Why guys remain single: a commentary

I never thought that my post on why girls remain single will receive a huge hearing, although some of the controversies regarding the tone and the content are actually expected and calculated. I took a calculated risk to do a post that addresses the issues as such. However, I have to admit that such a post on why girls remain single will remain incomplete without talking about the guys. And so, I will again take reference from this blog: http://diaryofasuperchamp.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/5-reasons-why-many-christian-guys-remain-single/

To summarise the main points, the 5 reasons why guys remain single are:
  1. You are too desperate
  2. You are not ready
  3. You are not looking at the right place 
  4. You are not forthcoming 
  5. You are not clear 
To qualify a bit, I do not entirely agree with the way this guy expounded the Scripture to derive these points but I don't necessarily disagree with his conclusions.

But to even qualify further, let me state out my theological views on gender based on Genesis 1-3 so that people will know where I really come from when I wrote my previous post as well as where I come from in this current one. The boundaries and actions applicable to a man and woman, especially that of a Christ follower, cannot be divorced from the discussion on their respective role and responsibilities in God’s creation and its distortion after the fall which was followed by Christ’s redemption on the cross. It has to be understood first that God created man and woman to be equal in His eyes. The equality of human beings in terms of personhood and dignity is explicitly taught in the Bible. Scriptural references in books such as the Song of Songs have described that both man and woman have the same needs for love and satisfaction and explained that the woman, like man, has dignity and respect, even though she is created differently biologically. Indeed, both sexes reflect God’s image and aspects of God’s nature in their lives. A full understanding of God’s nature cannot really be complete without either sexes. Therefore, none of the sexes can claim to be better than the other, neither can they claim that their counterparts are more inferior than them.

Nevertheless, the two sexes are meant to perform different roles in relations to one another. They are not created to perform the same equal role, even though it seems that our Asian society today allows equality between man and woman to perform the roles that a man is created to perform. In the attempt to find equality in roles between the sexes, the woman’s uniqueness as God’s creation can be lost in the process. Andreas Kostenberger has observed “many men and women have lost the concept of what it means to be masculine or feminine [and this] results in a loss of the complete identity of being human as God created us, male and female.” When the woman transgresses the roles assigned to her by God in her relationship, it has the potential to form an undesirable pattern in her future marriage. It means that the woman’s identity as God’s creation cannot be based on the convention of gender equality that the society is advocating, and her roles and responsibilities will naturally differ from that of a man. Similarly, when a man strays from his God-given role in his relationship, he also creates the potential for an undesirable pattern in his future marriage.

What this really means for us is that God intended to create man and woman differently to perform different roles and responsibilities in each other’s life within His original creation order. When God said, “it is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18), He did not create another man but a woman to help Adam. The differences between man and woman are thus intentional. This is evident in the physiological differences between man and woman in areas such as emotions and decision-making. The brains of man and woman do differ and this results in the different ways in which they function. One example of such differences is how a woman is able to notice details and nuances that a man will generally be unable to pick up.

From the second chapter of Genesis, the woman, Eve, was created first and foremost to be the “helper suitable” for Adam (Gen 2:18 NIV). After naming all the animals in the Eden, “no suitable helper was found” (Gen 2:20 NIV) and from the process of naming the animals in Eden, Adam discovered that there was no other being in creation at that moment which shared the same unique superiority over the animals as he did. It was under the context of Adam’s solitude that Eve was created. Hence, it has to be understood from the Bible that Eve was created first to be the helper complement to Adam and also to respond to Adam’s physical, mental and spiritual needs. Indeed, Elisabeth Elliot has pointed out “the first woman was made specifically for the first man, a helper to meet, respond to, surrender to, and complement him.” This is the role that the woman is intended to take on from the start.

However, the curse resulted from the fall of Adam and Eve distorted “Adam’s humble, considerate leadership and Eve’s intelligent, willing submission to that leadership that existed before the fall”. The effect of the fall is, in turn, imputed and transmitted to their descendants. This means that her desire now no longer aims to complement the man and is now driven by her “carnal emotions of fear, jealousy, self-pity, anger and pride.” Christ would subsequently redeem God’s original creation order on the cross and open up the possibility for us to be free to live out the roles and responsibilities that God has initially created for us as man and woman. Indeed, the “New Testament commands concerning marriage do not perpetuate any elements of the curse or any sinful behavior patterns.” Instead, the redemption “destroys the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8 NIV) and restores the distinctive roles that man and woman are created to be.

