Pulling a Ruth: Giving Your Relationship a Nudge
About the Guest
You have to bait the hook if you want to catch the fish. Today Candice Watters coaches women on the art of attracting a man. Joining her on the broadcast is her husband, Steve.
Steve and Candice WattersSteve and Candice Watters founded Boundless.org webzine for Focus on the Family in 1998. Candice served as the Boundless editor for four years until leaving in 2002 to be a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help It Happen. Steve is director of young adults for Focus on the Family. He is the author of Real Solutions for Overcoming Internet Addictions. Together they wrote Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies. The Watters met at Regent U...more
You have to bait the hook if you want to catch the fish.
Pulling a Ruth: Giving Your Relationship a Nudge
Bob: If you are single and you’d like to be married, Steve and Candice Watters say, “There is nothing wrong with letting folks know—spreading the word—especially among your married friends.”
Candice: It is very important to let the older Christian couples in your life, whether it is your parents, or your pastor, or just a couple from your church, let them know that you want to be married. One, so they can be praying with you. Two, so they can counsel you if there are some blind spots you have that they might be able to help you polish some rough edges and make you more marriageable. Three, they might have a son, or a grandson, or a nephew, or a young man that they could arrange a low-pressure, non-embarrassing opportunity to just meet a good guy.
Steve: It is the guy whose picture is on their refrigerator that they pray for everyday and say, “Lord, send this guy a godly girl.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, August 16th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I am Bob Lepine. We have some other suggestions, tips and pointers for singles who would like to be married. Steve and Candice Watters join us today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. As the father of four daughters, did your girls ever wish they were married and wondered why the guys wouldn’t get it in gear?
Dennis: Oh my goodness! Absolutely! They would say, “Dad, would you go talk to this guy?” Or “Would you go talk to the guys?” period.
Bob: They wanted you to be a recruiter? Is that what it was?
Dennis: In a way I kind of feel sorry for single guys today because this is a tough culture for a young man to finish the process of stepping up and becoming a man. There are so many distractions that take him away from real relationships, real commitment, real risk, and real authenticity.
I understand the lure. I really do see how a lot of young men gravitate towards safety; but we have been talking to young women, single women, about how they can become marriageable. May I say it that way?
Candice: I think you can.
Dennis: I think that is a good way to say it. We have the author of Get Married: What Women Can Do—not to make it happen.
Candice: Key distinction!
Dennis: --but to Help It Happen. Candice Watters joins us, along with her husband, Steve. Welcome back to the broadcast.
Candice: Thanks so much!
Dennis: They are authors. Candice used to work at Focus on the Family; Steve still does. They have a romantic relationship that started out as a friendship—that ultimately ended up in marriage, and now four children, and ultimately this book.
Dennis: I am excited about this book because there really is a need for single women to have a plumb line and some godly counsel around healthy relationships. Earlier I asked you a question about “flirting”—
Candice: And I danced.
Dennis: And you did dance a little bit! Then Steve offered a story.
Candice: Well, let me just start by saying, I am uncomfortable with the question because I never was good at it. So, I always sort of resented the women who were because they always “seemed” to get the guys. So, I thought maybe something is wrong with me.
I think single women who find themselves single beyond their expectation are often in that situation wondering, “Is it me? Am I too heavy? Am I too light? Am I too short?” or, “Is it something about my external that makes me unattractive to men?”
I wasn’t good at flirting; but then I will say, when I first saw Steve, he walked into the classroom of the graduate program we were in. I leaned over to my friend, and this was the first week of school, and I said, “Who is that?” She said, “Oh, that is Steve Watters.” And I thought, “Oh.” And she said, “But he is engaged!”
And I kid you not; I had this thought drop into my head; I don’t know where it came from. “Oh! He is not married yet!” I didn’t know his engagement was on the rocks. I mean, I knew nothing about this man; but there was a click there.
Dennis: Let the competition begin!
Dennis: You are turning red. Why are you turning red, Steve?
Steve: I am just so glad she had the vision for the potential.
Candice: I think that must have been the Holy Spirit because I had never had a thought like that before.
