The four Christian women sitting around me are all pretty and socially active–no hunchbacks or hermits among them. But they’re all single. College graduation is just a few months away, and these unattached women joke about adopting 50 cats at the local shelter to ensure they won’t die alone. 

Behind the jokes and smiles lies a serious, and sad, situation too many Christian women find themselves in today. They must either lower their standards for a mate so they can settle down now or hold to their faith as they pine for what is becoming an endangered species: Christian men worth waiting for.
In 1991, the average marrying age for women was 24. Today, it’s 26.5. Although those numbers cover the entire population, evangelical leaders say the trend isn’t much different among young Christians. Some of the blame for delaying marriage falls on women, with many wanting to spend time working and living a life of independence before settling down–choices the secular culture encourages. But Christian women who do want to marry young say men stuck in perpetual adolescence are a bigger part of the problem.
The women I talked to had a list of ideal traits they wanted to see in Mr. Right. But only one was non-negotiable: a close relationship with Christ and a life that shows it. 
Besides that, leadership, responsibility, and initiative top the list. But a lot of times, guys don’t even get to the first date before revealing a lack of leadership and initiative, the women told me. Instead of showing up at the doorstep with flowers, men often default to an ambiguous, impersonal text or Facebook message, to make an equally ambiguous offer: “Let’s hang out in the next couple of weeks.” 
“What does that even mean?” one of the women asked me, appealing to one who might be able to decode the message.
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Thomas Hardesty