Monday, April 24, 2006

the warped theology of singleness


from Singled Out by God for Good

by Paige Benton, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary. She serves on staff of the PCA's Reformed University Fellowship at Vanderbilt University.

Warped theology is at the heart of attempts to "explain" singleness:

· "As soon as you're satisfied with God alone, he'll bring someone special into your life"—as though God's blessings are ever earned by our contentment.

· "You're too picky"— as though God is frustrated by our fickle whims and needs broader parameters in which to work.

· "As a single you can commit yourself wholeheartedly to the Lord's work"— as though God requires emotional martyrs to do his work, of which marriage must be no part.

· "Before you can marry someone wonderful the Lord has to make you someone wonderful"— as though God grants marriage as a second blessing to the satisfactorily sanctified.

Accepting singleness, whether temporary or permanent, does not hinge on speculation about answers God has not given to our list of whys, but rather on celebration of the life he has given. I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to possibly deserve a husband, nor because I am too spiritually mature to possibly need one. I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is his best for me. It is a cosmic impossibility that anything could be better for me right now than being single. The psalmists confirm that I should not want, I shall not want, because no good thing will God withhold from me.

Such knowledge of God must transform subsequent knowledge of self— theological readjustment is always the catalyst for renewed self-awareness. This keeps identity right-side-up with nouns and modifiers in their correct place. Am I a Christian single or am I a single Christian? The discrepancy in grammatical construction may be somewhat subtle, but the difference in mindset is profound. Which word is determinative and which is descriptive? You see, we singles are chronic amnesiacs— we forget who we are, we forget whose we are. I am a single Christian. My identity is not found in my marital status, but in my redemptive status. I am one of the "haves," not one of the "have-nots."


Thanks, J.D.

116 comments:

Kyle Foley said...

"I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is his best for me."

this is false, this is like trying to justify poverty - i live in the projects because this is where God wants me.



It is a cosmic impossibility that anything could be better for me right now than being single.

this is also false, more justification of misery.


The psalmists confirm that I should not want, I shall not want, because no good thing will God withhold from me.

on the contrary, God withholds plenty from us

Melissa said...

Excellent post. Good thoughts right now!
I read the article and enjoyed the perspective. He is not safe, but He is good. <><

Anonymous said...

I strongly disagree, Kyle. God gives us everything we need. We may have wants that we think are needs. Also, it is not a justification of misery to say that it is a cosmic impossibility that anything could be better for me right now than being single. Singleness can be the very best for someone for a season or even an entire lifetime as well as poverty. However, if one's singleness or poverty is due to irresponsibility like laziness or isolating one self from social activty, then that person must take responsibility for their lot in life. But whether it is due to irresponsibility or not, it still must be seen as best for the overall good for the person if indeed they are a believer, for God works all things together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

Kyle Foley said...

it is not a justification of misery to say that it is a cosmic impossibility that anything could be better for me right now than being single.

the above doesn't make sense.

Singleness can be the very best for someone for a season or even an entire lifetime as well as poverty.

this is true but extremely rare. for instance i really don't think saint francis ever wanted to be married. hnat also has expressed several posts regarding a desire to be married. for someone who wants to be married, like myself, there is nothing that can sugar-coat the situation. the only advice is to be patient and long-suffering.

Kyle Foley said...

actually let me put it differently - if your gets cut off don't see it as a blessing. God gives us challenges and trials, the challenges and trials are not blessings they are challenges and trial.

Anonymous said...

If my what gets cut off???

Kyle Foley said...

arm - i make a lot of typos

CraigS said...

this is false, this is like trying to justify poverty - i live in the projects because this is where God wants me.

But that is absolutely true. God is sovereign, and wherever I am at the moment, that is part of His will for me.

For a really spiritual Christian, being poor is not a trial, because they do not lust after possessions like the worldly do.

"It is a cosmic impossibility that anything could be better for me right now than being single."

this is also false, more justification of misery.


Misery is optional mate. If you think marriage means happiness, you are mistaken. Sadly, I know plenty of unhappily married people. Any pastor will tell you that the most miserable and lonely people he counsels are those in bad marriages.

on the contrary, God withholds plenty from us

God owes us nothing - everything we have comes from His hand. He has promised marriage to no-one. God is debtor to no man.

On a practical level, desperation and misery are a huge turn off to prospective spouses. Happy people are attractive people...

CraigS said...

Mostly in agreement with your post Christine, but I couldn't let this one slip by -

· "You're too picky"— as though God is frustrated by our fickle whims and needs broader parameters in which to work.

