Singleness Forum, Covenant College

Last night, FutureMrsLarijani and myself attended a Singleness forum at her alma mater, Covenant College. We had been walking on campus two days before, and saw the advertisement. Ergo, we figured we would drop in and observe the talks.

They had a three-person panel: One was a single male who was older. One was a lady who had married older. One was a lady who was in her late 30s and still single. There was a substantial number of students–literally a balanced mix of men and women; it was just about 50/50–who had joined in. I was probably the oldest person in the room.

The discussion was not a bad one. There was no fingerpointing: neither sex blamed the other over the protracted singleness dilemma. All three panelists, almost certainly due to their experiences, focused more on what to do while one remains single. The points were good ones. There was unanimous agreement over the failure of the Church with respect to singles. The man on the panel hit on a very important point: the students were in a unique situation in that there was a very good mix of singles. The men had a significant number of potential mates, and they would not see this situation once they graduated. (I wanted to chime in: ditto for the ladies.)

Unfortunately, what was not discussed was also important.

I would venture to say that most–if not all–of the folks in the room who were single, aspired to get married and/or start a family. I mingled with a fair number of folks afterward, and I did not observe any of the men or women desiring singleness as their calling with respect to marriage and family life.

Here’s the dilemma:

(1) Both sides clearly wanted to get married. There were few–if any–who were in the “marriage avoider” camp. I did not observe any feminists–not even sympathizers–in the mix. None of the gals with whom I spoked–or observed–was fixated on a career. One of them–a friend of FutureMrsLarijani’s who goes to the same church–resembles Christina: she WANTS to be married and have a family, and has stated that as her life aspiration from childhood.

(2) Both sides seemed like decent enough people. We all have our issues, but none of the folks seemed immature or otherwise unprepared to take steps toward that phase of life. The guys did not fit any of the stereotypes. Nor did the gals.

The question that was not asked in this regard: what can the Church–and the families–do differently with respect to singles, in order to make marriage happen?

I’ve harped on the need for better networking, and last night was a clear case for that. I spoke to a couple of the panelists about that.

Personally, I would have loved to have had that many single gals in my midst as a college student. (Where I went to school, the boy/girl ratio was 10 to 1. In my major, it was closer to 20 to 1.) I would have found a gal, and locked my sites on her, and almost certainly would have been engaged by the end of my undergrad studies.

But why wasn’t there more pursuit going on from the guys? I’d bet that you could literally have paired every guy up with a gal, and everyone in that room–who wanted to be married–could have been.

My question for you guys and gals: could it be that the lack of a network–and/or involvement of families in the process–is hindering the men in the college from doing the pursuing?

I posed that to the male panelist afterward, and he suggested that I might be onto something.

50 thoughts on “Singleness Forum, Covenant College

  1. You could take a lesson from Martin Luther (not king). When faced with this dilemma, he simply paired off the available monks and nuns by assignment. His own wife was as a result of “if no one else will have you, I will take you myself”.

    You have a room full of singles. Pair them up by compatible age and send them out on an arranged date. There are certainly worse ways of finding a spouse (going to bars, etc)

  2. that’s a great question. i went to baylor, and it was well known while i was there that the men did not pursue the women, so the women often dated men from other colleges/universities or places.

    too bad ya’ll didn’t know about it earlier … YOU coulda been on that panel!

  3. In my opinion, the women want a guy to pursue them, but in this feminized culture, guys don’t have what it takes anymore. What I think would work for them would be for the guys to ask a woman out on a date and see where it goes from there. In doing so, the guy is saying “you intrigue me, I’d like to get to know you better” and is risking rejection.

    Now days, the kids just seem to pal around in a blob of friends where there is no risk of rejection and reward of relationship.

  4. My question for you guys and gals: could it be that the lack of a network–and/or involvement of families in the process–is hindering the men in the college from doing the pursuing?

    Um, do bears poop in the woods? Is the Pope Catholic? Is the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Eastern Orthodox?

    Seriously, this is one way my wife and I have been positively influenced by Boundless. We’re now trying to help our single friends find people to marry – we’re actively trying to become that network that helps connect other people. I’ve come to the point where I don’t think there should be a situation, generally, where we look at a single friend or relative and say “Oh, poor so-and-so, still single…” and then don’t do any more to help them.

