Part 3: What Men and Women Can Do (Now the Men)

In this installment, I need to provide some operational stipulations:

(1) This is directed toward those singles who ARE otherwise inclined to marry. I am not in the mandatory marriage crowd, and–if you wish to remain single–that is your call and I am cool with that.

(2) I am not an egalitarian with respect to marital roles. That understanding is nowhere to be found in Scripture.

OTOH, let’s look at the common complaints of the single women in the Church:

(a) The men won’t commit. In my discussions with Debbie Maken, she had seen that dynamic at all of her church experiences: the women outnumbered the men, and the men used that to their advantage.

MrsLarijani–during her time at Covenant College–also tells me that this dynamic was prevalent, as the women outnumbered the men. (Oh, and from what I saw from my few times on the campus, I believe her. There was quite a selection. And those gals are overwhelmingly from conservative Christian backgrounds.)

Right before we got married, MrsLarijani and I were at a singles forum at Covenant. The room was pretty evenly distributed with single men and women. The women ranged from very good looking to moderately attractive. I’ll bet I could have torn a page from Sun Yung Moon and paired every guy with a gal and everyone who wanted to be married could have been married. And yes, everyone in that room wanted marriage. That was obvious. And yet, there was zero pursuit going on, in a forum where the men were expected to be pursuers.

So yes, I do not doubt the accounts where the women complain of men not committing or pursuing.

(b) The men are spending too much time looking at porn. Again, this is not surprising. I could devote several posts to this very topic alone. It is a serious problem, and the men need to face it front and center.

(c) the women complain that the single men aren’t going to church. While I’ve had the opposite experience in my single life, I am seeing more of that dynamic now that I am married. I’m seeing some single women in my church, and there aren’t men for those women at that church. The single men I know in the church are already dating or engaged.

(d) the women complain of the “player” culture among the men. This is a problem, but–sadly–the women are part of it. Still, the men have some soul-searching to do on this one. I’ll address that.

To the men:

ONE ONE HAND, YOU HAVE BEEN SCREWED!!!

If you grew up in the church, you probably have been sold an emasculated Jesus. Your sorry excuse of a pastor was probably a total wuss who doesn’t have the stones to stand up to his own wife, let alone the women whose tushies he kisses, who sit on the committees that can fire him.

You have been taught to be nice Christian boys, who never get into conflicts, are always agreeable, and never fight with anyone. When you deal with the ladies, you are on eggshells, not wanting to disagree in fear that you will lose her. Your idea of “servant leadership” means you do whatever she wants.

If you keep that up, you will either (a) remain single, as no decent gal will be remotely attracted to you; or (b) end up in a very unhappy marriage if not divorced.

(One of our small group leaders–an Army chaplain who has extensive experience in marriage counseling–says that a lot of women, in divorce, have a chief complaint: that their husbands never disagreed or held the line, and merely acquiesced at every turn.)

Just as Adam lacked the stones to contest his wife as she was deceived by the serpent, many men lack the stones to pursue conflict when it is the right thing to do. As a result, they lose any respect they hoped to get from the women before they even get out of the gate.

You can complain of the women being engulfed in feminism. And while that complaint is not without merits, the proper response to feminism is not passive indifference, but rather strength. Fact is, even a panty-waist feminist liberal will otherwise want a strong man in the house.

How do you project strength? That’s easy: show utter contempt for their displays of feminism. Even if you’re not interested in dating them, you’ll gain their respect.

I can vouch for this firsthand. From my days at Southern Seminary, I often went toe to toe with feminists over a variety of issues. What’s funny, though: those feminists knew who to come to when they needed tutoring for their upcoming exams.

Another way to show strength: pursue the gals. Some of you are on eggshells and worry about rejection. In this case, you have two choices: do nothing and be GUARANTEED to remain single, or ask a gal out and have the POSSIBILITY of getting married. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE! If she says no, you’re no worse off. Put off the fear and go with the LOGIC.

What else can you do? Well, many of the things I recommended for the women ALSO APPLY TO THE MEN.

(1) Get involved in a good church, and start building a network of friends. College or no college, you need to do this.