Hmmm...so it's ok for me to tell God I want my future wife to look exactly like Jessica Alba?

ckhnat said...

you do?

The Traveler said...

Craig...

"Happy people are attractive people."

Actually happy people drive me up the wall. Happy people are insulated and unthinking people. That is a huge turn off.

Joyful in hope of what is to come and patient faithdriven contentment.. yes. Happy with the way things are... no.

Gee, I sure wish I was home. I wish my race was won. "Christians" that like this world boggle my mind. Do they like the pain, suffering, and filthiness of sin? Are they happy being here.

Are we to be content? Of course. Are we to be happy? No, no we are not. Rather longing for what is to come.

CraigS said...

Joyful in hope of what is to come and patient faithdriven contentment.. yes. Happy with the way things are... no.

The distinction between "happiness" and "joyful content" escapes me. I mean happy in a John Piper "Desiring God" sort of way.

CraigS said...

you do?

It was a hypothetical. But I do think modern girls are too fussy. I'm starting to think they are more shallow than men - but just more subtle about it...

ckhnat said...

you know what i think is hot?

when a guy serves his church and his community selflessly.

now, is that too picky?

CraigS said...

Not at all - that is awesome.

But I know heaps of guys like that who can't get a date.

There's a girl I know, she is single and about 27, never had a boyfriend. Not bad looking, a bit of a sharp tongue though.

Anyway, she is always going on about there are no guys at her church and talking about singleness, and I felt a bit of sympathy for her.

But then someone asked her if she would date a godly plumber who came to her church. And she said no - she felt "called" to marry someone in full-time ministry!!!!

My sympathy for her immediately disolved...

The Traveler said...

yup.... because you probably attach all these other qualifications onto it as well. Like: saved, acts like he is saved, is breathing, lives locally enough to meet, speaks your language, and most outragiously he needs to pursue you.

Am I hitting all the major ones?

Totally... way.. way.. way too picky.

Loosen up a bit... be at least willing to compromise on the language thing.

CraigS said...

At the same time, I'm not going to be too hard on the girls - a lot of church guys are just so unmasculine. Partly because the church has been feminized so much. If men would just be men, 90% of these problems would disappear.

But I do see a lot of the "little princess" syndrome in girls, even in church.

Personally I believe our gender identity in the west is now so screwed up that we will breed ourselves out of existence...

CraigS said...

you know what i think is hot?

when a guy serves his church and his community selflessly.

now, is that too picky?


Also, are you really going to tell me that of all the guys who have hit on you, not one has been a faithful servant of his church? Not one?

I find that hard to believe...

The Traveler said...

Perhaps they got ruled out because they were "hitting on her" instead of "pursuing her".

Yeah I would agree to the whole "our system is screwed up. Girls pick out a few guys that they "like" and then wait for those few guys to ask them out. If another guy asks them out suddenly the lies come "oh.. I'm just not looking right now" or the princess syndrome comes out "I just don't like you".

In short there seems to be a short list and guys need to read the girls mind to see if their on it.

I think its really dumb so I don't mess with that stuff with a ten foot pole.

CraigS said...

Traveller, that is so true about the chick picking a guy out in her mind and waiting for him, sometimes for years. And ignoring perfectly good alternative offers because she just knows that he is "the one".

Reality check girls. If you've known a guy for years and years, and you get on well, and your both single, and he hasn't asked you out - then he's just not into you. Sorry. Get over it. Pay attention to the guy next to him, who would probably love to get to know you better...

CraigS said...

Oh, and ladies - abolish your lists! They are a device of the devil...

The Borg said...

But surely there is merit in "being picky"? Marriage is not a necessary thing, so why settle for a life of misery with someone whom you find really hard to respect?

CraigS said...

What do you say, then, to a guy who says "I will only date Jessica Alba look-alikes - oh, I'm just being picky." ?

The Borg said...

Not all pickiness is created equal.

CraigS said...

But when you say "I just don't respect him", you can use that as a veneer for all sorts of shallow behaviour.

The Borg said...

What kind of shallow behaviour?

CraigS said...

Well, shallow requirements - like height, looks, money etc.

I'm not saying that sexual attraction is unimportant - it is important. But be a bit flexible, and be honest.

Also, don't expect a Brad Pitt unless you look like Angelina Jolie and have $4M in the bank.

ckhnat said...

I'm siding with Shiloh on this one. "Not all pickiness is created equal."

And guys don't hit on me, Craig.

I hear I'm a bit intimidating.

For instance, one of my classes last semester ... I was the only woman in the class ... 35 of us ... one woman ... the entire semester it was typical during each class to have a seat empty behind, beside, and in front of me. During the last lecture, the professor turned to me and thanked me for being such a good sport and being their token female.

