Monday, June 05, 2006

Men of faith also value marriage more than women

I've been digging deeper into the CDC study I mentioned. It's fascinating to see men holding more traditional views on several key issues. I said in my last post that it would be interesting to know what the faith breakdown among participants is. The study sorted out religious factors by asking how important religion was in a person's daily life and then also classified their religious affiliation into the following categories: None, Fundamentalist Protestant, Other Protestant, Catholic and Other Religion. There's plenty to be said about where faith either does or doesn't make a difference on several major issues such as sexual attitudes and activity, cohabitation, divorce, etc.

A key finding is the issue of faith, gender and attitude toward singleness. The conventional wisdom is that Christian women desire marriage but have difficulty finding men who do. As I mentioned previously, the CDC study found that more men than women valued marriage over singleness. This was also true by a large margin between men and women who said religion is very important as well as those categorized as Fundamentalist Protestant.

What follows is a comparison of the percentage of men and women 15-44 years of age who either agree or strongly agree with the statement, "It is better to get married than to go through life being single," according to selected characteristics.

Total males--65.8%
Total females--50.6%

Fundamentalist Protestant males--68%
Fundamentalist Protestant females--59.3%

Males to whom religion is very important--73.6%
Females to whom religion is very important--57%

Males to whom religion is not very important--56.9%
Females to whom religion is not very important--38.7%

Notice that the percentage of men to whom religion is not very important comes in just 0.1% behind females who say religion is very important in their agreement on getting married vs. going through life single.

How would you explain this difference?

18 Comments:

At 11:56 PM, Blogger Tidy Bowl said...

If this be true, where are all these men?

 
At 9:52 PM, Blogger Anakin Niceguy said...

Maybe we will stop blaming men for their supposed immaturity (as has been so popular among certain Evangelical pundits).

Woman ask, "Where are all the men?" ... but do they think about the legions of nice guys they passed by? I suspect unappealing men have a way of becoming invisible to many women. There are plenty of high-quality men out there, but too many women don't notice them.

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Tidy Bowl said...

I want to preface this comment by saying that I'm not trying to poke a fight or be argumentative. I hope we can all deal with this issue in a mature way.

AN, I am quite sure that there are many women out there who have passed up lots of high quality men. I don't deny that issue.

However, I really hope you're not referring directly to me in that comment, because for reasons that I don't totally understand, God has almost completely sheltered me from "men". Let me explain:

I'm a bit old-fashioned, and I prefer for the guy to do the asking. But regardless, throughout my life, I have almost never encountered a quality gentleman who was not already "taken". I grew up in a really small church, where I was the ONLY young single person. My first date was when I was a freshman in college, with a guy who really was fairly immature and who (I heard) later developed alcohol problems. As a sophomore in college, I went out on two dates with a guy who seemed to be a great Christian, but who has since been arrested and convicted of marijuana possession and use. After college, I became a core member of a small church plant in my area, but I was forced to leave when the pastor began pressuring me to marry (although there were no other singles in the church) and began treating me as though, at 23, I was expiring.

I am not complaining about the way things have been for me. I look back on this with great thankfulness, that God has protected me from much temptation. Although I do hope to be married someday, I've temporarily shelved those plans as I pursue overseas missions.

AN, I just hope that you don't blame every woman for "passing up all the nice guys". I am sure that is the situation for some of them. But every situation is different, and I'm sure that for some of them there are many reasons why God has chosen them to remain single for a time. It's frustrating and difficult, and it only gets harder when people blame us for being unmarried.

 
At 4:37 PM, Blogger Jake said...

Amen to that, Annakin.

I have been perplexed by the preponderance of articles at Boundless blaming the "marriage problem" entirely on men. I have to wonder where exactly are all these women who are desperately seeking marriage, and these professing Christian men who refuse to be anything more than friends, because in my church/area of the country, it seems exactly the opposite. Indeed, just a couple of months ago my girlfriend of 2 years, whom I had been trying to work toward marriage with virtually that entire time, ended the relationship, despite being 1 year away from 30 and claiming that marriage and children are among the things she wants in life.

Steve asks the question "How would you explain this difference?" True, if we base our impressions of male-female relationships on Friends and romantic comedies, the results of this study are surprising, since we would expect women to want to settle down and men not to. However, given that studies like this are a better way of making generalizations about the population at large, we should hardly be surprised at the results, since the results are, to the best of our ability to tell, the way things are.