(2) Just as with the ladies, study your Bible often. Especially Proverbs and the Epistles. Many people grow up in the Church, but never get a full look at books like Proverbs, which is a shame because the wisdom literature of Scripture has a treasure trove of practical insights that–heeded–will save you from blunder after blunder.

(3) Be diligent. Get a job, and work at it. Again, it doesn’t matter if you’re flipping burgers, delivering pizzas, or building a company. What matters: earning your keep, being gainfully employed, making an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Much has been said of female hypergamy–their tendency to want to “marry up”. While those asssessments are correct, we must not always count it as a negative thing, although it often is. For example: an aspiring SAHM would be right to want a man who demonstrated the capacity to be hard-working and gainfully employed. That brand of hypergamy is a good thing.

(4) Just as with the ladies, so it is with the guys: make every effort to get and stay out of debt! If you must take out student loans, take a very small amount, something you can pay off within a few months after graduation or–better yet–in the summer in between terms. If you use credit cards, keep them paid off every month.

(5) Even more so for the guys: STAY OFF THE PORN! While its use among women is rising fast, porn still does most of its damage on the men. This is because of the way men are wired: the effect of porn on the brain is similar to that of cocaine. Dr. Judith Reisman has dubbed that the erototoxin effect.

For the men, it is like adding liquid hydrogen to a barbeque grill. The worst case scenarios are nasty: every year, a couple hundred deaths occur due to autoerotic asphyxiation. This is overwhelmingly fueled by pornographic activity.

Even if you aren’t even close to the worst-case, if you’re a user of porn, you need to get out of that culture. I realize that every red-blooded male reading this has had some porn exposure, and I also realize that porn–combined with the hormonal full-court press known as puberty–can have a devastating effect on a guy that can take years to learn to master.

I’m not here to shame you–other evangelical leaders already do plenty of that–but the sooner you learn to master this, the better off you will be. If you are having trouble in this area, please do get some help, sooner rather than later. You’ll be better-off for it, and your future wife will also appreciate that.

(6) I don’t care how much you get razzed, or looked down on, regarding your sexual inactivity, DO NOT PLAY THE FIELD OR ENGAGE IN THE HOOKUP CULTURE! BTW: one way you will know if a Christian gal is a good catch: if you are sexually inexperienced, she will not look down on you for it. Moreover, as Susan Walsh has recently pointed out: male promiscuity is also potentially damaging to a future marriage. (I say this because men often point to female promiscuity as high-risk behavior. While this is true, it is also true that male promiscuity is low-percentage behavior.) So, just as with the ladies, eschew non-marital sex.

(7) Be willing to challenge the women. This is where knowledge of Game can help. Sometimes, women will screen men out–using “tests”, also called other things in less polite company–and this will cause the “nice guys” to move on. In fact, what she is often doing is telling you, “If you have the stones, I’m available!” In that case, she is actually giving you the green light to pursue her!

(And yes, a woman can do that even if she is not part of the hookup/player culture. This is because women are hard-wired to “test” men: they are in fact trying to make sure that a potential suitor is unflappable.)

How do you know if she is really saying “no”? If you ask her out more than once and she tells you she’s not available at that time, then she’s not interested. Don’t worry about it: just move on. If you ask her out and she says “no”, the it’s no. It’s no skin off your back. Just move on. You’re no worse off than you were before.

You need to adopt the mentality of a top baseball player. The best hitters in the game are those who bat .300 or higher. You know what that means? It means they fail almost 70% of the time! But you have it better than they do: you only have to be successful once to get married.

(8) You need to cultivate your leadership skills. If you aspire to be a husband, you are aspiring to a leadership role. Even if she has feminist leanings, she still will–most of the time–want her man to be strong. Leadership isn’t about being “large and in charge”, but rather about being able to exert influence and persuasion.

Sometimes, that means being able to deal with difficult people, because–women, laugh all you want, but you know I’m right–the gals can be difficult at times. They will get discontent easily; that comes naturally. They will challenge your authority to lead; that comes naturally. They will challenge your knowledge of everything from laundry to Scripture; that comes naturally. They will challenge the wisdom of many decisions; that comes naturally.

