Avoid The Nice Guy Trap

One of the complaints I hear all the time from men (and that I used to make all the time) is that women, and in our case Christian women, always seem to choose the bad guy over the good guy.  If you are a consistent reader hear then you know that I would say that is the wrong view of a real issue.

Here is what women do – they choose the guy they are attracted to over the one they aren’t.

There are a lot of men who say that women should date them because they can be a great husband, are trying to be godly etc, even though they are not, for whatever reason attractive to women.  I would ask that guy, are you asking out women you know to be godly that you are not attracted to?  I’m guessing no.

So rather than sit around and complain, maybe we should think about what is attractive and work on it.

This leads us right back into something that I’ve written about before but I want to address in a different way.  If “nice” guys are not attractive, why do we continue to be nice and how do we keep getting into that spot.

If we are the nice guy, chances are that we will keep getting friend zoned by women.  Maybe eventually a woman, after being with enough “not nice guys” will decide to choose the nice guy, but usually that leads to a marriage that isn’t super successful either.

Today I want to talk about why we think we should be or need to be nice.  Later I want to talk about how to get out of it.

There are lots of reasons that men, especially Christian men, fall into the “nice” trap.  Here are a few.

We think that if we are nice, that it will be reciprocated.  

This of course isn’t actually being nice for niceness sake.  It’s being a player in it’s own way.  In other words I like the girl so I’ll be really nice.  I’ll meet her needs.  I’ll buy here stuff.  I’ll listen to her problems and “minister” to her.  And if I help her enough, surely she will want to be with me.  Except that she won’t.  And if she does it won’t be because you did those things.  Forgetting the fact that this is just as manipulative as any other “game” move, it is not typically effective.

The Church has taught men that if they are nice (or Godly or servants or . . .), women will be attracted.

Making matters worse is the fact that most in the church teach their men this.  They say, serve the woman, protect the woman, rescue the woman, listen to the woman.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do those things.  But what I am saying is that those things will not make you attractive to her.  And getting mad about it won’t change that.

You cannot serve your way to attraction.  You cannot buy your way to attraction.

I know you’ve seen the romantic movies (made for women) where the guy buys the flowers or rescues the damsel.  But go back and re-watch those movies.  When was the girl attracted?  Seriously.  Think about it.

Often we think that we can “save” the girl and if we do then she will want to be with us.  I know I thought this a lot.  But it just doesn’t work that way.  Look, the hero isn’t attractive because he is nice – he’s attractive because he is strong, brave, and doesn’t need anything back from the person he’s saving.

We equate being nice with being good.

This is a false dichotomy.  Nice does not always equal good.  You see someone doing something wrong.  What’s the nice get along thing to do?  What’s the right thing to do?

Jesus was not nice . . . at all really.  He was for sure good.  He called out stuff.  He was fully confident in who He was.  He didn’t need anything from anyone other than God. Remember in The Chronicles of Narnia? Aslan (the Jesus character) was a lion for heaven’s sake.  Not safe, but good.  There’s a difference.

We are scared.

Finally the reason a lot of guys are nice is because they are afraid.  Afraid of rejection.  Afraid of not being liked.  Afraid of conflict.  Afraid of tension.

This fear causes many men to not approach women at all.  It causes others to do it extremely poorly.  It also causes husbands to not lead their wives.  Avoiding conflict and tension with women is a terrible plan.  I had a mentor who said that most men are afraid of their wives.  Look around you and tell me it’s not true.  Happy wife, happy life right?  Really what we mean is don’t deal with crap and then we won’t fight.

I’m not saying be an a-hole.  What I’m saying is that being nice while expecting reciprocation is not really nice.  Being nice to get the girl is horrible plan.  Being nice and being good are not the same and being nice to avoid “trouble” is not healthy.

Gentlemen I get it.  I really do.  I was the nice guy to the women I liked for almost two decades.  What’s funny is that I’m not really that nice.  But I was nice to them.  You know what that did for me?  Nothing.  I honestly don’t think it served those women.  It for sure didn’t help me get married.