Here are a few thoughts I have by way of explaining the results:

- Women are able, or at least allowed under our current society's rules, to form stronger emotional bonds with friends than men are, and consequently are better able to get their emotional needs met through non-romantic relationships. I've certainly known women who would say they're as closer to their best friend as they could imagine being to a husband. I can't imagine saying that, as a man, about a male buddy vs. a wife.
- On a related note, it seems more accepted in the church, socially, for women to be unmarried than for men to be. When men (including myself) contemplate the notion of being 60 and never married, it seems pretty pathetic. I don't get the impression women feel that way about themselves. Certainly, there are several older, never married women in my church and most of them are nice, well adjusted, intelligent, sociable, etc. The never-married older men are, well, weird.
- As a commenter in the previous post alluded to, women, especially the more attractive ones, tend to feel like they have limitless options, at least in their twenties, and see no need to "rush" things or to settle down. (One may think men may feel this way too, but as one who's almost 30 I can attest that fear begins to set in that all the available women are going to think I'm too old and not be interested.) Only too late may they realize, once they hit 30, that all the well-adjusted marriage minded guys older than they are taken already, and the younger ones aren't interested in them because, well, they're younger.
- Probably in an effort to console divorcees/widowers/singles who really have never found someone despite their best efforts, the church in recent generations has put lots of energy into talking up singleness, and has taken things too far, I feel, almost toward denigration of marriage, and for whatever reason, women seem to be more susceptible to this. For example, we often hear "singleness allows you to be totally devoted to serving God, whereas if you were married you'd have a husband and kids to worry about", making that husband and those kids sound like nagging, worldly distractions. Now, what conclusion would you expect a devout Christian who grows up hearing that to draw? I got the sense from my ex-girlfriend that she almost felt guilty about the prospect of getting married, as though it would be merely a fulfillment of her own selfish, worldly desires, and that the more Christian thing to do would be to become a single missionary instead.
- The infamous male sex drive. Even if we've never had it, most of us feel an acute desire, and if we're Christians, we know that the only legitimate way to quench it is to get married. While we are often told today that women can have high sex drives too, the lack of sex doesn't seem to bother good Christian girls who've never had it as much.

Oh, and Tidy Bowl: right here. :)

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger God's Girls Today said...

Very interesting...

I wonder if the "religious male" statistics are so great because there is always much talk of men as leaders within organized religious structures.

Women on the other hand, even good Christian women, are being infiltrated by society telling them they are equal in all ways to men. Women can be strong, powerful, liberated, and whatever else they may want to be in our society. Society teaches us that our greatest inhibiting factor is men. So even in the church women are still struggling to find equality with men.

What has gone wrong is that women today look at men as being in some better, higher position because they are to be leaders and pioneers. Women have put a man's role on a pedestal and complained because they are not "equal". The real problem is that the inborn gifts of women are not considered praise-worthy in our society. The gifts of hospitality, home-making, serving in the church... these are beautiful gifts uniquely given to women to cultivate. Sometimes God also gives us a career, extensive education, and leadership roles. But often those things are cut off when a woman enters a marriage.

A women's very identity often changes once she gets her MRS. And women in today's society (even within the church) don't want those changes. They don't want to see themselves in light of the way God has created them because instead of seeing the beauty of that role, they see it as a lowly position.

In addition, because men are more matter of fact by nature, I would guess that men are quicker to say they want to be married. Women on the other hand would need more information... "is he charming? How does he make me feel? Do I get butterflies when he walks into the room?... Yes, yes, & yes? Ok, then I do want to get married."

And as to the people that keep talking about these great guys out there... I'm sure you all do exist. You say, "unappealing men have a way of becoming invisible..." Make yourself appealing by making yourself visible, make your intentions known, be deliberate in your actions, be noble, and as they say in the movie, Hitch, "Any man can sweep any woman off her feet; he just has to have the right broom."

 
At 2:53 PM, Blogger Mike Theemling said...

Relating this and previous blog posting I would say this (once again) opens the debate of whether or not women should have more of a marriage mindset earlier in life rather than later ("The Cost of Delaying Marriage").

I did a study of ChristianCafe.com gather statistics on men/women. Won't bore you with the exact numbers, but there are clearly some trends:

- Those who are older (30+ yrs) distinctly make their intention about marriage and serious relationships more known than those younger. Those younger tend to list down "Where ever God leads", "Open to possibilites" and other less than strong intent.