If you want to respond to such challenges with a “Screw you, I’m in charge!” type of retort, that will go over like a fart in a church service. (Complementarian does not equal one-way autocracy. She is called to submit to you as to the Lord if she is your wife; that does not, however, make you Omniscient and Omnipotent.)

OTOH, if you respond by asking them why they are questioning this, or asking them what they would recommend–then, after they give their say, discuss the merits of the approaches with them–that is higher-percentage. This gives them at least part-ownership in a decision, and they are going to respect you more.

While there are times where–as a husband, I have to pull rank on my wife and say, “Honey, I’m going to invoke Ephesians 5 on this and you need to trust me”–those times are rare. In a little over two years of marriage, I’ve probably done that fewer than three times.

Think of your potential relationship not so much as General vs. Private, but rather Lieutenant vs. Sergeant. (Any good officer will tell you that, if you want to be a good leader, you had better be ready to take lots of feedback from your sergeants.)

IF YOU HAVE BLUNDERED ON ANY OF THOSE MATTERS:

Like the ladies, all is not lost. Generally speaking, the ladies–ceteris paribus–are going to look for evidence that you are being responsible.

Consider these three things:

(1) If she’s interested in you–and women fall for men with blunders every day–and you are making good progress in cleaning up your messes, then past blunders won’t matter.

(2) If you’re on her bubble, then demonstrating ownership of past junk is higher-percentage.

(3) If you’re not even on her bubble, then keep cleaning your mess up anyway, and don’t worry about her non-interest.

Still, what can a man do, even if he has blundered?

Most of the same advice for the women also apply to the men, especially regarding financial and sexual blunders. I won’t repeat all of those here. Still, there are some things that I’ve observed that men need to keep hearing:

(a) Always maintain a learning disposition. Be willing to accept counsel and feedback. As you read Proverbs, you will find a great emphasis on the value of seeking counsel, making prudent plans, being deliberate in decisions. Seek wisdom and understanding. Learn from your blunders.

(b) Always keep your head. If you are single for any long period of time, you are going to go through periods where it will seem like the whole world is against you. You may find hostility in the Church; certain authors will blame you for the problems of others; certain authors may even call you a “cad”. You are going to be tempted to walk away. That is when you need to fight back and stay the course. The rantings of Debbie Maken aren’t God’s words: those are her opinions. She’s entitled to her opinion, but you can’t let bitter women like her drive you out of the Church. You can’t afford to get rattled by feminist shaming tactics, either.

In the Bible, Abram (later named Abraham) had a major blunder: he got kicked out of Egypt for lying to the Pharaoh. It was his own fault, and he had to own that junk. Did Abram respond to this by wallowing in pity, getting drunk, and doing other stupid things? No. He went back to Bethel and called upon the name of the Lord.

WHAT IF YOU HAVEN’T BLUNDERED ON ANY OF THOSE MATTERS, AND STILL ARE SINGLE?

In that case, I would offer you the same advice as the women, with one exception: don’t quit pursuing.

If there are women in your path, whom you have previously passed over, you may re-assess your reasons. Like the women, this is not about right versus wrong, but about reasonable versus unreasonable. There are no perfect answers here; these are matters for you to asses between yourself and God. I pass no judgments here, but merely call you to examine it for yourself.

Also, you may consider some unconventional means in your search. Toward that end:

(1) Maximize your mobility. If you do this, you can look into moving to other cities. If you find someone, you will be in a better position to relocate if need be. Toward that end, you may want to ensure that you are not too locked down in any particular job, to the extent that this makes sense for you. One thing I wish I had done was not buy a house. That hurt my mobility.

(2) Look outside your denomination. Expand your network to include folks outside your church. Strongly consider other denominations, provided that they are on the reservation.

(3) Don’t be afraid to attempt to hijack a cradle. The available gals in my age group were giving me the short shrift from eHarmony. Well, I killed my eharmony account after that experience in futility. Not too long after that, I took aim at Christina–almost 18 years my junior–who was receptive until she found someone in her ZIP code. After that, I landed MrsLarijani, who is 14 years my junior.