  5. I think that you usually have to fit within a cultural parameter of what is considered attractive within your local Christian culture in order to be pursued or taken. The truth is harsh, but it is true.

    My friend said that she knows a lot of women from a local Christian university and the ones who weren’t engaged by the end of their four year tenure did not fit within the confines of what is culturally attractive.

    As you can tell from my name, I live in a very big city and I attend a church that is in the heart of the city. Being attractive is very important and it is just a fact of life that the better you look, the easier it will be to meet someone – Christian, or not.

    I am not saying it is right or wrong, but it is.

  6. For the college situation, it can very much be a product of the contemporary college culture. When I was in college back in the mid-80s pretty much *no-one* dated. People hung out in larger groups and sometimes paired off, forming a couple, but there was no real “dating” — and most often these couples still played out most of their life with each other in that same larger group context –> they were “together”, but still in the context of the larger group, typically. As a result there was no real “pursuing” — the “pursuit”, such as it was, involved growing closer to someone in the context of getting to known them in a larger mixed-sex group of dormmates or something like that. The advantage of that system is that it reduces rejection risk — the guys don’t actually make a pass at a woman unless/until they’re quite sure what her response will be. The disadvantage, however, is that a whole lot of people — men and women alike — go without, and simply subsist in the context of the mixed sex groups. Of course in the contemporary culture, the hook-up scene has an impact, but I doubt that’s the case at Covenant College. More likely, though, is that the overall social dynamic veers more towards larger mixed sex groups of “friends” rather than people really being “paired off”.

  7. I think you’re on to something:
    When I think of a network for men,I think of authentic, mature, solid community of men. So yes, I think a lack of a network–in addition to dysfunctional examples of relating at home contribute to men not pursuing in college. But even further than that, I think what hits both sexes is a lack of families RAISING sons and daughters to be responsible, disciplined, balanced, self-controlled adults. People do what they know.
    What can the church do:

    Be intentionally intergenerational and not stay within the confines of “demographic” ministry—which creates group “cliques” where everyone wants to get married but never crosses paths with each other.
    Yes
    Encourage and create opportunities for mentoring relationships to develop, but also creating opportunities for healthy interaction between men and women, without creating the whole “high school vibe” socially when it comes to singleness

    If we are one in Christ, then we need to act like it…that means single, married, etc….we should not be treated with pity, disdain, or the other extreme(completely ignored or unaddressed) by marital status. If a person

    Adam T, you wrote:

    I’ve come to the point where I don’t think there should be a situation, generally, where we look at a single friend or relative and say “Oh, poor so-and-so, still single…” and then don’t do any more to help them.

    That comment triggers one of the areas I am still very apprehensive about building relationships with married couples. I’m already picky enough about the kind of people I develop authentic relationships with; I don’t want to be looked at with pity because I’m single; and sometimes I wonder if some married people get amnesia because they sometimes say all the same stereotypical bad advice people gave them when they were single.

    Chitownie:

    Wow, I can taste the tartness of that comment over here, and I certainly can relate(see the above comment). But guess what? You’ve got a choice in your attitude about that. Attractiveness is subjective; and if you want to be really honest, you don’t want EVERY guy knocking down your door—and every man, even in their own culture is not drawn to EXACTLY the same thing. Yes, someone has to find you attractive, but the way you’re talking makes it sound like your esteem hangs on whether or not someone wants you. It doesn’t, and the more you hold onto that pain of that internalized lie, the more you create the self-fulfilling prophecy. Which makes you more attractive and sends the message that you don’t care. And if you put off the attitude of bitterness and insecurity, well….it definitely doesn’t help you weed out the good ones from the bad ones….

  8. Guessing that you went to an engineering college Amir?

    Perhaps FutureMrsLarijani can comment on the gender-ratio amongst the student body during her times at Covenant? 50/50 sounds more like the attendance at the presentation was an anomaly. The evangelical liberal arts schools that I’ve stumbled across have typically tended to be more like the panel you mentioned they had – i.e. two (or likely more) women per man. (The school that my sister went to was even more slanted… something like 80% of the students were female).

    … or does the PCA’s standing on gender roles play in to even things out? i.e. Does Covenant College share the campus with a seminary? (I know that Covenant Seminary is a PCA institution… just not sure if they share a campus)

  9. Chitownie :

    I think that you usually have to fit within a cultural parameter of what is considered attractive within your local Christian culture in order to be pursued or taken. The truth is harsh, but it is true.

