real men wear pink.

I don't know when it started, my love of men who wear pink. Maybe when I was a little girl playing Barbie dolls and the only Ken doll we owned not only perpetually wore the same floral shorts but had just one shirt to his name - a pink button down.

But...I learned over time, to love something about a man wearing a touch of pink.

They say real men wear pink, right?

Yeah, I still love a man in pink.
But I see now (Barbie doll days long gone) there is so much more than appearance that makes a guy a real man.

 When I was in college, I remember a conversation I had with a small group of girls in my dorm. We lived on a Christian college campus full of young men who said they loved the Lord. But, that night we all shared our discouragement with the guys we were getting to know. We compared notes about our bad experiences... one too many run-ins with less than our "ideal" types of guys. We exchanged disappointing stories we could only laugh at after the fact. "When a guy I went out with wouldn't even help an older lady up a staircase, do you think he's gonna treat me like a princess?!" I asked. The sweet brown haired beauty sitting across from me wailed, "Most guys are jerks!" and the head-nodding and words of agreement from the rest of the group proved that, sadly, most of us in the circle had come to this very conclusion.

"I just feel like my standards are way too high" the spunky soccer player next to me said, disappointed. Thinking about my mental list of "ideals" for a man, I joined in - "I feel that way too. It seems like my dream man doesn't exist." An older, wiser girl in our little circle asked me, "Erin, what are the qualities you've always wanted and prayed for in a man?" I thought for a moment and answered, "Well...someone who is kind, caring, gentle,  thoughtful, unselfish...who values integrity, honor and strength. A man who treats me like a princess."

My older friend smiled. "All those qualities you want... who are you describing? Who embodies these qualities?"

" one we know! Maybe, Prince Charming from Cinderella?" I laughing replied.

"No... " she smilingly said. "Jesus Christ!"

My thinking changed that night. I realized - the Lord put the desire in my heart for a man who was just like Him! We ended our little conversation with prayer. Asking our ultimate Prince, Jesus to mold and shape the men who would someday be our husbands into His likeness. Not men who are flawless, perfect and never make mistakes. But men who love the Lord and try their best to be like Jesus.

As time wore on that semester, our nightly chats over homework and strong coffee were often about our ideal men. And we began to realize that we needed to ask ourselves: are we acting in a way that encourages the guys to stand up and be strong, honorable men of God? Or are we tearing them down in the way we act, talk, relate with them, or dress?

Sadly, there are more than a few sleaze-balls out there. And I think we've all run into them at one time or another. Christlike men who treat women with respect, honor and dignity are very rare gems. But they do exist. Just a few of them.

Like these two brothers I saw in concert a while ago. Joel and Luke (in the band For King and Country) spoke such precious encouragement to young women (quite a few years have passed since the words they spoke, and marriage and relationships have since come into their lives) their wisdom is so precious:

"We have a heart for raising respect for women.
We believe that under God, you are princesses and deserve to be treated with
honor, dignity and respect.
...if we had one encouragement for each of you -
especially you single ladies tonight it would be:

Don't settle for 2nd best.

Don't settle for anything less than what God has for you when it comes to men.
Because let me tell ya - he may not be there in the timing that you want or in the way you want like on ...
Pride and Prejudice...but he's there.
And God's timing is the best timing, amen?
...your Holy Hunk...your Prince Charming - he's out there.
And coming from two single men who are waiting for their 'holy hunnies',
take it from us - it's worth the wait."

photo via

*you can find the video here.
*check out the band's website here & listen to some music. (they're one of my very favorites!)

 And to you few guys out there who might be reading: don't settle for second best, either.
Wait for the rare woman who will respect you, honor you, guard your purity, love you for who you truly are and not what she can get from you.

Remember, ladies - as unrealistic as our ideal men may seem in this world,
we trust the God who is the ultimate example of a Prince.

"God laughs at odds. No matter how big the dream,
how huge the request, how lofty the hope, or even how statistically impossible the task,
He can do it -- and infinitely immeasurably more.
May God be seen for how great He really is!"

-Ephesians 3:20, paraphrase.
paraphrase by authors Eric and Leslie Ludy

And just for the record, I still think real men wear pink.

A pink tie, a pink shirt - I'm in love! A pink pocket square?
And the pink-wearing gentleman treats women right? Heavenly, I tell you.

Stay strong, my dears
and keep your standards high.