(4) Don’t be afraid to jump from your church. While I hate the “church-hopper” tag, I also believe that, if the people in your church are not helping you find a mate–and the prospects don’t look good where you are–then there is no Biblical rule that says “THOU MUST STAY AT XYZ CHURCH!!!” I’m not saying you HAVE to jump ship; I’m just saying that you may consider doing this if the situation is sufficiently exigent.

(5) Never forget that you must keep cultivating the qualities that are conducive to a successful marriage, in your singleness. As a single, I studied the Bible more than the average bear: I did a lot of teaching, and was a heavy participant in Awana. But ya know what? As a married man now, I look back and still wish I had studied the Scriptures more.

25 thoughts on “Part 3: What Men and Women Can Do (Now the Men)

  1. (2) Look outside your denomination. Expand your network to include folks outside your church. Strongly consider other denominations, provided that they are on the reservation.

    IIRC you and your wife at least originally disagreed on the subject of baptism – the usual Presbyterian vs. Baptist thing. How difficult did you find it to come to agreement on this subject – or at least willingness to settle on a common practice?

  2. bullseye. excellent.

    @Dave – my personal story: my new husband is church of christ, and my background is baptist/non-denominational. i had some serious issues with the ‘must be baptized to be saved’ philosophy of the ch of christ. however, i spent considerable time with his pastor, and this pastor of this church is more in line with what i believe. and he’s flexible. there are some hard-core ch or christ in the church, but he doesn’t belittle them for being that way, and he doesn’t belittle those like me. he doesn’t straddle the fence, rather, he doesn’t make issues where there need not be issues. had this pastor been more legalistic, we’d have probably gone more non-denominational (which my husband supported). it then wouldn’t have been the baptism issue for me so much as the legalism (which repels me).

  3. (1) Get involved in a good church, and start building a network of friends. College or no college, you need to do this.

    This happened to me after I changed churches. There were several single women (some came and went), and one stood out as one to whom I found attractive. She wanted nothing to do with a dating relationship, and eventually moved away (and I found out from a mutual friend that got married last fall).

    I can appreciate some of the advice here, but it seems that this is all based on human effort. So I ask, where is God’s responsibility in all of this? He, after all, is the one that implanted the desire for marriage in us. Probably a million things have to go right to meet a girl that will marry me. I may get two or three of them right. 🙂

  4. David :
    (and I found out from a mutual friend that got married last fall).
    blockquote>

    That should have been, “…and I found out from a mutual friend that SHE got married last fall.” Aargh!

  5. IIRC you and your wife at least originally disagreed on the subject of baptism – the usual Presbyterian vs. Baptist thing. How difficult did you find it to come to agreement on this subject – or at least willingness to settle on a common practice?

    This, actually, was all on me. He didn’t mind that my perspective was different. I had to figure out how much I thought it mattered. Was it worth it to throw this guy to the curb because he wouldn’t baptize our children?

    At the end of the day, I could see that Amir held Scripture as supreme. That’s what mattered.

    I still argue infant baptism is valid. I just wasn’t going to treat him like he was a non-believer. I sought counsel from those within my church, I prayed, and I realized that Amir would make a good husband.

    As his wife, I am called to submit to him. He says that infant baptism is not valid. So, that’s what I’m submitting to. I’m not going to make a big deal about it. If the Lord should see fit to change his heart on the matter, well, I won’t be putting up a fight. However, I just don’t see that happening. And that is OK. He’s a great husband. He’ll make a great father. Christ’s Word will reign supreme in this house. That’s what matters the most.

    Now, if we could just get the elders in the church to do baby dedications on days other than Mother’s Day. . . 😉

  6. David asks:

    I can appreciate some of the advice here, but it seems that this is all based on human effort. So I ask, where is God’s responsibility in all of this?

    There are generally two schools of thought on this one.

    One school says “Bloom where you are planted, and trust God to bring the right mate into your path.” The other school says, “God will work through you as you take the initiative.

    Which school of thought is right? My take: God has a tendency to work as you are doing His work. Proverbs 3:5-6 is very important here: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

    Part of my reason for the network is that–in the process–you are including mature believers who will give you Godly counsel. That is God working through His people.