"Thank you. Really, it's been my pleasure. However, I would like to state for the record that I do not have the plague."

A general "huh?" spread across their faces.

I expounded.

"It's as if I have a 5 ft. radius force field around me. I DO bathe and I am disease free, as far as I know."

Afterwards, a couple of the guys who had only gotten to know me through a group project we had done approached me after class. (i had been the only person left not assigned to a group ... go figure ... and finally that particular group announced, "we'll taker her.") I was a real person who joked with them and had a mind of my own and stood my ground when they wanted to put "Shine Jesus, Shine" in our Guide to Worship.

"Christine, we're so sorry. we didn't know you felt that way. we thought you'd rather sit by yourself. we were the ones that smelled bad."

"Oh, it's okay, fellas. It's not just in this class. It's that way in all of my classes."

In some classes, the girls huddle together for support.

I've heard guys complain about this. But I rarely see them talk to the girls that do sit on their own.

The old joke goes: "Seminary girls are like parking places. They're either handicap or taken."

I'm reserved.

CraigS said...

haha - I thought that was seminary guys actually...

What are legitimate grounds for "pickiness"?

ckhnat said...

standards

CraigS said...

lol - I'll leave it at that...

The Borg said...

He he he, re: your new photo, is that you pretending to be Bjork? If so, very funny.

If not, and that is a photo of someone who genuinely looks like that... I shall remove foot from mouth.

John Dekker said...

Craig: And she said no - she felt "called" to marry someone in full-time ministry

Really???

I remember when I was in College I made a point in the first week of school of always sitting next to the most attractive girl in the class. ;)

CraigS said...

lol - perhaps I should introduce you to this chick. She's got a bit of a sharp tongue on her though...one to whom submission wont come easily... ;-)

ruth said...

What is 'the princess syndrome' ??

ckhnat said...

good question. what is it, guys?

and ... oh ... this cracks me up ... i've heard a couple of guys complain that girls won't say "yes" when they are asked out. Is "no" not a legitimate response?

The Borg said...

By the way, I wasn't mean'n no offense, ma'am by the Bjork comment. I think she's cute, but just a bit funny.

ckhnat said...

HA! no offense taken. that pic was taken illegally (unchaperoned area).

Kyle Foley said...

Partly because the church has been feminized so much. If men would just be men, 90% of these problems would disappear.

the church is feminized which i think is a good thing because women are more obedient, break the law less and are more dedicated to family - all healthy behavior. even though the statement, if men would just be men, is every men because i don't know what your definition of men is, in any case, at first impression i think if men would just be men there would be more illegitimacy and more wars. aren't men more aggressive and more promiscuous?

"God is sovereign, and wherever I am at the moment, that is part of His will for me.

For a really spiritual Christian, being poor is not a trial, because they do not lust after possessions like the worldly do."

God is sovereign, that is true but if his will is to challenge us then that is not a blessing, that is a challenge.

i think even for a spiritual christian being poor is a challenge because you are forced to do certain things that you do not want to do. no one wants to work at a job 10 hours a day that they do not enjoy. in my case, all i want to do, is study, write and help people - so for me, poverty is a challenge because it forces me to do things i do not want to do.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and ladies - abolish your lists! They are a device of the devil...

even qualities of gender, age, Christianity, evangelical, etc?

If you are talking about hair color, yeah burn all the lists.

But there are certain parameters that must be established.

Anonymous said...

"God is sovereign, that is true but if his will is to challenge us then that is not a blessing, that is a challenge."

Does it have to be one or the other? Can it not be BOTH a blessing and a challenge? If God has willed the challenge/trial to conform us to Christ's image, then it IS a blessing. Moreover, since we deserve hell, anything less than hell is a blessing.

Kyle Foley said...

this is basically an argument on semantics - gifts, blessing, grace - is usually defined as something God gives you that you did nothing to deserve and is an unequivocal good.

challenges, trials, hardship, struggle - while they may eventually mold you into a better human being are certainly different than gifts.

i don't believe in hell, btw.

Lorie said...

In James, it clearly says that we're to count our trials as "joy".

Good post, C. I think I'm going to link to you from my blog...

...now don't go stealing all the guys that normally come visit me...

(See, men, there is this little something we like to call the "cattiness syndrome" that afflicts even those immune to the "princess syndrome"...) :)

ckhnat said...

you can have as many of mine as you want, Lorie.

Ruth said...

Is noone going to answer what 'the princess syndrome' is? Quite a few of you guys used the term.