    My friend said that she knows a lot of women from a local Christian university and the ones who weren’t engaged by the end of their four year tenure did not fit within the confines of what is culturally attractive.

    As you can tell from my name, I live in a very big city and I attend a church that is in the heart of the city. Being attractive is very important and it is just a fact of life that the better you look, the easier it will be to meet someone – Christian, or not.

    I am not saying it is right or wrong, but it is.

    While falling within the conventional range of attractiveness will definitely help your chances, that does not guarantee that you will be pursued. I have a webmaster where I work, who is smoking hot. She keeps herself in excellent condition, is very sociable, and would make a good mate for someone. (Except for the fact that her theology is extraordinarily far to the left, as she attends an ultra-liberal Baptist church.)

    Personally, I think you are well within that range. Why you are not being pursued, is definitely a mystery. As I often say on these pages, we do not all get the breaks we want–or deserve–in life.

    Other than my height–or lack of it–I can’t quite understand why I was constantly rejected for so many years. Sure, I did not have the perfect social skills. But I was hardly anything close to the anti-social camp. Even when I was less fit than I am now, I have been in reasonable condition for most of my adult life.

    (I also take a shower at least every three months, whether I need it or not.)

    What’s funny: it seems that the fitter I became, the more rejections I got.

    Attractiveness does not hurt a person’s cause, but it is no guarantor of anything.

  10. Dave :

    Guessing that you went to an engineering college Amir?

    It was an aviation-related school: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I majored in aeronautical engineering. At the time I was there, the boy/girl ratio was in the neighborhood of 10:1. At the time, the school catered more to ROTC and ex-military types–and people who aspired to be aircraft mechanics and pilots. Back then, that meant a mostly male cohort.

    Within aeronautical engineering–my major–it was worse than that.

    Today, that situation has improved quite a bit. The university has gone to great lengths to recruit women, and women have also become more widely used in military roles. In addition, engineering is increasingly being sold to women as a career option.

  11. @Dave
    If I remember correctly, there was a slightly higher female population than male. The ratio differed slightly from year to year, but there are more female dorm halls than male dorm halls. Again, my memory may be slightly off. There is also a new dorm building and I don’t know how even the male:female ratio is right now.

    Still, as I have commented to Amir, I think the problem that plagues the students is that they want their ideal. I don’t know if maybe the current economic conditions will change the mindset, but I attended college at the height of the bubble that is now bursting. People were able to get what they want. People wanted to continue to get what they wanted. There is a certain ideal that people had that they pursued in searching for a spouse.

    I did not fit this ideal: non-Christian parents, public school K-12, I didn’t take very good care of myself, was more or less a new believer, very immature theologically.

    I think at the age group of undergraduates, there is a certain amount of freedom one has. However, they are in a catch-22 of sorts. If they “settle” for someone they meet at college, they could run the risk of wondering “what if . . . “. If you put your faith in the Sovereign Lord of the universe, one would think that this thought would be easily avoided. If they wait to see if they can find someone better, then the run the risk of not finding anyone.

    I don’t know. There are no easy answers. In finding a spouse there is no perfect one-size fits all formula. I think what the key is, at least for Amir & I, is that we take the lessons learned and apply them in the next chapter of life. We should do our best to minister to singles and not make them feel like second class citizens. We should make an effort at helping singles meet each other. We should make our home an environment in which people feel welcome.

    Let’s hope that the Lord uses us as He sees fits. And let’s hope that we are both obedient to that which the Lord ordains.

  12. Chitownie,

    I feel your pain my sister (and I don’t mean that in a Clintonian way). I want to encourage you to stay posiitive. I always used to remind myself that I don’t need every man to be attracted to me, I just need “the one” (I am not referring to “soulmates” but rather one who fits you well). And lo and behold he found me (and he even thinks I am pretty). Don’t give up! 🙂

    Some further thoughts on the post:
    Perhaps the idea that Anakin addressed a few posts back about women thinking men have “committed” to them after just having coffee is part of the problem as well. I also agree with FML that for some it is about idealizing what they are looking for.

  13. I’d bet that you could literally have paired every guy up with a gal, and everyone in that room–who wanted to be married–could have been.

    It’s interesting that older and/or married folks – parents, especially – seem to see this mainly as a numbers problem, and discount the elephant in the room: attractiveness.