    Does everyone get a Damascus Road experience when God tells them Jane Doe is THE ONE? Not really, although–for MrsLarijani and I–certain things came together in ways that made it clear to us that this was God’s work.

  7. “(One of our small group leaders–an Army chaplain who has extensive experience in marriage counseling–says that a lot of women, in divorce, have a chief complaint: that their husbands never disagreed or held the line, and merely acquiesced at every turn.)”

    wow, this was so true of my ex. he didn’t know how to stand for himself when it truly mattered to him, so he became angry at every thing that he didn’t stand for. it wasn’t that i was overly dominating, although i do have a strong personality, it was that i didn’t know what he wanted or when it was important to him. as time played this out, he became angry either way i did something. one example – if i gave him directions when driving, he would become angry and told me not to tell him what to do; if i didn’t give him directions when driving, he became angry and told me i should tell him where to go.

    my new husband knows when and how to stand up for what’s important to him without demeaning either of us. he knows how to put me in my place and when to do it. he knows how to lay the law down, and he knows how to compromise and work together, and he knows when to do both.

  8. “Part of my reason for the network is that–in the process–you are including mature believers who will give you Godly counsel. That is God working through His people.”

    learning to create a network of believing woman surrounding me, holding me accountable, and praying for me, became foundational to everything i went thru, including choosing to marry my husband. it is still foundational in my life. we need friends who will hold us accountable and also who will encourage us.

    two pieces of advice from two different women stick out … one said that any man who would put up w/me the way he did/does is worth keeping (i came w/a lot of baggage – abusive parents, abusive ex, two children from previous marriage meaning continued relationship w/ex, and my own emotional and physical responses to all that – and this man did not find any of it a ‘burden,’ ever) … the other told me when it was time to make a decision that i needed to start looking at how God was going to work our differences out between us rather than how our differences were going to divide us (i kept freaking out over every.little.thing, wondering if it was a ‘sign’ from God that i should move on. she gave me the perspective i needed).

  9. There is a lot here and I won’t try to comment on all of it. But it seems you have some glaring oversimplifications that need addressing.

    1) Women complain that single men don’t go to church, and yet you tell of a singles group that was split down the middle by gender. It seems that there are enough men going to church, but either they don’t like the selection, or the women there are refusing them. Another obvious alternative is that serious Christian men don’t look at their church as a pick-up bar. They are involved in their churches for more than just to meet women. There are also plenty of the other kind and they tend to get what they want and move on. Which kind do you want in YOUR church? The abandoning of the church is not just a male thing. The largest single denomination in the USA is non-practicing Catholic. men and women stop going to Catholic churches in large numbers right after they graduate from high school. They return only for weddings, christenings, funerals and the occasional Christmas eve service. When the church stops performing its essential functions in favor of practicing marketing and psychology, it is only reasonable that reasonable people will abandon it.

    2) The argument that “my man is not leading me” is falacious. The truth is that most women simply disagree where her man is leading or fail to recognize his style of leadership. Too much leadership is “controlling” and will also me mentioned promenently in the pre-divorce counseling. Real humility and submission are hard for everyone. Women are not immune to how hard it is. Failing to submit is often blamed on the man failing to lead.

    3) The argument that men are spending “too much time looking at porn” is also just stupid. How much is too much? Most churches when they talk about this at all, treat it as an all or nothing proposition between “I have never seen it before and I don’t know what you are even talking about” or “I spend every waking hour dressed in just my underwear in front of my computer in the basement”. Since what is “too much” is highly subjective it doesn’t really make sense as an argument. It also doesn’t help that we don’t bother to define Porn and just assume everyone knows what we are talking about. Viewing porn is just an entertainment activity. The time you put into it takes away from the time you spend doing other things that may be more productive. If you stop doing those other things, you are porning too much. i also doubt that most men will tell prospective dates, “I can’t go out with you tonight because I will be viewing porn”. The better argument is that viewing any porn is creating unrealistic expectations about sexual behavior. DUH. But then, Christian singles aren’t supposed to be doing that, so they should also not be making this argument.

