The Kind Of Man I Know I Need

The Kind Of Man I Know I Need

To know this man is to experience the love and joy of the Lord.
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I was first called "boy crazy" when I was in seventh grade. My best friend's parents used to laugh at me on our beach trips, saying "Christy, you better be careful with that heart of yours." And while it was a joke back then, that was honestly some very wise advice.

High school was pretty normal, except I can't remember a time when I didn't have a "crush" on someone. The boys I was attracted to were your average high school athletes: the catcher of the baseball team, the star basketball player, the all-region wide receiver. That's the kind of guy I thought I needed. One who was athletic, tough, handsome, and caring. One who would give me attention when I felt unlovable. One who would tell me I'm prettier than the other girls or would tell me how "attractive" it was that I played sports. This was the kind of love I thought I needed.

I came to college and not much changed. I found myself clinging to the attention any boy gave me. Whether it was a boy in my class or some drunk guy downtown, I figured that any attention I could get was better than no attention at all. I figured that if these boys, these athletic, charming, popular boys, weren't interested in me, no one else would be.

And don't we all feel that way? If we don't notice boys looking at us from across the room or get Snapchats from the guys daily, we start to ask ourselves what exactly is wrong with us. However, what we're failing to realize is that that is not the kind of affection that the man we deserve will show us. That's not the kind of affirmation we need to prove to us we're worth it.

You see, after all of these years, I've realized that I have prioritized the wrong qualities in my list of what makes an "attractive" man. I've focused on the material possessions, the accomplishments, and the six-pack of abs that he can put on his resume. I've focused on his hair color, his athletic abilities, and the brand of shirt he wears. And by focusing on all of these qualities, I've lost sight of what I know I really want and really need in a man.

At the end of the day, I know what my heart really wants: a man who makes me laugh until I cry, prays before each meal, hugs like a teddy bear, and loves well. He's the man who encourages me to grow closer to the Lord and holds me accountable. My trust in his faithfulness to me won't dwindle because he doesn't immediately text me back.

He's the man whose presence makes you feel Jesus. He's the man who makes you desire more and more of the Lord with everything he says and does. His watch may not be gold, but his heart definitely is. He's the same Friday night as he is Sunday morning. And though he may not have a stacked resume and toned legs, he's the man that the Lord wants for me. He'll love me unconditionally and unceasingly. Bob Goff says, "That's what love does -- it pursues blindly, unflinchingly, and without end. When you go after something you love, you'll do anything it takes to get it, even if it costs everything.” That's the way I need to be loved, and the only man who will love me that way is a man who's heart is for the Lord.

On my wedding day, I want to be as giddy as I was on our first date. I want to look back at all of the fights and the hard times and smile because of the way he handled them. I want to look back and see how well he has loved me and how his love is a direct representation of the love the Father has for me.

Simply put, the man I need is the man who needs the Lord before he needs me. He's compassionate, selfless, understanding, generous, intentional, and diligent. He follows the Lord's call for him no matter how hard or how badly he doesn't want to. In everything he does, he glorifies the Lord. He speaks life to everyone and loves everyone he encounters well. To know this man is to experience the love and joy of the Lord.

This is the kind of love that I need: a consistent, unconditional love. The physical qualities and material possessions still catch my eye, but I'm learning to not let them steal my heart. I know I deserve a love that reflects the love the Lord has for me. I know that I deserve a man whose heart is already captivated by the Lord. I know that this is what I need.

And the exciting news is that he's waiting for me. And while waiting for this love is frustrating and lonely, I know that settling for any other kind of love will just leave me empty and heartbroken. He's (hopefully) praying for me every day, asking the Lord to bring me to him through His perfect timing. So instead of settling for second best, I've been praying that the Lord will give me the patience to know that His perfect plan is indeed perfect.

And to you, dear one, who is reading this and relating to every word: know that the Lord has such a perfect, wonderful man waiting for you. I urge you to pray for him, to pray for yourself, to never settle, and to be patient. The Lord is good, and His plan for you is better than you can imagine.

Cover Image Credit: Indie Wedding Guide

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Stop Saying 'Love Is Love' And Then Shame Me For Dating A Republican

"How can you date a Republican?!" Quite easily, actually.

