"He's Just Not That Into You" -- Postmodern Secular Romance
- Monday, December 20, 2004
How do you take that advice apart? According to the Sex and the City worldview, it would presumably be just fine if the man were having sex with another woman with her knowledge or encouragement. The sex itself is not bad, wrong, or problematic according to Behrendt and Tuccilo. The issue is cheating. Writing to "Fiona," Greg Behrendt offers this advice: "Well, you can choose to believe he is sorry. You can choose to believe he will change. But in my book, lying, cheating, hiding is the exact opposite of the behavior of a man who's really into you." Got it?
The following chapters offer similar advice, instructing women on the wiles and basic immaturity of men. You don't have to read between the lines to see that these writers assume that men will use women and that women are so desperate for romance and sex that they are willing to be used.
Interestingly, marriage remains very much on the horizon. The women whose unfulfilling relationships presumably form the market for this book are desperately seeking to be married. "Every man you have ever dated who has said he doesn't want to get married or doesn't believe in marriage, or has 'issues' with marriage, will, rest assured, someday be married," Behrendt and Tuccilo explain. "It just will never be with you."
In an interesting exchange, "Danielle" wrote a letter explaining that the main man in her life is "just not ready" to get married. After dating for five years, "I'm only twenty-eight and people get married much later these days. And sometimes it takes longer for guys to grow up than girls. So I want to be understanding, but I'm just not sure how long I'm supposed to wait. Does he need more time or is he just not that into marrying me?"
Greg responds, "I hate to tell you this, but here's why he feels rushed: He's still not sure you're the one. Yep, my lovely, I know it's hard to hear, but better to hear it now than ten years from now. So you can stay with him and continue to audition for the part of his lucky wife, or you can go find someone who doesn't need a decade or two to realize you're the best thing that ever happened to him."
He's Just Not That Into You is the perfect portrait of postmodern romance. With romantic love isolated from the Christian worldview that gave it birth, sex, romance, and whatever is considered love are combined in a tragic mix of confusion. Nevertheless, the book--and the fact that it now ranks as the top-selling nonfiction title--tells us something Christians need to know about the worldview, experience, and tragic emptiness of so many people in modern secular America.
Feminists promised American women a festival of liberated delights, describing marriage as a domestic prison and male leadership as oppressive patriarchy. What are feminists to make of this book, these women, and this advice? Clearly, these women desperately want men to grow up, initiate relationships, lead, and move toward marriage.
Tragically, these authors--and the millions they represent--see sex as a way of luring, securing, and enticing men into romantic relationships. When these relationships fail--as this book proves they so often do--women are left feeling used, abused, empty, and hopeless. He's Just Not That Into You represents one of the most tragic and depressing books published in recent years. Nevertheless, those of us who know the Bible's understanding of sex, romance, and marriage should pay attention to this book and realize why the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is good news in more ways than one--rescuing us not only from sin, but from this tragic pattern of emptiness, disappointment, and confusion.
The hundreds of thousands of women reading this book desperately need the right advice--but that's the last thing they're going to get from a Sex and the City writing team.
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For more articles and resources by Dr. Mohler, and for information on The Albert Mohler Program, a daily national radio program broadcast on the Salem Radio Network, go to www.albertmohler.com. For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to www.sbts.edu. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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