  10. @Professor Hale

    3) The argument that men are spending “too much time looking at porn” is also just stupid. How much is too much? Most churches when they talk about this at all, treat it as an all or nothing proposition between “I have never seen it before and I don’t know what you are even talking about” or “I spend every waking hour dressed in just my underwear in front of my computer in the basement”. Since what is “too much” is highly subjective it doesn’t really make sense as an argument. It also doesn’t help that we don’t bother to define Porn and just assume everyone knows what we are talking about. Viewing porn is just an entertainment activity. The time you put into it takes away from the time you spend doing other things that may be more productive. If you stop doing those other things, you are porning too much. i also doubt that most men will tell prospective dates, “I can’t go out with you tonight because I will be viewing porn”. The better argument is that viewing any porn is creating unrealistic expectations about sexual behavior. DUH. But then, Christian singles aren’t supposed to be doing that, so they should also not be making this argument.

    How much is too much? From a Christian standpoint, one can reasonably answer that any amount of porn is too much: you’re dealing with a product that is clearly promoting sexual immorality of varying degrees.

    The more relevant question, though, might be, “How much porn exposure does it to cause potentially-destructive addiction?” To that, the answer is it depends on the individual. Many men can view lots of porn and not get addicted whereas others will become addicted to some extent with one exposure.

    While we’ve discussed the unreasonable expectations angle on other threads, there’s another angle in which porn impacts men–and we’re not even talking addiction here–that probably hasn’t come up either here or at Boundless: porn provides a simple means to have a sexual experience that involves little or no effort; whereas real sex–including marital sex–requires work.

    If you’re single, it’s easy to pull up a porn site, get your jollies, and then go on to other things.

    Real sex, especially the marital variety, requires work. It takes effort to pursue a gal, date her for months or in some cases years, get to know her friends and possibly her family, propose marriage, prepare for the wedding, then–after tying the knot–start at ground zero getting to “know” her.

    Porn is about getting a sexual experience on your terms and on your time at your convenience; real sex requires you to consider the needs and desires of your partner. That requires work.

    30 years ago, porn was very accessible, but you had to go to a store to buy it. Even if you had cable TV, you had to subscribe to it. Today, there is a boatload of it on the Internet–from image form to video–available at no charge. To a man who is only marginally motivated to marry, porn provides a negative impetus to the marriage pursuit.

    2) The argument that “my man is not leading me” is falacious. The truth is that most women simply disagree where her man is leading or fail to recognize his style of leadership. Too much leadership is “controlling” and will also me mentioned promenently in the pre-divorce counseling. Real humility and submission are hard for everyone. Women are not immune to how hard it is. Failing to submit is often blamed on the man failing to lead.

    I have no doubt about what you are saying: I’ve seen many women simply fail to submit to their husbands, and I’ve seen many divorces happen due in large part to that. (Nor is this anything new under the sun, as Proverbs is full of admonitions about the “contentious woman”.)

    That said, I’ve also seen many husbands be complete pushovers. What I’m addressing is the type of man who is (a) always agreeable, (b) has trouble making basic decisions, (c) never stands up to his wife or GF, and (d) allows himself to be continually rolled by his wife or GF.

    1) Women complain that single men don’t go to church, and yet you tell of a singles group that was split down the middle by gender. It seems that there are enough men going to church, but either they don’t like the selection, or the women there are refusing them.

    It’s not either/or; it’s both/and. I’ve seen many pockets in which the single women are very scarce. That was a large part of my experience as a single. At the same time, Covenant College–MrsLarijani’s alma mater–is a totally different ballgame: there are lots of women, and the men are simply not doing the pursuing.

    At our current church, we have single gals in their 20s, but the men in that bracket are scarce. OTOH, if you’re a man in your late 30s or 40s, you may have a problem, unless you are willing to pursue someone substantially younger.

    I know men who might make great suitors for them. Trouble is, there is a lot of geographical distance that separates them.

    At the same time, the men we know aren’t necessarily in the ideal demographic groups that these women would otherwise find attractive. They are also in varying geographic locations.

    I was admonishing the men just as I admonished the women here: IF there ARE eligible singles in their path–whom they have passed over for whatever reason–think of re-assessing that.

