Michelle On The Isle ‘O Singleness

You should give him a chance. Even if he doesn’t have hair like Rick Astley.

(For the post that inspired this story, go to “Throw Away Your List (Or Just Rewrite It)”where I talk about being selective when it comes to important things like kindness and compatibility, but to be lenient with shallow things, such as the way they look or their lack of hair or their taste in music. As my friend Jude says “Compromising is very different from negotiating.” You should never compromise the important things, but you should allow yourself to negotiate when it comes to the not so important things. Not everyone is Rick Astley, and you shouldn’t expect them to be.)

Michelle was shipwrecked on the Isle Of Singleness. She was stranded there for a long time and was very lonely. She prayed and said “God, please send me a perfect man to get me off of this island.” Soon, a man in a  speedboat came along. He was very kind and dedicated. But he was listening to Celine Deon on the radio. He said “Michelle, I have come a very long way to take you off of this island.” She told him “thanks for the offer, but God is going to send me the perfect man. And the perfect man cannot be listening to bad diva music.”

Soon, another man came in a rowboat.  He was great with children and had a wonderful sense of humor. But he was balding a little bit. He said “My darling Michelle, I have rowed many hundreds of miles to rescue you off of this island.” She replied “I appreciate what you have done, but God is going to send me the perfect man to get me off of this island. He has to have hair in all of the right places. Namely a lot on his head, and none on his back. Now why don’t you just take your little bald head and row right back to the mainland.” 

Finally, a man came swimming to the shore. He had a huge heart and an incredible faith. Breathlessly, he threw his arms around her and said “Michelle, you are the woman of my dreams. I swam five hundred miles, and then I swam five hundred more just to be the man to swim a thousand miles and fall down at your door. I also strapped a romantic picnic dinner, your hairdryer, and your favorite chick flicks on my back.” 

Michelle replied “What, no flowers?” 

Michelle stayed on the island many years. Finally she shook her fist at the sky.”God, why haven’t you sent me the perfect man to save me?” 

He said  “I sent you a potential husband in a speedboat, a potential husband in a rowboat, and a potential husband who swam a thousand miles to fall down at your door.”

“But God,” Michelle replied, “none of those men fit everything on my list!’

God said, “If you ever want to get off of this island, you’re going to have to write a new list.”

Married people, I’d especially love to hear your stories on this topic. How did you idea of a “perfect mate” change when you met your husband or wife? What do you think is important to look at when a single person is considering someone to marry?

21 thoughts on “Michelle On The Isle ‘O Singleness

  1. Kate, you had me rolling with laughter! (Well, that’s sort of a lie, because I read the post while in my office at work; but I was laughing inside for sure.)

  2. I was married right out of hight school in 1969 to the young man I dated all through school. My desire to be married and have children blinded me. I simply thought all problems would go away after we said I do. When I remarried a few years later I was still not born again so my biggest requirement was that the man I marry love children because I had one daughter from my first marriage.
    I was born again a couple of years after my second marriage to a man who more than exceeded my hopes and has been a wonderful husband and father. We had two more daughters of our own and adopted two boys through foster care. Adopting was not something we had even considered until God “dropped them” into our lives (-:
    I shared that background to say this. If I were to do it all over again beginning as a believer I would have two absolutes — one that they were in love with Jesus first and foremost and then that they loved me. If that is the case and you have peace in your heart about the relationship what else matters really. Like life, marriage is just another training ground teaching us to let go and trust HIM. You see the really important thing is being made into His image so whether you walk through the hills and valleys outside of marriage or within — the point of life is Christ!! If we make Him the object or our affections and learn to love as He loves whatever situation we find ourselves in we can be content.
    And I do believe once your heart has entered that place, your eyes on Him to meet every unmet desire in you — whatever, whenever, however He brings a husband into your life or not you will not only be at peace but will know true joy.
    One last thought. I had it in my head even after I remarried that if my husband really loved me that he would share his deepest thoughts with me — you know the way we “girlfriends” do. I was discontent in this area of my life for a time until the Lord spoke to my heart one day and told me that I was trying to get from my husband what HE HIMSELF longed to give me. As I turned that longing over to Jesus my love for Him grew and my husband was spared the agony of trying to meet a need he was not “programmed” to meet for me. I could then see all the wonderful qualities he did have and appreciate the person he was.
    Grace and Peace to all of you whose desire is for that husband to share your life. Oh how I can relate to that longing. It was such a huge part of my life and I was always searching for that need to be filled. For now Rest In Jesus and let Him fill those deep longings of your heart so that when that time arrives for you you will have placed first things first and the two of you can walk together as one in Christ. Oh the sweet sweet love of Jesus NOTHING absolutely NOTHING compares!!!!
    In His Love

    • This is a super great thought… but what about those of us who already have Jesus as our all in all? This question posed is actually the one that has been gnawing at me. Just because a guy loves God and is kind, does that mean you run to the check-out? There are other little things that those of us who are mature in faith and years are dying to be advised on.