And Kyle, what are you talking about with your "women are more obedient, break the law less....if men would just be men there would be more illegitimacy, and more wars, aren't men more aggressive and more promiscious" ?????

That's just bizarre. Were you being serious - or were you trying to be funny and I didn't get it?

Kyle Foley said...

for every 10 prisoners, 9 of them are male, or something like that.

as far as being promiscuous, male strip clubs outnumber female strip clubs about 20 to 1

sajini said...

WOw.. I leave for 5 days and have all this reading to catch up .. :)

ckhnat said...

I've been wondering about you!

Say "hi!" to the Aussies.

They're a new addition.

CraigS said...

"Little Princess" - she is spoilt, self-absorbed, sugary sweet, loves attention, expects her life to be a fairy tale.

Think of Scarlett at the start of "Gone with the Wind". Though Scarlett, to give her credit, developed a bit of character through her trials.

The Borg said...

Kyle, when Craig said "...if men would just be men..." he wasn't talking about how men are at their worst (violence, sexual promiscuity). That is not what a true man is. A true man is what a man should be. The character traits that a man should have (courage, iniative, proaction etc) are not those that many men who think they are being "men" actually have.

CraigS said...

Preach it, little sista...

Laura said...

Thank God for your passion on this topic, 'stine!

...man, I wish I had overseas commenters on MY blog! *pouting* But that would mean I'd have to give up my favorite pseudo-curse word (YOU know).

ckhnat said...

and YOU know what I would reply to you ...

Ruth said...

hey Kyle,

I also thought Craig was talking in a Christian context - how many of those men in prison compared to women statistic are Christians??

Surely we were talking about Christian men showing some backbone, having godly leadership,and the other stuff the Borg said.

Also, just because there are more men in prison, just means surely that more men get caught???

I think the Bible is pretty clear that all of mankind is sinful - not just the men part. Women can be just as promiscious, they just do it in less obvious ways - but as this was talking in the context of church, I would hope both men and women are striving towards godlienss on this issue.

And Craig, 'little princess syndrome' that's just weird. Who thinks up those things? What's the male equivalent?

ckhnat said...

Let's see we have the "overzealous hunter" and the "lethargic dreamer."

You all know the types.

Ruth said...

Hey Christine,

I never did say 'hello' properly before.

I've enjoyed reading your blog. I'm another of the Aussies, but when I started reading your page, which was a while ago, I thought you were English!! Sorry about that.

ckhnat said...

How do you do. (in an Eliza Doolittle, Pygmallion voice when she's at tea)

I never did formally welcome you to "I'd Rather Laugh Than Cry"

"Wilkommen"

British? Really?!! why? i'm so curious.

How did YOU find the blog?

I'm so glad to have you around. Like minded sisters standing for Biblical roles of manhood and womanhood. Splendid!

Ruth said...

I can't remember how I stumbled over your blog - possibly from Craig's but I don't think so. It was from someones??

I thought you were english, because partially because I was reading a lot of English blogs at time, but mainly because in your photo you seem to have 'english skin'! That's actually a huge compliment.

Thanks for the welcome.

ckhnat said...

"no" is a legitimate answer ... and the man who takes it well is a man, indeed.

"No, Thank You, John."
Christina Rossetti

I never said I loved you, John:
Why will you tease me day by day,
And wax a weariness to think upon
With always "do" and "pray"?

You know I never loved you, John;
No fault of mine made me your toast:
Why will you haunt me with a face as wan
As shows an hour-old ghost?

I dare say Meg or Moll would take
Pity upon you, if you'd ask:
And pray don't remain single for my sake
Who can't perform that task.

I have no heart? - Perhaps I have not;
But then you're mad to take offence
That I don't give you what I have not got:
Use your own common sense.

Let bygones be bygones:
Don't call me false, who owed not to be true:
I'd rather answer "No" to fifty Johns
Than answer "Yes" to you.

Let's mar our pleasant days no more,
Song-birds of passage, days of youth:
Catch at today, forget the days before:
I'll wink at your untruth.

Let us strike hands as hearty friends;
No more, no less; and friendship's good:
Only don't keep in view ulterior ends,
And points not understood

In open treaty. Rise above
Quibbles and shuffling off and on:
Here's friendship for you if you like; but love,
No, thank you, John.

Kyle Foley said...

ruth, even if women were better at evading the law than men, [there is no evidence that they are] then they would still have to be 9 times better at it than men since there are 9 times more men in jail than men. do you honestly think this is possible.

as far as promiscuity goes, a study was done where men walked up to women in bars and asked them after about 3 sentences if they would like to have sex. none of the women responded yes. when the genders were reversed, men said yes 75% of the time and most of the one's that said no asked for rainchecks.

as far as christian men in jail - men and women are equally or almost equally christian - why should it be any different in jail.