Bob: I think that there are a lot of young women who love going to romantic comedies because they want to watch how the girl in the movie does it. They forget that somebody wrote a script and at the end of the movie, they’re not together really; but they’re thinking, “I’m just looking for somebody to give me a road map so that I can have the companionship that my heart is longing for.”
Steve: Although the one thing from the movie that played out in our relationship is so often a romantic comedy. The woman has to like, get on a plane and just take off in the relationship and see if the guy chases the plane. Candice gave me the opportunity to chase the plane. I’m glad I caught it.
Dennis: And so the story of whether or not she flirted or exactly how she went about being kind of friendly to you, Steve?
Steve: We had an opportunity to get some classmates together. Candice knew that this grouping of people was disproportionately guys and girls. She knew that she had roommates and friends who were also interested in finding someone, but she positioned the seating so that I would sit right beside her.
Candice: I actually told someone, “I am going to sit there, you sit over there.” I wanted to sit by Steve. And really, the first time we ever had a real conversation, he mentioned a book he was reading. So, I went out and bought that book that day because I thought, “What better thing than to have something in common to talk about.”
I think women don’t necessarily feel they have the permission to be strategic; but it is okay to be strategic and to use the creative ways God gave you to demonstrate your gifts. If you can cook, throw a dinner party and invite the young man that you are interested in, along with a bunch of other friends. Let him see what you are good at. Let him see you shine.
Dennis: At the end of the day, you don’t want a relationship—now, you answer this question, Candice—“You don’t want a relationship, at the end of the day, that you are the one doing the pursuing?”
Candice: Absolutely! You don’t want to be at the altar thinking, “Boy! Did I rope him in!” No woman wants to feel like she made it happen. That is why the subtitle is so key: Help. God made women to be helpers, and men need helpers. Men need to be helped.
Dennis: I agree with that!
Candice: If a woman can recognize areas where a man she is interested in needs help and sort of fit into that role and give him a taste of home—give him a taste of what it could be like. Not so much that he loses the incentive to pursue, but enough to have his interest piqued to go, “Wow! When I am with her, I feel comfortable. I feel known. I feel deeply connected.” To demonstrate, it is not the flirting, Dennis, it is the kindness.
It is the woman being other-centered and focusing on a man and really trying to pull out the good in him to see who God had in mind when He made this man. To say, “I love who I see when I see who God made you to be, and I would love to partner with you.” Now, obviously, do not say those words because that is just a proposal, really—cloaked in spiritual language; but to start to live that out with him and to come alongside in friendship—in a way that expresses belief in who he is as a man.
Steve: I wrote something to Candice along those lines where I said, “She woke a sleeping giant by believing in my potential at a time when I didn’t.” That respectful motivation was really a big part of recognizing, “This is who God wants me to be with.”
Bob: And here is where I think you can be the most help to our listeners today. I want you to imagine that we have three young women, sitting around the table, and they are all 25, 27, 28; they are in the workforce. They are in graduate school. They have looked around at two or three guys they see that they go, “You know, I could kind of be interested in him. I’d like to get to know him, but I don’t know what to do other than just try—I can’t go stand by his locker, like I used to do in high school.” Right?
Bob: So coach me on how I get from feeling like, “He doesn’t even know I am alive.”
Dennis: Back to the by-line of the book.
Bob: That’s right! How can I go from here to seeing if there might be a marriage here?
Candice: For starters, I would say, “Esteem marriage in the way that you speak about it.” The Bible says, “Marriage should be honored by all.” At the very minimum, don’t demean marriage. Don’t joke about marriage. Be careful about the way feminism creeps into your joking and remember, “You want to marry a man.” So, if you find yourself with your girlfriends, being catty about or toward men, you can’t be surprised that men are not attracted to that because that doesn’t bring them in. Esteem marriage!
Dennis: Could I say something about that? I think there is a generation of singles right now who are undermining marriage by moving in with each other.
Dennis: And it is not merely the words we have about marriage, but it is the attitude about marriage—that it really is held in honor—and that that commitment of two people sharing the same address is really formed around a commitment and a covenant called marriage. That includes, perhaps, as you hear about friends who are moving in with each other. I think, within the community of faith today, there are tons of single people who are abandoning marriage in lieu of just moving in.
