Around The Web: Cringe Worthy

Advice- “Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.”

Baz Luhrmann: Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

If you are single for long enough, sooner or later you will stumble across  a few pieces of advice that will be cringe worthy.

For certain, the author of the well-intended anecdote, bible verse, book suggestion, etc. will mean you no harm, but  that won’t change the fact that their words may come across as dismissive or insensitive.  (To that end, if you’re tempted to give a single person advice, it may be helpful to  listen a little more and talk a little less.)

Recently, I stumbled across a blog entry from Jon Acuff.  The man who brought us Stuff Christians Like.

As a married man, he’s come to realization that he’s said and done some insensitive things to his single brothers and sisters. In an effort to set things right, he’s written a humorous checklist of clichés and stereotypes that singles often encounter in the church. It’s called Surviving Church As A Single. Check it out and let me know what you think.

And while you’re at it, let me know your thoughts on the following:

  • What’s some of the best advice you’ve received as a single person?
  • What are some misconceptions about singleness?
  • What do you think the church can do to foster better relationships/communication between marrieds & singles?

Chronicles of a single Christian Man Part 2

Guest Blogger: Chris

To read the first part of the series, go here Chronicles of a single Christian Man Part 1

And don’t forget to check out his blog –Ramblings of a Seminary Student 


Alright, here we are, post number two.  I admit, I put this one off for a while.  The questions that follow are very opinion-based and very specific to each guy you may encounter.  So, please keep my disclaimer, in post one, in mind as you read.

Disclaimer: I am not every Christian man in existence.  I do not know everything on their minds.  These are only my feelings and observations and some of them are generalizations.

Q3Besides physical beauty, what’s a turn off to guys? (What other factors would keep a guy from being attracted?)

Now, you may remember that I promised to get into the maturity topic more on question three.  Well, ladies (and gentlemen?), the rover has landed.  You wouldn’t think maturity would have much to do with attraction, but for some guys it’s a big factor.

Now, don’t think I mean that you have to walk around with a pole up your back and never let out your inner child, because a playful personality can be attractive. For example, one thing I love about my fiancée is that she can be childish sometimes, but in a good way.  She gets excited over some of the most mundane things, *jokingly* pouts when we have to go our separate ways, and makes me hand-drawn birthday cards with things like the Socially Awkward Penguin on it.  These are all qualities that attract me to her, but they aren’t excessively childish.

However, sometimes, in an effort to attract a guy, girls will go into “little girl mode.”  While this may attract some guys, like Barney Stinson or Ted Mosby, a guy who is really ready to be with someone probably won’t like that mode.

One other thing about maturity…

I noticed in the second part to question 2, the asker assumed that guys her age would be immature.  Sorry to say, but that’s a turn off.  If you go into an encounter with someone and assume they will act immature, you’re probably going to do something that will let them know that you think they’re childish  Now, if they actually act immature, feel free to kick them to the curb and let them know how childish they are acting!  Maybe that’ll help them grow up.  However, treating someone as if you’re above them is a sure-fire way to turn them off.

Other than maturity, there are a slew of attraction factors that are going to vary from guy to guy.

Here is a brief list:

  • Passion for a particular ministry
  • Commitment to Christ
  • Knowledge about finances and the ability to manage it
  • Hobbies that you share and even what you do for a living

Now you can’t change (nor should you) all of these for a guy, but they’re factors nonetheless.

My advice?  Just be yourself.  Don’t try to change anything about who you are deep down.  But that doesn’t mean don’t improve. If you don’t know much about finances, take a class and learn, figure out what ministry gets you excited, keep exploring new hobbies, and then keep an eye out for someone who shares these things with you.

Q4. What’s it like being a single Christian guy? Women have unique frustrations like not being pursued. What are some of the frustrations of the single male?

Being a single Christian guy is a terrifying thing.  No kidding.  There is this intense pressure on us to pursue women and do it perfectly.  For example, on my first date with my fiancée, we got coffee and went to a local park to just walk and talk.  As we were walking, I spilled coffee on myself (because I apparently can’t do anything and walk at the same time).  I was pretty sure my life was about to end.  Now, it wasn’t down my whole shirt or anything, just a little stain, but it completely threw me off for a good two minutes.  The thoughts going through my head were, “Oh no!  She’s going to think I’m a slob.  I’ve ruined my chances before we’ve hung out for more than 30 minutes!”  To her credit, she soothed my fears and waved it off as nothing.

Guys have this fear that everything has to be perfect, or the woman he’s pursuing will turn him away.  So, help a brother out, let any guy you’re seeing know that everything doesn’t have to be perfect.  It may take a few times (I’m still working on it), but eventually it relieves a lot of that pressure.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “I wish I had a guy pursuing me that I could tell not to be perfect!”  Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you.  As I said in the first post, men can’t read minds.  If you’re interested in a guy, LET HIM KNOW.  This is not the same as pursuing him, let him do that.  But, part of being terrified means that guys don’t want to do something wrong or think a woman is interested in him, but she isn’t.  By letting him know you’re interested it breaks that ice and gives him the chance to pursue you without worrying about messing up a friendship.  It could be as simple as, “I think we get along really well and I’d like to hang out and get to know you better.”  Boom, man alerted.

