THE TAKE AWAY  



"Do Better"

By Kersley Fitzgerald



This weekend we hosted three brand new high school graduates in our basement as they took their senior trip around Colorado. Last night they walked in as JT and I were watching American Ninja Warrior. We all watched as one contestant hammered through to the end. He then joined his girlfriend, wrapping his arm around her as the commentator interviewed him.

"He could do better," one of the teenagers said.

"Wow," I said in the tone that wise men have learned to fear from women. "Seriously? You know nothing about her."

One of them mumbled about her hoodie.

"Well, maybe she's cold!" I snapped back. Probably a little harshly as I didn't actually know these guys.

The girlfriend was probably 5'6", short for his 6'2" lank. She had bleached-blonde hair mostly covered by a dark hoodie zipped tight against the chill. She had spent his entire heat cheering him on, yelling when he conquered another obstacle, catching her breath whenever his hand slipped.

The interviewer was something else altogether. She was probably 5'10", obviously tended to by hair and make-up, wearing a tight dress with a tighter v-neck that bumped her chest out like two of those giant balls that bounce Japanese contestants into the water in Total Wipeout.

JT was there, watching and listening. He'll be fifteen in a month and a half. But I've never heard him talk about a girl like that. Shortly after he started seventh grade I went to pick him up at his band room. Two girls were leaning on the railing outside the door. When I asked if they knew where he was, one jumped up. "Oh! He's my best friend! He's in here." She rushed into the room to get him.

He had told me about Taylor, how they hung out a lot and he liked her. She was a shortish, skinny kid, not yet grown into her face, straight mousey hair — not unlike mine at that age. I was surprised he'd latched onto her. Since day one he's been drawn to beauty — in girls, homes, and nature. Taylor wasn't particularly beautiful. Later I asked him what he liked about her.

"She's kind," he said. He was 12.
If you value fragile, transient qualities in a boyfriend or girlfriend; your relationships will be disposable.tweet
I'd like to say Dev and I taught him that, but truth is, he's always known. We've encouraged it, and put words to different things he should look for in a girl, but he's the one who holds kindness and honesty and compassion in such higher regard than looks. To him, "doing better" looks a lot different than hair and boobs.

It's someone who apologizes when she's wrong — and forgives him in return. Someone who looks him in the eye and lets him know for certain she's glad he's there. Who stands up for him and who will accept his comfort when she's down. Who doesn't treat relationships carelessly but takes them seriously enough to show him and herself respect. And someone who won't derail the fragile walk with God common to honest teenagers.

JT's not near perfect, and I wouldn't expect him to be blind to the interviewer's...charms. But I highly suspect he'd be more attracted to a woman who encouraged her man to dedicate hours training for Ninja Warrior and then stood in the cold to cheer him on.

GotQuestions has an article on what to look for in a Christian girlfriend. It's pretty practical and vague. You can't always know at 18 if your girlfriend is the type that can take care of the kids, the house, and the dogs while you're on a 12-month deployment — and stay faithful while you're gone. Or if she'll agree to go to ComicCon with you, spending months finding the perfect Peggy Carter suit to match the Captain America costume you got from Amazon. Or if, after thirty years of marriage, she'll completely change her cooking to compensate for your diabetes or heart disease. Or if, when you're 85 and lost in Alzheimer's, she'll patiently take your dementia-induced abuse and care for you until, finally overwhelmed by your physical needs, she has to reluctantly put you in a home. Which she visits every day even though you don't remember her.

I don't know how you can do better than that.

Dev told me later that the guy who made the comment about how the ninja warrior could "do better" has seven profiles on Christian Mingle and two on Farmers Only. It sounds like he's desperate for someone. It may be that he has to go through several someones before he begins to understand what "better" looks like. And, really, that he could always "do better" up to the point where he commits and thereby declares one woman "best."

But mostly I hope he comes to understand that, whoever he dates, she could "do better," too.



Image Credit: Bergadder; untitled; Creative Commons



TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Personal-Relationships



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Published 7-28-16