- The number of "Views" (how many times someone sees a person's profile) a person gets is strongly correlated to whether or not a photo is posted and whether or not that person would be deemed "attractive". There are many examples where almost exact profile statistics would have significantly more views (like thousands more) based soley on the photo. This applies to both men and women.

- From my own experiences (I tried a membership in order to gather some data) taking the initiative as many women claim does result in any meaningful response (at least in this context). Of all the messages (around 20+) I've sent out (that actually were personal letters, not "winks") I've only received 2 actual responses, neither of which was long (one simply said "I got your note").

My conclusion: Online in theory can work but basically there is too much emphasis on appearance and there are no real oppotunities to "become more attracted" to people in that setting.

 
At 1:48 PM, Blogger Mike Theemling said...

Correction to the above. Third bullet should read "does NOT result in any meaningful responses..."

 
At 3:20 PM, Blogger Firinnteine said...

Men haven't been trained to be men, and are too easily intimidated. Many Christian men are too cautious. Some are afraid. (This is bad; I'm not offering excuses. Someone should kick us.)

On the other hand, I suspect many Christian women may be condemning the men without adequate consideration. Women have to wait for some man to take the leap and express interest. The men have to decide, of the (dozens of) women they know, whether one of these is really someone they want to marry, whether they would be acting in the most loving way by pursuing marriage, whether both of them are ready to consider marriage yet....

I keep hearing from Christian women that they know a mere handful of really good, Godly men. But every one of these ladies seems to know many other Godly women. I can think of several possible explanations:

1) None of these women happen to know any Godly men, but there are many such men out there... somewhere.

2) The average level of spiritual maturity is significantly higher for women than for men, at least in the United States.

3) These women know a large number of Godly men, but do not know them well enough to have realized their good qualities; they know other women better.

4) Women are holding men to a higher standard than they themselves want to be held to.

Any of these, or any combination of them, may be the right answer. For what it's worth, I think the second possibility is a common conception; and I'm honestly not sure it's valid. A lot of Christians, including a lot of young Christian men, seem to just assume that women tend to be more spiritually mature; but a little thought is making me question that. In my own circle of friends and acquaintances, it's much more balanced than that. In some areas the women are more mature; in other areas, the men may be.

Is it possible that the Godly men are consciously or subconsciously as selective as the Godly women are? I know lots of Godly women, but I wouldn't marry most of them -- even some who, I agree, will make great wives and mothers. Do you not want to know that the man put a lot of thought, prayer, judgment, in deciding to pursue you, and that he couldn't have just as happily pursued any of twenty other young women?

All this is speculative, and I'm afraid it's coming out more negatively than I intended it. I spent a lot of time this last year encouraging men to be more bold in pursuing Godly manhood, and (where appropriate) doing so by pursuing a Godly woman. There is a lot of failure by men in this area, unquestionably so. But I'm wondering. Is it just cowardice or lack of righteousness that's holding men back?

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger Firinnteine said...

It might also help if women didn't seem have their lives all planned out -- a man looks and thinks to himself that he might be interested in this young lady, but she knows where God wants her, and he doesn't see any place for himself in that plan.

Yes, yes, I know that many women have these (to some extent or another) as contingency plans, and would be flexible if the right man came along. But I didn't realize this until my senior year of college. It may be stupidity, it may be insufficient boldness in pursuit, but for whatever reason, men often believe women when they say this sort of thing. You don't have to sound desperate to express your desire to get married -- maybe even to express it as something not merely subordinate to your other expressed intention, to become a marine biologist or a missionary to Paraguay or to attend law school.

 
At 10:31 PM, Blogger Jake said...

I'd like to question why the responses offered have continued to focus on the idea of there being something wrong with men. Shouldn't this study make us reevalulate some of our assumptions? As a thought exercise, why don't we take it at face value and stipulate that, contrary to what we are often told by pundits like Al Mohler, Christian men actually want to get married more than Christian women do?

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger Elena said...

Jake, from your statement "why don't we take it at face value and stipulate that ... Christian men actually want to get married more than Christian women do," I'm inferring that you see that single Christian women have some (or a lot) of the responsibility for their not being married yet. I'm not arguing with you either way here...just wondering how you see the situation and am interested in your opinion. Would you elaborate on your comments? :o)


I think firinntiene is on to something. I know many godly men, but they are already married. I know few single Christian men who are around my age, single, more-or-less ready to settle down, and with whom I am compatible (and who are compatible with me). And then, of those men, who is actually interested in seeing if there is a romantic spark between him and me?

