My Thoughts Regarding the Article The Hard Truth About Mr. Right by Joy Beth Smith
This was an article or a series of excerpts by some up and coming book about singleness. Here are some of my thoughts about it.
(Link): The Hard Truth About Mr. Right by Joy Beth Smith
A few points where I agree with the article: yes, as one gets older (assuming one wants marriage), one feels more and more pressure, and it gets stressful or sad to see one’s peers getting married off while one is still single. Yes, dating can be horrible and exhausting.
I get the feeling that Ms. Smith is in her 20s or 30s, and her article (or book) is perhaps aimed at younger singles.
I’m in between the ages of 45 and 50 myself presently, so maybe I’m older than her target demographic. I was engaged to a guy from my late 20s into my early 30s and broke things off with him, but I have never been married.
I’m not sure if my age matters or not, but my age might mean that I’m able to spot wonky thinking in this article that a younger single may be blind to.
The author seems to feel that some singles reading her piece believe in the concept of “soul mates.”
I for one don’t believe in that concept, so much of what she says in that part of the article is not applicable to me.
However, as I’ve noted before, to correct Christian marriage advice dispenser Mark Gungor, it (Link): takes more than having “Jesus in common” for a Christian relationship to work, marriage or no. Gungor presents adult single Christians as interchangeable widgets, in that it does not matter who marries who, so long as both “believe in Jesus,” and I ripped him apart in that blog post for promoting such a horrid, untrue view.
While some Christians may hold to one extreme, a (1.) belief in “soul mates,” other Christians go to the other extreme and their attitude is, (2.) “Aw, hell, it don’t matter who you marry, just so long as they believe in Jesus!!”
– I’m apathetic about the first view, but annoyed greatly by the second.
Where Ms. Smith is losing me in this, is that she spiritualizes singleness and marriage. She wraps up a lot of her views on marriage like some Christians do in telling us singles that marriage is about God, it’s not about us or the other person, so we shouldn’t feel bad about being single. I find such views a little odd.
I don’t think Christians (or anyone) should make an idol out of marriage, and it’s nice she’s trying to cheer singles up about being single, but to talk about marriage as though it’s all about God is just weird to me.
It’s rather like the single Christians who will tell you that although they would like to marry, that they are currently (Link): “dating Jesus.”
It’s like the married people who try to cheer up love-lorn singles who want a spouse that, “The LORD is your husband!”
No, folks, no.
No, (Link): the LORD is not my husband. He’s not yours, either.
I want to have an honest- to- God marriage and have sex and have companionship with an honest- to- God, real, literal human man (who preferably looks like one of my crushes, such as actor (Link): Hugh Jackman).
I cannot cuddle with God on the front porch while watching the sun go down or hold hands with God on walks around the block.
I cannot – nor would I want to, ew, gross – “spoon” with Jesus on the couch while watching The Walking Dead, Hitch, Star Wars, or Pitch Perfect on television. Jesus is not going to show up at my door in a suit and tie, with flowers at the ready, to take me out to a nice, candle-lit dinner at the local restaurant.
I’m not into metaphorical or allegorical hand-holding, necking, or spooning.
I want the real, literal thing, dammit and LOL.
Telling me to think about God, and how I’m made for God, and so on, and all the other spiritual clap-trap Christians like to get into when they write these articles or books for singles, don’t cheer me up but tend to bum me out a little, as though the people writing these things don’t understand how really difficult it is to want to have steady companionship when you’re single.
Here are a few excerpts from the CT page by Smith:
The One is a mirage we’ve constructed to romanticize the very real, sanctifying process of marriage, and it’s hurting us, y’all.
This idea is eating away at a true, beautiful view of marriage that has less to do with wooing and more to do with dying.
Marriage is best seen in our weaknesses colliding with each other, not in completing each other.
Isaiah 43:7 reads, “Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory” (NLT).
Did you catch that?
For I have made them for marriage … Nope. For I have made them for full, happy lives … Nope. For I have made them for my glory.
And this should be a comfort to us. You don’t have to find the One or even happiness; you only have to glorify God.
–(conclusion of excerpt)–
I suppose that Smith is trying to correct the over-emphasis upon marriage that so many place upon it, which ends up making adult singleness look bad, wrong, or second rate by comparison, but I don’t think over-spiritualizing singleness (especially not to an audience who’d like to be married) is exactly the, or a, solution, either.
