Oh, leadership. It’s quite the topic of conversation these days. We love to critique leadership, read about it, study it, or even host entire seminars about what it means to be a leader. Everyone seems to be an expert, and there’s a lot of leadership noise out there.

“But is he leading you?”

As women, we love talking about male leadership in particular. It’s our favorite and most frequented topic. When one of our sisters finds a new man friend, we’re armed with a series of customary actions typically consisting of an obligatory Facebook stalk followed by hearing the story of how they met. Then, inevitably, someone drops the “L” bomb and asks if our dear friend is being led. The room grows quiet as we all anxiously await her answer.

If we don’t hear the typical answers, we grow worried. We start wondering if she should guard her heart. We begin to probe a little deeper and voice our concerns about her state of affairs. Out of genuine love and concern, we convince her that maybe it’s time to move on to bigger and better things. Gently and quietly we urge her in another direction. We casually drop hints about our other single guy friends who we’ve heard play guitar or saw on a mission trip. Eventually, we convince her to end things because life is too short not to be led.

But I think we have unrealistic expectations about male leadership.

For some reason or another, we want to marry a pastor. We want someone who journals and talks about his feelings, but also happens to be a lumberjack and drink whiskey and yet still manage to feed the homeless in his spare time. He’s supposed to facilitate Bible studies and constantly remind us of how beautiful we look, all while throwing a football in one hand and cradling a baby in the other. We want dissertations on theological doctrine and we want him to be well versed in eschatology.

If I’m honest, I’m afraid I’ve prematurely ended relationships in the self-righteous name of not “being led” by guys.

But by the very definition of leadership I should, therefore, be with someone who excels where I’m lacking. Leadership means guiding me in the places where I can’t guide myself. It doesn’t mean praying before meals or having a leather-bound journal. Real genuine leadership involves strength to compliment my weaknesses.

And at the end of the day, I’m very weak. I’m really bad at loving my family, the worst honestly. I’m an “out of sight out of mind” type of girl, and my mom and brother live far away. Pursuing relationships with them is not my strong suit. Want to know where else I royally suck? Service. The odds of me dropping anything for anyone, anytime are literally microscopic. If your needs interfere with my plans, odds are I won’t be lifting a finger, oops.

I don’t think we need to lower our expectations for guys.

No, not at all. But I do think maybe it’s time we shifted our focus on what it means to truly lead.

At the end of the day, I don’t want a guy with the loudest and most eloquent prayers. I want someone who will make me better. Someone who will teach me to love others the way they deserve to be loved. I need someone who will pull up alongside me and gently say, “I think I can help you there” and will allow me to do the same for him sometimes.

Ultimately I need a more robust and complete picture of Christ both in myself and in the man I date. That holistic approach only comes if I’m with someone who can show me how to look like Jesus in the places where I simply don’t, or can’t, or won’t.

It takes two to tango, and I want to dance with someone who guides me towards what’s important, not what’s popular or what’s conventional.

And we’ll need to dance in a rhythm of grace.