    Chitownie has hit on this point, and I think it is all too often brushed aside in evangelical circles as “unspiritual” or at least irrelevant. How many times do we get the usual “The Wife of Noble Character” lecture at church, dismissing the fact that God created us also as physical/sexual beings with desires and attractions?

    Growing up in the church, I learned by osmosis that sexual attraction was “bad” (or at least very dangerous), and that church groups were NOT to be “meat markets” and that if you were looking for a mate at church, your spiritual priorities were off. I thought it unspiritual to look at an attractive girl twice, and got very, very good at suppressing any desire, or at least the self-admission of it. And I certainly can remember sitting around with other unmarried friends (of both sexes) and discussing how much we wanted to find that special someone but how much more “spiritual” we were because we chose not to attend other churches where the options were much greater. MUCH greater.

    Add to this the fact that church generally does not teach/allow boys or men to actually pursue much of anything in a masculine way, and it’s no wonder they don’t.

    Do I sound bitter? 😉 I am happily married for almost eight years now, but I am finally mature enough and aware enough of these attitudes that I see now that I took a path that was much longer than it needed to be (but my wife doesn’t think so!).

    Attractiveness is not just physical, and it varies by sex.
    Lately I’ve stumbled across some of the “PUA” type blogs, and although I disagree with their worldview and much of their actions, I often wonder if those outside the church actually have better insight into male-female attraction & dynamics than we inside it…?

    (For the record, Amir, I went to that other big flight school in the central US…)

  14. @cleared in hot
    Actually, almost all of the women in the room were at least moderately atractive. I am typically pretty observant
    about such matters.

    Moreover, given that I’ve been single for nearly 25 years of my adult life (I’m pushing 43 and marrying for the first
    time on Saturday), I’d say that I hardly qualify as “insensitive” to singles.

  15. @ReconsDad
    I didn’t mean to imply that you personally were insensitive, although re-reading my post it does come across that way. Sorry – I just meant to springboard off of that quoted bit of yours into my mini rant. Granted, I have only my personal experiences but I think this is one area where the church is failing young people.

    In any event, congrats, and best wishes for the next 43+ years!

  16. I’m at work, so can’t deal with this fully, but Librarian is speaking wisely. Women — perhaps I’m stepping in it a bit, but I’m sharing my impressions — seem to have a “script” in their mind a bit more than men may; and so they are looking for someone who follows the “script” moreso than looking at what is in front of them.

    As well, speaking of “scripts” – in Christian culture we don’t have very well established ideas of of what the “script” calls for. I.e. I know many women who think – and consistently act — as if “Godly and suitable mate” means “leadership position in church standing in the pulpit.”

    @Cleared in hot: I just a few days ago wrote a posting at singlextianman.wordpress.com about how the attraction between the genders is viewed with suspicion instead of something that He put into us. I hope you’ll check it out.

    Just my .02$

  17. Coming back:

    In my work as a nurse and in my socializing with (gasp!) females who are unbelievers as well as believers, I think that some unbelievers have a definitely more clear grasp of some things and ironically can show grace a little bit better than some people heavily steeped in “churchy” religion (vs. actually bearing the marks of His work in you). Secular women of my acquaintance are **attracted to** a man who treats them with purity. And I have had Christian women want to lecture me about my old-earth creationism or for not saying (this actually happened once) “In Jesus’ name” while giving thanks. These are extreme examples; of course. Jus’ saying, like Chitowne, we need to leave the religious games at the door.

  18. I think that talking about dating makes my blood pressure go up. I get very stressed out and my heart starts to beat rapidly. I think that the more I engage in conversation about it, the more sad I feel bc I feel
    as if being rejected and ignored is a fact of life as a single Christian. It was much easier when I was not bc I did not care and dating was very laid back. I think that this feeling is indicative of the fact that I am in much worse shape than I think. People like me don’t need a relationship – they need Jesus and friendship.

  19. “My question for you guys and gals: could it be that the lack of a network–and/or involvement of families in the process–is hindering the men in the college from doing the pursuing?

    I currently don’t interact with any college-age folks on a regular basis, so I really don’t know the answer regarding today’s young adults.

    Looking back on my college days in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, there was plenty of dating and pursuing going on. I tried to do my share, but I kept getting shot down.

