So what are the qualities of a “perfect” boyfriend? Does he exist?
I’ve been seeing a lot of quotes written by single women about “waiting for Boaz” aka waiting for Mr Right. Some of these quotes are witty, others so deep I’ve wondered why I wasn’t as wise when I was single??
But some posts left me a little uncomfortable, especially because of the large number of women clicking the “like” and “love” buttons.
Boyfriend qualities check list?
If you are unfamiliar with the saying, “waiting for Boaz” refers to waiting for the right man for marriage.
The idea of Boaz comes from the book of Ruth in the Bible, where Ruth, a widowed foreigner meets and marries a kind gentleman, named Boaz who also happens to be a distant relative of her mother in law. You can read the story here.
I have no problem with the idea of “waiting for Boaz” aka being patient in the wait/search for the right person to spend your life with.
What I have a problem with, is qualities of a perfect boyfriend checklist aka the version of Boaz, prescribed by a selection of women. This man is perfect.
He anticipates and meets all his girlfriend’s needs. He pursues her flawlessly; never has a moment of doubt “because a man of God knows when he finds his good thing.”
He seems to know most of the Bible and has the perfect delivery. He is 100 percent ready to take on the responsibility of a spouse and family. He accepts all her friends and is taken by most of her idiosyncrasies.
A lot of women love this version. They love the idea of “not settling” i.e not marrying a man who is in-process because they believe doing so is settling for less than they deserve.
So they have a rather long list of desirable qualities and they will not dip a toe outside these wishes. But not-so-sappy truth?
Everyone who gets married marries a “not-yet-arrived” spouse. In other words (more bluntly), everyone settles. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all.
Indeed, God wants the best for us and of course I want my single friends to aspire to marry great decent men; men who truly love God and have fruit to show. (see Galatians 5:19-26 John 15: 5)
But perfect men do not exist. The person you date and eventually marry will be flawed.
In fact, when you think about it, the original Boaz and his beloved Ruth were not the “perfect match.”
Boaz said “for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor ” Ruth 3:10 Meaning he did not consider himself the greatest prospect for Ruth. Furthermore, someone else was in line to marry Ruth! They were not the starry-eyed “perfect couple” we make them out to be!
My husband and I are familiar with being an “imperfect match.”
Before we started going out, we had a lot going on in our individual lives. I had just ended a disappointing friendship with another guy, and I was done with men and relationships (or so said my heart.)
Further, I was a broken mash having lost my dad around the same time.
And Tommy, a distant friend at that time, had said “no” to anything more than a friendship two years earlier (You can read our story in my book Blues to Bliss:Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years).
He had a lot going on in his life too. And so both of us were in this place of “we-cannot-happen”. Nonetheless, after much thought, prayer, conversation with our mentors, we had a peace to continue an exclusive friendship and figure out if we were meant to be together.
The qualities of a perfect boyfriend gone bad
I began to fall in love with him. And the more I got to know him the more I learned about his love for God and his desire to honor me and the relationship. Alongside that though, I got acquainted with his human side.
He was imperfect. He listened to me, but he asked all kinds of questions (because has a curious case of analyzing.) And he had thoughtful and gentle opinions on how to treat my work colleagues better and how to manage my time and how it was probably time to find a different job. And he wasn’t the kind to call on the phone and pray with me.
He didn’t like the same music I liked, and his favorite t-shirt was an atrocity to my eyes. He was hardworking, but he wasn’t rich (and neither was I.) Our wedding was a faith project.
My “perfect boyfriend” was dressed in overalls and looked a lot like work.
As was his “Ruth.”
Dear single woman, boyfriends don’t have it all together.
Everyone gets married to an imperfect not-yet-arrived spouse. Of course, standards are essential, and we must establish our “deal-breakers” way in advance.
A deal-breaker might be a guy who goes to church because you go to church; he doesn’t have his own relationship with God and has no fruit to show in his life. See Galatians 5:19-26 John 15: 5
A deal-breaker might be poor work ethic; he lives off others and is trying to live off you. A deal-breaker might be pressuring you to have sex or push boundaries.
A deal breaker might be unhealed past wounds or unrepentant sin that make it impossible for him to grow a healthy relationship.
A deal-breaker might be someone who doesn’t respect you. Someone who is too-much-too-fast that you feel smothered and he doesn’t seem to accept boundaries and it feels as if he’s running away from something or trying to control someone (hint..you.)
These standards are essential. And they are important.
But then there are negotiables – traits you can live work through.
Like the amount of money he has in the bank. The breed or sophistication of his family. His younger age (of course just make sure the age difference isn’t an actual problem – maturity and number of years lived on earth are two different things.) Or what church he goes to or his dressing style or or his level of education.
But Ngina, doesn’t my wish list matter? Doesn’t the Bible tell me that God delights to give good gifts to his children and his blessing has no sorrow?
I understand the wish list. I had one. At one point it had 26 points. I carried it in my purse for a long time.
But as I matured, I started to separate negotiables from non-negotiables and lay that little list before Jesus. Now married for eleven years, I can tell you that God gave me more than I could have imagined or asked.
My 26 points are NOTHING compared to what God gave me.
So your wish list might include a rich man, but God might bring a man who is just starting his career or business. But as you work together and build a life, the wealth you desire will come.
Boaz might come in mismatched clothes and bad breath, but as you become a thoughtful partner and he grows, you both transform into delightful people.
Please hear my heart.
I am not saying you should not desire an ideal boyfriend. I want you to choose wisely. I encourage you to dream big; God is not shocked by our desires.
I want you to go slow and discern abusive tendencies and dysfunction. Check out this book (affiliate link) Systems of Abuse: A Guide to Recognizing Toxic Behavior Patterns
But I want you to also understand that a blessing might not look like a blessing at first. Sometimes it comes in the raw, and we have to be patient and work through some regular human stuff.
It might be packaged in a different personality than the one we asked for. It might come from the other side of town. Or church.
It might even come from right under our nose, someone we have known for a long time but ignored in our search for Boaz.
Should your future boyfriend be a man after God’s heart?
He better be.
But “chasing after God” is not the same as completely perfect. A good Christian man is one who has a relationship with God, with fruit to show. And a good woman is “chasing after God” with fruit to show too. Don’t ask your man to do the work you are not willing to do.
Because you know the problem with unreal expectations?
The problem with imaginary Boaz or chasing the qualities of a perfect boyfriend is that we carry the same thinking into marriage and get disappointed when we uncover the human being.
But had we accepted that perfect men/boyfriends/fiancés don not exist, that everyone is a work in progress, we would have an easier time accepting our (healthy) husbands and growing together.
Here are other helpful posts