Last Sunday was Valentines’ Day. As a single college-aged woman, that holiday can be tough. It seems many single women either have the attitude of “I’m a strong, independent woman; I have no need of a man, he’ll only hold me back!” or that of “I wish I had a man; is there something wrong with me that prevents my being in a relationship?” and may choose to ignore any other kind of reason for being single. I’m not shaming women who are single. I’m not shaming the romantics who dream of having a great guy. I’m not shaming the strong, independent women out there. If I were, I’d be shaming myself. I am single, and a romantic, and strong and independent. That’s what got me thinking this week (when all the chocolate’s on the Valentines’ sale). What if, rather than focusing on how loved I feel, I focused on how loved I make others feel? How would that change the atmosphere of Valentines’, I wonder? But that’s not what I was going to write about. Here’s the main thing that I realized…ready for this? I recognized that I have high standards. Some people may say that that’s why I’m not in a relationship. Low standards are often what lead to toxic relationships…that’s what I think. But, we all get our standards from somewhere, right? I figured out where I got mine.
My father is my standard setter. And why not? He’s funny, hard-working, kind, loving, energetic, thoughtful, discerning, and handsome just to name a few things about my dad. But it’s more than that. I know that my daddy sets his eyes on God. He’s raised my siblings and me to do our best. Live a life of excellence so that others have no root to pull you down by. Think things through carefully, especially the financial dealings in life. Don’t be afraid to get dirty. He’s built walls, put in hardwood floors, painted houses, helped us in the garden…he showed me in so many ways that he isn’t “too good” to get down and help with physical labor. He always pushed me to claim my dreams, but he encouraged me to research them to be sure that those dreams would be worthwhile. Above all, I know my father is a man of God. He’s shown me many ways to live out my faith in my daily work. A smile here, a word of encouragement there, the willingness to listen and pray, the nurturing and mentoring of many – these are just a few of the ways I’ve seen him living for God, living out his faith. He is respected by many people, and loved by his family. My standards for a man, who wishes to call me his partner (or his girl), are high because I expect him to be striving for excellence as my daddy does. I expect him to love God most of all so God’s love is clearly evident in his life. I expect him to learn to love me for who I am, with all my romantic notions and my quirks and my independence. I expect him to treat me with respect as my father treats my mother. I expect him to be a man of God. But, you might say, those are some high standards!! I know they are high, but I’ve met so many men who meet them that I know it is possible. I’m not discouraged that I haven’t met him yet. I have soon-to-be wed friends who I can encourage and watch with a smile, they’re so in love. I have my schooling to attend to. I have my relationship with God to strengthen. I have excellence to continue striving for. The standards set by my dad, I don’t just expect them of “my man,” I expect them of myself as well. A life of excellence, that of a godly man or woman, is what should set the standards because it is, to me, rooted in God Almighty, the most excellent of all.