Candice: Well, it is really practice for divorce because you go in with the mindset of, “If this doesn’t work, I am out of here”. It is not really good prep. All the studies show that moving in together is probably the worst thing you can do if you are trying to divorce-proof your relationship. It has the opposite effect.
Bob: Back to what you were saying though, about honoring marriage, and esteeming men, even in private. I think that it is so important because a lady will say, “I would never act like that in front of a guy. I would do the right stuff in front of a guy.” But if you are visiting all of that in private or with your girlfriends—if that is a part of that undercurrent, that’s going to seep out.
Candice: It does! Something happens in the spiritual realm when you have that attitude and the Scripture about, “Be careful what you say in your bedroom because a bird on the wing will take your words to the ear of the king.” You never know who is listening.
And, too, as a group of singles within your social circle, hold marriage up as a goal, as something worthy of pursuing. Call one another to a higher place if you observe your friends interacting between the opposite sexes in a way that undermines marriage; talk about that. The thing is—we are so intentional and purposeful about our careers and about our educational pursuits. And it is okay. It’s like we have permission to be gangbusters about what we want to do with our life, as long it doesn’t have to do with making a family.
We need to say, “It is okay to want marriage, and it is okay to say you want marriage.” Because we hear from a lot of men at Boundless who say, “All the women I know don’t seem interested in marriage at all.” Then I hear from these women saying, “It is the thing I want most.” I think we are missing each other. It is like the single men and women are missing each other because the men think the women don’t want it.
Bob: Don’t you think though, a woman feels like, “If I admit that’s what I want, and then it doesn’t happen?—“
Candice: You risk—
Bob: Oh yes! My heart is right—
Candice: You risk feeling like a failure!
Bob: My heart is right out there, just getting stomped on all the time.
Steve: That is the risk of hope.
Candice: It is. It is risky. That is what being human is about. It is like C.S. Lewis said, “The only place where you can be safe from the risk of love is Hell itself.” And who wants to live there?
Dennis: I do think, just on behalf of single women though, there is that time when they need to risk asking the question. You just can’t keep dating for two, three years, or continue the friendship for that long, in kind of a “quasi-dating relationship.” A single woman needs to call for the question.
Candice: Yes! Dennis, this brings up another really key principle for how women help it happen; and that is mentoring because I am not just talking about saying you want to be married among your peers. It is very important to let the older Christian couples in your life, whether it is your parents or your pastor, or just a couple from your church, let them know that you want to be married.
One, so they can be praying with you. Two, so they can counsel you if there are some blind spots you have—they might be able to help you polish some rough edges and make you more marriageable. But three, they might have a son, or a grandson, or a nephew, or a young man that they could arrange a low-pressure, non-embarrassing opportunity to just meet a good guy.
Steve: It is the guy whose picture is on their refrigerator that they pray for everyday and say, “Lord, send this guy a godly girl.”
Candice: So the mentoring is a key part of this.
Bob: And Mary Morken was your mentor? Is that right?
Candice: Mary was my mentor. When she first met Steve and me, she later told me she observed us interacting at this retreat. Steve was the emcee and I was kind of helping coordinate.
She said, “I was so worried you would miss each other because you were almost like brother and sister because you got along so well.” But she saw it very early on; and so I was able to share with her my desires. She was a safe place to go. I didn’t have to DTR with Steve prematurely. I didn’t have to air all this out with him. I was able to do that with her, and she gave me wise counsel.
And that counsel is so key because we have so little wise counsel in our culture about how to marry well. This is not about just get married. Marriage at all costs! Marriage is the ultimate. This is about marriage for God’s glory. You really do need the counsel of older women and couples—married couples who are married well themselves to help you marry well.
Bob: When you first met Steve, you felt like there were some things in your life—that maybe you didn’t realize it at the time—but after you had met him realized, “There is some stuff I need to deal with in my own life.” Didn’t you?
Candice: I did. And I think that comes to another big principle of stewardship. I was not being the best steward of my health or fitness. I was not being the best steward of my finances. Thankfully, I was able to, through prayer and God’s work in my life, and through Steve’s friendship, and really his support, make some changes in those areas. I always assumed I would just marry a doctor and he would pay off my debts. That didn’t happen. (laughter)
Bob: And give you pills if you weren’t feeling well.
Steve: She married a preacher’s kid, instead.