    Could a network have helped? Perhaps, but I don’t think anyone was thinking about such networks 30 years ago. As for parents, my father and stepmother set me up on a date about 15 years ago, but it didn’t go well at all.

    As far as attractiveness, I often found that just because someone was physically attractive didn’t mean they also had an attractive personality. Only a couple of the women I’ve dated over the years would have been model material.

    In my case I also had some liabilities. I’ve struggled with my weight most of my life, and since my college days I’ve pretty much been on the losing side of that battle. My hairline began receding when I was in high school. Some women think bald is beautiful, but not all do. And I struggled with being somewhat awkward around women when I was a younger man. I hope I’ve overcome that as I’ve grown older. Unfortunately, some of the advice I got along the way was a lot less than helpful. I hope and pray today’s young men aren’t getting similar advice.

  20. when I say “attractive” I mean culturally attractive which entails the persona and attire and upbringing. Many of the women considered attractive in a reformed well to do setting tend to be less than a size 8, quiet, educated and came from a “good Christian home.” and is one who will be suitable to bring home. If you wear Ed Hardy – well you should just go into a monastic lifestyle. The secular world seems to be a lot more open and it could be why Christians do date nonbelievers. I hope by God’s mercy that I don’t end up there.

    But at a church I left that is a different beast (I will never go back) the standard is different. They care more about works and how many souls you try to win to Jesus and I am sure if you spend +70 bucks on a dress, you are ” too worldly”.

    I am not saying these things because I think I know it all, but the quieter stay less people can be helped.

    I don’t mind being single, but I mind being ignored repeatedly when these Christian men just speak to a friend who weighs 20 lbs less. How can I desire a relationship if I am surrounded by such immature and shallow bs?!

  21. And I look like my picture and work out five days a week!

    I’d rather be hated for what I post because somebody has to speak up for those who feel defeated and struggle daily with really feeling free in Christ.

    Perhaps I just came up a bad crop of men, let’s pray that they are not the majority!

  22. Moderator, apologies for such a long post.

    Chitownie, you said:

    “when I say “attractive” I mean culturally attractive which entails the persona and attire and upbringing. Many of the women considered attractive in a reformed well to do setting tend to be less than a size 8, quiet, educated and came from a “good Christian home.” and is one who will be suitable to bring home. If you wear Ed Hardy – well you should just go into a monastic lifestyle. The secular world seems to be a lot more open and it could be why Christians do date nonbelievers. I hope by God’s mercy that I don’t end up there.”

    Sorry, but could you explain a bit more, for instance “reformed well to do” – cf. ‘unreformed’, poor? Not sure I understand? And who is Ed Hardy? Why a monastic lifestyle?

    You also mention:

    “But at a church I left that is a different beast (I will never go back) the standard is different. They care more about works and how many souls you try to win to Jesus and I am sure if you spend +70 bucks on a dress, you are ” too worldly”.”

    This type of denomination is poisoned with legalism and has lost sight of God’s grace through Jesus Christ, I’m glad you moved on. The harder you try to “win” souls, the less those souls want to be won. The Holy Spirit changes hearts and minds, (“metanoia” as the Greeks say), not us. We are to have an answer for the hope that lies within, and to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world. You’d be amazed at what happens when we do that. By the sounds of it, you’ve probably been doing this for a while now.

    And Finally you state:
    “I am not saying these things because I think I know it all, but the quieter stay less people can be helped.”

    Please elaborate.

    Personal anecdote: A friend of mine is a partner in a law firm, reasonably handsome, well travelled, courteous, clean living, played hockey several times a week, lanky (although marriage has filled him out a bit 😉 ) and was even an elder for several years in my old church. In other words, a good solid man. He has a moderately sized circle of good male and female friends. Many women didn’t give him the time of day because they thought him too bland and/or spartan (he saved his $$ and didn’t have flashy stuff for a lawyer).

    Who did he end up marrying? Not your typical ‘Christian woman”. No, through friends he was set up with a Punjabi single mother with two preteen daughters. The ex husband had run off back to India with someone else. She’d raised her daughters for many years on her own but with help from the extended family, though. She’s even a convert from Sikhism who attended the same church, which is where they were introduced to each other. Not six months later the daughters were already calling him Dad.

    Why am I telling you this? Well there ARE good men out there who have been ignored too, not just because they are unattractive, or poor (ie. less than a six figure annual income – a sign of an enfeebled faith according to some experts).