That feels like a pretty heavy weight to carry on a first date, but we do it. Over and over again, I hear friends (and, okay, myself) analyzing a dating or Facebook profile and discussing it in terms of “husband potential.”
“He’s got three part-time jobs. I mean, I’m glad that he’s working, but where’s the stability in that?”
“He spends a lot of time with his family. I love that. Being family oriented is really important.”
…Consider that maybe you’ve embraced this courtship mentality because you’re scared. Maybe you think, through overanalyzing, praying, and marriage-centered dating, you can actually take control of this situation. But you should know this method is self-defeating.
In seeking the perfect relationship, you will eschew genuine, intimate relationships that develop as a result of grace, patience, and love being required and extended.
–(conclusion of excerpt)–
Yes, it’s true, that Christian culture produces Christian singles who don’t know how to date, because we were trained from teen-aged years to view every date as a journey to marriage. That in turn means every guy we go on a date with is measured as being husband material or not… which is not always conducive to forming relationships.
(I was actually on a blind date once, a set up. The guy was very desperate for female companionship to the degree I think he was looking for a wife, and that vibe of desperation and being too serious too fast freaked me out and scared me away. It also didn’t help that he was an arrogant jerk face.)
Smith expends some time in her piece discussing the perils and stress of online dating. Here’s an excerpt or two:
Perhaps the advent of the internet, and consequently dating sites and apps, has acted as a catalyst for one of your deepest fears as it has mine: There’s always someone better out there. Are you picking the right person? What if you’re settling, and a better guy shows up in a year? Will this person be worth the sacrifice of your freedom? For women, these fears are only heightened by a race against the clock, an arbitrary expiration date that all good Christian women should be wed by or lose the possibility of starting a family altogether.
–(conclusion of excerpt)–
As a woman who never cared one way or another if I had children, I don’t feel that the ticking clock thing was a concern for me. My only concern is how ageist men are.
So many of them, even dumpy fat ones in their 50s, all seem to prefer 20 year old bimbos. That ageism is probably my only speed bump.
I do feel sorry for the women who want to have kids, though, and they can’t meet a Mr. Right by their mid-30s. But then, (Link): more women are having their first kid at age 40, even the single ones. So maybe that is not even a factor so much any more.
Smith writes (in the part about dating sites):
When you browse dozens of profiles while wasting time on a Monday night, you see exactly how many people are out there. Instead of only being exposed to the three eligible bachelors in your small church, you have access to handsome, eligible bachelors from around the world!
–(conclusion of excerpt)–
What? What church is she going to that has “three eligible bachelors” in it?
Any church I’ve been to, there are no single men, eligible or no, from the ages of around 25 to 60.
(Link): How the Dating Scene Became Stacked Against Women – via CT, by Gina Dalfonzo
(Link): What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis (from TIME) (ie, Why Are Conservative Religious Women Not Marrying Even Though They Want to Be Married. Hint: It’s a Demographics Issue)
Out of the few churches I’ve been to that have single adult males over the age of 25 (up to about 60), those men have been are – and I’m sorry if this sounds cruel, I’m only recounting my observations – men who are weird, social misfits, obese, dorky, unattractive. These men were not dating material, let alone spouse material.
As to this by Smith:
We can’t keep dating the way we have been, and we can’t keep pretending we’re going to meet a man and instantly know he’s our future husband. (Though, Jesus, I’m not putting limits up here. You can make that happen for me.)
–(conclusion of excerpt)–
Yes, I agree with her there.
If I hear one more Christian woman say that “the LORD sent me my husband” I will possibly vomit.
Unfortunately, I caught (Link): one more such story on a recent airing of the Christian television program the 700 Club.
(Link): Christians Advise Singles To Follow Certain Dating Advice But Then Shame, Criticize, or Punish Singles When That Advice Does Not Work
(Link): Does God Require Singles to Be Perfect Before He Will Send Them a Spouse
(Link): Typical Incorrect Conservative Christian Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough, Mr. Right will magically appear
(Link): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage
(Link): How Christian Teachings on Marriage/ Singleness/ Gender Roles/ Dating Are Keeping Christian Singles Single