Dennis: There’s a woman of faith for you. No doubt about it.
Candice: I had to have a reality check about that. Yes. I think something that we need to do as women is not just have this attitude of, “Look! I am a Christian; and if the guy is a good man, he is just going to want me just the way I am. And he has got to take me just the way I am.”
Ladies, we do have areas where we can improve. I started getting healthy and paying more attention to what I was eating and my fitness. This isn’t everything because if you go to the mall, or you go to church and you look around, all types marry. So, this is not at all to make a woman feel bad about her body or her image because marriage is a little bit about your externals and a lot about your internals.
Dennis: Speak to the issue of modesty. I think sometimes we kind of assume this is more of a teenage, young-lady issue; but it really is an issue today for single women as they may think that is a way to attract a young man.
Candice: Yes! It is a dangerous way to attract a young man because the young man who is attracted to that may not be as strong—likely won’t be as strong in the areas of spiritual leadership that you desperately need when you are married—that you want in a husband.
It really goes against so much of Scripture for a young woman to try to lure a man with her sex appeal. I think that’s why I tripped, Dennis, on the flirting question because our culture defines “flirting” as being sexy.
And God gives us a different standard. He wants men and women to come together because they see that as husband and wife they can do more for the Kingdom together then they can on their own. Sex is a wonderful part of marriage. Song of Solomon is in the Bible—right, smack, dab in the middle for a reason—but outside of marriage, it is fire that burns you! God gives us so many warnings about that.
Dennis: Steve, comment on Candice’s dress and her modesty when you knew her as a single woman.
Steve: I know she felt that she was in the middle of a competition with a lot of other girls at grad school who were, maybe, not as conscientious about their dress as she was; but I think she had a great confidence in what God had given her as she had really trusted this whole idea of being developed inwardly and not putting so much of the focus on the outside. That confidence really drew me to the whole package, instead of being distracted just by the externals that I was seeing in the other girls around her.
Candice: Well, and purity is such a key part of what women do to help it happen. When you have a pure heart, and the purity flows out from your heart into your choices about how you dress, and how you spend your time—and this goes to issues of what you watch, and what you read, and what you’re letting inform your ideas about marriage and men.
When you can present yourself as a pure bride—not just in the sense of virginity—that is important; and certainly, I would just pray that many, many women would hold on to that gift. It is such a huge part of marriage. But for the women who have already stumbled in that way, to say there is so much to a life of purity beyond just that one aspect—and to be able to present yourself to a man as a pure bride is a reflection of how we are supposed to present ourselves to Christ.
Bob: But you know the single women who would say, “I am trying to hold on to this purity standard, but guess who the guys are attracted to? The women who aren’t doing that. I hear you, but one by one, I am watching them get picked off by the Proverbs 7 dating woman who says, ‘Come my way.’”
Candice: And this is a good lead in to another pillar, a principle of what women do to help; and it is be in vibrant Christian community, where it is not just a peer group, where it is older couples, and younger couples, and singles, and marrieds, and the marrieds are helping the singles in this area.
Bob, I think it is so helpful if you are not doing this alone. You are not just one woman noticing how everybody is getting married, and everybody is flirting, and everybody is dating, and moving in, and shacking-up. And I am getting nothing—
Steve: Because you have the Elijah syndrome!
Candice: That is right! “I am the only one!” God calls us to be in Christian community because then the women can band together and talk about these things.
Bob: Candice, a number of years ago, we interviewed Elisabeth Elliott, and of course her story with her husband, Jim, and their love story. It is a classic story. She had written a book called, Quest for Love, which was the follow-up to Passion and Purity, where she told the stories of those who had followed the pattern God’s way, and parts of it had been hard, but there was blessing at the end. Then, she told the stories of those who had tried to short-cut the process and were writing with regret.
In the middle of it, you can feel desperate. You can feel like, “If I don’t do this, it is never going to happen.” But all you are doing is buying years of regret that you will look back on and go, “Oh, I wish somebody had said— I wish I had done—” With that regret!
Candice: Well, I talk about living like you are planning to marry. What I mean, there is a mindset that daily you are going to the Lord and saying, “God, make me the woman You want me to be. Help me to be mature in my faith, pure in my lifestyle, help me to be walking in community.”
