the first date to warrant a second date: (*to be clear: this is JUST MY LIST…not gospel truth)

  1. Attractive. I have to think, ‘Yep, I’d want him to kiss me at the end of the night’, even if he doesn’t and even if I have no intention of letting him. I should want to be kissed by the man who I’m trying to find to spend the rest of my life with.
  2. Good conversation. I do not want to steer the whole thing nor pull conversational teeth. It should flow. To quote a guy friend, “The man should come with a (figurative) bag of questions in his pocket.”
  3. Banter. Humor is super important to me. Let’s be honest: I’m funny. And it’s important to me that the person I’m with think I’m funny too and be funny himself. Not in an identical way, but that we get each other and make each other laugh, a lot. (Life’s hard.)
  4. Faith. I believe I can tell in one conversation if Jesus is someone’s most important priority. I want — no, need – a man who will be self-leading in his walk with Christ. Like, I should be able to tell that his relationship with Christ had already been going on well before I came into the picture, or I’ll spend another several decades trying to change someone into who I want him to be. And that’s just no good for anyone.
  5. A common experience with brokenness. Now, I don’t mean I wanted to set out to find someone with huge issues. Nor does my potential partner’s path have to resemble mine identically. However, if someone says “it is what it is” like ten times describing his divorce and I can tell he learned nary a lesson or he has to harken back to his childhood to dredge up a pain that doesn’t even come close to what I’ve been through, I can tell that they don’t get what it means to be broken in the way I’ve been broken. This is important to me because my life’s work is walking alongside broken women. My life’s work is watching God turn my pain into redemption. So it’s super necessary to me that my future partner understand brokenness and redemption and will support this hard thing that I’m trying to do each and every day.

Umm, yeah. I walked into all my first dates looking for ALL of these things.  No wonder I had four first dates and no second dates.  I met some really great guys…hard-working, funny, kind, attractive. But not one met all these things in the ways I was hoping for. (Actually, not true: one did. But then he turned around and wasn’t nice to me the very next day. So yeah.)

Until last week. When one sweet man ticked off boxes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.  And when he asked to see me again, I didn’t hesitate in saying, “When?” with a goofy grin on my face.IMG_1040

So, ladies who are out there in the dating world, let me say again, there are good men. There are.

You know there a bunch more things that are super important to me, but those things can be discerned in time.

Again I proclaim: don’t settle. Just too, too much is at stake…your heart, your future, your peace, your generational line, just to name a few things. Single-lonely is a thousand times more endurable than married-lonely.  If Jesus has a man for you, trust him to bring him to you when you and he are both ready.

Today, maybe come up with your top five first-date criteria and I’d love it if you’d share one or two with us below.



If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here or “Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman”, found here.

Life isn't always how we want it. When change seems elusive, and we're stuck in old routines, a gentle push or some self-reflection can make a difference. Let these questions be that nudge to get you moving.

You have Successfully Subscribed!