Scott has a post named June Cleaver might be unmarriagable right now. It’s likely the largest discussion in the past few years about the factors that go into finding a spouse that is suitable for marriage from the perspective of a woman (and also the factors that go into it for men).
Generally speaking, ever since the rise of no fault divorce and the decoupling of “sex” and “marriage” — at least in culture — via fornication and promiscuity, anyone looking for marriage has suffered extensively. There’s numerous reasons about why this has happened. I’m going to try to summarize many of the factors (not an exhaustive list).
- Divorce and courts — young men see that wives can blow up their marriages for cash and prizes and they get to keep the children. Significantly decreases mens’ incentive to pursue marriage.
- Sex without marriage / hook up culture — this is not a concern to serious Christians, but the fact that many people say they’re Christians but advocate pre-marital sex gives somewhat the illusion of Christian piety. There’s numerous cases of men and women who want to wait until marriage but are receiving interest from non-Christian and pseudo-Christians who want to “sample” before “marriage.”
- Men are less masculine — men are less manly contributes to being shy in asking out women and taking risks. Men who aren’t masculine also tend to put responsibilities before roles, which is bad.
- Women are less feminine and more masculine — this is obviously an influence from culture. In general, men do not want to marry a business partner. They want to marry a woman.
- Feminism — although feminism is encompassed in all of these points, there are some that are not covered. No, you can’t “have it all.” It’s a lie. The Scripture tells wives to prioritize their God, husband, children, and the home.
- Life Scripts — This is one of the biggest large impediments. Women are now expected to complete college and get a career before marrying. Men are expected to complete college, have a good paying career and job before marrying. This pushes marriage upwards of late 20s and early 30s+. The marriages coming out of late teens and early 20s are few.
- Breakdown in communication — flaking and standing up people is extremely common. Women started it, men continued it, almost everyone does it.
- Obesity — no real comments are needed. It’s pretty much universally unattractive, except to the few people with fat fetishes.
- Husbands and fathers are held with contempt — this needs no explanation. Surprise, what men want to be husbands and fathers if they are held with contempt?
- Fear of disappearing sex — no one wants a frigid and sexless marriage, despite the fact that it has become a relatively common occurrence. Women tend to change on a dime about sex once they’re married. Stats indicate about 2/3rds of marriage husband have dominant sex drive and 1/3rd wives do. It can go both ways.
Christian sub-culture. There’s quite a few sources of rot in Christian sub-culture as well as logistical issues. Aided by Neguy’s post here.
- Discipleship — The Church does not disciple men and push men into leadership positions. This tends to lead to men just hanging around in singleness. Likewise, women are not taught to be women.
- Feminization in the Church — sappy love songs about Jesus, feelings over Truth, not teaching the hard parts of Scripture (headship, submission, women no authority over man, etc.). Men who come under this structure end up with a feminized world view where they should be “nice” to attract a woman. Nice never attracted anything but emotional predators.
- Women cliques — if you try to ask someone out or date them it gets around. Nuclear rejections and ruining of reputation are not uncommon. If you date one, you basically can’t date anyone else in a Church. This has led men to not date women in their own Church and look outside of it.
- Introversion / quietness — like it or not, those who are introverted and/or quiet tend to have worse prospects. Generally, they’re not as good with conversational skills and being bold enough to go talk to people.
- Indicators of interest — men and especially women in Church think flirting is the devil. No indicators of interest are really shown.
- “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” influence — both dating and courtship are not Biblical concepts. Who even knows what they are anyway. Christians should stop taking these things so seriously and just get to know each other.
- Christianizing and making things overly serious — sort of IKDG influence, but a bit different. Whenever you hear so and so is going out with someone, there’s the expectation that they’re going to get married. People ask when you’re going to get married. Can we just calm down and let young men and young women figure out if who they’re seeing is a good fit before asking them when they’re going to have babies?
- Denominational differences — obviously a factor in shrinking the pool of candidates. Orthodox and Catholic generally won’t marry out. Protestants have the issue of various denominations falling into apostasy.
