What’s Most Attractive About a Christian Man? (Hint: It’s Something to Pray About!)

Tech Insider magazine recently released a list of “11 science-supported traits” that women find most attractive in men.  A sense of humor made the list. Owning a dog seemingly does the trick as well, as does wearing the power color red.

Moreover, according to science, having a good heart full of altruism and philanthropy speaks to a woman’s heart in a special way. So heartfelt depth can’t be overlooked.

And yet, science shows that attractiveness can be pretty shallow too, given that men who drive expensive cars are seen as more appealing to the opposite gender. Is it really true that a man who drives a Porsche or BMW is more attractive than one who drives a Honda or Toyota? Apparently so according to science.

It’s a pretty interesting, albeit somewhat confusing, list. But it’s also intriguing to see what’s not on the list too.

Consider this . . .

I recently stumbled across something that Christian single women find attractive in Christian men that didn’t quite make the science-supported list. It seems to make sense, but I’m not sure Christian men, or science, realize the full magnitude of it.

The non-scientifically proven trait that I’ve stumbled across is none other than a willingness to pray, which may sound super spiritual.  But see if this makes sense, spiritual sense if not scientific sense. . .

Recently I discovered that Christian women find a Godly man who consistently prays for a woman to be an incredibly appealing trait. Who knew it could be that simple? And yet apparently it’s something that speaks not only to the heart of God but also to the heart of a spiritually minded woman.

A couple of years ago I began a daily devotional Facebook page (www.facebook.com/solelydevoted) for Christian singles, and it’s grown quite dramatically, approaching 15,000 followers/likes. It’s nothing too involved, just a simple way to encourage Christian singles in their relationship with God on a daily basis. As it turns out, about 80% of those who follow the page are women, which is important to note when considering the overwhelming response to a post made to “Solely Devoted” not long ago.

The post simply looked like this . . .

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That’s it.  Nothing too special.  Nothing too insightful.  Or so I thought.

Because suddenly it went kind of viral. Sort of. Not Bieberish-viral. But as an administrator of a Facebook page, you can keep track of how many people are reached by a post. Typically the more a post is liked and shared and commented on then the more it becomes visible in the newsfeeds of Facebook fans.

Occasionally a post stands out in a notable way on the “Solely Devoted” page as it gains special attention, but this particular post, as simple as it was, began to reach tens of thousands more people than a typical post would ever reach. Basically the 80 percent of Christian women who follow the page began to respond to and spread the post everywhere, and they sent a clear message every time they liked it, shared it, and commented on it.

And it totally surprised me, but maybe it shouldn’t have. Because it got me to thinking . . .

For the believer attractiveness is so much more than exterior physical characteristics or the kind of car you drive. Or even how funny you are or whether or not you have a dog.

For the believer attractiveness is much more than any of that because it’s much more than external criteria, definitely more than that which is just skin deep.

For the believer attractiveness goes straight to the heart, especially when someone has a heart for the things of God.

And when a man consistently and faithfully prays for a woman, it sends a clear signal that:

  • He wants God’s best for you
  • He believes you have great value and worth in the eyes of a holy God
  • He’s thinking about you, albeit praying about you, even when He’s not with you
  • You’ve captured a part of His heart that God has also captured
  • He’s willing to put you before himself, even in the words of his prayer life
  • He’s sensitive to your hurts and pains in life
  • He values the deeply spiritual, not just the shallow physical
  • He believes God has a purpose and plan for your life through every daily struggle and every momentous success
  • He’s a humble man who knows God can do more for you than He ever can

ManPrayingScientists didn’t come up with this particular finding, and it didn’t make Tech Insider’s list of what makes a man attractive to a woman. Truth is, I stumbled across it rather unexpectedly in a viral sort of way. But after giving it adequate reflection, it just makes sense. Good spiritual sense.

And so for all the Christian single men out there, there’s no doubt that we all do a lot of things to appear more attractive to the opposite gender. And yet a lot of what we do barely scratches the surface. The bigger reality, from the perspective of Godly minded Christian ladies, is that a humble, gracious, God fearing man who’s willing to get on his knees in prayer and pour out his heart on a woman’s behalf may just be the most attractive man alive — both to God and to the watchful eyes and sensitive ears of a spiritually inclined female.

What’s most attractive about a Christian man? It really is something to pray about!

A Valentine’s Day Prayer for Singles

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In my heart I know today is just another day.  24 hours.  1440 minutes.  86,400 seconds.  Same as yesterday.  Same as tomorrow.

But in another sense it’s different from any other day.  Very different.  And I confess to you that sometimes throughout today I’ll let it get to me.  Let it get me down.  And even let the enemy get a foothold if I’m not careful.

I love to see the joy in the faces of the other ladies in my office as they smell the flowers and consume the cards with an unrestrained smile greeted by a cherished tear.  There’s nothing more special than that.  Knowing that someone didn’t just remember you.  But they remembered you enough to go out of their way to make a public display.  A spectacle of their love for you.  Now that’s special.