Ahh The Man Problem

We have a man problem!  How many times have you heard that in the Church in the last 10 years?

I want to respond some more to a piece from the SBTS that quotes Al Mohler talking about this.  This isn’t personal by the way.  All Mohler is doing is putting words to what so many in the Church think about singleness and marriage.

As Mohler is discussing the “sin” of delaying marriage (what length of delay equals sin is unclear of course) he says,

“This is a problem shared by men and women.  But it is primarily of men.  We have established a boy culture in which boys are not growing up into men.

Guys, the reality is that God has given us a responsibility to lead, to take responsibility as a man, to be the man in every way before God that we are called to be . . . It means taking the leadership to find a godly wife and to marry her and to be faithful to her in every way and to grow up to be a man who is defined as a husband, and by Gods grace we pray eventually, as father.”

I just . . . I mean. . .

First let every man read and understand what I say next.  You are not primarily defined by being a husband or even a father.  You are primarily defined by your relationship with Christ.  Period.  This is vital because if you don’t get this then you won’t be a good husband or father if you get married.

Now if you get married, then there are defined roles and responsibilities (which these same evangelical leaders will be sure to remind you of).  It’s not bad to know what those are because it should impact your decision to get married.  Are there guys slacking off because they don’t want to “man up” as it were?  Sure.  But that is only a part of the issue.

This premise that its all the guys’ fault is a complete failure of the Church to acknowledge the rest of culture and it’s own part in creating it.

The blame the men movement comes up short for lots of reasons –  Just for starters:

  • It fails to address why men are not going to church, getting married, or even finishing college (or other “mature” things).
  • It fails to address women’s sin in any way
  • Completely ignores attraction and choices involving it.
  • It makes women the helpless victims and absolves them of their choices
  • Embarrasses the men in church who women don’t date – of which there are many
  • Doesn’t help any of those men learn anything that will help them get married
  • And most of all, creates more disrespect of men within the body of Christ

Here’s the other funny thing about it.  If all of these Christian men are a bunch of “boys” whose fault is that?  Was there a secret men’s meeting that I missed where we all got together and said, “Let’s not grow up.  Let’s step back from leadership. Screw what the Church teaches.”  Guess who raised us?  Guess who spoke to our parents in the pews?  Guess who taught us how to be nice?  Guess who told us that slogans, rallies and sermons can save us?  

I could handle the “men are the problem” line better if it started with, “We’ve failed our young men.  We help set them up to fail.”  That would maybe lend some sort of credibility.

Mohler and company have this idea that there are all these sinless godly women just sitting around and if only men would act they would say yes and marry them.  They assume that the reason that Christian women don’t get married is that men just aren’t . . . well . . . man enough.  (This idea of men are sinful and weak and women are sinless is everywhere and in everything they talk about – not just singleness.)*

But the truth is that I know a lot of men that want a godly wife.  There are single men in every church looking for that. I was one.  For 20 years. Is Mohler suggesting to the women that they should go out with any of these guys that ask them and become their wife?  Of course not.  Men should go find a wife – really any wife.  They don’t need to be attracted to them and the woman doesn’t have to be that godly.  Just man up and marry a woman – you can help her be godly.  Women on the other hand are taught to be careful.  Don’t settle.  They are told they need protection from all of the not quite godly enough men.  

So according to many of our leaders, the only way to be a godly, mature man is to get married.  But the only men that women should marry are godly, mature men.  Again – whose fault is all of this?

Part of the problem (without getting into this too much here – more later) is that they are asking men to play by the cultural rules from 50 years ago, while not asking the same of women.  They fail to recognize how the culture has reshaped the getting married game.  It’s not just the men that have created this.  There’s plenty of blame to go around.

The bottom line here is that simply saying man up is a non-starter.  It’s not working.  At all.  We have to talk to both sexes and we have to teach them both not only what to do in marriage and that they should get married but also how to go about getting married.