I know of one guy my age who may have been interested at one time, but I think I dropped the ball and missed out on that opportunity. (The first time he asked me out [and I'm not even sure it was an actual "I like-like you; I want to take you out on a date" kind of thing] was one of those vague requests of "hey, wanna have coffee sometime" as I was rushing off to the next task I had to do.) I don't know how "godly" he actually is...because I don't know him that well. But he's friendly, cheerful, funny, and very talented. (I do know that he's a Christian: we're in the church choir together.) I think I'd enjoy getting to know him better. But I'm waiting for him to ask me out again.

I really don't know other single Christian guys very well...nor do I see or meet them...other than the occasional shared elevator ride or the smiley "hey" pass-by in the corridor...at work. At church, new guys in the choir or in Sunday School are married. (I'm in a SS class of marrieds and singles.)

I see guys in the grocery store and in the bookstore (two other places I frequent). Usually married guys or guys shopping with their girlfriends...

Where do I go to be where a godly single man can find me? Or do I just continue with my regular routine and trust that God will put a guy on a path that will cross with mine?

???

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger DanL said...

The men I know seem to be more marriage minded than the women I know, so this survey isn't a huge surprise to me. I hope this doesn't come across as sexist, but I wonder if women are more likely than men to share their frustrations in this area in public places like blogs or letters to Boundless, and if this leads to a mistaken conventional wisdom.

 
At 6:33 PM, Blogger dabears27 said...

I am a guy and most Amrican Christian men I know are just as prissy and self obsessed about their emotions as the girls on "sex in the city" We have become a nation of wusses.

 
At 9:07 PM, Blogger Jake said...

Elena,

You're right; I do see women as having much of the responsibility for not being married. Sometime last week I actually submitted to this post a lengthy comment containing some my thoughts on why, but for some reason the Watterses didn't approve it. I don't feel I can recreate it now, but I'll tell you about where I'm coming from.

I recognize that each of us has a different set of experiences, and that many women simply haven't been able to find a decent Christian guy who's interested in marriage. One reason I have speculated on why this differs is geography--I'm in a liberal ("blue state" as I like to call it) area, and here the difficulty seems to be finding a marriage-minded Christian woman; I have often wondered if most of these women complaining about a lack of marriage-minded Christian men are in more of a "bible belt" area.

Anyway, my experience is colored by the fact that I spent the better part of the last 2 years dating, and trying to convince to marry me, a very nice, kind, spiritually mature, intelligent, and pretty Christian girl, and it didn't work. It was a constant struggle, with me regularly bringing up marriage only to hear her say "I'm not ready yet," "I'm just not sure," "I can't decide," "I still have doubts," etc., despite her being 29, claiming marriage and children were among the things she wanted in life, and by her own admission, believing that I'm a Christian and a decent guy, enjoying spending time with me, finding me reasonably handsome, etc. I got as far as finally getting her to let me take her ring shopping once, before she decided she just couldn't marry me and ended the relationship. Needless to say, when I read the articles on Boundless criticizing men for not pursuing women, chastising us for desiring mere "buddy" relationships, and lambasting us for being too immature to desire marriage, I think "hmm... I wonder where this is happening, 'cause it's certainly not my life."

Now, why do men get the blame instead of women? I think both men and women can be too picky, but for different reasons. What are men picky about? Say it with me: looks. I freely admit there might be a few single girls in my church I could pursue, but don't because I simply don't find them physically attractive enough for it to seem worth it. Of course, this tendency among men gets us labeled selfish, materialistic, even lustful. Now, what are women picky about? Things like spiritual maturity, character, and personality traits. But those are generally considered good things to be picky about, so while men can be called short-sighted and worldly in our pickiness, women are merely "not settling for less than God's best" and "holding out" for a godly man that He has in store for them rather than settling for one who has "issues."

This might sound all well and good, but you have to consider what these issues are. I think that in an effort to combat the divorce rate, which is reported to be as high inside the church as outside, the church today has been over-promoting cautiousness about marriage, to the point where some women's standards are so high, that they will never find a man who meets them. And these standards are in fact unreasonably high, because we're all sinners. If some guy shows clear signs of a tendency to be abusive, then of course I would say don't get involved. But if you meet some guy who's interested in you, and he's not good about doing daily devotions--don't reject him because you consider that a "red flag" that he's not spiritual enough. Instead, be his encouragement do do devotions more regularly! It could be that that's exactly what he needs in his life.