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"And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love." Other theater geeks like me probably also remember this quote from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony acceptance speech in 2016. Now, thanks to Lin-Manuel and his talent for catchy phrases, every time someone says "love is love," all I can think of is Lin-Manuel's emphatic cry for equality.

This cry is one that I support wholeheartedly. I think that you should be allowed to love whomever you choose and that you should do so without fear of hatred or scrutiny. If you are a guy who loves guys, great. If you are a girl who loves girls, great. If you are a girl who loves guys and girls, great. You are born a certain way with certain sexual preferences, and there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you believe that people should be free to love anyone they choose, then, honey, you better start looking past gender.

Let me tell you a little story.

Recently, I had a conversation with one of my closest friends about my boyfriend of almost 11 months. Somehow (and I'm shocked that this hadn't come up before), my boyfriend's political preferences became the topic of conversation.

The conversation went something like this:

"Wait, so is Tom a Democrat or Republican?"

"He's a Republican."

"WHAT?! Are you serious?"

"Yep."

"How can you date a Republican?"

After that, I basically went on a five-minute rant about how at the end of the day, his political preferences only make up a small fraction of who he is as a person and that I am not so shallow that I would be deterred by something this trivial.

At our cores, Tom and I value the exact same things: compassion, knowledge, kindness, dedication, honesty, respect, and above all else, love. Tom loves me unconditionally and I give him that same love in return; honestly, what else could I ask for?

Tom and I do get in some political arguments from time to time, but we also agree on those issues that are most important to me: female reproductive rights, marriage equality, and support for survivors of sexual assault. All of those things are non-negotiables for me, and Tom understands that and possesses his own list of non-negotiables.

Before you ask, yep, he voted for Trump. Did that take me back at first? Yes. Did I struggle to understand what would compel a person to vote for him? Absolutely. Did that thought kind of terrify me at first? Hell yes.

But you know what? After I just sat and listened to Tom's reasoning as to why he voted for him and watched him delve deep into Trump's policies, I could understand why some would vote for him. And to tell the truth, once I fell in love with Tom, none of that mattered anymore. And what is sad is that people so often fall so deep into their own echo chambers nowadays, that they wouldn't even give someone with different beliefs their ear. Well, I'm damn glad I did because Tom is the most amazing person I've ever met and I fall more in love with him every day.

So to tie this all together with a pretty little bow, if you're going to go around and preach that love is love and that everyone should be free to love whom they choose, then that shouldn't change for me. Maybe you're a Democrat that would never date a Republican or maybe you're a Republican who would never date a Democrat; that's your choice. But we don't get to choose who we fall in love with (much to the dismay of my liberal family and friends). Just keep an open mind and who knows? Maybe you could find some absolutely epic happiness.

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Poetry On Odyssey: That One Moment

My scarf moved an inch...

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Some moments even photos can't capture. Some moments are pure feeling. And there was a moment...just one moment...that made me want to capture it forever. So I did, through words and poetry...


Was it the way your blue eyes

Reflected off of me

Slowly, intensely

In the gutters and stars like you said?

Because I'm just reeling.

And I know

That not even a handshake

Was made…

I know that.

But your cheeks turned red

And you shook your body

As you laughed with me too

I keep replaying the moments

Scared one day I'll forget them

Like I do so many others

Scared one day

I'll be sad

And done with the laughter

That ignites our blue eyes

And shakes our bellies

And quakes our hands

When they point

To things

That aren't there

And I keep thinking about

How I hid my breasts

With my scarf

Because I didn't want to be open

Enough for you

To reach out your hand

And feel the beat of my heart

And see me in a light

Very unfunny

I don't know why I'm so scared to do

Anything but laugh with you

Of course, I know, really, but

Admitting the truth

Is like

Taking a scarf off

And showing you

I'm as soft as my eyes when I laugh.

And as open and waiting as the jokes

Of a night

I'll never forget.

From the stars to the gutters

You can't forget

The baggage we carry from station to station

So heavy

Or the stories of words and language

And empathy

Where we agreed that not everything is universal

And nothing is the same in a different vision

After all,

We're all

Just waiting to be understood

And you're the first person I know who

Speaks the language

Of just being warm,

So good

Maybe it wasn't your blue eyes reflecting

Maybe it was just the moment

My scarf finally moved an inch

And I caught you looking

For a moment.

That one moment we didn't laugh.

About everything.

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