Singles Q&A: Drowning in Comparisons
- Friday, November 03, 2006
Finally, I’d like to offer some minor comments based on the earlier part of your letter. Though you are probably working hard to keep fear of man from being detected, I can guarantee you that others sense it. People usually flee from the burden of crushing expectations and the poison of snarky comments. In the part of your letter that I edited, you described talking to a man you like in an animated way, but then you said that you often ignore the new men because you don’t want to seem too eager. The guys probably notice this yo-yo behavior. Perhaps it would be more helpful for everyone if you treated all of the men evenly, like brothers. And if they like some activities that you don’t, why not try one or two? You might be surprised by how much fun you have. But I would recommend you hold on doing so until you’ve had some time to work on your heart issues and are more grounded in God.
You also mentioned that the older men in your church seem drawn to the younger women in the more “caring” professions. Perhaps you’ve observed this situation accurately, but there may be some other considerations. Is there any possibility that you’ve taken on the less attractive qualities of the legal profession – the aggressiveness, skepticism, and combativeness that make for a great trial lawyer but a contentious life partner? This may be where you have to ask your friends for an honest assessment. Assure them that you won’t get mad at whatever they say in response to your questions, and then … don’t get mad. Or defensive. You may end up hearing some life-altering feedback. Perhaps these men are also making assumptions about your career. If they want to get married and have a family, they may assume you don’t share those goals simply because you are successful professionally. Where appropriate, you may need to be clear about your own hopes and goals.
Lastly, the appearance that these men are drawn to women in the “caring” professions may be a sign that it’s just the caring that attracts them. It seems unfair, but the longer we women are single, the more independent and self-reliant we have to become, practically speaking. That very independence can signal that we don’t want or need others. So we have to work at both extending and receiving care. As one good male friend once told me, “You come across as being competent and self-sufficient. You are going to have to learn to ask for help. And then you’ll have to learn to wait for it, because help won’t always come on your timetable.” How very true! I wish it were different, but countless men have told me they want to know their care will be received, and that in return they will be cared for – and not competed against. It’s the dynamic of partnership, of interdependence. We, who by necessity live independently, must work at cultivating community.
This is a long answer, but it only grazes the surface. My prayer is that you will grab the lifelines I’ve thrown out here and allow the Lord to pull you closer, so that He becomes bigger and fills the vista of your gaze! And in due time, I also pray He brings you a husband, one whom you will receive as a gift but not a functional god.
Carolyn McCulley works for Sovereign Grace Ministries in church and ministry relations. She is also an author ( "Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God with a Hope Deferred") and blogger (solofemininity.blogs.com). Carolyn is also a member of Covenant Life Church where one of her favorite ministries is the single women's discipleship program. She highly recommends the resources for singles from the New Attitude conference and blog.
Your questions answered! Carolyn will periodically answer Crosswalk.com reader questions in her Singles Q&A columns. While we can't guarantee that each question will be answered, we do hope to hear from you! Please send your questions regarding singleness and related topics to Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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