 

 

*Examples – If Husbands will lead the right way then women would not try to take over the lead.  If more men would sign up for combat duty then women wouldn’t feel the need to. Etc.  H/T Dalrock

 

You Can Be A Single Saint

I’ll be honest.  When I started writing this blog four years ago, I thought I would share some thoughts about my experience as a single for over 20 years of adulthood and specifically in the Church culture.  Somehow in my mid thirties I had a sort of awakening that a whole lot of what I thought I knew about singleness, what I’d be taught and even what I had taught others was wrong.  But I had no idea how wrong we were.

This is why now and then I’m responding to some posts from prominent leaders in our church culture.  They represent what we teach and when it comes to this context, they come up almost unbelievably short.  It’s astounding really.

In a post on the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Page, they share from a speech from Al Molher (whom Time called the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.” – Yikes) in which he addresses the “sin” of delayed marriage.  I know you’re getting excited already. . .

There are some amazingly bad assumptions going on here.  There are three main things that need to be addressed as they are three staples of the Church’s response to increased singleness.  They are 1. The idol of the nuclear family, 2. It’s all the men’s fault, and 3. God has chosen someone for you.  You can’t make this stuff up.

First let me say that I’m for more marriage.  This situational singleness that our culture has created is not a helpful trend.  Calling it a sin is a stretch, but if you are called to marriage, then I do think you should pursue it, not just wait around for it to happen.

But if we go about that the wrong way, or with the wrong understanding, we are setting up both the unmarried and the married to fail.

For today, let’s focus on point 1.  Mohler and company have a serious idol in their culture and it’s called the nuclear family.  In addressing that people are trying to build careers first, Mohler states,

“What is the ultimate priority God has called us to? In heaven, is the crucible of our saint-making going to have been done through our jobs? I don’t think so. The Scripture makes clear that it will be done largely through our marriages.”

Oh.My.Gosh!  Where does scripture say this?  1st Families chapter 3?  Wow.  Just wow.

I’m going to be honest here.  I don’t know how else to say this.  This is wrong.  It’s completely wrong.  It’s so completely wrong that it is borderline heresy.  I’ve never used that word here, but I don’t know what else to call it. If he meant it the way he’s says it. . .

Let me be absolutely clear.  Your identity is not in your marital status!  It is not!  The Kingdom of God is not about being married with 2.5 children.  When you get to the gates God will not decide what kind of saint you are based on whether or not you were married here on earth.

Here are some results of this sort of teaching.

Unmarried people of all kinds, the divorced, the widowed, the not yet married, those who are celibate by gifting, calling or fall of man, end up excluded from the family of God on earth.  It turns what should be the most inclusive, welcoming place on the planet into a club for a few.  It helped create same sex marriage (more soon) and it stands completely counter to what the New Testament teaches.

But not only that.  It keeps married people from being missional, keeps their children from seeing a missional life style and creates the bubble that is whats left of the Christian Culture™ today.

Unless Mohler and the evangelical movement is suggesting we go back to the pre-Jesus method of Kingdom advancement and God’s pre-Jesus faithfulness, it is completely wrong.

Jesus says this, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”  And again, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”  Pointing to his disciples he said, “here are my mother and my brothers.  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus is saying this because he is creating the new family . . . the family of God.  Jesus is constantly pointing out that God’s favor is not on the people who have the most or who have the perfect family scenario but instead upon those who respond to Him.  He is throwing open the Kingdom (and therefore the sainthood) to all who would come to Him. In fact He is saying that if you don’t have Him first none of the rest of it matters much.

We are not going to be married in heaven and being married on earth will not earn you extra points when you get there.  Our identity is to be in Him.  Our calling is to follow Him. He is the way.  Not marriage, not childbearing, not success, not earthly riches, not cultural standing.  This is the scandal of the gospel.  The marginalized have just as much access as everyone else.  You will be judged on how you responded to that, and on how you loved others, not just your spouse. That has to be our starting point every time.