Ruth said...

Kyle,

I just think that the Bible is really clear that both men and women are sinful. It seems a silly thing to be arguing about, because I wish it were not so - but to say that it's good that men are 'feminized' in churches because then there would be less war and promiscuity seems bizarre. God's intention for man is not that he becomes feminine - it's like a nightmare feminism!

I was kind of tongue in cheek commenting on women not being caught with regards to criminal activities.

Also, you've outlined one form of promiscuity - one night stands. There are others you know. I'm not at all surprised that 75% of men said 'yes' because I think God has made men with a different sex drive to women (please don't ask me to discuss that further, I don't want to). Women can be just as promiscious - it will just more likely take a different form.

Men and women are both sinful, and God has made man and woman in His image - to be different. Men have their 'good points' when living under God's guide and women have their 'good points' when living that way too. Too much of one is not as God intended - and how they 'specialize' in sin will look different, but is no less destructive for the church.

CraigS said...

Heya Ruth, I'm sure you must have linked here from my blog. I had a picture of Christine dressed as an elf next to Liv Tyler - you may have clicked on that.

I'm not sure what the Aussie equivalent to "little princess" is. In China, with the 1-child policy, they talk about the "little emperor" syndrome, with these rather sons they are raising...

CraigS said...

Oh, and I agree fully that men and women are equally sinful. Men's sin just tends to be more obvious and aggresive. Women are more subtle in sin (as with most things).

Ruth said...

Hey Craig,
I didn't click off that picture, because I thought that was a picture of an actress, not a 'real person'!! I think I clicked off Shiloh's page?? - it all prob orignated with yours though!

I think it's a bit harsh to have a 'princess syndrome' without something just as rude to say about men!! The trouble is that if men are showing similar characteristics as those you described as the 'princess' types, it wouldn't be an issue, cause girls would be completely turned off. Perhaps the problem with the 'princess' thing is that those girls are still actually attractive??

CraigS said...

Heya Ruth, I didn't come up with the name - it's part of the idiom. But its a true enough phenomena.

The only equivalent for guys I can think of is "He thinks he's God's gift to women", although it's not an exact match...

Ruth said...

Sorry Craig,

I wasn't meaning to blame you for the label, I know you didn't make it up. It's just a horrible thing to call someone - but any name calling is horrible.

And I know, you weren't saying about anyone specific. Sorry.

CraigS said...

Heya, no dramas Ruthy - I wasn't offended mate, honest!

It seems pretty mild compared to some name calling, but you are probably right and we should avoid any name-calling at all.

But I think there is still a problem with many girls having a "fairy tale" attitude to relationships. I think a constant diet of "The Bold & The Beautiful" or whatever is very unhealthy for women. It's the equivalent of a guy learning everything he knows about girls from Hustler magazine.

There is probably a good post in there - "Women and their pornography" - but it will have to wait. I'm going to post on Augustine and faith instead...

Ruth said...

No worries Craig, no dramas, was just an apology.

I think it isn't a mild name though, because although you alluded to a 'fairy tale' attitude to relationships - before you defined it as 'spoilt, self absorbed. sugary sweet, loves attention'. I think that's a pretty harsh call in a Christian context.

I agree about the problem of the 'fairy tale' attitude girls can have though. It's really sad - but that can happen if you fill your head with what the world says about love and romance rather than what the Bible says.

So, I actually think that a list of what a girl is looking for in a guy is fine - if it is dictated mainly by what God says would make a good husband - i.e one who lays down his life for others, who is servant hearted and not self seeking, who encourages others towards Godliness, who leads in prayer, (who leads at all), who shows the fruits of the Spirit - these are things of value in a potential marriage partner and are virtues that will make marriage a joy. These are also characteristics that I am thankful for in my husband.

Lorie said...

"...before you defined it as 'spoilt, self absorbed. sugary sweet, loves attention'. I think that's a pretty harsh call in a Christian context."

It may be harsh, but it's still true. Let's not pretend that we Christians aren't just as screwed up and petty as the rest of the world. And we're JUST as prone to allow our views of romance and relationships to be subtly (sp?) influenced by pop culture as anyone. Luckily, we've got the Spirit and the Truth to counteract those lies, but it doesn't mean we don't buy into them.

And I know plenty of girls with the "princess syndrome", as well as guys with the "god's-gift-to-women syndrome". Don't you?!

CraigS said...

