(1) In my single days, I did not discriminate against women who had prior promiscuity or who had tattoos. I dated both virgins and non-virgins. The relationships that failed, failed for reasons having nothing to do with sexuality or body art.
I do not believe that virginity is the be-all/end-all. Is it a bigger deal than our culture wants you to think? Yep. Is your world over if you’re not a virgin? Nope. Are your chances of enjoying sex when you get married over if you’re not a virgin? Nope. Are your chances of having a good Christian marriage over if you’re not a virgin? Nope.
And as I say this, I also realize that there are women and men who are not virgins, and are not so due to circumstances beyond their control (i.e. sexual abuse). I’ve known very few Christian men who would have a problem dating or marrying a gal in that boat.
(2) Nor, in my single days, did I discriminate against women who had debt. However, looking back, I will say this much: if a gal had carried a higher debt load than I would have been able to support, it would have been a show-stopper.
With that out of the way, it would not be unfair to say that Lori Alexander made herself the mother of all lightning rods with this post.
The title alone struck a cord in the Twittersphere. I first noticed it when Ashley Easter linked to it. The condemnations were quick and unending. Most of my friends in that sphere attacked it.
My immediate thoughts, before reading the article, were “Well…duh…men tend to want their women to have minimal baggage, and the same is true of the women with respect to men.”
(I’ve always said it plainly: men and women each have their general preferences. It does not make either side mean or unfair, it just is what it is. As an example: women, as a group, prefer tall men. As someone who is more akin to Reepicheep than to LeBron James, that put me at a disadvantage in my single days.)
At the same time, while the title of the article–fairly or unfairly–generated controversy, I found the actual article to be a bit ridiculous in places.
Do you know how much more attractive debt-free virgins (without tattoos) are to young men? Unfortunately, there are so few of these types of young women anymore because of the high costs of college (debt) and sexual promiscuity even within those in the church. As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to live in a way that is pleasing to Him because His ways are the best. He calls debt a burden and urges us to live lives of sexual purity.
That’s true, and it is true of the men as well. When Paul gave his many admonitions regarding sexual ethics, he did not merely aim them at women.
OTOH, Alexander is not far from a point here that is worth mentioning: from the stats I’ve seen, the male virgins, in raw and percentage terms, outnumber the female virgins. Intuitively, I expected the opposite, but that is apparently not the case. And given that men–irrespective of how much you shame them–will tend to prefer a virgin over non-virgin, that does not bode well for the ladies, at least not on the margins.
Now, for some of the more controversial content:
There are many reasons why Christian young women should carefully consider whether or not they go to college, especially if they want to be wives and mothers someday. Secular universities teach against the God of the Bible and His ways. It’s far from what God calls women to be and do: it teaches them to be independent, loud, sexually available, and immodest instead of having meek and quiet spirits.
That depends on your major. If you major in any of the STEM fields–even biology, where evolution is a commonly-held belief among faculty–they aren’t going to bother you, as they are more concerned about your academic performance in fields that require hard analysis, than they are about your worldview. If you’re a Christian and oppose evolution, you may get some derision here and there, but if you can do the work, the static you get will be minimal.
In fields like engineering, it’s even better: no one cares if you’re gay, straight, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu, but if you can’t calculate the shear, torsional, and bending stresses on the main spar of an aircraft under various loading conditions, then you’re going to have a problem.
One woman wrote to me and gave her opinions on why women shouldn’t go to college. (I have added my thoughts in parenthesis.):
“Men don’t want to marry a women with debt. Most of this debt comes from college. They would also prefer a woman who still lives at her parent’s house that has not had other relationships. Do those two things and you will be highly sought after.” (I’m not sure about men only preferring women who still live at their parent’s house and have had no other relationships since some young women have no choice but to live away from their families and some have had their hearts broken by men they thought was ‘the one.’ I would agree that most men don’t want to marry a woman with a load of debt! That isn’t right to bring into a marriage.)