    It could be that they have been passing over a potential diamond in the rough; it could be that they are simply being prudent. Like I said, I make no judgments on this one: that’s between the individual and God to resolve. And for those who have no one in their path who fits that category, there is nothing to consider.

  11. I wasn’t trying to open a discussion about Porn and its relative merits or harms. But you specifically mentioned it as a reason why men and women in teh church are not getting together. I am pointing out that it is an unsupportable position since a man can successfully engage a mate and be addicted to the worst kinds of porn at the same time. unless you have survey evidence from men that they are rejecting women because porn is better, or testimonials from women that “too much” porn viewing is interfereing with their mate selection opportunities, then it seems that this argument merely is wallpaper to cover over a more serious structural problems in the church and wholesome relationships within it..

  12. @Professor Hale
    My point to the men is not so much that the porn is going to keep them from pursuing a mate–although it can–but rather that it is not a high-percentage activity for one who aspires to marry and remain faithful.

    At the same time:

    (a) while it is possible to successfully engage a mate and have a porn addiction, many men–addicts or not–can be marginally inclined not to make a pursuit, and for the reasons I’ve provided: porn takes little or no effort, whereas real sex–even the hookup culture–requires engaging in relationships.

    Are the women right? Is this the reason many of these men aren’t pursuing? It may or may not be. I have no dog in the answer to that one. Still, porn usage–by either sex–is not high-percentage activity that is conducive to preparing for a long, faithful marriage.

    (b) Most of the Christian women I know, if they know the guy is into porn, will run for the hills. MrsLarijani and I know a gal who dumped her b/f due to his porn usage.

    I’m not saying these women are all correct, or all incorrect: that’s a personal decision. But it is a red flag to the gals, just as female promiscuity is a red flag to the guys.

  13. Then your main argument a) is flawed. Porn is a substitute for a relationship with a real woman in the same way that watching a movie is a substitute for having a real job. Porn doesn’t provide any of the benefits of a real relationship in exchange for being less trouble. Similarly, watching a western movie doesn’t give you any of the trouble of being a cowboy ( the smell of cattle, saddle soreness or the potential of lead poisoning), but it also doesn’t give you any of the benefits of being a real-live cowboy (pay in gold coins, camping outside, shooting injuns, cowgirls). There are a lot of things that are less trouble than forming a relationship with a woman. Even Bible study qualifies as that, but I really don’t think you want to be in a church where people complain about too much Bible study going on. Do not misunderstand me. I am not defending porn. I am attacking the argument that it is in any way relevant to the problem of men and women in the church not engaging in marriage. Further, real arguments should be based on behaviors that are observable and measurable. I cannot see any way to argue that the women of the church have any way to reliably report how much porn the men are viewing. Thus, it is, on its face, a hollow argument, based on nothing.

  14. @Professor Hale
    I realize you aren’t defending porn. Still, there is a difference in the porn-vs.-relationship dynamic, as opposed to the Western movie vs. being a real cowboy comparison: one who watches a Western may or may not want to be a real cowboy whereas one who watches porn still, unless he or she is totally asexual, in which the person would probably not be watching porn at all–wishes to have a sexual experience.

    That the sexual experience gained in porn usage is a very cheap and flawed substitute for the real thing does not mean that a man will necessarily pursue the real thing over the terrible substitute, because–even though your case would apply to someone who is otherwise being rational, people do not always gravitate to the rational course of action. (If that were not the case, we would have no feminists. . .)

    Many men–who want to get married–due to fear of rejection, won’t pursue a gal in whom they are otherwise interested, even such a pursuit makes more sense than not making such a pursuit. (After all, the chances of landing her without pursuing her are much lower than landing her via a pursuit.)

    At the same time, many of those same men would sooner pull up a porn site and do their thing, than pursue the gal in whom they would otherwise have interest but fear the dreaded LJBF response.

    Are they substituting porn for the real thing? The women might argue in the affirmative, although the men involved might argue to the contrary: the men may argue that they are just passing the time. Which one is correct? The women? The men? Probably both.

  15. (3) Don’t be afraid to attempt to hijack a cradle.