- Obesity — sadly, obesity needs a re-mention on beating the obesity dead horse. Especially with Christians who think like this. My first ever post on this blog was about Practical ways to improve your attractiveness and desirability for a Christian spouse. It was removed by Boundless (Focus on the Family’s singles ministry). When you have supposedly Christian organizations ignoring reality well… you get the point. Lest we not forget that feminine beauty is highly controllable.
- Donal has a post up that overlaps some — market is awful, geographical issues, demographical issues, Christian parents are not teaching their children roles and responsibilities, young men are less interested in marriage (for many of the reasons above), and too many people are doing too little.
- Christian conservative delusion — Delusion that America was Christian and that 1950s were ideal. “Traditional” is held up as some sort of standard, even on par with the Bible. After all, “if we could just go back to how it was… oh, but we should definitely keep this feminism stuff too”
- Patriarchy = abuse delusion — Christians often buy the lies that there was abuse in Patriarchy in the Bible and that Jesus changed that. Also, that there was some sort of equality between Adam and Eve before the fall. Nothing changed from the Beginning to the OT to the NT — Husbands and fathers still have authority over their wives and children.
- White knighting sin — Dalrock has covered this extensively on how “womens’ sin is blamed on men.” Especially from the pulpit. This covers anything from abortion, to temper tantrums, to breaking china, and other “wake up calls.” It’s easy to blame men and hard to call out women. God forbid a man not want to get into a relationship if he’s going to get blamed for the sins of his wife.
- Lack of respect — the Church and wives often hold husbands in contempt (see reasons above) and don’t give respect where it is due: for the position of the husband. Headship demands respect and submission because it’s headship. “Feelings” are held above “Truth.”
- Culture of family distrust of suitors — The notion that “good fathers” are out to get any of the potential son in laws.
Despite all of these challenges, marriage is still good because God has created it.
1 Timothy 4:But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will [a]fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
Several solutions have been posited, especially including Church events. Fat chance, really.
You’re pretty much on your own. Make it happen, if you want to be married.
I’ve posted on this many times before, such as the the detailed timeline. I’ve posted before for women too including some of the above in obesity. Tons of practice advise in the categorized lists of posts.
The real issue is the same as you’ll see in marriage. You can’t expect the other person to change. You can only control you. Therefore, if YOU want to be married, YOU have to make every concerted effort to make it happen. This is true for both the man and the woman and the husband and the wife.
Seriouslyserving posted about how she did it.
Regarding “flirting”, I didn’t spend very long in the dating market, but I can tell you what worked to get my husband’s attention…
We had the advantage of living together at a church based student accommodation, so we saw each other a lot naturally.
But I had heard that he was into computers and a bit of a tech whizz, so I asked if he would mind helping me install my new printer. He was happy to do so, and this provided the opportunity to then talk a bit more one on one. He then saw my guitar sitting there and asked if I could play something for him, which I did so.
He had no idea until after we’d already been dating for a while that the printer and the guitar “lying around” were strategic moves, but they were effective ways of letting him know I was interested, whilst still being able to claim plausible deniability (as someone mentioned earlier) if nothing came of it.
I’ve posted an example of a “Real life Ruth” with the Part 1 and Part 2 followup. There are ways to make it happen. Women have the great ability to leverage social networks and set up situations that are conducive to success for them.
With all of that said I’ll share my story, since I’m now engaged.
About 2.5 years ago, during an overnight Church event, I was talking with a group of people — men and women — about marriage. We talked about what we were looking for and how it was hard to find. I did this on the off chance that anyone there was something that I was looking for in a prospective wife. None of them met my criteria, and I don’t think I met theirs.
I always follow up on my leads regardless of whether they bear fruit or not. One of my habits was asking family, church members, friends, and others if they spot a woman that they think would be a good match for me to let me know. This is one of the things I listed in the detailed timeline and how-to guide. One of the women said they knew of a girl who went to a similar program at that Church last year, and another of the women knew her name so they gave it to me. I kept that in the back of my mind, as I was exploring other potential leads at the moment.