Sure, men would prefer their women to have no debt. And this is rational: they realize that, as soon as the first baby arrives, her income stream is probably going to dry up, at least in the near-term. If she wants to be a SAHM, then he’s going to need to be able to cover for everyone, and that means he will need to support her debts as well as his. That’s economic reality.
At the same time, there is nothing in Proverbs 31 suggesting that a woman must forego college and take on no debt and live with her parents until her knight in dented armor shows up.
I would also suggest that men ought to be careful about the debt they take on in their single days. As they consider college or professional paths, they also need to think in terms of potential return on investment (ROI) as well as payback time. Not all college paths are prudent.
“If they go to college, they are unlikely to stay home raising their children to pay off the debt and use the degree they spent years on.” (I have seen this in many young women’s lives, sadly.)
What I just said about the men–that they need to consider ROI and payback time–applies to women, and for the reasons stated. If you’re coming out of college at age 22 and you want to get your debt paid down before you become a SAHM and that takes 5 years of all-out work, that puts you at 27 before you consider children. Your peak fertility years are now behind you. And if you’re not married yet, the most desirable men in your cohort are now taken.
(At that point, the best available men are going to be socially-awkward, short, geeky PITA types–like I was. :))
Calling me names won’t change the reality, because I didn’t create it.
“The husband will need to take years teaching his wife the correct way to act, think, and live since college taught them every possible way that is wrong.” (Sadly, most young Christian women wouldn’t listen to their husbands since they’ve not been taught to live in submission to their husbands. However, it’s the older women who are called to teach the younger women biblical womanhood and most husbands have never seen it modeled in their lives so they wouldn’t know what to teach.)
Lori, you lost me here.
“Teaching their wives the correct way to act, think, and live”???
Are you kidding me, Lori?
Where have you been for the last 50 years?
Let’s be honest here: neither sex is lighting up the world for Jesus right now.
From my own observations: the men need themselves to be taught how to love, act, and live in a Godly manner. They sure aren’t learning that at church, with all the half-baked and plagiarized sermons coming from the pulpits.
The men are downloading porn at such a rate that you now have men–IN THEIR 20s–who are getting married and cannot get it up with a real naked woman in the room.
The men are also racking up mountains of debt that they must take many years to pay.
And the men who are most desirable? They tend to be the “Alpha Males”, who themselves have a crap-ton of sexual baggage of their own.
Right now, as for church attendance, singles are largely falling off the map. When they graduate high school, both sexes often leave the church, but the men seem to be taking a longer time coming back. We can argue all day about why that is, but let’s be honest with ourselves: that is the situation on the ground.
There are lots of things to challenge about the culture, including the mantra that college is good, as there are good and bad reasons to go to college.
Good Christian women will go to college, some will even go on to law and medical school. Some will become doctors, lawyers, engineers, IT professionals, even businesswomen. Good Christian women will also stay home, perhaps go to trade school, and forge different niches. Good Christian women will move out, work on their own, and forge a path that is more independent.
None of those things, in particular, are evil.
As a Body, we need to have a larger discussion about debt. Especially student loan debt. Fact is, college is not the marginal benefit that it was 30 years ago. There was a time when a 4-year degree in ANYTHING would guarantee a good job and a quick ROI, but that is no longer the case.
And when you factor in debt, the benefit of college CAN be dubious. Not just for women, but also for men. It may be for you, it may not be. There is no hard “this is what you must do” plan for everyone, but rather teens and their parents need to make rational and sober decisions in this area.
As for the secular mindset of colleges, that is not a new phenomenon, although some departments may be more hostile to Christians than others. The larger issue in that regard is this: parents and churches need to do a better job equipping their children to deal with a hostile world.
At the same time, being marriagable is more than being a debt-free virgin with no tattoos.
While those are good things that would–ceteris paribus–make a gal more and not less attractive, they are not substitutes for Christian character.