Are single Christian females
expecting too much of men?
Men speak out about
the disadvantages of having
a spiritual seeker as a partner.
by A.K. Kiesling (a woman)
Just as women have their hot-button issues with single men, so too have men with women--namely that Christian women... "expect too much" of men and have ridiculously high standards, spiritually speaking.
As one man lamented in response to my online survey, "Lower your standards. I'm not the Apostle Paul! If I don't look like an evangelical, smell like an evangelical, have unattainable character and charisma, spend all my free time at church, have all my issues settled, have all my prayers answered, know Scripture inside out, love children ... good grief!"
I could picture him throwing up his hands in defeat....
"Christian women are just plain too picky, especially about finding a man who's spiritual enough," said another man. "If they find themselves being pursued by a guy they genuinely think is a believer, whom they find reasonably attractive, and who they think would make a decent husband, they should just marry him. Instead, all the women ... seem to be holding out for some super-spiritual guy who wants to be an overseas missionary in a Third World country, and whom they feel some kind of amazing 'click' or 'chemistry' with."
In defense of the single Christian women I know, most have very realistic spiritual expectations of the men they date and hope to marry. Yes, they long to find someone who shares their faith, but they know that men are humans too--fallible creatures who mess up sometimes and need grace as much as we do.
If anything, the women I know err on the side of giving too much latitude to men, sometimes blurring the lines between someone who "believes in God" and a real believer. But that's not what showed up in the responses from men who took my survey. Quite a few vented their frustration about too-high standards.
"Christian women have been fed a lot of misinformation about what actual men are like," writes one disgruntled man. "Reality check: there are no white knights or heroes out there. We can't rescue you, sorry. And the 'Jesus is my boyfriend' thing is a little weird. I am not saying you should lower your expectations. Rather, you need to readjust them. Just as many men need to realize that actual women are not like the airbrushed porn stars of their fantasies. I find that I enjoy the company of non-Christian women far more than that of most Christian women. I just don't think they have bought into the popular tripe about what a man is supposed to be. Real men are rough around the edges."
TURNING CHRISTIAN MEN INTO WIMPS?
Just what does the book Wild at Heart (by John Eldredge) say about men? The book's marketing description on Amazon.com reads: God designed men to be dangerous, says John Eldredge. Simply look at the dreams and desires written in the heart of every boy: To be a hero, to be a warrior, to live a life of adventure and risk. Sadly, most men abandon those dreams and desires--aided by a Christianity that feels like nothing more than pressure to be a "nice guy." It is no wonder that many men avoid church, and those who go are often passive and bored to death.... Eldredge gives women a look inside the true heart of a man and gives men permission to be what God designed them to be--dangerous, passionate, alive, and free.
Perhaps it's the "dangerous, passionate, alive, and free" label that seems like too tall an order for the average Christian male to fill, especially when they feel as if women expect (read: demand) this from them. In reading through the responses of men, I heard plenty of passion and expectations, but also world-weariness. Some seemed even more jaded than women on the state of single Christian America.
"Christians put unrealistic expectations on each other," said one man in his early thirties who answered that he would like to be married someday if he meets the right person. "There seems to be this feeling that because you are a Christian you must be perfect or more normal than others. Fact is we are all human and imperfect so we need to accept that fact or else we will always be frustrated at being disappointed in our significant other."
Unrealistic expectations--and modern singles' propensity to have a checklist of requirements in their ideal mate--actually work against true love. If it looks like love, acts like love, and has the staying power of love, then it's probably the real deal.
"The dating scene is OK as far as it goes," writes another man in my survey. "It's the progressing-to-marriage scene that's a problem. I wish women didn't feel they need a light shining down from heaven on a man and a voice booming 'he's the one' in order to make a decision. My last girlfriend wouldn't marry me because she wasn't getting a clear signal from God that I was 'the one.' It was incredibly frustrating and her breaking up with me broke my heart."
Somewhere out there, I can't help but think there's a young woman who realized too late that true love was standing right in front of her, but she let it slip away.
Women who strike a gracious balance between accepting men as they are--admittedly rough around the edges--yet gently prod them to be their best self might find a true knight after all, or at least a knight-in-the-making. We all would do well to learn this lesson about looking for the best in the man or woman right in front of us....
We do ourselves a favor--and open ourselves up to the possibility of true love--when we drop our defenses, shred our checklist, and start seeing people as God does, with all the potential they possess.
A.J. Kiesling is the author of Where Have All the Good Men Gone? (Harvest House) and the novel Skizzer (Revell). A religion writer for Publishers Weekly, she has written more than a dozen books. You can reach her at www.ajkiesling.com.
First Comment from Tony B:
This article and all the comments I've read ring "protestant outlook" loud and clear. None of them has any concept of true Christianity nor of true Christian women or men.
There are very good reasons that God put the man as the head of the home. Today neither the husband nor the wife, in most cases in the western world, have a clue as to what these reasons are although the men seem to at least sense them while the women do not at all in most cases.
A godly woman knows that her castle is the home and she knows what goes with it: the providing of the immediate family needs, the nurturing of the children and OF BEING THE BEST POSSIBLE HELPMATE TO THE HUSBAND, who is the one, in normality, who must face the world for necessary means to physical, material and edified life.
In this day in the U.S. I believe I have never met more than a handful of women whose first priority after marriage is to back her husband. Instead there is an almost universal drive to FORCE-CHANGE him into what SHE WANTS him to be, what HE wants to be notwithstanding. Only her material desires are to be satisfied. This same reasoning persists throughout the marriage as proven by the simple FACT that in almost ever case it is the wife who initiates the divorce. Her selfishness NEVER abates.
To her defense, she has been brainwashed with the "princess" syndrome from day one, often at home, always in school and forever by television and trashy books and magazines, etc.
Too often, in the same series as the creation of the princess, the husband has been "feminized" to the point of not having the ability to fulfill his role either. Still, the husband is almost always the material loser, even losing his children, while the woman is universally granted the win, whether or not she deserves it.