    More to follow

  23. A bit more, Chitownie…..if you’ll permit me 🙂

    Not sure what your age group is; I’m assuming mid 20s to early 30s. Now I’m in my mid 30s too and I also wonder what’s (not) going on. There are many things I don’t know or care about, like popular parachuch theological trends/fads, evangelical cultural gender role models, which christians(?) to vote for so as not to jeopardise one’s church membership and therefore one’s eternal salvation, preacher/pastor/candlestick maker of the month etc… I’m sure in certain denominations/movements these deficiencies are grievous stains on my soul which impede or eliminate my marriageability.

    So what!! Those concepts are NOT the Gospel; as Jesus says in Matthew 23:4, “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” Such legalism is disgracefully damaging. I’ve seen many couples who would never satisfy the exacting gender standards of evangelical marriage pundits. Yet they’ve been married for many years and decades and suffered through crises both self brought on and also out of their control. But they trusted God and he worked wonders in spite of their human frailty.

    Over time, I’ve apprehended that in spite of all the self righteous evangelical gender role puffery, they are temporary; Christ is eternal and the sooner I learn to let Him show Himself through me to the people around me, the more content I’ll be with what I’m given at any particular time. So I had to get on with life and trust God, I don’t mean in a cheesy Christian bookstore way, but a real way, which only God enables you to do. Remember that all the churchy hyperventilating is just that… not comforting at all. BUT as Job says ,”I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth, and after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” Job 19:25-26.

    Honestly just get on with life, you’ll be ok. God loves you, that’s the most important thing in the world. Sure feelings come and go, some days are just plain s—ty and sad, trust me I’ve been there too. But God will and does love us in spite of (or maybe because of) ourselves. One more verse for you, Romans 8:38,39.

    God bless, sister.

  24. *shrug* I’m not quite so sure it’s a networking issue. It’s more of an issue of choices, I’d think. This is coming from a single guy, so I’m hardly unsympathetic to the frustration expressed at the forum.

    With family involvement, you probably would get more marriages. With Papal commandments, you could smush together every single person in there, I suppose. But we’re in a place now that gives adults the freedom to chose their mates, and humans being as they are, most will hold out for the high payoff if they can.

    I’ve come to the place where I really can’t complain about my singleness anymore. Sure, I’d rather be married, in general. But the women I’ve been interested in, thus far, have not been interested in me. And vice versa. I could lower my standards (either in the secular, attractiveness sense, or in the Biblical, spiritual sense) and be married in a year, tops. I choose not to (freely acknowledging that God may shift my desires at a later date). Yes, being lonely sucks. Oh well, that is in my opinion better than the alternatives currently available (marrying a woman I am not attracted too or marrying a woman who is not a Christian). Welcome to life, that’s the breaks.

  25. Interesting discussion. Looking back at my college years, I did not make the best choices of who to date. I dated Christians, or at least people who claimed to be, but for the most part, I went for the ones I was most attracted to. It wouldn’t have even occurred to me to date someone for whom I only had mild attraction, or none, just to see if anything developed. ANd it wasn’t just a physical thing–my radar seemed to lead me to men who may have professed to love Jesus, but didn’t treat women very well. Case in point–two of them are now divorced and one of them is no longer a believer. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I gained the wisdom (or brain maturity) to make healthy choices in relationships. So I feel a bit torn. Sure, it would have been better to build a relationship leading to marriage at a younger age. But it seems I just wasn’t ready–I’m sure it didn’t help that I came from a broken home. I married an amazing man and now have two kids. So it worked out, and meanwhile, I was able to do grad school and missions work as a single.

    I’m hopeful my daughter will benefit from my wisdom–no one ever emphasized to me how crucial it was that a man be emotionally mature and of godly character (just being a Christian is not enough). Also, my daughter will have the example of our healthy marriage and a good template for what to look for in her father.

  26. I think Julie’s statement preceeding her information about the two divorced men is important:

    “ANd it wasn’t just a physical thing–my radar seemed to lead me to men who may have professed to love Jesus, but didn’t treat women very well. Case in point–two of them are now divorced and one of them is no longer a believer.”

    I think it is important to note that these two particular men did not treat women well.

    ***

    That being said, in general, there is a tendency to assume that the split of a marriage is the fault of the man when, in fact, as noseintheair pointed out, “women have old natures, too.”