All of these things are how women can go about making an investment in marrying well; but if they never marry, they won’t have lost anything because all of those things are basic Christian discipleship. A woman who lives her whole life that way, and has the heartache and the sadness of never marrying, will still have great rewards in heaven because she has been faithful.
The woman who short-cuts that will end up with heartache and with pain and with breaking lives—not just of herself, but the man she is with, the children that may be born, the divorce. There is nothing lost when you’re living like you are planning to marry and being passionate about growing in Christ.
Dennis: I want our single listeners to know there really is hope and there is help. Practically, in this culture, they need both. The Scriptures provide it. And I am grateful for Steve and Candice—for you guys and your gift of writing, your ministry to singles, and for just having a heart for them—to see them utilize their gifts and abilities; but ultimately, be able to forge godly relationships and godly marriages and families—and be used generationally to really share the good news of Christ.
Bob: I am just curious. Have you gotten letters from women who have said, “I bought the book, and it worked!”
Candice: Yes! If only I could have heard them, Bob. I am sure they would have sounded just like you. I tell the story of 30 women who, back in the January before I started writing this book, started praying boldly together. They made a commitment to pray for one another for godly husbands and godly families. Today, four years later, over half of the women are either engaged to be married, have gotten married, and some have even gotten married and now have had their first baby.
Dennis: That’s cool.
Bob: Well, we have copies of the book. It comes with a complete unconditional money-back guarantee— (laughter)
Dennis: You could be a part of those 30.
Bob: The Watters will refund your money. (laughter)
Candice: Send your receipt to Bob.
Bob: You can go online at FamilyLifeToday.com. The information about the book is available there. Again, it is FamilyLifeToday.com. You can order from us online; or call toll-free 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329. Someone on our team can let you know how you can get a copy of the book. Again, it is called, Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help It Happen. Call us at 1-800-FLTODAY or get more information online at FamilyLifeToday.com.
You know, it’s always been interesting to me to see how many FamilyLife Todaylisteners are single. When we do programs like this, we always hear from a lot of listeners who are regular listeners, listening to FamilyLife Todayabout marriage and parenting, and they’re single; but there is a desire, there is a hope that they will be married. I’ve always been encouraged that we’ve got a lot of folks who support the ministry who are single, as well. We appreciate that financial support.
In fact, during the month of August, we are hoping to hear from some of you who have been listening to FamilyLife Today regularly; but you’ve just never identified yourself as a listener and never made a donation to help support the ministry. In fact, our goal this month is to hear from 2,000 new listeners who would step forward in August and say, “We’d like to help support FamilyLife Today.” If that sounds like you, could I encourage you to go online at FamilyLifeToday.com and make an online donation, or call 1-800-FLTODAY and make a donation?
If you do, we’d like to say, “Thank you,” by sending you a CD sampler. It’s four CDs with six messages from a recent FamilyLife Weekend to Remember®marriage getaway, where Dennis and I were both speaking. So, we take some of the highlight messages and provide them for you on four audio CDs. That’s our way of saying, “Thank you,” for helping to support the ministry this month.
All you have to do, to request the CDs, is make a donation, either online or by phone. If you’re online, type the word “SAMPLER” into the key code box on the donation form. If you’re making a donation by phone, just ask for the CD sampler from the Weekend to Remember, and we’ll send those to you as you make a donation. Again, thanks for your support.
And if you are a first-time donor, and your donation this month is $100 or more, we’d like to invite you to attend, as our guest, an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. We’ll send you a certificate for you and your spouse to come together, or you can pass that along to someone you know who would benefit from going to a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.
Again, all you have to do is be a first-time donor and make a donation of $100 or more. If you make that donation online, type the word “HUNDRED” into the key code box. If you make the donation over the phone, just mention that you’re a first-time donor and you’d like to receive the Weekend to Remember gift certificate. Again, we appreciate your support of the ministry, and we’re grateful to hear from you. Thanks for calling in or going online.
Now, tomorrow we’re going to talk about how you can keep your kids safe online. Donna Hughes joins us to talk about what’s out there, where the dangers are on the internet, and to talk about what you can do to make sure your kids are protected. That’s coming up tomorrow. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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