Well, one could hardly object to a list like that. Is that what Christian girls are really looking for? It's hard to generalise.

I remember a friend I knew online a few years ago, mid-20s, never dated anyone, though had knocked back a few interested parties.

And she was telling me, with lots of sighs and gushes, that she was not sure if she would ever find "the one", and if she would have romance like x had.

Anyway, I replied that the real world was a bit messier and harsher than that, not like in the movies. Well, she got quite aggressive with me, called me some names, and we never spoke much again after that.

Perhaps I am too harsh, but I felt that she was in love with the idea of being in love...

CraigS said...

(Ruth's list I mean!)

ckhnat said...

That is EXACTLY what the Christian girls I know are looking for.

As for the young woman ... the idea of being in love with love is rampant ... women are brainwashed through the books they read and the movies they watch ... this is the female version of pornography. Whereas men are attracted to the visual, women are stimulated by charisma ... a man taking the initiative to sweep them off their feet and make their world perfect. Women spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on trashy novels and brainless chickflicks.

also ... communicating through the written word has many drawbacks. When instant messaging was new I remember being an ocean away and chatting with a friend of mine over the holidays. My humor is ... how do you say ... sarcastic? ... well, he couldn't hear my tone and didn't know if I was joking or not.

I often prefer to communicate through the written word rather than speach. I have time to think it through, get my thoughts organized, etc. ... but I have still hurt others ... because they misinterpreted my tone.

Bobby said...

Wow, Hnat. Quite a discussion.

I find things to agree with and disagree with in the comments, but at this point, who can keep it straight?

Anyway, great post. I think the author has done a very credible job of correcting some of our cultural assumptions regarding single-ness.

Ruth said...

Hey Lorie,

I wasn't saying that there aren't girls out there with this 'princess syndrome' (or was I, I might have changed my mind after a nights sleep!); I was more saying that I didn't think it was nice to call a fellow Christian - 'spoilt and self absorbed'. That's a pretty immature Christian - and of course something we can all be guilty of - but I wouldn't like it to be my character defining features. I just think it is harsh. I don't know many Christian men who think they are 'God's gift to women' if any (can't think of any but its early in the morning here!)

And Yeah Craig, I agree with Christine and know lots of women who have a similar list to the one I outlined. Who wouldn't want those things?

Also with your friend/ex-friend - that's really sad. I think that as women continue to sit under good faithful Bible teaching, as they learn to trust that God knows the best way for us to live, God with his Spirit will transform their hearts and minds- so that they will learn to appreciate godliness as a characteristic to describe a potential marriage partner - also, they will become more Godly themselves - which I think is appealing to the right guys.

CraigS said...

Actually, thinking about it last night I realised in my original list I was (subconsciously) describing my x. My bad.

And I should say too, that the young ladies at my own church are a remarkable group, very mature and modest. Not worldly at all.

I'm still not convinced by your list though. I personally know, at our church, 2 or 3 guys in their mid-late 20s who would *love* to get married. These are godly guys who have been rebuffed by various girls.

Of course, a girl is entitled to say "I am not attracted to him." That's fine, of course. But if she turns around and says "I'm just really looking for a godly guy." - can't you see thats a little hurtful? The implication is that the guys she has rebuffed are not godly.

ckhnat said...

i get what you're saying, Craig. But there's more to it than that. A woman has the perogative to say, "no." However, there may be more reasons that she turns a godly guy down rather than that she's not physically attracted to him. It could be a personality conflict. Or perhaps different socio-economic-educational backgrounds. know what i mean?

CraigS said...

I do and I accept these are legitimate reasons.

But it's not then a case of "I'm just looking for a godly guy." That's all I'm saying.

Having said all that, I've been rather convicted by Ruth's words, and I am sorry for my uncharitable description of some girls above.

Ruth said...

I think with a 'no' it's important that it is a clear 'no' rather than a 'not just yet' or a 'the timing's not good' etc... If you mean 'no' make it crystal. I think it is so damaging when Christian girls and guys lead each other on.

With regards to the 'are you just looking for a godly guy' question...I think most people would agree there should be some 'spark'/ attraction. So, yes Craig, maybe that should be added to the list.

However, I have found that the more one appreciates someone's godliness, the more attractive they become....

CraigS said...

I think that is fine - and most Christian guys I know are up front about it - "I'm looking for a godly girl, who I like talking to and I find attractive."

But (and I'm not pointing any fingers) I've noticed Christian girls can have a habit of saying "I am just looking for a godly guy" and the "interesting and attractive" is unstated subclause.