    That’s something I’ll have to think about. I’d prefer not to date somebody young enough that I could be her father. Another issue with marrying a younger woman is that I’m not sure I want to become a father at my age (early 50’s). Theoretically I suppose it’s still possible, but I definitely don’t have the energy I had 20-30 years ago. In addition, I’m dealing with some health concerns.

    Of course, it’s possible I could marry a gal who’s been married previously and already has children. I’m open to that possibility; in fact, the last gal I was interested in had a grown daughter.

    Would I have wanted children had I married at a “normal” age? Yes, definitely. I’m not anti-children. I’m trying to be realistic. I’m also aware that examples like Abraham and Sarah are the exception rather than the rule.

  16. @singleman
    That’s perfectly understandable. I was just saying that one ought not be afraid to consider it, even though that would certainly raise some eyebrows.

    That type of pursuit is not for everyone, but–hey–if you’re willing to be a little on the bold side, go for it. As the British SAS folks say: who dares wins.

  17. @Dave
    I saw that one earlier today. Lisa Anderson mentioned it on her FB and posted a link.

    I think Murrow gets a lot right in there. Can’t say I agree with all of it. I’ll comment on it later.

    But yes, I agree with you: it is a bit different from what you’d normally expect from Boundless.

  18. There is another problem with marrying too far out of your own age zone: Death.

    Sure, it may be true love and irresistable, but you are creating a relationship that is doomed. You won’t be able to grow old together because one of you is already there. You are at different places in your life and will have different goals. Desperation can cover that for a time. But time will not be denied. Eventually, your younger partner will spend her youth caring for your infirmity.

    Thus, it is not a partnership of equals or even near-equals. This can lead to serious resentments in the relationship.

  19. @Professor Hale
    Yep. Very true. MrsLarijani and I addressed that one somewhat when we were dating.

    On the plus side: I take good care of myself. Given that, and given that only good people die young, she should otherwise expect to, accidents or tragedies notwithinstanding, be able to enjoy a nice, long life with me.

    On the minus side: ceteris paribus, she will still probably outlive me, and will probably end up having to take care of me at some point.

    Hopefully, that will happen later in both of our lives, and hopefully we will have family who will be able to help in that.

    But yes, that is a factor to consider.

  20. I passed a table set up outside my church’s fellowship hall following today’s services. Volunteers were registering those interested in attending a marriage conference next weekend. I turned to one of our ushers, a bachelor of about 80, and asked him when the church would host a conference for bachelors. He replied, ” Didn’t you hear the news? We’re all going to hell.”

    He was being facetious, of course, but that illustrates the corrosive effect the teachings of DeYoung, Maken, Mohler, etc. are having on singles in general and men in particular. We need to consider how single men, especially young men, can feel welcome in churches that blame them for marriage delay and other societal ills. My usher friend had a few choice words for such theology during our discussion.

  21. @singleman, I’m curious how great a need you think such a conference would satisfy given the other post talking of current churches being overprogrammed? (Unless the target of this conference is a John-Eldredge-style to-be-a-man-is-to-throw-a-football-or-go-hiking caricature). Perhaps some of rite-of-passage style thing might be useful, but I somewhat question the merits of these conferences.

    Where I tend to put the problem is in seeing a place for singles (male at least) in the church beyond (a) volunteer labour or (b) potential mates for single women in said church. De-facto community exclusion seems also unlikely to result in either (a) or (b) lasting for long.

  22. I enjoyed this. While I am unable to speak for all young men, based on a lot of research, what I’ve read is that young men don’t do as well socially as young women. This means that many young men face problems in terms of getting to know people for their career and social life. That’s the mystery.

    In terms of skills: those can be nice, but I have learned that having skills doesn’t equate to receiving jobs or job offers. I’m not sure if other young men have faced this problem.

    But this is good stuff.

  23. @Dave
    My question was rhetorical to some extent. But it was, in part, meant to point out that my church has no ministry to singles while offering ministry to married couples, children, teens, young adults, men, women and seniors.

    I believe ministry to singles can occur without the presence of a stereotypical dysfunctional singles group. At the same time, my church is going through some legal issues regarding the church property (long story), so singles ministry is presently not high on the leadership’s agenda.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *