Red Flags, Giving Grace, and Sleeping Husbands

“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.” The Notebook.

Image of Michael and I dancing

Michael and I have enjoyed all the feedback we’ve received from Real Men Don’t Text & Don’t Text Back (and Other Rules for Catching Mr. Right). Thank you everyone who commented, shared, disagreed, and added to the discussion in any way. We are still new at marriage and are daily discovering what it looks like to be in an intimate relationship with someone. As a pastor once said to his wife, “Honey, if you ever leave-I’m comin’ with you.” Just the thought that I’ll be waking up next to Michael for the next 50, 60 or even 70 years brings inexpressible joy.

We are far from perfect and have made many mistakes along the way-both in our relationship with each other and with others we dated previously. We didn’t have a smooth sailing relationship from the beginning by any stretch of the imagination. Michael was living in Germany at the time, and I was living in China. After we talked twice on the phone for the first time, he sent me a Facebook message that ended with “Keep me updated”. (I still like to joke and tell him to ‘keep me updated’). We’ve fought about everything under the sun-are far from perfect-but at the end of the day we are committed to growing together.

We have to work at our marriage everyday. Whether it’s attempting to clean up more because it drives the ‘neat and tidy’ spouse crazy, figure out how two selfish people manage a joint checking account, or navigate through reconciling our different love languages (or the way we show and receive love)-none of it’s easy. I share this to ensure you we are just ordinary people like the rest longing to encourage and journey alongside you.

Something we both wanted to share before ending this ‘series’ if you will are a few more helpful ‘rules’ for thought:

Grace, grace, grace. It’s important not to grow bitter when navigating the single life. Don’t group all men or women into a category. Give grace because we’ve each been shown grace and no one is perfect. Sometimes men need a little extra encouragement to ask you out (because they want to make 100% sure you will say yes). You can casually flirt and drop hints you’d like to get to know him better. If he texts you and asks you on a date, you can nicely ask him to call you instead. If he tells you to ‘keep him updated’ you can (like I did) write him an email saying you loved talking with him but he should call if he wants to continue to get to know you. Michael jumped at the opportunity when I wrote him that email. He just needed a little push-the I’m interested and I’m not going to turn you down encouragement. Let’s be gentle and full of grace because we need to build up men to lead us. Be honest, not cold.

Close the deal. If he hasn’t proposed after 2 years, it’s time to muster up some courage and start dating other men. If you are over 25, 2 years is plenty of time to figure out if you are ‘meant to be’ and if not, then it’s time to move on. Don’t waste valuable years in long-term dating relationships where one of you is just waiting for someone better to come along (or even afraid of commitment). You are worth committing to and if he isn’t proposing he’s just not that into you.

Red flags in dating can destroy a marriage. Andy Stanley, pastor of Buckhead church, says, “Most people spend a year planning a wedding and seven years forming habits that will destroy a marriage.” Sound harsh? I believe he is absolutely right. He talks about habits of selfishness, lust (pornography, etc.), among others. Don’t sit around waiting for someone to fix you because marriage only magnifies issues. DO NOT ever marry someone out of desperation that you are ‘old’, time is running out, or there will never be another.

Worst-case scenario? You are ‘dateless’ for much longer than you’d like, but eventually Mr. Right comes knocking at your door (with roses), he doesn’t even know how to text, and he sweeps you off your feet. Isn’t that worth waiting for?

One day, I pray you too will have sleepy spouse next to you urging you to stop the blogging nonsense, shut down the computer, and go to bed. Until then…in Lady Gaga fashion… JUST DANCE.

Image of Michael and I dancing at our wedding

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7 Responses to “Red Flags, Giving Grace, and Sleeping Husbands”
  1. Edward says:

    Hey Ruthie, great words of encouragement and advice! Particularly the bit about grace, some really solid examples on how Christian women can gently lead/guide through submission. I’d imagine understanding and allowing for each other’s fears and insecurities goes a long way towards a healthy relationship and helping the other get over those same fears as they find themselves the recipients of grace. This is effectively what we experience in God and affirms Paul’s assertion that the greater part of the beauty of marriage lies in the fact that it mirrors our relationship to Christ.

    I really enjoyed the last two posts as well. Although, as a beardless Asian dude, I disagree with Michael’s (presumably) facetious claim of facial hair as a requirement for manliness :)

    Keep up the great writing.

    • Ruthie D. says:

      Hi Edward! Glad you are reading:) And yes Michael’s claim about beards/mustaches is facetious! I usually make him stay clean shaven, because I don’t like facial hair. From your comment above, I can tell you are a godly, manly man! Keep it up:)

  2. Love it! As always, great advice, Ruthie. I especially love the well-woven references to He’s Just Not That Into You. Sometimes it’s hard to swallow but so true. It’s always best to be honest with ourselves and not imagine things that aren’t so.
    “If he texts you and asks you on a date, you can nicely ask him to call you instead.” :) Excellent advice. Be honest, straightforward, and blunt-in a coy way of course.

  3. Natalie says:

    Pretty picture! It was such an honor to be invited to your wedding, I witnessed the grace of God onto you and Michael, crying as you walked down the aisle!! Thanks for writing such encouraging and wise rules, love them~~ Love you!

  4. Angel Yang says:

    Ruthie! I just want to let you know how much I have enjoyed reading your blog. I have read many of them several times, and trying to find guidance for my own marriage planning and aspiration. I LOVE your blog!

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      I’m so glad to hear from you, Angel! Thanks for being such an avid reader. Blessings on your wedding and marriage!

  5. Michael H says:


    Thank you for your whole blog, and this article.

    Regarding encouragement: Yes! From my one dating experience, and just desires and knowledge of myself – it helped to know (or at least suspect) that she would probably say yes! “He just needed a little push–the I’m interested and I’m not going to turn you down encouragement.” So true!

    What are your thoughts as to what is a “red flag” as opposed to simply something that grace is needed for?

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