  3. Great blog.. this is so true and typical. I remember me and my male friends in college commenting on how females have all of these lists, it can be quite maddening. how can any guy really live up to those kind of things, namely “perfection” as the standard. I am all for making lists of qualities like having charecter or humor, but many have lists that the guy has to be taller, dress a certain way, be mature but also be imature only when she wants him to be. I am not saying guys dont have lists, but I think ours are more general. We want to be attracted to her, usually want her to have humor, maybe be a little laid back… but as far as appearance, I have never had anything specific. for example, I think girls with red hair, especially curly red hair, are way attractive… but never in real life have I dated or been interested in a female with red hair. It is a like but nothing I would put on a must-have list. I am more concerned with her heart, her charecter, and especially if she loves Jesus (is a Christian). All the girls I have liked thus far have started out as friend and I usually found them cute, intellectually stimulating, and I saw something about thier charecter and thier love of faith that drew me to them.

    Please understand my comment is not meant to say all women are this way, nor all men… but generally, I find this to be true from my personal expereince thus far.

  4. I think this is just so hard. Of course, his taste in music is a little thing. But what about the way he laughs, or his sense of humor, or politics? What about his life ambitions, or sense of calling, and how it meshes with yours? … And the older we get, the more pressure there is to figure it out quickly.

    Yet, even if we find a perfect spouse, we will sooner or later decide that he isn’t as perfect as we thought! So there is a big element to say that you can learn to love even the ‘flaws’ in your spouse. But if those ‘flaws’ make it hard for you to enjoy being together while dating, that still might be a warning sign! (Didn’t I start with saying that this is just so hard!)

    Maybe the guiding principle is to remember that we aren’t perfect either. I can be easily annoyed by others. And after a year of dating, my annoyance with my boyfriend’s personality traits was sky-high. But I realized that the same would be true of anyone, as soon as I got to know him, and especially if I was identified with him. So I chose to push through the hard stretch instead of breaking up. Later, our first year of marriage, the annoyance returned, and it was really God’s gentle reminder that I was probably annoying, too, that helped me to repent of ‘annoyance’ as a sign of my pride.

    Perhaps the humility required to not demand perfection is hard. But it’s also still a complicated thing to figure out which are the big issues (warning signs) and which are the little things. Much wisdom, grace and faith is needed. I pray for each of you struggling with this question to rest in God’s sovereignty, embrace His delight in you, and seek His direction and infilling power. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing!

  5. Love this post. You are hilarious. And I’m completely puzzled. Whenever I say no to a guy, I spend months worrying that he was the last answer to stop by my lonely little island and maybe I was way to picky to be annoyed by the way he talked, or the fact he had no clue where he was going in life. Thanks for being honest and saying it like it is.

  6. My grandpa randomly decided to tell me a similar story one night:
    A woman went to a department store to buy a husband. They told her there was one rule in that store: you could go up the floors if you didn’t like what you found, but never back down. She went to the first floor and met a nice guy who made good conversation. She chose to pass him up and go to the 2nd floor. There, she found a nice guy who made good conversation AND had a good job. She wondered what else she might find, so she moved on up to the 3rd floor. There she found a nice guy who made good conversation, had a good job, and loved kids. Wow! It kept getting better, so she went on up to the 4th floor. Here she found a nice guy, good conversationalist, good job, loved kids, and helped with housework. Still, she couldn’t resist moving up to the 5th floor. There was yet another nice guy, good conversation, good job, loved kids, helped with housework, and – oh my goodness! he was romantic to boot. She hesitated, but the 6th floor was the last one, so she gambled and went upstairs. The clerk met her at the counter. “I’m sorry, Ma’am. You’ve refused the perfect husband and there are no more available.”
    Or something like that. It’s pretty funny when your 80 year old grandpa asks which floor you’re on.