Unless that is our starting point, anything else we teach about singleness, marriage, and frankly everything else, will be a counterfeit.  Putting an over emphasis on the nuclear family screws up everything . . . including the nuclear family.

Should I Give That Guy One More Date?

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about chasing vs. pursuing.  I’ve already decided we need some new language to make all of that more clear, but that is not the topic for today.

I received a note from one of my female leaders asking a good question in response to that post.  In actuality she asks a much more important question, perhaps without knowing it.  I don’t typically write specifically to women here because, well I’m not one, and I don’t come from that experience.  But I think this is important and merits an post.

Her question

In follow up to the post on chasing vs pursing, may you write a refresher on how women should appropriately response to being chased or pursed? I think that for the well liked, popular Christian single lady, it may be easier to differentiate the two and act accordingly, perhaps due to exposure or experience. For other women, especially when requests and invitations are few and far in between, or even non existent, it can be hard to tell what is a good and noble pursuit versus what is simply a chase because we are a woman. Sadly, I have fallen for this one, and I would appreciate insight on how a woman should respond to such encounters in the future.

This question brings up a few very important points that we need to consider.  So let me take a crack at them here, while hopefully helping answer the intent of her question.

I think what she is really asking is not so much how to understand the difference between knowing when guy is chasing vs pursuing, but instead how to know who to respond to. How do you know who is noble regardless of their approach?

This is a vitally important thing for women to get a hold of.  Because here is a gigantic truth.  Ok ready?  Both noble and ignoble men can be chasers and both noble and ignoble men can be pursuers.

This is what I’ve been telling men here for four years.  Being a good Christian guy or even being a guy who would make a great Christian husband does not necessarily help you attract the girl you want.  It doesn’t hurt, but it’s not typically what causes or doesn’t cause attraction.  It doesn’t get you in the door – it should help you seal the deal.  It’s the difference between marketing and managing.   Two totally different skill sets.

In the Church we only teach one skill set – that’s being a married person. It’s killing us.

So let me actually answer the question as best I can for the ladies that are interested out there.

First, you need to understand that initial attraction, while nice should always be checked with some qualifiers.  Now that doesn’t mean you have to figure out all the qualifiers before you go on a date.  But it does mean you are looking for some things. And you are looking for them quickly.

I say quickly because if you let attraction grow with someone who isn’t qualified you can end up in a bad spot in a hurry.  Pretty soon you are saying things like, “I know he’s not a Christian but I can’t help what I feel“.  Bad.

What you need to have clear in your head is that for most women, what is attractive about a guy initially is how he carries himself, how he talks to you, how he “makes you feel”. Again there is nothing wrong with feeling attracted, even to the “wrong” person.  But that attraction does not make the guy noble or not.

There are a lot of guys who would make great husbands who come off less attractive at first.  But if you want a good marriage, then you need to think about not just how you feel, but what kind of man this guy is.  Is he deep?  Does he lead others?  Is anyone following him?  Do people respect him?  How does he treat people?  What does he do with his time and money?  Is he a hard worker?  These are all good questions that show you more about him.

A great example happened recently to a gal I know pretty well.  She came to me after being on a few online dates. She said that one of the guys seemed like a really good guy, with a really good background.  She “wanted to like him” but she didn’t “feel” that attraction.  Now realize this is after one, maybe two dates.  She asked me what I thought.

I said, if you want to get married then I would maybe give this guy another couple of dates.  The truth is that a lot of Christian guys aren’t super comfortable and confident right out of the box.  There are many reasons for this (which we’ve talked about ad nauseam here) but if you think he is a high quality guy, then I’d give it another go.

She did and they are well on their way to marriage.  As they dated more, he got more comfortable and therefore she grew more attracted.

Now that won’t happen every time.  I’m not suggesting here that you marry someone you aren’t attracted to – although you could.  What I’m saying is that how someone pursues you has to do with attraction, not how noble they are.

