Are single women single because they are too picky? Lori Gottlieb argues this is precisely the case, and she uses herself as the prime example. When asked to list the qualities she wants in a husband, the then-41-year-old journalist came up with 60 items—just off the top of her head—ranging from "kind" to "has a full head of hair (wavy and dark would be nice—no blonds)." But the most important thing she was looking for couldn't be quantified on a list. She wanted a man with a certain je ne sais quoi. She wanted fireworks on the first date. She wanted to know she had finally found "The One."

Newly released in paperback and being marketed to Christian women in time for Valentine's Day, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough details Gottlieb's journey from picky singleton to enlightened woman who is willing to date a bald, bow-tie-wearing man named Sheldon. The book's title, based on Gottlieb's 2008 essay in The Atlantic, brings to mind desperate women who are willing to marry anyone simply to avoid being single, but that is not what Gottlieb means when she encourages women to settle for "Mr. Good Enough." She does not advocate resigning yourself to a life of misery with a man you find unpleasant, but rather, adjusting your expectations and being happy with a more realistic version of Mr. Right.

According to Gottlieb, the problem is that women are no longer satisfied with companionship, security, and stability. Instead, we believe we deserve it all, and that includes a soul mate who is exciting, passionate, masculine, and has the same emotions women do. To make matters worse, we start to believe that no matter how great a guy is, there must be someone better out there. She argues that we should throw away our lists and focus on inner qualities and essential values rather than outward qualities such as clothes, height, job, or education. Rather than asking ourselves, "What's wrong with him?" we should ask ourselves, "What values and goals do we share?"

Many readers might find Gottlieb's journey humorous as she chronicles her adventures with online dating, speed dating, matchmakers, and even a dating coach. In each of these scenarios, however, her conclusion is the same: You'd better grab a man while you're in your 30s, because men don't want a woman who is over 40. Gottlieb frequently reflects with regret upon all of the good men she let get away when she was in her 20s and 30s. Now, at 41, there are few prospects. Unfortunately, there is little acknowledgment that men should not be picky about the women they date. It is accepted without question that men choose women based on age and physical beauty. I can't help wondering where the book is that tells men that they need to "settle" for a woman who is kind and caring but might not look like a supermodel.

Although I think Gottlieb's premise is a good one—in the search for a mate we should focus on shared values rather than superficial qualities—as a Christian I had trouble swallowing two aspects of the book. First, Gottlieb is clearly writing to urban professionals who date regularly and accept premarital sex as the norm. Although there are certainly Christian women who fall into this category, I don't know very many who could pass as a regular on Sex and the City and who break up with good men because of the way they eat their peas. In fact, single Christian women have the opposite problem. Rather than being too picky, many are so desperate for a potential mate that they make excuses for less than desirable men. I knew one Christian woman in her late 20s who made excuses for a boyfriend who had recently been in prison for child pornography. Being picky can be a good thing—as long as you are picky about the right things.

But my biggest criticism of Gottlieb's book is that she considers religion to be one of those external, objective qualities that we should not be too picky about. When she realized, with the help of her dating coach, that approximately 2 percent of American men are Jewish and that this narrowed her potential dating pool to .1 percent of the male population, a shared religion quickly came off her list of must-haves. Gottlieb is right that we should focus on shared values rather than superficial qualities. But for us as Christians, these shared values should include more than kindness and a desire to get married. We should limit our search to those men who make their relationship with God first and foremost in their lives, even if it limits our dating pool to .01 percent.

When I finished reading Marry Him, I couldn't help feeling depressed—not because I realized I had been too picky or because I realized no man would date me now that I am over 40. Rather, I felt depressed because of the desperation with which so many women search for Mr. Right. Yes, most single women would like to be married. Yes, we should not be so quick to judge others according to a superficial list of expectations. But settling for a husband who does not meet God's standards will not bring us the happy ending we seek.

Bonnie Field is an educational consultant, curriculum specialist, and English teacher. She is single and co-author of the book Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today's Church, which Christianity Today reviewed in 2009.