    I think that anytime one is with another who does not treat them well, whether male or female, they should avoid that person … that covers romantic and frienship and business and church, etc, relationships.

    ***

    i find it interesting that many a time a ‘good woman’ or a ‘good man’ can marry an ‘average’ person, and the two bring out the best in each other in such a way that they bring each other up to incredible people.

    still, it is the choice of each individual. a wife cannot make choices for her husband, and a husband cannot make choices for his wife.

  27. No, I have no idea why their marriages ended. I do know that one of them had a history of unfaithfulness with the girlfriend (the one he eventually married).

    I guess in the language of these blogs, they were probably “Alphas” when they were younger. And the man I married would probably be called a Beta. I’m just really really grateful I ended up with who I did.

  28. @ Tannen – Ed Hardy is the name of a clothing brand that is very colorful and has cool graphics. http://www.edhardyshop.us/

    I tend to like more edgy, dark clothes with interesting graphics on it, while some of my peers in Churchville tend to be more interested in khaki’s and things that are not too flattering on me or enjoyable to wear.

    Thanks for your long, thoughtful post. I feel a lot better than I did when I last posted. I was feeling so sad and defeated, especially after a church related event, but my focus has shifted a little bit more because I am in the process of changing jobs (a positive thing) and doing things for the holidays.

    The conclusion I finally came down to is to just be myself and to keep pressing on in my own discipleship. I have a community of family and friends in my area and am thankful for their company, especially throughout the past few years that have been very difficult. I’ll persist in pursuing my own interests, as long as they honor God and if some Christian guy spurns me for that reason, well – would I have wanted to attract him in the first place?

  29. @ame: Yes, you are correct about the ‘flags’ – this shot past me. I tend to be tender about about the “it’s always the man’s fault” kind of thinking. Blew right past me.

    @chitowne: Your idea of resting in your state even if a CHristian man is not interested is good; it’s good for both genders to think this way.

  30. Overall, I’m thinking there are two factors at work, that are exacerbated by a lack of networking and mentoring on both sides.

    (a) Men aren’t doing enough pursuing. We can haggle back and forth about whether the Bible requires that men do the pursuing, and that is a moot point. The issue here is what is higher percentage versus lower percentage. If you are a man, and want to be married, then sitting on your arse and expecting a gal to fall into your lap is not a high-percentage move.

    (b) Women and men each are holding out for unreasonable expectations. We can sit here and talk about the stereotypes–which are not universally true, but are true enough that they merit a favorable mention. Women impose requirements on men that are not Biblical. Men often impose requirements on women that are out of the scope of Proverbs 31. This results in frustrations on both ends.

    Compound that with the lack of mentoring–older women lovingly guiding the younger ones in decisions, and older men doing the same for the younger–and add a waning of parental involvement (unlike what existed in prior generations), and you have a mother of a problem.

  31. noseintheair – as you well know, NOTHING shoots right past ME! hahehoo NOT NOT NOT!!!!! lol … you are absolutely forgiven.

    we are a summary of our experiences. the deeper we are affected, the more they color our world. that’s neither good nor bad; it just is. actually, i think that God often takes these and uses them for His purposes. Truth must be told, and it takes bold people to stand up and proclaim such.

  32. “older women lovingly guiding the younger ones in decisions”

    i’ve found that often the ‘older women’ are so caught up in themselves they are unable to mentor and guide younger ones … and the by-default-leadership they do offer is not beneficial. i searched for a mentor for many, many years b4 i found one.

  33. There is a person that my mom’s friend wants me to meet. But it is getting weird bc this man’s parents want to meet me first. I don’t know if he is Christian and I am not sure why this guy’s parents are so eager to set up a meeting. I told my mom that I want this man to contact me directly. I feel kind of sick about this now. Please pray for me. I don’t want to be a jerk, but if a guy will not take the initiative to at least call me first and needs his parents to communicate with me – why should I put myself through this? The major rub is that this person’s parents want to find out right away if I am right for their son 🙁

  34. I mean – I want to talk to this person via phone before meeting him. I don’t think any of you will get it. These people are from a culture that is known for sticking to your own kind and not much about democratic decision making. My parents are from the same country but are a lot more acculturated to the US. I think that I am upset bc they want to meet me so soon. This is not flattery – I feel like a huge piece of meat. I don’t know this man’s name. Even my mom is being understanding. Please pray that I will not become extremely depressed as it gets closet to meeting him.

