Dear Man Reader

Posted: November 12, 2008 in Uncategorized

So, I finally got around to checking in with my complaint department and will now begin the process of addressing your concerns.  The first complaint is from an anonymous reader who wants me to “back up off the Starfish Christmas Tree ornaments.”  Done.  I don’t want to be reminded of those guys either.  The next one is from the male community readers reader regarding the post on “Who Should I Marry?” It seems there is brewing frustration because there is no list for qualities that are essential in a woman for whom a man would be looking to share his life.

Heh.  No list.  That’s a good one.  This reveals that men don’t understand that women keep a constantly-growing list in their heads for who they should/shouldn’t/might-not-but-would-really-like to be.  However, men – not having X-ray vision or mental telepathy – don’t really know this list exists until they’re asked for the seventeenth time: “Do I look fat?  Is this shirt okay?  Is my spaghetti as good as your mom’s?”  It’s the list in our heads that keeps us asking these questions.  Yes, we have a small list for you as well, but our lists for US are big and scary and generally unreasonable.  That’s why I’m reluctant to publish things that will frustrate women who already struggle to feel “good enough”.

HOWEVER, I have heard your cry for gender justice and will now respond. You totally owe me.

Dear Bo, Who Should I Marry? The Guy Edition

In order for a woman to be worth the millions you will invest in her over the course of fifty or sixty years, I would want her to demonstrate these things:

1)  Unabashed love for Jesus. Oh, how precious is the girl who knows Him personally!  Over the past MANY years of working with young adults, I think I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting an authentic interior life and have decided that there’s nothing more beautiful.   I feel like a girl who is willing to demonstrate real and sacrificial love for Jesus in her worship, time, talent and finances, will be able to make that same kind of investment in her husband and children.

2)  Emotional stability. Perhaps you love  Disneyland’s Magic Mountain to such a degree that you would greatly enjoy strapping yourself in and building your home, paying your bills, raising your kids and eating every blessed meal on that contraption your whole life.  If that’s you, you can disregard this one.  If, however, you would enjoy a little peace and the feel of terra firma beneath your feet, then value this one.  A lot.  Women are naturally more emotional than men, so it might be hard to tell if your girl is stable, shaky or just plain crazy…ask a friend, a parent and a leader you trust.  It’s good to get the perspective of those who are on the ground.

3)  A distant relationship with manipulation. In her words, attitudes and actions, she should show that she is allowing God to call the shots of her life and the lives of those around her.

4) A compassionate heart. I don’t want to be accused of being sexist.  In fact, I don’t even want to be sexist, but I think women were created to reflect the compassionate heart of Jesus.  One of the definitions for “mercy” in Hebrew is “the way a mother touches her child.”  It’s wired-up in our DNA, but society has definitely pummeled that part of us and caused many women to be primarily self-focused and self-serving.  This truth makes me very sad.  Because marriage is long and kids are challenging and the world is desperate for families who care, I really want my son to find a woman who is able to see beyond her own needs and devise clever ways to reach the hearts of others.  Especially, my son’s heart.  That’s what I want for him.

5)  A growing love for and knowledge of the Word of God. It’s the map, the blueprint, the guidebook, the cookbook, the dayplanner for a successful life.

Oh man…I’m gonna get in such trouble for this one. First, because there are five on the Man list and SIX on the Woman list.  Second – and more importantly – this one is going to seem shallow and silly and, yea verily, mean-spirited to the Sisterhood.  However, I’m still doing it.  The dreaded number 6:

6)  Beauty. Um, yep.  I do think this is important.  Rest assured, however, that hot is in the eye of the beholder and CERTAINLY can wear off very quickly.  That’s why it’s low on the list.  But still non-negotiable.  I could go on and on and defend this point more…but I’m going to save it for the comments section and I do invite you to argue with me at will.  I – after all – cracked open this can o’ warms.

Let me know what I missed.  I know you will.  Let me know if you think I’m crazy.  Oh, I KNOW you will!

Hoping every guy finds a gal who’s worth everything he has (Song of Solomon 8:7),


  1. Jessica Carpenter says:

    I’m going to quickly jump to your defense on the “hot” factor… sincerely because every woman wants to be found attractive by her husband… so your husband thinking your a foxy minx is important for him and for you.

    thats all 🙂

  2. Joe says:

    It’s okay Bo, the girls are allowed to have six on their list, mainly because we’re the ones who have to do all the leading anyway! It evens things out : )

    Thinking I just got myself into trouble,

    – Joe

  3. ci says:

    I agree with Jessica. No one wants to be married to a spouse (either gender) that doesn’t try to take care of themselves. Also, Bo, I agree with you. Having a 15 year old young man in my home has caused me to think about this more than before. A heart that wants to please Jesus….YES! Self-centered and needy….NO!

  4. bolovesjoe says:

    Jess – exactly right.

    And, Joe – you’re a brave one, venturing into these girl-infested waters!

  5. Joe says:

    What can I say? I know how to swim.

  6. bolovesjoe says:

    I don’t know, Joe – I think the wise man always keeps the water wings handy…especially while attending a school that clearly raises up such powerful and articulate women. 🙂 (Though I have to say that your last comment is exactly something Steve would have said.)

    Cher – I KNOW! Isn’t it SO different looking from the two sides of the fence? I had such an incomplete picture of what it meant to be a “good woman” until I had a son and started thinking about what I would want in a wife for him. I actually realized HOW MUCH GRACE my mother-in-law had for me…I probably cost her a lot of sleepless nights in the early years. I don’t know why I keep using all-caps…it’s the Theraflu talking, I think. 🙂

  7. Ann Dunagan says:

    I’m gonna send this list to Christi. She’s gonna love it.

  8. Michelle Herrera says:

    Simply amazing, and completely true. It was nice to read this and see where i am, and where i need to be. Any guy who says, these 6 (yes, all 6) traits are what i want and require in a woman isnt reaching for the stars or being unreasonable. I only wish that more men had this list of what they want instead of what is more commonly on their list like, well, we wont go there. 🙂

  9. I don’t know if I’m old fashioned when I say this, or if I’m just bringing an old virtue to new light, but I think a submissive heart is also very important for us as women.

    This is something the Lord has really had to soften me up about. I come from a background where the men throughout my life had caused a lot of damage.

    Even while serving Jesus whole heartedly, this was a tough one for me. I use to be very independent, and believed I could and should do everything a man could do, and I often got offended when my brothers in Christ would show me any sign of chivalry. Then I realized that the very idea of submission to a man was dangerouse. It meant I didn’t know how to trust, and it showed me that if I did not allow God to change this, then I would never learn to truly trust and submit to God.

    Now I can’t wait to be submissive to my husband someday, because I believe that showing my husband that I am submitted to him will tell him that I trust him. And by showing this to me husband, I will be showing God that I am fully submitted to Him as well.

    Ok, I’m done.

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