Bottom line, if a good guy seems awkward at first, I’d give him another chance.  See if after a couple of dates you feel different. If he stays weird then yeah, maybe you bolt.  And if a guy charms you and you are paying attention and figure out that he isn’t a good guy, forget what you “feel” and bolt.  In a dream world, you are instantly attracted to a good guy.  But we live in the real world.

 

 

The Ministry Spouse Myth

As many of my usual readers know, I’ve been in full time paid ministry for 20 years.  One thing that makes my story unique is that I served in that capacity as a single person for the first 17 1/2 years.  Because of that I’ve been privy to a lot of different experiences interacting with married folks.

As is the case with most protestant and/or evangelical churches and organizations, most people serving in leadership in my organization are married.  I don’t know what the percentage is, but it has to be 80%. Probably higher for everyone over 25 in our mission. It’s an expectation in our evangelical culture that the pastor/leader/staff person be married. As such we make a lot of statements an assumptions that while often well intentioned are often false and misleading and frankly usually contradicting.

I was recently at staff conference where they were honoring people who have served in different capacities.  At one point, the person leading the time said something to the effect of, “Can we have all the staff spouses stand.  Let’s all give them a round of applause because we know that none of this happens without them.  They are just as important to this work as anyone else.”

This was followed by a time of honoring certain staff and of course their spouses.  “We all know that Joe wouldn’t be who he is without his wife Sally”.

I just sort of cringed.  And I’m now married.

How would they honor the person who wasn’t married.  “We all know that Joe would be even better if he were married?”

Let me be clear.  I’m not suggesting that the staff spouse or pastor’s wife does not have a key role to play or that they shouldn’t be honored.  It is a unique role that gets played out in many different effective ways.  If a minister is married, they are indeed partnering in one form or another with their spouse. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to keep doing it.  Fair enough.

But to say that someone can’t do ministry or be successful in ministry without a spouse is crazy.

First of all it’s a job.  I mean you go to work and do your job.  Yes it is a unique calling in the Kingdom.  No doubt.  But still at the end of the day, I hold the title and all that comes with it, not my spouse.

Secondly, it can be done and done well without a spouse.  I know this because I did it for nearly twenty years.  While far from perfect God has used me in the ministry as a single person every bit as much as a married one.  Every time someone says, I couldn’t do this job without my spouse I think, “Um actually you could and probably would.”  Would it look different?  Yes.

The funniest part about this is that many of the married people in ministry I know have spent time telling me over the years how much they wish they could do ministry the way I can.  In other words, they would tell me that I had an advantage because I didn’t have marital commitments.  So basically as a single full time ministry person I get to feel bad twice.  First, I’m not “complete” because I don’t have an equal partner in the deal, and as a bonus, I should be able to do more because I don’t.  Oh and of course, I guess if I get married then I will be less effective.  So confusing.

The inconsistency is amazing.  I can only think of one person who put it together.  He said to me, “I don’t know how you do this job without a wife.  I couldn’t do it single.”  While I think he was wrong at least he was consistent.

We should start with the knowledge that if we are following God’s call to ministry then we can do that single or married.  I’m not sure we can make the case that either is preferable from a pure ministry context.  It sort of depends on the person and their calling.

In addition we should indeed thank the spouses of these people. Seriously. They are often sacrificing in one way or another.  I know my wife does.  Not only that but if you are married and doing ministry you need to know that your spouse is on your side.  I could name a ton of people who are not doing ministry because of their spouse.  That to me is why we need to honor them.  Not because the minister couldn’t do their job without them, but because their spouse plays an important role that supports that ministry.

We should honor the actual role they play but do it in a way that doesn’t dishonor anyone else.  We need to be able to say that the spouse’s role is important without saying that it is the same role or without suggesting that the minister’s role is dependent on it.

