“Where are all the men?”
It’s a question I’ve heard from a number of young women in my circles.
Apparently godly, faithful, likable girls are having a hard time finding male counterparts their age who love the Lord as much as they do. For whatever reason, committed, passionate, eligible guys are scarce these days.
Why this is the case I’m not entirely sure. I do know that many young men get tied up in their careers and drift away from church. Others go off and marry girls from different backgrounds. Still others waste their time pursuing sports and entertainment and other worldly things. And the ones who are involved at church are often too timid to ask girls out.
All this leaves young Christian women in a difficult predicament. If they want to get married but can’t find a suitable young man, then what should they do? Should they wait around, hoping and praying that a special someone will eventually show up? Should they lower their standards? If dudes are supposed to be the ones initiating relationships, then what is a single young woman supposed to do if no one pursues her?
One woman named Erica expressed her frustration in a letter to Relevant Magazine:
“Where are all the brave men? I will not go on a rant—and I firmly believe women can be just as brave—but I do notice a lot of Christian men who are afraid to pass the friend threshold. This is why so many women date non-Christians; because Christian guys rarely can just keep it casual and go on a date, give it a chance.”
Of course, you could make the argument that girls these days have unrealistically high standards, which is sometimes the case. Women, if not a single guy you’ve ever met comes close to meeting your criteria for what you want in a spouse, then it might be time to rethink your expectations. Impossibly unrealistic standards are not helpful.
Also, we single people must remember that marriage is not what completes us. We are not fundamentally incomplete until marriage.
No matter what stage of life we are in,
Christ is sufficient.
Our culture puts relationships on a pedestal and claims that an awesome sexual partner is the key to life fulfillment, but the truth is that only God can fully satisfy us.
That being said, I would like to take a moment to specifically address young men. Brothers, do you know why many young women are wondering where all the men are? It’s because we fail to man up. We fail to take initiative. We fail to be the godly leaders we need to be, especially when it comes to relationships.
Yes, I recognize that there is enormous pressure to do everything right in opposite-sex relationships. Our society isn’t doing us any favors here. Thanks to Hollywood, romance novels, and the dumb notion that everyone must find a perfect soulmate, expectations for relationships are wildly unrealistic. Plus, asking a girl out on a date is such a big deal these days that it feels akin to a proposal, which ramps up the pressure even more.
But guys, I want to encourage you with something. If A) God has brought you to a place in your life where you are ready for a relationship and B) you know a godly, likable young woman who is about your age, then go ahead—ask her out on a date. If it’s your first time, then you will be nervous and outside of your comfort zone, but that’s okay—isn’t that how it is with every new experience? (I know a guy who was so nervous on his first date that he accidentally spilled coffee all over himself. And guess what? The girl thought that was cute. Now the two of them are probably getting engaged soon.)
So guys, calm down. Man up.
Be intentional, respect boundaries,
and show initiative.
Remember that leadership requires stepping out. Also remember that although the purpose of dating should be to find a spouse, asking a girl out on a date does not mean you are asking for her hand in marriage. Even if she says “no,” she will probably be honored and impressed that you asked.
As I wrote earlier this year:
“Don’t let your future self be haunted by regrets and ‘What ifs?’ … Trust me, you won’t regret breaking out of your comfort zone. What you will regret is doing nothing.”
Men, don’t be paralyzed by fear and timidity. There are a lot of godly young women patiently waiting for a young man like you to step up to the plate and show initiative.
Note: much, much, much more could be said about singleness, relationships, and dating advice. This post only scratches the surface. Here are a few helpful resources I recommend for exploring these subjects further:
- Pursue Her: A Message To Christian Men, by Joseph Solomon
- Will I Be Single Forever?, by Stephen Witmer
- How Do I Know If I’m Settling in My Search for a Spouse?, by Lore Ferguson Wilbert
- When the Not-Yet-Married Meet: Dating to Display Jesus, by Marshall Segal
- The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not about Who You Marry, But Why?, by Gary Thomas