Other women understand that this goes without saying. But us poor literal-minded guys get confused. When I hear a girl say "All I want is a godly guy" I take that at face value, and I think most guys do to. It is then very confusing when such a girl turns around and rejects a committed Christian guy.

Are perhaps girls less willing to admit that they want someone whom they are attracted to? Thoughts?

CraigS said...

Oh, have to comment on Ruths final paragraph.

If the media say "characteristic x is attractive", and we are bombarded with that message over and over - eventually x will look attractive to us.

So we need to de-programme our young people from destructive messages, and re-programme them to find godliness attractive. This, of course, can only be done through the pulpit.

Ruth said...

Craig wrote:
Are girls less willing to admit......?

Maybe they are - because it is a confusing issue isn't it? How far does 'attraction' play a part? Does going for attraction in a guy then make girls targeted as shallow? What do girls find attractive too - cause I think that's slightly different to what guys find attractive anyway. (major generalization there)

You didn't have to comment on my last paragraph!! ;)

I think it's not only done from the pulpit though - I think it's can be taught in our homes, in our personal attitudes (thus by example), in our own study of the Bible. I think the Holy Spirit convicts us of the truth of these things when we read God's word.

If more mature men and women don't 'harp on' about how 'good looking some hollywood person is - like that's all that matters, then that will be setting a good example.

ckhnat said...

Is it possibly associated with the age old philosophy of "physical = evil"?

Are girls afraid of sounding less "holy" by admitting to the importance of attraction?

CraigS said...

If more mature men and women don't 'harp on' about how 'good looking some hollywood person is

Oops...how many times have I mentioned Jessica Alba in this post? Nailed me again Ruth, I think the HS is riding shotgun at your keyboard at the moment. ;-)

Are girls afraid of sounding less "holy" by admitting to the importance of attraction?

I think its what we were discussing before - that guys girls are both sinful, but girls are more subtle about it.

And for sure I think girls worry about sounding "less holy" if they admit they want an attractive partner - whatever "attractive" means for them.

Of course, I don't know what girls really say when the guys aren't around...

Ruth said...

Sorry Craig - I don't think there is anything wrong in finding a hollywood person attractive etc...(actually I haven't thought much about it - is it appreciating God's creation in thinking that He has given some people a really nice 'exterior'??)...I just think the 'harping on' bit is a problem - cause what do you actually know about the person...what more specifically do you know about their godliness etc.

ckhnat said...

Raise your hand if you would read her blog if Ruth decided to start one.

ckhnat said...

okay ... here's my secret ... if we're appreciating the exterior shell of man:

Michael Vartan does it for me.

CraigS said...

Raise your hand if you would read her blog if Ruth decided to start one.

Then she'd get no housework done and her husband would blame me! ;-)

ckhnat said...

hmm ... should we share the secrets of the inner circle with Craig?

i think we already told you. At least among the seminary women, we talk mainly about the characteristic traits that Ruth already mentioned. Many are attracted to the more intellectual, articulate types than the suave, got-it-all-together guys. Others find themselves enamored with the guy who is passionate about the calling God has placed on his life.

You have to admit that women in general are more attracted to charisma than outer appearance.

Yes, rumor has it that there's a Top-10 hottest guys on campus list. But it varies from person to person.

I never understood girls that would gawk at men or comment on their bodies. I've never run in those circles.

ckhnat said...

the last two paragraphs are not related

CraigS said...

Ok...BUT...what about the comment comparing seminary guys to parking spots..?

ckhnat said...

YOU did that one!

but if it were to apply to the men ... believe me ... it would not be based on appearance.

CraigS said...

Oh, there is potentially a problem comparing "ministry potential".

It's a bit like the girl I mentioned before who would only marry a minister. Sometimes women are interested in status, which is just as shallow as looks. So marrying the hottest young preacher on campus may be the christian equivalent of marrying the hottest young broker on Wall st.

ckhnat said...

I think that is RARELY the case.

A woman who marries a preacher for *status* is INSANE!!!

CraigS said...

And for the record, and to try and redeem myself slightly in Ruth's sight, I don't think JA would make a good wife - I really dont.

A "gentle and quiet spirit" is a good start from my perspective...

CraigS said...

I don't mean worldly status, but status within Christian circles...but you would know better than I would...

ckhnat said...

EVEN in Christian circles.

believe me. it's not status.

Ruth said...

I leave for a little while, and the comments go wild!!


I think here there is a certain status with being married to a minister - in Christian circles. It could be more common a problem in Aussie circles.
I think we need to change that though, cause if you only marry someone because of their occupation, then your marriage is going to be disastrous.