    I’ve definitely reprioritized my list many times, every year…And the thing is, I’m pretty flexible and I’ve had to put up with lots of folks in lots of situations, so I feasibly COULD throw everything out except loving Jesus, being committed, and desiring children…. Once. Once or maybe even twice, I seriously debated doing this, but something else that struck me is this: God has equipped me with particular gifts and callings, which show through in my job, my service at church, my hobbies, and my friends. And “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” so it’s not worth “accepting” a guy who has none of that in common with me just because he loves Jesus (although that definitely outweighs every other consideration). I could make any marriage successful and happy, by the grace of God, if the man loved Jesus and was committed, but if we have no shared vision, am I really using all that God has given? It’s not like my “calling” is narrow. I love missions. I love children and children’s ministry. I love the outdoors and country life and animals. I love Spanish and Latin America. I could go lots of directions! But if none of that is shared… then would I marry just for the sake of marrying?

    Maybe I am on the 6th floor. 🙂

    • This is funny! I liked it! Yeah, I am absolutely not trying to say that we should settle or marry someone we’re not excited about. If you read the first post called Throw Away Your List I point out that it’s just really important to pick a few REALLY important things- non negotiables- which are different for everyone- and then give people who have those a chance. So I agree with you! Don’t settle! It is much better to be single than to be in an unhappy marriage, in my opinion. That is probably one of the reasons that I am still single. Thanks for writing!

    • I think it all boils down to whether u have a connection with the person. Can u share the rest of your life with them? Uhm what if u meet a guy who is absolutely awesome, makes u happy, but doesn’t necessarily share all of your hobbies and passions, but still loves jesus and is committed to you? Will you let that opportunity pass you by…???

      Just keep an open mind, and let the lord bring you the man that he knows is best for you.

    • I heard this story for the first time the other day. Only the speaker continued with, “Across the street there was a department store where a man was looking to buy a wife. The same rules applied, once you rode up a floor on the elevator you couldn’t go back down. On the first floor he found women who were pretty. He was curious, so he moved up to the second floor. On this floor he found women who were pretty and that were good cooks. No man has ever been to the third floor.”

      I think that this story says a lot about the nature of both men and women in relationships. I know that I have had a lengthy list for my future spouse that was unrealistic. It has taken me a long time before I decided to rewrite it. Now, it says, ” 1. Someone who loves Jesus more than me. 2. Someone who is willing to patiently leaning on God’s daily direction for our relationship.” If we are praying and asking God for direction daily, all the small details will be worked out in time. Hopefully 🙂

  7. This blog has been a blessing to me since about January of this year. I felt left out because a lot of people I know had these blogs they followed about different things they were interested in…yet I was wanting a blog about singles. And then one of my friends posted the entry from Katie about what singles wish married people knew. I became hooked. It has been a blessing, encouragement, and at times an admonishment. Thank you for all your hard work! Please keep it up! I loved this post, especially the random insertion of songs into the middle:)

  8. Look, physical attraction—as well as society\’s influential and overbearing commentary on that attraction—plays an ineluctable (and, for Christians, an embarrassing and often apologetic) role in \”mating selection.\” And as much as I truly hate to admit it, I think social exchange theory plays a much more active role in our dating and marriage choices than we are willing to admit. That said, though, I\’ve been unable to decide whether, as Christians, that socio-psychological feature represents a natural progression within the normative trajectory of sexual maturity (and generic cultural influences) or a pointed regression that must be resisted with the utmost spiritual rigor. If pressed, I would lean toward the former analysis.

    In other words, we like what we like. Almost every guy, ceteris paribus, would want to date a girl who looks like Kate Upton, and every girl would similarly want to date a guy who looks like Beckham or Beiber or the guy from Eclipse (or whomever). Are those innate sexual desires reified through society as a functional expression of our preferences, or are those desires culturally constructed?

    Does that question even matter?

    As Christians, we believe God created the entire universe, raised people from the dead, saved us from eternal damnation, and healed every one our diseases, yet we don\’t believe He is able (or willing) to satisfy our most primal and \”superficial\” desires with respect to mating selection? That seems pointedly problematic for me. Is God REALLY calling us to sacrifice our happiness with respect to physical attraction in the name of spiritual beauty? Why? Can\’t God satisfy both desires—physical AND spiritual? (Didn\’t he do that for Abraham and Jacob?) And if the Lord does expect those sacrifices from His children, is there any wonder, then, there exists more than an interstitial bubbling between one\’s perceived \”actual partner\” and the projected \”ideal partner,\” a psycho-sexual divergence that must play something of a role in the Christian divorce rate? The rate of pornography use? The rate of infidelity? Is it even a desirable thing to repress perforce our sexual preferences in choosing a mate?

