Why girls remain single: a commentary
I recently stumbled upon this blog post: http://diaryofasuperchamp.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/5-reasons-why-many-christian-girls-remain-single/. In this article, it lists five reasons why many Christian girls remain single. And I summarise the reasons:
- The girls want Jesus, not a disciple of Jesus.
- The girls want to be a princess, but refused to let the men be princes.
- The girls play 'hard to get'.
- The girls ask too much out of their potential spouses.
- The girls refused to become the right person whom their right persons are looking for.
In this post, I would like to give some of my thoughts about these points, but I will like to warn my female readers here that I am going to be extremely ruthless in my commentary. So if you think you are a feminist or believe in what the feminist world says about you, then I propose that you click the 'x' on your browser tab and you will be better off reading some articles from 'Her World' magazine. Otherwise, I would like to reassure that I am doing my best to ensure that what I put forward is at least biblically viable.
Let's consolidate some common trends of thoughts from the article. One common trend one would observe is the accusation that Christian girls have too high an expectation for the men in their lives that the men they are looking either must become Jesus or any other flaws would render them imperfect and thus fail them. Implicit in this is that the girls have the bargaining power to choose. My own pastoral experience has confirmed with me that Christians girls tend to struggle with a reality: that they cannot afford to be wait for the 'perfect man' but yet they want to be in the position to choose. A lot of time, this ends up in forms of accusations such as 'there isn't any godly brothers in the church'. Granted that the most godly one has already been taken and is writing this post here, I always wonder if that is the case or is it the case that our sisters are asking for the sky and heaven?
Let me get one thing straight here. I am not against sisters having a high level filter to filter out ungodly guys. My gripe is that sometimes this filter gets calibrated to the point of fantasy and as mentioned in the article, they end up looking for Jesus. And in fact sometimes, sisters have so specific criteria that they began to filter out eligible godly guys. I once read that while it is good to have a list of criteria, having too much criteria will become more of a self-centered exercise than anything else. And very often, this is true. I have mentioned this before, about some girl who was looking for a helper but she couldn't find one because she was supposed to be he helper, not the guy. Sometimes, the girl expect too much that the guy must have the same vision as her, or expects that the guy must do certain things for her that she forgets that the relationship is not meant to be about herself. The same applies for guys but that's another story for another day.
Moreover, girls who have too high an expectation more than often choose not to change themselves. After all, the probably story for maintaining a high expectation is such that a guy good enough will come in and give in to everything and give her everything. He must be a guy that she has already fallen in love with and who will treat her as a princess. But the same question applies: do such a guy deserve you, sister? Are you willing to treat him as a man and submit to his leadership in the relationship? Are you the right person whom he is looking for? If your answer remains that he should be accommodating to you regardless what, then I would probably advise this guy to think twice about settling down with you. If he is a godly guy, he is more likely to be more committed to the cause of Christ than you and I think you will only serve to drag him down. So you might be better off going out with a nice pagan.
Another common trend is that even if there is a perfect man, you cannot readily give in and allow him his way. You have to play hard to get so that he will learn how to treasure you. And no wonder they remain single. Friend, I think there're thresholds in a guy when it comes to finding a girl to settle down. I may enjoy the process of waiting but I don't like my time to be wasted. If you play hard to get, the reality is that the law of demand and supply works in my favour. It is true, let's face it. Your church probably has less Christian guys than girls who are single, and likelihood is that there will be even lesser godly men around than godly sisters. This lamentable state is also another story for another day but tell me what it means to you? If I have another pond to fish, I may likely go and fish in the other pond if you play hard to get. I have seen this happen a lot in the people around me.
At this stage, since we are talking about the law of demand and supply, statistics showed that women above the age of 35 stand the least chance of getting a life partner, for two very simple reasons. As most of them prefer guys older than them, they will definitely not settle for younger guys who would in any case more probably look for younger girls. And guys older than them will most likely go for women younger than 35. So if you want to get married, then probably you need to know that the stats are against you. Therefore, I never understood the hard to get approach for girls.
So where do we move from here? Let me offer some practical thoughts from a guy's perspective on how you can find a life partner.
Be the person whom you are looking for is looking for
This is an advice that I would normally give to anyone who is looking for a life partner. It is in relationship with the fact that many girls want to be princesses but don't want to prince their man. I think many girls in the church (at least in my church) have high expectation on the kind of man who will pursue after them. I think I want to make my point clear again that I am in favour of setting some high standards, so that you do not risk marrying some assholes who will ruin the next half of your lives. But when you are asking to be pursued by some godly man, you need to ask yourselves whether a godly man, as you stipulated, will ever want to pursue you, given your current state of affairs. It may or it may not.