Finally, we need to understand that anyone who is called to the role can with God’s help do it.  Otherwise we are undermining that call in one form or another.

Chasing Vs. Pursuing

I recently have received a couple of notes from readers asking for more on the difference between pursuing and chasing.  In other words, we are taught, especially in Christian circles, that we should pursue a woman we are interested in.  But as I have stated here many times, we should never chase a woman that we are interested in because it pretty much ensures failure.

But in our culture and language this can be a really fine line.  Let’s face it, from a purely linguistic standpoint they are very similar and we should probably find other words.  But when I think of these two words in the context of trying to find a spouse, I think they are worlds a part.

So what is the difference?  How do we pursue and not chase?  What does it look like?

Let me take a stab at it.

Let’s sort of start with some basic characteristics of each because most of this has to do with keeping our mindset right.

Chasing has the feel of desperation.  Dogs chase cars.  How does that turn out?  It’s hasty.  It’s a feeling of trying to attain the woman.  It’s needing the woman to like us, respond to us or give us acceptance, approval, or validation.  Getting the woman is the goal.  Rejection means the end of the world because our worth gets wrapped up in it.

Pursuit doesn’t feel desperate.  I pursue a degree.  The a methodicalness to it.  While consistent it isn’t hurried.  The feeling is getting to know the woman.  You’re not even sure where it will go but you are willing to find out.  It’s wanting to be with the woman but not needing to be.  It comes from a place of already being acceptable, and validated.  I like her, but I don’t in any way need her to like me.

Chasing means being nice.  All.the.time.  It means trying to earn the woman by doing things that try to win her affections. It can come from being afraid of rejection or failing. It means being afraid to make her mad.  Chasing means trying to be who we think she wants us be and focusing on what we think she wants us to do for her.

Pursuing means being kind.  It means coming from a place of strength and honor.  It means working on being attractive, not seeking her approval.  It means that rejection won’t really matter that much.  It means being able to stand up to her. It means being the type of man that she wants to be with, not that does everything she wants.

Chasing conveys I can’t live without you, while pursuit conveys that while you could, you don’t want to.  Chasing says, “I sure hope you could like me”.  Pursuit says simply, “I’m interested in you.”  Chasing means trying to convince her to be with you.  Pursuit means trying to get to know her and then inviting her to be with you.  Chasing means following her around and doing everything she wants.  Pursuit means going somewhere and inviting her to come with you.

Now all of this sounds great.  But what does it look like practically?

First of all, we need to get in our heads that our culture and most often even the church has taught us wrong.  The movies all seem to show guys who do these huge romantic gestures to women who then fall for them.  Or they show guys who rescue the girl and then she falls for them.  But what gets left out here is that the guy in the movie is already attractive to the woman.  In fact usually at first they don’t get along so to speak. Most often there is tension.  When they finally get together it’s usually painted as the guy finally comes around.  But really the woman was always attracted.

In evangelical culture we are taught to be nice.  We should tame our desire for sex, man up and be nice.  If we are Godly enough then that will be attractive.  Two problems here. First the definition of a Godly man is off (more later) and second, being a Godly man doesn’t necessarily make us attractive.  Being confident it Christ is helpful, but just being a good Christian is not necessarily that helpful.  (It is helpful in a relationship, but not so much in getting into one).

So here are a few practical examples of what this might look like.

Pursuit means asking a woman about her favorite book.  Chasing means going out the next day and buying the book.  Pursuit is a well timed gift without any strings attached. Chasing is buying a gift to get her to like you or to win her (or to placate her anger). Chasing is calling her because you’re afraid of what will happen if you don’t.  Pursuit means calling her just because you want to talk to her.  Chasing means rearranging your whole life around her.  Pursuit means carving out space in your plans to include her.

Chasing comes from a need to be loved   Pursuit comes from not needing her love but offering yours and she can take it or leave it.

Don’t Be A Singlist

I knew it would happen.  In an era of hash tags and isms it was only a matter of time before our growing unmarried population found a way to play the same card.