A woman who marries a minister for *status* is INSANE

Amen to that!!

The life of a minister's wife is not an easy one. (I'm glad though that I married one, but I would have married Andrew even if he didn't want to be a minister - it's him I like, not his job).
But sometimes women want to marry ministers, not for status, but because often ministers seem to be good listeners and gentle.



I completely agree with Christine though, that Christian girls, when talking of guys, talk about the chracteristics earlier mentioned - and I also agree that I don't understand the girls that gawk at bodies and all that stuff - personality and charisma is what makes men attractive to most girls.

And Craig, you are redeemed in my sight ;) - hey how do you do a nose?

CraigS said...

You use either a minus sign ;-) or a hat ;^)

Ruth said...

Like this ;-) or ;^). My minus sign doesn't look right!

Maybe I'll just stick to exclamation points!!!

Now, the sun is shining and my boys need some attention, plus I'm babysitting two extra kids today, so some adult supervision is called for. Thanks for the smilie face help.

Also, Andrew did suggest to me that I start my own blog - but I'm not very computer literate!!!

John Dekker said...

I'll grab the honour of making the 100th comment. :)

CraigS said...

Starting a blog is very easy Ruth - just go to www.blogger.com and register. No computer skills required.

John Dekker said...

So are Ruth and AB's wife the same person?

CraigS said...

Yeah - she is RB

Ruth said...

Thanks a lot Craig - I liked my separate identities!!!! Although, you'd already mentioned my first name on another comment section on Christine's blog - so I shoud have warned you not to do that there.

Starting the blog page wasn't what worried me - making it interesting is what you need the computer skills for - Christine's is so aesthetically pleasing, and full of interesting posts - that's where I would completely fail.

G'day John - yes I am Ruth, AB's wife and Mrs AB on different blog pages, depending on what I'm saying, where I'm writing and my mood. I'm hardly going to call myself AB's wife on a comment page started about singleness am I ???

And Chistine - I love your blog - keep up the good writing.

CraigS said...

Sorry Ruth - didn't realise you were keeping them separate. Whats the preferred???

Ruth said...

No worries, don't want to be at all deceptive - just a little private. Probably also don't want to be 'boxed' which I suppose is inevitable. I have also been known to write anonymously too - but only if there was a good reason.

Hey Christine, I spelt your name incorrectly before - sorry about that.

Bobby said...

Craig, I do know what you're saying. Both men and women want things "in addition" to godliness in a mate, but I do feel that men are more likely to say it.
I have heard from guys recently who have said, "the girls around here say they want a Christian man who is interested in marriage, but they won't give me a chance." It's a bit confusing to the, as Craig put it, "literal" minded-guy. He thinks, "I'm a Christian. I'm ready for marriage. And I just asked her out. Why is she saying no?"

Jim the 3rd said...

And to think all this time I thought I was just waiting to fall in love.

Priscilla said...

The Warped Theology of Married Life (and other things regarding love)

1. If I'm married I am happy.
2. If I'm married, I'm more spiritual. In other words God has smiled on me.
3. My husband (spouse)will always meet all my needs.
4. Love is a fluttery feeling you have in your tummy.
5. I always feel loving toward my husband and he always feels loving toward me.
6. Being married is easy.
7. Everyone should be married because it is God's best for them.
8. If I'm married, I am never lonely.
9. I will always look like Jessica Alba (i.e. young and beautiful) because age does not happen.
10. No one can love me if I do not look perfect.
11. I cannot love someone who is not tall and handsome.
12. If you are not married, there must be something wrong with you.

Anyone care to add more?

Priscilla said...

I should also add that the picture to the right is 6 years old because age really does happen.

Bobby said...

Priscilla, that's a great list.

sajini said...

Hahah!!! After reading all this, I see why my parents keep telling me to forget dating have an arranged marriage!! too funny

Priscilla said...

I decided to forget dating after a broken heart when I was 21. Three years later I entered an "arranged" relationship.(arranged by my Father-Heavenly Father that is) 8 months after that we were married...and ya know...God did pretty good. I'm really happy. My husband is handsome...but he's short! Who woulda ever thought?

Donners said...

I have to agree that it was easier when I was single to "concentrate on the lord's work" but that was before I realised that the "lord's work" is serving people, which includes my husband now! Even though serving is sually about cooking, washing dhishes supporting now.

Whereas before I had mroe time to teach bible studies and evangelise, now I spend a lot more of my time studying so that I can get a qualification so that I can work to support my husband while he studies at bible college...

ckhnat said...

personally ... I look forward to being able to serve a husband, too. But till then ...

mike said...

...what???? Till then what?