Christians Advise Singles To Follow Certain Dating Advice But Then Shame, Criticize, or Punish Singles When That Advice Does Not Work
A recent post I made, along with a comment left under it by a regular blog visitor (hello mikewchair2165!) got me to thinking of something I’ve noticed or experienced myself when visiting other Christian forums or blogs.
The previous post I refer to was this one:
I had remarked in that blog post that using faith to get a spouse simply does not work. It did not work for me. I grew up in an evangelical, Southern Baptist family and church environ, and I listened to or watched a lot of TV sermons by evangelicals and other types of Christians on Christian TV. I also read a lot of Christian publications that sometimes had articles about dating and marriage.
So, from my youth and into my 20s, I was exposed to a lot of evangelical views, teachings, and advice about dating, gender roles, how to get a spouse, and so forth. The vast majority of material and teachings I was exposed to conveyed the idea that a single adult who desires marriage should be passive and “trust God” to send him or her a spouse.
This was usually taught as, you should just go about your daily life, attend a local church, but trust God to send Mr. Right into your life.
As I am not a man, I can’t gauge exactly what kinds of teachings evangelicals give men on these subjects and how often – I didn’t pay as much attention to the stuff being specifically directed at men on some topics (depending on what the topic is), because I’m not a dude.
However, from what little I do remember, about any time I have paid attention when Baptist or evangelical Christians were telling single males how to get a wife, they usually stressed that the man should be very active, and go out trying to find a date.
Christians usually tell the men to get off their duffs and look for a wife because “he who finds a wife finds a good thing” (which is quoting some Bible verse). But, there was also a strain of teaching given to men, which is quite similar to what we women were taught, of, “Just pray and trust God, and God will send a suitable partner across your path, no effort is required on your part, effort shows you are not trusting God.”
So I suppose some Baptist or evangelical men are also given the message that getting married is a very passive endeavor, with no effort on their part, it’s all up to God, which is also what Christian women are taught from the time they are girls.
As I am a lady, I will explain things from the woman’s view.
If you are an unmarried man (especially one who is over 30 years of age) who was brought up in a Baptist or evangelical church or family, you can weigh in and explain your experience in the comments below, how this stuff is taught to men, to give any visitors a more informed view, if you like.
The advice I heard from Christians growing up, on how and when to marry, (and all this was usually depicted as being “biblical” or “Bible based” advice, so of course if you are a sincere Christian, you want to do what is “biblical” and “pleasing to God”) is that you have to do X, Y, and Z, to get a spouse.
Sometimes, doing “X, Y, and Z” was presented as necessary, otherwise God would punish you by refusing to send you a husband.
That is, God will not send a godly, Christian husband to a woman, unless she does “X, Y, Z” and avoids doing “A, B, and C.” The particular advice here can vary.
Sometimes Christian advice about dating, marriage, and other issues is contradictory.
For example, because so many Christians are paranoid and fearful or despise secular feminism, they will tell Christian single women,
“Do not be too independent. That will turn off men. You have to make the man feel as though you NEED him.”
On the other hand, Christians will tell single Christian women, “Don’t be TOO dependent on a man. You have to be independent, because being too dependent will turn a man off, you will be seen as too needy or clingy.”
So, the conflicting message to Christian single women is:
- Be independent, but at the same time, do not be independent.
In the physical appearance department, single Christian women are told: be pretty, but do not be pretty. We are told these conflicting messages:
- Men are visually oriented, so you must be thin and pretty to attract and keep a man. But, do not be pretty, lest you cause a brother in Christ to stumble and make him lust, and, remember, God loves you for your heart.
If I thought about it long enough, I could go on with other examples that are double standards, contradictions, and impossible to follow.
One teaching that is fairly consistent: Christians either out right say or imply that virginity is necessary for a Christian woman to get married. (I seldom to never hear Christians stress male virginity is necessary for a Christian man to “earn” a spouse.)
We women are told, or it is implied, God will not send a loving, nice, financially stable, Christian husband to a fornicator, so you best keep the skirt down and the legs together.
Never mind that over the years I have seen so many testimonies (on Christian shows!) of women who admit they slept around for decades, even working as call girls or strippers, even knowing it was sin, yet they later married a nice, Christian, middle class husband.
Anyway, other Christians may add other supposed qualities a Christian woman must possess before God will “permit her” to marry, or to “reward her with” a husband. Some Christians may tell a woman to “seek God first,” or “be content in God” before God will send you a spouse.
Other Christians will include all that stuff, or simply advise you to “trust in the Lord,” or “pray regularly for a spouse” or “have faith and believe, and it will come to pass in God’s timing.”
Some will tell a woman that she must pray regularly, read her Bible often, and volunteer at a charity.
Here’s the problem: you can sincerely follow all this supposed “godly” or “Bible based” advice on how to get a mate and still end up being single.
I know I followed all the advice and have never married, and I am over the age of 40 now.
When I began picking up on this around my mid or late 30s, and I started posting concerns, questions, and comments about these subjects on other Christian forums, blogs, and sites years ago, nobody had an answer.
A few people were sympathetic. They told me they were in a similar position.
However, more often than not, when I would point out,
- “I don’t get it. I had faith. I went to church, I trusted God, I read my Bible, lived a clean life style, truly believed God would provide, and I’m still a virgin. I did all the things I was told to do by Christians to get a spouse, but I am still single. What is going on, I don’t understand?” –
instead of receiving compassion and sympathy, which is the response I should have received, or else, I should have received serious responses to my issue, I would instead get shamed, criticized, attacked by both married and single Christians. Continue reading “Christians Advise Singles To Follow Certain Dating Advice But Then Shame, Criticize, or Punish Singles When That Advice Does Not Work”