  35. @Chitownie
    I wouldn’t necessarily worry too much about the dynamics. No matter how it plays out–you meet the parents first, or meet him first–you will still have plenty of opportunity to make a decision. You will still ultimately get to meet him and have frank talks–one on one–with him.

    You will also have the opportunity to have your network check him out.

  36. Ame :

    “older women lovingly guiding the younger ones in decisions”

    i’ve found that often the ‘older women’ are so caught up in themselves they are unable to mentor and guide younger ones … and the by-default-leadership they do offer is not beneficial. i searched for a mentor for many, many years b4 i found one.

    Yes…that is why the Church is dropping the ball on this front. There is a logical reason that Gen-X and Gen-Y are so futzed up: their parents were/are not exactly paragons of spiritual strength and discernment themselves.

  37. @ Reconsdad – They want to meet me this Saturday. None of my friends will be able to come out towards that part of the city to be with me. Also, it is considered rude if I bring my friends with me, even though I really want to. Reconsdad – I haven’t even had a chance to go out and date anybody at all and now I feel like I am being forced to just focus on one person I never met. I just wrote a long email to my mom explaining how difficult it is for me to meet these people after work this Saturday and since I will be very tired from working and I am under a lot of stress from changing jobs to holiday rush – these people (sounds like the guy’s parents) don’t respect any boundaries – to them, I am just a doll and I need to smile and act like a submissive lady.

  38. Hi,

    To all of the people who have responded and read my emotionally charged posts – thank you very much. I have been undergoing a lot of stress and it really helps to be able to share what is going on here. I feel a little bit better about Saturday because my parents are on my side and I feel like at least God is on my side too. If these people try to pressure me into some sort of commitment, then I know that I have the freedom to walk away and my family to back me up. Thank you much and I continue to covet your prayers – perhaps for me to have more opportunities to get to know more CHRISTIAN men.

    (There is a personal trainer at my gym who I have a big crush on….I thought I was too old for that!)

  39. we’re never too old for crushes … which is why is is SO important, that when married, each spouse makes conscious choices to have eyes and heart and mind and soul ONLY for their spouse. the consequences of not doing so are devestating.

  40. Chitownie, I’ll respond to your reply to me later. Thanks for clearing some of that up.

    As to being torn between filial piety and your own intuition on meeting this other family, two things come to mind: put your foot down and INSIST you meet their son before deciding ANYTHING, and bring a friend or friends along regardless. BOTH of his parents will be there, not just one, it’s only fair you go with someone else including your mother. Why has the son blindly deferring to the parent’s wishes, anyways?

    I’ve seen stuff like this before, so if I may ask, is your background East Asian ie. Chinese/Taiwanese, Korean, Malaysian? Because it sounds like there is more going on here than just whether you are personally suitable for their son. From what you’ve alluded to, the other family seems concerned about how each family’s prestige/status within their expat community is going to mesh together, specifically, will the future wife of their son drag down their own family’s reputation within said expat community. That’s a prescription for decades of resentment and gossip. One more thing, the family immigrated to start “a better life” for their children, I imagine. Part of that is relinquishing some control over such matters.

    OTOH, he might be a real nice responsible guy (who doesn’t wear Ed Hardy or watch UFC etc.) chafing under his parents’ thumb, waiting for you to bring him out of his shell. Some people just need a bit of coaxing. Either way by the sounds of it, he’s not going to be the evangelical superhusband your church recommends you should be praying/pining for. thatmight not be a bad thing at all.

    Apologies for being brusque, but God’s given you common sense, and it’s there for you to get maximum use out of. God Bless, Hope it works out.

  41. The meeting was cancelled bc the family had some year end tax thing to take care of. My parents really went to bat for me and I am thankful for that.

    @tannen – thank you for your response.

    This situation has been a wake up call for me. I am done posting on this thread. The rest is between me and God.

    Regarding Mr. Fitness – he probably has a lot of crushes – but none as cuddly and off the wall
    as Miss Chitownie 😎

  42. Singleness is a vital season for preparation and growth—“growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Hosting empowering life sessions, interactive activities and a series of personal growth workshops, CF Connexion creates opportunities for singles to engage and participate in community life, with the purpose of finding and building meaningful friendships and connections.

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