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Single ladies: raise the bar.

As a young adult pastor, I spend a significant amount of time talking with people about dating and relationships. Sometimes it is really exciting. I have gotten to see relationships from The Well go from friendship to dating to engagement to marriage to having kids together. Amazing! Other times it is painful, and I have prayed through tears with many friends who have broken hearts and are in serious pain from relationships gone wrong. As a guy, most of my conversations are with the guys, but some of those conversations have prompted me to share a word of encouragement and exhortation to the ladies as well, so here it is. Because I love you.

My word to all the single ladies at our church regarding dating is this: Raise the bar.

Stop settling for boys who can shave, that don’t serve, don’t give, can’t commit to a church, and won’t be able to lead you spiritually. You are not only setting yourself up for heartbreak, pain, and stagnation in your walk with Jesus, but you are also enabling men to keep being bums. You are telling them you can be a consumer, not a contributor, and still get the girl. Please stop this madness. I love these guys, and have hope for them to change, but that is unlikely to happen anytime soon if they know they can get a girlfriend without doing anything productive for God with their lives. By raising the bar, you can help wake up our guys from the sinful slumber of thinking that it’s cool to just coast through life and never do anything hard.


Here is my suggestion for a minimum standard. Minimum. This is the baseline, lowest-level standard for considering going on a date with someone. Again I say, the minimum. Someone can be doing these things and still not be the right guy, but this is a good start.

Commit to not dating any guy unless they:

  • really, really, love Jesus,
  • are a member of a church,
  • serve at that church,
  • give to that church.

Explain this standard on or before the 1st date. I know, that sounds absolutely insane to some of you, and you have some serious concerns. Here are four you might be thinking of right now:

Concern #1: “But Holland, that will ward off all the men and I’ll be single forever!”

No. It will ward off all the bums, and attract godly men who are serious about finding a godly wife to serve the Lord with. Or it will be a reality check for a bum and motivate him to step it up and get serious about God so he doesn’t end up single.

Concern #2: “But Holland, I just don’t want to be alone, is it really that important that they are so serious about Jesus?”

Yes. When you date someone that isn’t a Christian, or isn’t passionate about God, you introduce a serious issue that doesn’t seem serious at first. At first, it will be all fun and romantic and you’ll think they’re the most amazing person ever because you have 1,000 things in common. But over time, because they don’t share your passion for Jesus, it will start to affect you. The most important thing in your life isn’t important to them, and if you want to grow in intimacy with that person, you will have to sacrifice your intimacy with God. There’s the chance they might get saved, but you don’t know God’s will. The loneliness of being single doesn’t compare to the painful loneliness of a broken marriage. Not worth it.

Concern #3: “But Holland, I don’t want to seem like a Jesus freak and weird them out”

You won’t. Godly men know that “charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov. 31:30). A woman who is committed to Jesus and serious about a dating relationship that glorifies God is attractive to a man who is committed to Jesus and desires to honor God.

Concern #4: “Well what if they don’t give or serve yet, but they are open to it and want to?”

That’s a great conversation to have! Grow in a friendship together, hang out in groups, and see how they follow the Lord’s lead in these areas over time. No one is perfect, and sometimes some very godly people who really love Jesus (that’s the most important one) just don’t know where to start, and need a little motivation.


Loneliness can be painful if you desire to be married, and it is a good thing to desire marriage. Marriage is a beautiful picture of Christ’s love for the church, and God designed marriage to showcase his glory to the world (Eph. 5:25). By raising the bar, you are positioning yourself to trust the Lord for a godly spouse, rather than fearfully settling for someone who won’t love you like Christ. You don’t want that. Trust God, raise the bar, and help give some of our guys a wake up call as a bonus.

Join us every Tuesday nights at 8pm at The Well.

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