Learn how embracing the concept of becoming a good catch can lead to a long-lasting, intimate relationship.
|By Jennifer Derryberry Mann
lex Chediak and his wife Marni, authors of the book With One Voice: Singleness, Dating, and Marriage to the Glory of God, have an interesting perspective to share on dating. They embrace the concept of becoming a good catch, rather than finding a good catch. Here, in an exclusive interview, they explain their thinking… and how this approach can lead to the kind of long-lasting, intimate relationship most people crave.
Alex, you’re spiritually mature: You’ve led young adult, college, and high school ministries for single guys, where romance and sexuality are popular topics. You’re also training to be a pastor. How is it that you married later, at age 30, than most guys do?
Alex Chediak: Although Marni and I became Christians before college, neither of us approached dating and marriage from a spiritually mature perspective. I didn’t see marriage as a key part of adulthood until I was in my late twenties. Marni wanted to get married at a young age, but until she was in her mid-twenties she only sought relationships to give her, futilely, a sense of significance. Through her Bible studies, she gained the faith and confidence she needed to be more selective and to date only men who truly had potential as a spouse.
OK, so neither of you had a great sense of spiritual maturity in your early dating, but it doesn’t sound like you were being reckless with other people’s hearts, either. So how are single people to know when they’ve come across someone who is spiritually immature?
Alex: In a word: Self-centeredness. The immature person only truly cares about his own interests in the relationship. The immature date pursues the temporary benefits of a relationship at the expense of long-term responsibilities. A man will pursue sexual satisfaction with a woman outside of marriage until the thrill of the chase expires. Or he’ll stay with her without commitment, if she’ll let him.
And an immature woman?
Marni Chediak: An immature woman bases her worth on what men think of her. Spiritually mature women base their sense of worth on knowing they are loved by God. They are so secure that men do not quickly win their hearts. These women are “harder to get” but have twice the allure to men—particularlythe right men. They don’t lack a desire to marry, but they can’t imagine getting involved with the wrong kind of guy.
How can single people identify the right kind of date?
Alex: Men and women committed to virtues such as love, respect, community, and accountability are far more likely to both become and to recognize a godly spouse. Unfortunately many singles seem to think only about who is best for themselves. They don’t spend enough time looking in the mirror and becoming the sort of person who would make a good partner.
Marni: When both the man and the woman are actively growing in their faith, they will better know what to expect from each other and will not waste time if the relationship isn’t right.
So becoming the right kind of partner is more important than hunting for the right partner. How do you become the right kind of partner?
Alex: The Bible calls us to be the right person—someone who is faithful, mature, committed. When you meet someone, think about what you bring to the table, rather than how the other person will meet your needs. Ask: how am I becoming a person who can be loved and respected for a lifetime? Don’t come to a relationship thinking, “I’ll give when you give.” When you begin to act as though marriage is a 100-100 proposition, instead of a 50-50 one, you bring to your relationship an attitude that is powerfully attractive.
Jennifer Derryberry Mann is a columnist for Spirituality & Health magazine and the former editor of Science & Spirit.