    Thus, in the final analysis, the magnanimous (or cowardly) notion of \”settling\” with respect to physical attraction resists both humanistic and biblical reasoning. Unfortunately, however, that still fails to provide a definitive and helpful solution to the problem.

    • Thank you for this thoughtful insight. I think the point of this post was not to say that we should settle in any way. As a thirty something single, I have looked back on people that interested in me over the years who were really wonderful people, but who I didn’t have that initial attraction too. I now wish I had given them more of a chance. When your choices becomes more limited, you realize what great people you overlooked who would make very good husbands and fathers. But I absolutely still think that attraction, even physical attraction, is important. Some people become more attractive once you really look at them, though.

  9. I think it is important that your husband does not share all of your hobbies. I think it is important to be different. My husband has his interests and I have mine which allows for friendships and not depending on each other to meet all needs at all times. That doesn’t work. My husband when I married him had a son already. I could have judged and wrote him off but rather we got to know each other and I got to see what a great dad he was and that showed me his character. The physical characteristics are the least important b/c that always can change. My only requirement was that he weighed more than me and I couldn’t lift him up 🙂 But even now that wouldn’t matter and whether or not I gain weight doesn’t matter to him. I cared that he had a relationship with Jesus but it wasn’t perfect but he was willing to learn and change. I cared that he would allow me to be the person that I was without pretense and didn’t want me to be any different than I was. I think the focus should be more on how you can be a good spouse rather than finding the perfect spouse for yourself.

    • Why can’t we have both? Why do we insist on differentiating between physical attractiveness and emotional/spiritual compatibility? Again, I’ll raise the question: Why can’t God satisfy EVERY (secret) desire? Why are we willing to believe in His omnipotence with respect to every other aspect of our existence, yet we refuse to believe He can satisfy us with respect to the most important earthly relationship we could ever have? I just don’t see it. Consider this: Sarah was pursued by TWO heathen kings for their harems—the first when she was 65 years old and the second roughly thirty years later. The Lord restored Sarah’s youth as a measure of His Grace through His covenant with Abraham. Why should we, under the New Covenant, expect anything less?

      Of course, from a “humanistic” standpoint, your comment offers a wonderful sentiment, but it’s not representative of how the world (generally) works. In an open-field environment, with respect to SVR theory (i.e., stimulus-value-role theory), people pursue “value” and “role” compatibility based upon initial “stimulus” values; that is, the most attractive suitors are granted access to further (non-physical) evaluation to determine mating selection. Conversely, less attractive people are eliminated from contention, even if they happen to offer high compatibility ratings within the value and role phases.

      “Settling,” then, is simply a function of exchange theory where one abdicates a certain level of happiness for a higher utility in another area. (Money for beauty—and vice versa—is the most common dyadic exchange.) But the question remains: As children of the most High God, why should we be forced to live and respond and settle like the world?

  10. This is a great post. I personally have a list, and yes I think that you should definitely be attracted to your future husband. My belief is that if you put Jesus first and are not looking for your spouse, but looking to Him, He will send you the “perfect” guy. Maybe not in other people’s eyes, but God knows what you like and will open your eyes to what He wants you to see in your spouse that maybe you wouldn’t have found to be attractive before. It’s important to put Jesus first so that you don’t have to settle. =)

  11. This is my first time reading your blog (recommended by Jaci F). Here is a little about me, and then I’ll answer your request: I’m a 31yr married male with 3 kids, who loves Jesus, my wife, and my kids very much.

    Your request: “How did you idea of a “perfect mate” change when you met your husband or wife? What do you think is important to look at when a single person is considering someone to marry?”

    First, three stories not about me. 🙂

    1) “Well, will ya?”
    My great-grandfather was a delivery boy in a small town. He often made deliveries to a family-owned business run by the mom, dad, and daughter. One day, he asked the daughter if she’d like to go horseback riding. While out riding, they stopped for a moment, and he asked her, “Well, will ya?” To which she replied, “I suppose.” That was it. They got married, had several children, and lived full of days.
    – Do I pretend this to be an ideal? No, but it does say something about the different cultural attitudes towards marriage, then what is presently commonplace in America. I’d like to make a couple distinctions.
    1A) When you have less disposable income, disposable time, and limited opportunities, then the opportunities you DO have, should naturally carry greater weight. (Your example of the woman on a deserted island, being a great example.)
    1B) I believe there was less pretense then there is today. What I mean is that, if a single guy and a single gal spent time together, it was commonly understood that the purpose of that relationship was to get married. To put things another way: how many single guys do you spend time with? Do you or they think of the *main* purpose of your friendship as to lead towards marriage? – I’m not saying it “should”, I’m just stating a cultural difference.
    1C) In case the above two items seems like outmoded considerations, consider this: marriages in other countries where there is less disposable income, less disposable time, and limited opportunities, still see single relationships as I’ve outlined above. I’ve lived overseas (21 countries), and can attest to this observation first hand.