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The “One Thing” Experts Say a Good Relationship Must Have

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What is the “one thing” experts say a good relationship must have?

Dr. Neil Clark Warren has been a widely recognized clinical psychologist for 30+ years, is acknowledged as one of the nation’s leading relationship experts, and is perhaps most known as the founder of eHarmony.  When asked about the “one thing” absolutely necessary for a good relationship, this is what Dr. Warren had to say . . .

“I was talking with my good friend and colleague Les Parrott about the qualities of a good relationship when Les asked me, ‘Neil, if you could offer one word of advice to someone who is about to be married, what would it be?’

Without a moment’s hesitation, I replied, ‘Get yourself healthy before you get yourself married.’  The health I see as crucial for your relationship to survive and thrive is emotional health.

If you want to build intimacy with another person before you have done the hard work of getting yourself whole and healthy, all your relationships will become attempts to complete yourself.  Moreover, if you are not healthy yourself, you will almost always attach yourself to another person in hopes of validating your self-worth.  It’s as if you are saying, ‘He (or she) seems to have it all together, so if I attach myself to him, I can be healthy because he makes up for all the things I am lacking in my emotional stability.’

That’s why [an] essential dimension of a great relationship has to do with the quality of your self-conception and that of your partner.  A person who has a good self-conception doesn’t depend on anyone else to provide validation and meaning for life.  He or she is strong enough to face life alone if necessary.  He is prepared to deal with the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, the joys and the sorrows, and the harsh realities of life.

Over the years, I’ve counseled with thousands of individuals and couples, and I have discovered a provocative truth.  Most of those couples did not first and foremost have marriage problems; in almost every case, one or both of the partners had emotional problems that were magnified under the intense friction and heat that marriage produces.

The relationship between two people can be no healthier than the emotional health of the least healthy person.

– excerpted from “Falling in Love for All the Right Reasons” (Center Street, 2005) by Dr. Neil Clark Warren

14 for 2014: Resolutions for Single Adults in the Year Ahead

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14 for 2014.  Resolutions for single adults culled from 3+ years serving as Pastor of Single Adults at one of America’s largest churches.  Which resolutions resonate the most with you?  What would you add to the list?

  1. Instead of being consumed with trying to find someone to “complete” me, I will passionately pursue getting to know the One who created me.
  2. Life is too short to just let it pass me by.  I will laugh more in 2014 than ever before and put the “little things” that used to hold me back from pursuing my dreams into their proper perspective.
  3. When I think about the traits that I desire in a future mate, I am determined to be that type of person myself.  I want to embody the characteristics that I’m looking for in a spouse.
  4. I will back away from any dating relationship that crosses physical boundaries that are not honoring to God.
  5. I will be known as more of an encourager than a complainer.
  6. Focusing on my health and living well will be a top priority.  Eating right, getting consistent exercise, and establishing good sleep patterns will be everyday goals.
  7. I will take it to heart that God loves me unconditionally and that He can use even mistakes in my past to mold me into the person He wants me to be.
  8. I will take God at His Word to not be “unequally yoked” when it comes to relationships.
  9. I will not take friendships for granted but will go out of my way to be there for those who are always there for me.
  10. When others remind me that I am “still single,” I will respond with a smile and think to myself that this is a significant season of my life that God has set aside to serve Him in an especially faithful way.
  11. I will be grateful for what I do have in my life instead of focusing on what I don’t have.
  12. I will devote myself to understanding God’s Word like never before, even if it means cutting out other things in my life to have the necessary time that I know it’s going to take.
  13. I will be careful about what I expose myself to in 2014 when it comes to the Internet and other media.
  14. I will not hold on to hurt and bitterness from past relationships but will seek healing from God that allows me to live thankfully with a forgiving spirit.

May God richly bless you in 2014!

 

Dr. Greg Belcher – a single adult who has pastored churches in North Carolina and Georgia, most recently serving as the Pastor of Single Adults (and Young Professionals) at the rapidly growing Hope Community Church (7000+ weekly attendance) located in Raleigh, NC.

50 Years is a Long Time to Hear Someone Snore

oldercouple2Fifty years is a long time to be married.  And growing increasingly rare too.  Considering that you have to marry young.  And live to a relatively significant age.  To reach the fifty year marriage mark.  So part of it is purely logistical.  (The average age of both men and women when they marry for the first time continues to rise.  For guys, their average age for first time marriage is 29.  For ladies, their average age is 27.)

But there’s another reason why it’s increasingly rare for marriages to last fifty years.  And this reason may surprise you.  If you’ve been married for twenty years, it no longer means that you’re likely to make it to thirty.  Or if you’ve been married thirty years, it no longer necessarily means you’ll make it to forty.  Because, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, those who are over age fifty are now divorcing at an accelerated pace.  In fact, the divorce rate for those over fifty doubled between 1990 and 2010.  Presently, 1 in 4 divorces involve those age fifty or more whereas in 1990 that number was only 1 in 10.

And so when you come across a couple that has gone the distance in marriage.  Especially if they’ve reached their fifty year anniversary.  Then you’ve come across a special, and increasingly rare, couple.  And they probably have a lot to teach all of us!