I think women's equality plays a role, too. My ex-girlfriend holds an advanced, professional school degree, has a very secure job, lives in a nice apartment with roomates she gets along with, has several close friends she loves spending time with and does so frequently, and is involved in multiple church activities and ministries. From her point of view, why risk getting married? She stands a 50% chance of having her life ruined if it doesn't work out; meanwhile, she's happy where she is. Granted, I don't know that she gets asked out much--she certainly never talked about it happening when we were dating--but she did have at least one decent opportunity (again, by her own admission; I'm not trying to be high on myself) which she turned down.

There's also the amusing little fact that sometimes women don't "count" guys who don't appeal to them. I once had a female friend admit that women sometimes lament "I never get asked out" when in fact they do get asked out, just not by guys who interest them. With this in mind, I wonder how many of these women Boundless authors say they're hearing from, who say that no Christian men ever show any interest in them whatsoever, have in fact had opportunties they've rejected because for whatever reason the guy wasn't good enough.

Consider the following comment posted on this very blog by a certain commenter who shall remain nameless ;) :

I myself envisioned having the same life my mother did---graduate college at 22 and get married soon after and have two children by the age I am now...30. (Mom married at 22, right out of college; had me at 25; and had my sister at 29.) That plan didn't materialize for me. Yes, I could have been married by now...if my goal was merely to get married. But it's not---my goal is to marry a strong Christian man whom I admire and love and enjoy being with and would not want to live without, someone whose greatest cheerleader I want to be.

My fiancé was a Christian and a decent guy. But I didn't really love him (I was more in love with the idea of being in love than I was with him), and I also discovered that I didn't want his parents for my children's grandparents. Whoa! So many red flags...it was a whole marching band color guard of 'em. I broke the engagement. That was '99.


I don't know the whole situation and it's possible the guy would have made for a really bad marriage. But in general, I think when women do things like this, they lose a lot of the right to complain about not being married. (Especially when they say things like "I didn't want his parents for my children's grandparents." How much pickier can you possibly get?)

To sum up, I would say that in general, women are just too picky. To be fair, they have been taught that this is good--as I said, in recent years the church has almost encouraged this. Frankly, what I hope for is a return to the days of "good enough" being good enough.

 
At 1:50 PM, Blogger Elena said...

Heh, heh... Jake, that's so funny...like, odd/weird/funny. You quoted me! I don't mind being un-nameless.

Honey, I'm in the buckle of the Bible belt, so the single Christian men abound here! They're just in other churches, I think. (You throw a rock...you hit a church here in this city. *grin*) Evidently my church's traditional worship style doesn't draw the vast crowds of Christian bachelors.

As to my story shared on a previous thread...
That "I didn't want his parents for my children's grandparents" was a more generic version of the long story I could have told. They weren't horrible people... just very, very conservative (scary-fundy, as someone has coined)---as in women don't pray aloud in church and "melody is of the Lord, harmony is of the flesh, and rhythm is of the devil." (Yes, that is a direct quote from ex-fiancé's father.) That kind of pharisaical and bizarre sort of conservative. I didn't want that influence on my children. And it wasn't an immediate conclusion...it was after spending a lot of time with them. And instead of being more drawn to the Lord because of their influence, I became more and more unsettled and confused as they tried to convince me to agree with their views. Their version of a biblical worldview was not grace-filled and loving...just very rule-bound.

I was more in love with the fairy tale of being in love and being married than I actually loved the guy. Meeting his parents and interacting with them for two weekends was what started my reassessing the relationship, which I had previously been seeing through a hormone-induced haze. After my mind was awakened out of the "infatuation" stupor, I realized that my wanting to marry him was more about wanting some guy, any guy, to find me beautiful and desirable.

So...you could say I was being picky, but I see it as being wisely so.

Now...as to any other offers of dates that I have turned down---in retrospect, I have been too picky. I should have accepted any offer from a decent Christian guy, to go out at least once. Why not give the guy a chance? But I was stupider then. And letting fear have the upper hand. Hopefully, I am wiser now...and more trusting of God and His working in situations.

Looking for a good level of compatibility on various points, is a good thing, I think. True, both men and women can be too picky and have way too many deal breakers and must-haves/can't-stands. I do think that some people, through experience, have discovered various facets that are important that the future spouse have or not have. I think it's wise to build one's filter that way, under God's guidance, all the while trusting that everything is possible with God.

Yes, a man's past, his flaws, and other attributes may be a flag...perhaps a caution flag, not a red one. And a woman is wise to proceed slowly.