    2) “The Bachelor”
    An older friend of mine (who was then in his 40’s), lost his wife to a terminal illness. After a period of grief, he then created his own “Bachelor”/”Bachelorette”, where he sent an open letter to each of the 20 or so single ladies he personally knew, asking them if they would consider spending time together for the purpose of pursuing marriage, understanding that he would also be in contact with other ladies to find the right match. Half of them wrote back indicating their interest. With there full knowledge and participation, he opening dated 10 of them at the same time (but not the literal same moment), and narrowed it down to two. He asked the first one to marry him, and she turned him down. He asked his second choice, and knowing that she was the second choice, she said yes. – I won’t offer any commentary, other than that this took a lot of humility on both of their parts to come to a place where they were willing and ready to marry eachother. I admire the steps they actively took in order to find happiness.

    3) “What kind of husband do you want?”
    Around a decade ago, I found and read a few books by Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho, pastor of the largest church in the world (over a million and counting). I’m not a “fan” of largeness, per se, but what drew me to Dr. Cho was his personal prayer life. He prays 3 hours a day, and 5 hours before a sermon. In order to be a pastor in his church (he has over 1000), they also need to commit to praying 3 hours a day. In fact, to be a member of his church, requires praying at least 1 hour a day.
    So it was either in his book “Solving Life’s Problems” or “The Fourth Dimension”, where he shared a story about a single lady in his church who came to him, looking for advise on how to find a husband. From the story, it sounded like she wasn’t merely a “young adult” anymore, and the issue of not being married was a growing concern for her. So he asked her, “What kind of husband do you want?” She said something akin to “a good one”, and he said, “How will you know when God bring you the right husband if you are not specific when you pray?” So together they wrote down a couple things: she wanted him to be taller than her (apparently she was tall already), musical, and good with children. Not a long, nor overly spiritual list. A year later or so, she went back to Dr. Cho and introduced him to her husband, a tall music teacher in a local school. 🙂
    – She knew when she met him that God had led them together, because she had persistently *prayed* specifically, so her faith increased when she met someone who was literally “the answer to her prayers”. I find that many people might say that, but few actually pray that way.

    4) So, about me:
    After reading the testimony from Dr. Cho’s book, I began to do some inner-searching – what was I truly looking for in a mate? I made a list of 9 things. And I committed to the Lord that I would *rather be SINGLE*, than marry someone who did not meet my criteria.
    Different from your single on a deserted island, I had made up my mind that I didn’t WANT to be married, unless I found someone who would be right for me. This made it easy for me to quickly dismiss otherwise attractive women who failed to meet my criteria, and allowed me to focus on fulfilling my calling in life without getting distracted.
    I won’t get into how we met, but when we did, what kept me interested was that I couldn’t discount her, because as I got to know her more, the more I found she fit what I had been asking the Lord for in my daily prayer life. So faith was the natural result, internally.
    To answer your question directly, here is my “list”, which didn’t change one bit, when I finally found “the one”:
    1) I need to be physically attracted to her.
    2) We need to be at a similar place in our spiritual walk with Christ.
    3) Congenial (Having the same tastes, habits, or temperament; Of a pleasant disposition; friendly and sociable: a congenial host.)
    4) Desiring to be a Wife
    – a Help-mate, a Supporter, a Co-laborer
    5) Desiring to be a Mother
    – of a large family, minimum of 4 children
    6) She needs to be willing to support me in my calling – wherever in the world that may take us.
    7) Non-traditional, not hindered by cultural ethos
    – Proven ability to think and act outside the box
    8) Health has priority in diet, exercise, sleep, and personal care.
    9) Has dealt with her past
    – Whether through prayer counseling, or otherwise,
    – “No-thing” holding her back

    P.S. Ok, so there was one thing I “wanted”, but wasn’t essential: I like and prefer long hair, and she had short hair when we met. – I followed my own advise and didn’t let that get between me and a good thing!

    “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22 ESV)

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