About 4-5 months later, I added her on Facebook and struck up a conversation as we were interested in mutual things. Honestly, I didn’t expect much of it because she lived on the west coast and I lived on the east coast. I had “dealt” with long distance before and was not a fan already, but I figured why not one last time since she seemed to be what I was looking for. Note that I did my homework first before I added her: checked out her FB and other social media to see if there were any red flags.
We struck it up immediately since we had a lot of things in common. This is where being an wise conversationalist comes in. Learning how to lead a conversation is useful to draw out certain responses. I actually went back through our conversations with her a year or so later, and I showed her where I ‘led’ her to certain topics that I wanted to talk about and/or tease her about. It was pretty fun to go back over what we had talked about early on and see how our relationship had changed as we got to know each other better.
As God would have it, I had actually planned before I messaged her to go on a missions trip prior to me talking with her. Our launch point before leaving was the same city that she lived in. Divine providence? You decide. In any case, I went to meet her and her family, and we decided to try the long distance thing a few weeks later. And the rest is history.
Actually, the rest is not history, haha. Just tried to fool you. Basically, like any relationship you have to continue to work at it and grow. I introduced to her several Biblical concepts that I like to go by in relationships. You can find more about that in my 5 step process to maturity in relationships. Indeed, even when a woman knows what she is supposed to do, learning how to do it is still difficult, even with a strong father figure in her life.
I still had to teach her what it means to respect me. I had to tell her when she was disrespecting me. As the [future] head of the relationship, I had to take the reigns and help teach her more about the Scriptures and what God’s roles and responsibilities for us were from. Some of it was easier. Some of it was harder. This is also vice versa with some of her needs on what it means to love her (cherish and nourish her).
The key is building a pattern of good behavior, patience, and lack of anger in conflict. If people understand that conflict is not something to run from, it is much easier to discuss the difficult aspects of the relationship especially when you disagree. This is the major issue that most relationships run into in conflict. If there are patterns of bad behavior, it’s very difficult to break the negative behavioral cycles. It can only be done through the grace of God and consistently walking by the Spirit.
In any case, once you have begun and consistently applied a pattern of good works within a relationship by walking with the Spirit it becomes much easier. Although there are still bumps in the road here and there, the foundation of trust has already been built. It is important to continue nurturing this foundation of trust and grow it as you grow together. The bond of the Scriptural roles and responsibilities is that foundation, as the way a husband and wife are to act toward each other is fulfilled.
It took a while to meet the rest of her family in another part of the state. Unfortunately, a series of miscommunications made it so that her parents were somewhat negatively predisposed to me in the beginning because of a lot of second hand information. Things have been slowly getting better over time as we’ve talked about it. There have definitely been various conflicts at the hands of what I would call an overprotective father-in-law who seemingly wants my relationship to look like his before I had to permission to marry his daughter. I’ve discussed that with my mentor (and any young men should try to find one!), and it helps to have another ear of a wise married man about things like that.
Overall, for me the whole way is that I’ve had to make things happen on my own. My parents didn’t give me any advice or talk to me about relationships while growing up. I definitely learn some of what to do from them, and I’ve learn some of what not to do from them. I’ve learned most of what I should be doing from the Scriptures themselves.
I glean wise advise from other married and unmarried men as necessary. Different perspectives are good, even if they’re giving you some white knight-ized version as there is usually some sort of Truth within what they’re saying (even if it’s to do the opposite). Thankfully, I’ve been at a Church that dwells on what God says about marriage straight up, and the men I’ve discussed it with all have solid experience with it to learn from.
If you want to be married, the odds are against you.
- You must be extremely proactive about developing your communication and social skills.
- Study the Scriptures about relationships and marriage. Pray, meditate, and fast on the Word.
- Be at peace with the season you are in.
- Look for every opportunity and seize them.
- Go into everything with eyes wide open. Don’t ignore red or yellow flags. Build your foundation on the Rock.
- Use the wise advice from blogs such as Dalrock, Scott’s, Donal’s, Cane’s, mine, and so on.
- It never hurts to ask for help from those who are further along in the journey. You don’t always have to take it, but the perspective of men who have studied the Scriptures and experienced a lot in relationships is useful in most cases. This is community, especially if your real life situation with family, friends, and Church isn’t that great.
May God bless you in your search or marriage!