But also so is a man wise to proceed slowly, as in not hastily. (Also not lazily either.) As in all things...the key is the golden mean/moderation. The golden mean/moderation can only be found by following God's leadership in one's own life.

I applaud the men who are forging ahead, who are taking risks. And I applaud the women who are taking risks by responding.

Marriage is a huge responsibility. But it's also a great joy and a great privilege. We do right to take it seriously...both the getting to it and the sustaining of it.

 
At 7:26 PM, Blogger Jake said...

Elena,

I apologize for impugning your motives with respect to the guy's parents. When you said you didn't want them for his grandparents, I assumed it probably had something to do with their being divorced and/or hostile to Christianity, rather than their being Christians with what you see as some dangerously wrong ideas about doctrine.

I still think, though, that it is wrong to hold this against a man. We can't pick our family. Now, if he seemed like he wouldn't stand up to them and moderate their influence on your prospective kids, then I'd agree that's a sticking point.

I also think, believe it or not, that to reject an opportunity for marriage because you don't feel truly "in love" is being too picky. :) Granted, most people today would say it's absolutely necessary, but I don't see why that should be so; after all, societies that practice(d) arranged marriages had/have much lower divorce rates than ours. I find that the older I get, the less I care about developing a feeling of "true love" as a sign that she's "the one" and the more I see marriage in a practical light. If you wanted some guy, any guy, to find you beautiful and desirable, and marrying him would get you that, well, what's wrong with that?

And to bring this back to the original topic, I think the gap between men and women can partly be explained by the pickiness factor: we men seem to get less picky as we age, while by my own observations, women get more picky. I admit, there's a strong temptation for me to go into panic mode as I approach 30 and just marry the first willing girl I can find. Meanwhile, looking back on my last relationship, I often speculate that if I'd asked the girl out when I first met her, when she was 23, things might have progressed to marriage. After all, she didn't know what her future held, but she assumed it included a husband, so if a decent guy asked her out, might as well be willing to put your all into it, right? But as she progressed through her twenties, she began to get involved in various ministries at church, started going on short term missions trips and liking the fact that she wasn't tied down from doing more in the future, finished grad school and got her "real job"... pretty soon, your life is full, you're content where you are, and you're loath to risk upsetting that by doing something as life-altering as getting married, unless the guy perfectly fits into all of that. And I wonder if that is a generalizable trend amongh women

 
At 1:36 PM, Blogger Firinnteine said...

In my observation, Christian men are picky (overly picky) about a lot more things than physical appearance (I've done this too, I admit).

Go read the Boundless article "Soul Mates or Sole Mates" if you haven't -- it might overstate certain points, but it makes you think, anyhow.

Being cautious is good. I wonder, though, if having a checklist beforehand doesn't hurt us a lot more than it helps. What would happen if we got to know a person without placing hypothetical expectations on him/her, and did the caution and discernment through prayer and with respect to that particular person? I'm not saying jump into any relationship; but consider whether this particular relationship would be good, not whether it meets some expectations you thought up a year or six earlier.

Maybe I exaggerate, I don't know. Just random thoughts.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger Elena said...

firinntienne,

That Boundless article, "Soul Mates or Sole Mates?", really helped me rearrange my ideas about marriage. I totally agree that a soul mate is MADE out of the sole mate you marry, not "magically" formed for you before you meet him. Good reading suggestion, firinn!


jake,

I do think it's important that a gal check out the guy's family. Yes, he cannot pick his family; but she can "pick" her in-laws, which will be her future children's family. No, it shouldn't be the only factor or the primary factor; but it should be part of the larger picture she examines.

And I think the guy should look at the gal's family.

This is not about the guy earning the blue ribbon at the fair. Any one particular gal's choosing him or rejecting does not equal his ultimate success or failure as a man.

Mate selection is a complicated process, both internally in the individual and externally as it involves the man, the woman, their families, their friends, the body of Christ, and the rest of society. Remember—marriage isn't just about the couple. Thus...to equate any one of the factors of a woman's evaluation of a potential mate, to selfishness is at the least a refusal to look at the entire picture of who she is, what her values are, how she thinks, and how all of these components are assembled and related to one another in her inner being. And it is an assumption that she is acting selfishly at all.

Remember, "to the pure, all things are pure." (And the origin of that statement eludes me at the moment.)


I recommend all the fellas read For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. Right on the money!

I have found For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn to be very helpful as well.

 

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