Being created as the “helper-complement” to man and in Christ’s redemption, it can be seen that there is a biblical femininity that refers more to the attitude that women see themselves and others. Her roles and responsibilities therefore points to “a freeing disposition to affirm, receive and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships,” as proposed by John Piper. This is as opposed to that of a man, which is “a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationship.” This means that a woman best expresses herself in the acceptance of her complementary role and ministering as his helper and assistant even when she is searching for her life partner. Such a woman is free to allow the man she is considering to provide “the pattern of appropriate initiatives in her relationship while joining in this process of leadership and helping to strengthen the masculinity of the man. It is through such a relationship that she is able to bless and encourage the people in her other relationships. It also means that her influence over the man is not “personal” and “directive” to prevent violating the man’s God-given role of being the leader in the relationship. On the contrary, this also means that the man ought to exercise a personal directive leadership in his own life and in his future relationship which will allow the woman to exercise her roles well in the relationship. It is under this premise that we can see the broad pattern on how a guy or a girl can remain single. And it was under this premise that I wrote my original post. For more information, you may feel free to check out with me on the references that I used and the paper that I wrote previously in one of my research on the role and boundaries of woman in her search for a life partner.

But to move on, let’s look at the guys this time. In short, based on the five reasons that the author listed out, I recognize one broad point: if you remain single (on the premise that you are looking for a wife), you simply can’t make it as a man. Before you chop me down, let’s do a few caveats. One will need to take note that what I am going to say only applies to men who really want to marry and decide that this is the season where they should actively pursue the goal of marriage. If you decide that you are not going to get married now or you have no intention to get married or you want to remain single for God, then what I am going to say does not really apply to you.

Ok, so why you cannot make it? Firstly, you do not exercise enough leadership in your life. When I say this, it means that as you live your life as a single, you are led in your life by external circumstances and internal conditions. You are probably always influenced by the wind and waves and not anchored down in your faith. Or you could be so emotionally uncontrolled that your responses to things are constantly controlled by how you feel. For the former, you do not show that you are ready to find a mate, and for the former, you do not inspire confidence that the woman can trust you to lead when she needs you to be there to lead her in times of confusion. And trust me, girls, as part of their make-up and how God created them, can be very irrational at times and this is regardless how rational they try to portray themselves in public. And my fellow men, you don’t let your emotions lead you. And when you do, does it surprise you that no one even wants to consider you as a potential life mate? I am not saying that you cannot be a feeler but I am telling you to lead your emotions, not let your emotions lead you. And for those who are influenced by the winds and the waves and not grounded, you probably look like someone who believes in anything and everything, who spends like nobody’s business, or has little discipline in your lives or being too overly dependent on your parents. You are probably more concerned over the level of your character in World of Warcraft and your next game for L4D. Trust me, you are simply not ready to take on your future role as the head of the family.

Secondly, you are simply delusional about how a relationship would look like. If you expect chemistry to happen at acquaintance level with a girl, then you really should read manga instead of going out to find a wife, since reading manga (shoujo especially) would give you a higher chance of entering into such a fantasy. Watching romance movies or chick flicks can do the same thing too. To be serious, you are too concerned over ‘chemistry’, and not concerned over the friendship. Another way your delusion may happen is this: you think that you are too good to ask a girl out and believe that the girl will approach you and be friendly to you in any case. To that, may I reiterate the point that exercising leadership and initiative really means that you make the first move as the guy.

Speaking about first move, thirdly, you make the first move. And you pluck out the courage to make the first move. And not only you make the first move, you should declare your intention and be direct with them. I am not telling you to go and directly ask the girl out of the blue, but when you sense that it is the right time, then go lah! I have seen guys who are so afraid that they suffer from analysis paralysis. And I understand the fear of rejection since I have been through that journey. But guys, the girls will appreciate if you are direct with them. I like what Eric Thoennes said in one of the Biola talk on BGR, that as guys, you owe it to the girls to stick your head out of your turtle shell and be prepared to suffer the chop. If you lack the balls to make the first move, no wonder you are still single. Why sit there until you die? You sit there and be inactive, you remain single. You go there and ask, you stand a chance.

So these are just some brief thoughts and trying to make sense of broadly, why guys remain single. I will stop here for now, given most of you would be tired out by reading the front part. I will address how we can move on from here in the next post.


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