Q5. Aside from physical attraction, why would a guy choose to be friends with a girl, but not ask her out?

Ah, my good old buddy, the Friend Zone.  Honestly, this question frightened me the most.  It’s drawing a huge conclusion on something that is likely different for each guy out there.  However, there seems to be a different perception by each gender on this topic.  Take a look at this video.

Guys in general aren’t going to happy in the Friend Zone.  As one guy put it, “…we can be silent regarding those feelings, but we’re going to have them.”  Now, that’s not to say some guys can’t just be friends.  I do have female friends where it is completely platonic, but it wasn’t always that way.  In fact, I can pretty safely say that I had feelings for a large number of my female friends at one point or another.

So, with that knowledge, why would a guy not ask a girl out that he’s interested in?  If my glaring neon signs on the other questions weren’t enough, I’ll say it again.  Maybe he just doesn’t know you’re interested.  But also, he could just be shy or have been hurt in the past by taking that first step.  It’s still the same answer though, if you’re interested, let him know.  Maybe he has feelings for someone else right now and he’s trying to see how that goes.  Or maybe he had feelings for you at one point, but they’ve faded and he decided just being friends would be better.  Since I think it’s healthy to have both male and female friends, I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing.

Conclusion

Now that I have successfully tiptoed my way through the mine field that were your questions (just kidding, they weren’t that bad) and explored the scary world of a man’s mind, I hope to leave you with some practical advice on top of what I’ve already talked about.  This may seem cliché, but it’s true nonetheless.  If God has someone out there for you (because some are called to singleness), He is bringing them to you in His timing.  I’ve learned through my life that His timing is better than mine.

Maybe you’re like Lindsey (another guest poster) and your future husband is traveling his own journey to being ready.  Maybe you’re not ready yet, maybe there’s something in you that needs to change before God can bring them into your life.  I know that if I had met my girlfriend just a year before I did, we probably wouldn’t have dated.  And if we did, it may not have lasted, because I just wasn’t in a place to have a healthy relationship (even though I thought I was).

Do some self-examining. Pray for your future spouse, and ask God to change what needs to be changed so that they are ready.  Find places to invest yourself and pour out into others instead of just sitting around and waiting for someone to “step up.”  Then watch as God works.

Neither my girlfriend nor I imagined we would be in a relationship at any time this year.  She was graduating from college and preparing to possibly move wherever there was a job.  I was starting seminary and my candidacy process to become a United Methodist pastor.  And it was precisely then, when we weren’t looking, that He made His move.  Not to say God won’t bring you someone if you’re looking, but it sure seems to come a lot faster when we stop staring at our watch wondering “When?”  So, maybe you need to stop looking and focus on living the life He has for you.  The way it should happen is, as two people pursue Christ and God’s will for their lives, they meet under His wing and grow together in Him.

“Sex Is Sexist”

“American society… has torn down [the] hedge of protection [of cultural norms]. In doing so, we have left our adolescents and young women naked, uncovered, and unprotected.”[1]

The dating landscape has changed. Back in my parent’s day, there were subtle (and not so subtle) cultural expectations  for how a man and a woman were supposed to relate to one another in regards to romance, dating, and sex.  But today, the argument can be made, that those expectations are all but non-existent.

Some would say that this freedom from cultural “rules” has liberated us from our hang-ups and has created an equal playing ground for the sexes.  However, others, such as the authors from Girls Uncovered, would disagree.

Girls Uncovered: New Research on What America’s Sexual Culture Does to Young Women by M.D. Joe S. McIlhaney Jr MD ,  M.D. Freda McKissi Bush MD and Stan Guthrie

This is a book written by doctors (obstetricians/gynecologists) who have treated numerous women during their active years of medical practice. From their first-hand accounts they have seen how “sex is sexist”.[2]  Meaning, oftentimes it’s the women who bear the consequences of premarital/extramarital sexual activity via unplanned pregnancy, sexual transmitted infections (STIs), and emotional fall-out.

I realize that when it comes to negative statistics about non-marital sexual activity, there are more than a few skeptics.  But I found this book to be eye opening. The authors do a good job of laying a case for why casual sex and non-committed relationships may have farther reaching consequences than many people (certainly youth) realize.

In a day and age, where we have the freedom to do whatever we want (especially in the bedroom), we are not free from the consequences1 Corinthians 10:23.

All in all, this book is a reminder to me that there is great value in choosing to submit one’s sexuality to the authority of Christ. In my opinion, this book is a good read.


[1] McIlhaney Jr., Joe S., Freda McKissic Bush, and Stan Guthrie, Girls Uncovered: new research on what America’s sexual culture does to young women (Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2011),19.

[2] McIlhaney Jr., Joe S., Freda McKissic Bush, and Stan Guthrie, Girls Uncovered: new research on what America’s sexual culture does to young women (Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2011), 49.

Image credit: Girls Uncovered