As Christian women, it’s hard to take God out of the marriage equation, and we wouldn’t even want to.

At the same time, the cultural realities we live with force us to do more than simply drift with the tide—that is, if we’re serious about finding a mate. The good news is that, even in these marriage-unfriendly times, the fields are “white unto harvest” if you know what to look for. Once you sense the time is right, start being intentional about putting yourself in places, and with people, that will nudge you in the direction of marriage. The right approach—a combination of faith in God and strategic thinking and action—will likely turn the helm of your singlehood into new waters that contain the very real possibility of marriage.

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

It turns out there are things you can do to find a prospective mate—or to move a budding relationship forward—and it all starts with looking for the right kind of man:  the marrying kind.

In his book Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others, author and professional market researcher John T. Molloy notes that when he completed the initial research for the manuscript, one of his better researchers, a woman named Beth, wanted to read the results. Her problem was that “men who are averse to commitment were drawn to her like bees to honey.” After reading the report, Beth dropped it back on Molloy’s desk angrily and called him a male chauvinist. After he recovered his shock, he asked her what made her think that.

“You reinforce the myth that the reason men don’t commit is that the women in their lives do something wrong,” she steamed. “That’s nonsense. In most cases, it’s the man in a relationship who decides he isn’t ready or doesn’t want to get married, and he makes this decision without any help from the woman. No matter what some women do, there are certain men who are never going to commit. Unless you recognize that, you’ve missed the whole point. If you want to do women a real service, help us identify those losers before we get involved with them.”1

After apologizing to Beth, Molloy admitted she had a point. His interviews with single men had shown that there were men who would not commit. He also realized the valuable service he could provide women by identifying those men who were worthy of their attention—and which ones to weed out as potential mates.

1. Look for a Man Who’s Ready to Commit
Molloy found in his research that there is an age when a man is ready to marry, or what he calls the Age of Commitment. The age varies from man to man, but discernible patterns emerge:

  • Most male college graduates between ages twenty-eight and thirty-three “are in their high-commitment years and likely to propose.” This period of high commitment for well-educated men lasts just over five years.
  • Once a man hits thirty-eight, the chances he will ever marry drop dramatically. Chances that a man will marry for the first time diminish even more after forty-two or forty-three. “At this point, many men become confirmed bachelors,” writes Molloy.
  • Once a man reaches age forty-seven to fifty without marrying, the chances he will ever do so drop dramatically.

One of the most common mistakes women make, Molloy writes, is to assume that because they’re ready for marriage, the men they date are as well. But his research shows that is often not the case. Instead, if a woman is serious about finding a mate, she should date only men who have reached the age of commitment.

2. Look for a Man Who Is Tired of the Singles Scene
Molloy found that the men who were most likely to consider marriage seriously had not only reached the Age of Commitment, but they had tired of the singles scene—the endless round of singles events, group outings, casual dating, and parties filled with questing singles. Instead, he and his researchers found that about a third of newly married men said that for six months to two years before they met their brides-to-be, they were not dating or going to singles places as often as they had been just a few years earlier. In the men’s own words, they were ready for “something else” or the “next step.”