Real Men Are "Rough Around the Edges"
- Thursday, December 18, 2008
Could single women be expecting too much of men? Here, the men speak out. ...
Just as women have their hot-button issues with single men, so too have men with women—namely that the Christian women they see around them “expect too much” of men and have ridiculously high standards, spiritually speaking.
As one man lamented in response to my online survey of Christian singles, “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.
When I shared this finding with one Christian man I know who is still looking for a wife, he looked troubled. Could it be his peers, single men who profess faith in Christ, are intimidated by the standards they hear preached from the pulpit? Standards written about in popular books such as Wild at Heart and The Sacred Romance? Evidently so, but the answer is not for us singles to collectively lower our standards, but to prod each other on in the “race of faith”—and have grace for one another along the way.
“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 who are still available 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 my own gender, 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 (thank you Wild at Heart/Captivating). Real men are rough around the edges.”
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.
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