It’s finally here single folks.  You’re very own ism.  Singlism.  This is the new word for the way that singles are discriminated against in our society.  I guess the people doing it will be called Singlist?  Man the church for sure is #singlist.  No doubt about that.

Bella DePaulo is a single lady in her sixties and a harvard trained social scientist has “coined” the term.  (Man I wish I had gotten to it first).  She defines it as “the stereotyping, stigmatizing and discrimination of people who are not married”.

Oh but it gets better.  Married people of course have “marital privilege — the unearned advantages that benefit those who are married”

DePaulo actually points out many things that we’ve talked about here.  Married people make more money than single people.  Not only that, but due to tax laws, family leave acts, along with other systemic Singlism issues in the corporate world such as insurance rates and even travel packages, singles end up paying more for things.  All of that is true.

Man, I was a victim for so long, and I didn’t even realize it.

If DePaulo thinks singles in the secular world have it tough, she should try the Church. In the Church it’s hard to get a job as a pastor if you are single.  Often singles are not offered positions of leadership even in non-paid positions.  And they have to endure marriage sermons, conferences and a barrage of bad Christian romance novels. #suffering #singlechristianproblems.

Now I want to be clear, if I were running things I’d change a lot of this.  Obviously I have constantly advocated here many times that the Church needs to change how it deals with singles.  But that starts not with creating a new victim group but instead actually dealing with whole body of Christ including all forms of singleness and marriage.

What I have never advocated and do not advocate is turning singles into a special group in and of themselves.  There are a number of reasons for this.

The first is that as I’ve pointed out many times, singleness is a terrible term.  We have to get that there are many different groups and each has their own standing and context in the Church.  There are the widowed, the divorced, those called to marriage who aren’t and then those who are celibate for life either because of gifting, choice, or the sin of man. These are absolutely not the same.

Second, to me the idea of singlism implies that it works the same as say racism or sexism etc.  The problem with this is that for most of us, being single is sort of our choice.  Our race or sex is not (at least from a biblical perspective – I can’t believe I have to type that).

Now I know that right now some of you are saying, “but I’m not single by choice”.  Ok, I hear you.  Let me make a couple points about that.

For starters saying that there is singlism when a significant amount of people are simply single because they lack the ability/desire to make a lifetime commitment to a person is ridiculous.  Every single person who is sleeping with or living with someone does not count as living the single Christian life.  In no way are they a victim of the people with marital privilege.  GIve me a break.

Secondly, most people could get married to someone if they wanted.  Not all.  But most.  I was single until I was nearly 41.  But there were people I could have married.  But many things kept that from happening.  Some of those things were my own fault.  Some were issues that I needed to deal with but again, I had to choose to deal with them.  Sometimes I chose the wrong person to date.  Sometimes someone didn’t choose me.  But I had choice many different times.

That is not to say that everyone who is unmarried had that choice.  Obviously a widow didn’t choose to have their spouse die.  Divorce can be a choice, and most often is, but if the person divorces you, that might not be your choice.  But again those are different contexts from not being married yet. So I guess in that sense you could be a victim.

Finally, most single people are working at or at least hoping for a time when they are not single.  Do the same people who are single now want to give up this supposed marital privilege when they get married?

Frankly the only people who can claim singlism are the people who are gifted, called or forced into celibacy.  So perhaps we should call it celibacism.  That’s not quite a catchy though.

I acknowledge that we have a problem with how we deal with singles.  We really should change many of our laws because honestly, we should want to treat people fairly regardless of marital status.  This should be especially true in the Church where the Church family should trump the nuclear one.  But playing the victim and equating singleness to race is for sure not the way to go about it.  Instead we need to actually deal with what marriage is and help people walk in each of the contexts of singleness.  Our problem is more in how we view the whole thing.

What’s crazy is there is still time for the Church to lead here.  Now that would be a movement worth getting behind. #Crazy #Leadership #Biblical