With that in mind, a survey of couples that have reached the magic fifty year anniversary mark gives us some important insight into what makes a marriage go the distance.
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Life is Full of Surprises

CharlieBrown-LifeIsFullOfSurprises2  “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. . .”
– Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

Life is full of surprises.  And so is God.

In almost seven years of attending seminary, I heard some of the most distinguished theologians of our day describe God in astute terms.  He’s the God of the immutable.  He’s the God of the omnipotent.  He’s the God of the transcendent.  He’s the God of the immanent.  The God of the benevolent.

All magnificent words with which to characterize God.  All applicable.  All appropriate.

But never once do I remember one of my esteemed professors describing God as the “God of surprises.”  Which is surprising. 

It can be difficult for us in our learned ways to characterize God in terms that would appear to defy our mental grasp.  Even if it’s a surprisingly simple term.  And so we box Him in.  Like a caged tiger.  Or an aquariumed shark.  Or even a jailed criminal.  With words that aren’t so surprising.

So that He’s safe.  You’re safe.  I’m safe.  We’re all seemingly safe.  Since the tiger can’t bend steel.  The shark can’t bite through glass.  The criminal can’t do much of anything without a key.  And God is safely within our control.  And our grasp.  Within the box.  No surprises.

And yet God seems to do His best work when we try to box Him in.  Only to catch us, and everyone else, by surprise.
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When Romance Meets Reality in Every Relationship

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There’s a point in every relationship in which you eventually begin to see the other person not as the idealized self that your heart has romanticized but as the flawed individual that he or she necessarily is.  It’s happened to you.  It’s happened to others.  It’s happened to anyone who’s ever dated for any length of time.  Or crossed the threshold of marriage into reality.  And it’s at that point that you have to decide if you’re just in love with being in love or if you’re truly in love with a flesh-and-blood human being who faces the same struggles that you do.

Dr. Les Parrott, a professor of clinical psychology, and his wife, Dr. Leslie Parrott, a marriage and family therapist, have written about this key turning point in every relationship in their insightful book “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” (Zondervan, 1995).  Whether you’re presently in a relationship that’s headed to the altar or not, their description of what it means to come face-to-face with romantic disillusionment gives helpful direction to us all.  The following excerpt is taken from their book chapter addressing myths in relationships that must be confronted if you’re going to progress to a deeper level of intimacy.

“Most relationships begin with an emotional honeymoon, a time of deep and passionate romance.  But this romance is invariably temporary.  In The Road Less Traveled, Dr. Scott Peck says that ‘no matter whom we fall in love with, we sooner or later fall out of love if the relationship continues long enough.’  He does not mean that we cease loving our partner.  He means that the feeling of ecstatic love that characterizes the experience of falling in love always passes.  ‘The honeymoon always ends,’ he states.  ‘The bloom of romance always fades.’
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Just Divorced and Single Again. Now What?

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Clinical psychologists estimate that 80 percent of those who encounter divorce also experience severe emotional trauma as part of the marital divide.  The first couple of years following a divorce, therefore, are an especially important time frame to find healing and support.  Unfortunately, it’s a natural tendency for many during this tender transition period immediately to seek out unhealthy romantic relationships that end up compounding the hurt and pain instead of approaching it as a season of recuperation and spiritual strengthening.

Dr. Harold Ivan Smith, a pioneer in the divorce recovery and single adult ministry movement, has experienced divorce himself first-hand and offers some valuable advice about the readjustment period accompanying the end of a marriage.  The following is excerpted from Dr. Smith’s book “Singles Ask: Answers to Questions about Relationships and Sexuality” (Augsburg, 1998):

“As a divorced single adult, I know some of the struggles of readjustment.  Here are my suggestions for successfully readjusting:
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Relationship Red Flags

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Relationship red flags wave everywhere.  You’d think we’d learn to see them.  And to heed them.  But if it’s the right person who captures our attention.  At just the right time.  In just the right way.  Then all the relationship advice about red flags that we’ve been doling out to our friends.  Seems to fly out the window.  As if we’re not susceptible.  As if red flags don’t apply to us.  At least not this time around!
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Starved for Love

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Sunday, June 23, 2013 – “Starved for Love” (Dr. Stanley, “In Touch” Broadcast)

NOTE: The following is a partial transcription of the “Starved for Love” message delivered by Charles Stanley as part of the “In Touch” telecast on June 23.  You can watch/listen to the message at the following link, which was active at the time of posting: http://www.intouch.org/broadcast/this-week-on-tv

What statements by Dr. Stanley stand out the most to you?  Feel free to comment.

SUMMARY:  “Have you tried to fulfill that empty place in your life with things, but continue to be unsatisfied? Perhaps you feel starved for love. It’s not the will of God for His children to feel empty, alone and without love. He has made provision for you to be fulfilled and live with joy.”

TRANSCRIPTION:  Sometimes we try to fulfill the empty place in our lives caused by lack of love by accumulating things or through repeated relationships that didn’t work out. Continue reading