If it is not, then maybe it is wiser for you to continue to mature. Learn to be the kind of woman that a godly man is looking for. I do not represent all godly men here but I will at least say that guys of a godly calibre generally look for women of virtues. One virtue that I think I would advise girls to cultivate, on top of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, is in this area of submission. I know this does not go well with the feminists but seriously, the last thing that a man ever wants is a quarrelsome wife and an insubmissive mate. Ephesians 5:22 exhorts the wife to be submissive (and there's a counter command for the husband as well) but right now, when you sre single, it is the best time to learn how to be submissive in a godly manner.
Be honest with your criteria
Setting high standards is good but to contradict myself a bit, I would appeal on behalf of my fellow guys that you need to remember we are sinners as well who are redeemed by Christ as much as you. This means that we are still in the midst of being sanctified. Asking for the heavens from us might be one way to filter out bastards but too much of it and you filter out the good bastards along with the bad ones. Moreover, keeping your criteria too high may mean that you eventually look out for someone of a pastor calibre, who may not come by so often. But a decent godly man, I can say that I see plenty of them running around and while they may not seem matured, they are in the process of being molded by God.
Just one more word regarding the criteria. It is in my opinion that setting too much criteria sets us up for self centeredness. This is because it eventually means that we are looking for someone whom we want, but we may not give God the chance to show us the godly men amidst us. So go ahead and have criteria, but always ask yourselves if you are asking for Jesus or asking for a godly man. Be open minded and let God lead you through the process.
Be situated at the right place
This is what authors normally call the 'well principle'. Simply put it, if your current cell group has no suitable guys, for various reasons, you need to expand your horizon and land yourselves in the right zone. Why do you think Abraham's servant chose to go to the well as the beginning of the search for Issac's bride? It's because that's the place where women usually gathered. Likewise, are you looking for a godly man who wants to pursue God? Why not volunteered at some community events organised by the church if you are looking for someone who has a heart for the poor and underprivilege? Why not serve in the intercessory team if you are looking for someone who has a prayerful heart? Why not attend a bible study class if you want to find a man who loves the Word?
What I am saying is that you need to expand your social horizon and expand it at the right place, especially if you know specifically what kind of guy you are looking for.
Be willing to force the guy to define the relationship
This is addressing to the girls who seem to have guys chasing after you or having some kind of in-between relationships. You are probably wondering if the guy is really having a liking on you or whether there is a chance for the relationship to progress further. Candice Watters, one of the founders of boundless.org, once wrote about 'pulling the Ruth'. You see, the main gist is that Ruth, in order to make things happen between her and Boaz, was advised to initiate the whole kinsman-redeemer process with Boaz, thus encouraging Boaz to act. Similarly, if a girl can get a guy to act by encouraging him to take the initiative in the event when the lines become blur. This means that the girl needs to set the boundary and tell the guy to define the relationship.
The cache behind this approach assumes that there is a guy whom the girl can trust her life to. And one needs to bear in mind the overall context that Ruth faced before you assume it works in all cases. The key thing at the end is to encourage the guy to define the relationship and to save yourself a hell lot of trouble wondering whether he is planning to proceed or not. It does you good because if he is not planning to further the friendship, he has no business acting in a particular manner with you making you confused. And you can move on with life and allow other men to pursue you.
I shall not dwell on this too much but if you want to read more, you can read what Candice Watters wrote in the website.
Don't be cheap
One of the ways that a girl can get her guy is to be cheap and give in to all his demands. I am making the assumption here that I am addressing to women in church who at least have a certain degree of maturity to know what they are doing, but I think sometimes, i need to learn to un-assume and believe that love makes lovers blind. I have come across Christian women before who, in an attempt to keep their guys, became cheap with their bodies.
Coming from a guy, please don't be cheap, for a variety of reasons. As a guy, i won't mind getting involved with a cheap woman for the fun of it but i tell you, I don't think a woman who is cheap will make a good life partner (at least for me). Also, you have to ask yourself, how much capital investments you have to maintain this. A preacher once said, depending on the bait you use, you catch the fishes your bait is meant to catch. If you bait with your body, you are going to catch guys who are only interested in your body and there is a limit to how long you can sustain that.
Ok, finally after all these, I want to end off with a note. By encouraging you girls in all these, I am by no means saying that we guys don't need to play a part. God created us as the initiator, the hunter and as hunters, we need to do our part to do the hunting. We need to train ourselves to be good hunter and we need to prepare ourselves to be good husbands while we are still single and chasing after you girls. We have a part to play and by ranting all these in this post, I am assuming that you are going after a guy who is preparing to be a good husband in the future. And trust me, the requirements on the part of the guys, as according to the word of God, I believe it is much much higher.
Addendeum: I have received some feedback regarding the tone of this post. Two different extremes to be exact. But I know who are reading this post and the publicity this post has received. This is just to say that both extremes are expected and in fact, they are in my calculations when I wrote the post. If you have views, do feel free to post your comments and let me know your thoughts, but I normally don't respond to vague comments, so you might want to articulate out why you feel the way you feel. For example, if you think it is offensive, let me know exactly why, which part, and how it makes you feel offensive. And perhaps I can help you make sense of that in my replies.