by Eric Demeter
I’m not a doctor. But I did go through six years of socializing, studying, and partying at a secular university (probably in that order). That’s why I experienced culture-shock when I landed my first grown-up job at a conservative Christian college. I was also a newbie Christian and a greenhorn in the world of Christian dating.
Shortly thereafter, there was a perturbing newsflash in the campus newspaper. Apparently, the male students were refusing to take female students on dates. And the ladies were frustrated. Indeed, one particularly jaded, yet highly motivated female student decided to publish her angst. The result was nothing short of a written intervention!
The author attributed her peers’ lack of courting prowess to men playing too many video games. She also begrudgingly claimed that if the guys actually took them on a date, it would probably be to their dorm room to play Halo anyway.
I was both shocked and entertained. I thought, “Seriously? Why did an attractive woman need to write such a plea?” To say this problem was non-existent among secular students is an understatement.
Fast-forward twelve years from when this article was published: It seems the tidal wave of frustration from single women has yet to subside. It’s unproductive that social media is fueling many of these popular stereotypes. These invalidated memes only agitate the frustration and do nothing to heal the wound.
With this in mind, let me debunk five myths associated with guys, singleness, and Christian dating culture. Hopefully these will begin to calm the tumultuous waters caused by these issues.
Myth #1: Men Are Not Pursuing Women (or, Men Don’t Want to Be Married)
Truth: According to the Barna Research Group, 84% of Christians will get married at some point. Therefore, if you believe matrimony is sparked by the initial pursuit of a man, then 84% of men will pursue a woman in their life. This exposes the myth that men don’t pursue. So cheer up women! The odds are in your favor—you will most likely be married.
Furthermore, in my social circles, the statistic is much higher. I’d postulate that 99% of my male cronies place marriage as an important goal. (My one friend who is adamant about maintaining his singleness can be the token, “Bachelor to the Rapture.”)
Myth #2: Men Are Too Picky
Truth: Actually, this stereotype has at least the potential to be true. Statistically, there are just more women in church than men. According to a Gallup poll, the average church in America is made of up 47% women and only 39% men.
Sorry ladies, the fact is, there’s just not enough of us go around on Sundays! But seriously, this is not a good deal for you. It’s like attempting to win at five-card poker with only four cards.
Even so, a theoretical increase in opportunity for us men doesn’t equate to us increasing our criteria for potential wives. What is true is that both women and men often write absurd non-negotiable lists for their future spouses. Lastly, it only takes one person to marry, regardless of which gender is dominant in church.
Myth #3 It’s Not Painful for Men to Be Single
Truth: Men also feel the sting of singleness. Biologically, we have the same number of pain receptors as women. And wasn’t it Adam who was originally alone in the Garden? Twice, the Bible states that God needed to create Eve because “no suitable helper was found.” Men need women as much as women need men.
My solo-life has been an emotional roller-coaster. It’s had its advantages, like world travel. But if I take one more photo next to my buddy (and not my wife) at some arbitrary ancient ruin, I’ll consider joining a monastery in reprise.
It’s impossible (and unproductive) to compare whether men or women endure more pain through this season. Let’s stop this madness. Singleness hurts us both because many of our hopes and dreams are wrapped in the blanket of marriage.
At the same time, many women endure a unique pain that is tied to their time-sensitive dream of bearing children. Some men long to have children as well, but their bodies don’t “tick” in the same manner. Guys need to understand and empathize with this clock.
Myth #4: Singleness Indicates Men Are Immature
If a certain woman desires to be married more than a certain man, it doesn’t make her more mature. It only reveals she wants to be married more! Where does Scripture claim that marriage is the litmus test for spiritual maturity anyway? It’s easy to forget that the apostle Paul actually warns about the dangers of marriage in 1 Corinthians 7.
Certainly, some men should relinquish their adolescent thinking and limit playing video games. In a society of fatherless families and deadbeat dads, this is no surprise. These BAAM’s (Boys Acting As Men) need to be appropriately mentored. At the same time, I’ve met plenty of women who share similar juvenile thinking.
Myth #5: The Genders Need to Battle
Truth: We are in this together. God created us male and female to complement each other and to reflect His Divine nature—not to battle. Let’s withdraw our fighting stance, therefore, and cease sparring. Instead of being enemies, let’s fight in unity the adversary Jesus mentions.
We are dependent on each other—to be married, to have a family, and to enjoy intimacy. It will take both voices, singing in harmony, to figure out this relationship-enigma.
I’m not sure the author’s barbed editorial ever gave her the date-night she was looking for. I never asked. But, like many women today, she needed to air her grievance. Moreover, the issues that keep us single are more complex than just blaming a few immature men. Let’s stop drinking the purple Kool-Aid and, instead, sip some lattes, and have a real conversation.
My next article will explain why a man doesn’t pursue a woman, and what she can do when he doesn’t pursue.