Romantic Wisdom for Single Women
Singles, especially women,
Love and blessings.
My last article addressed single men, but contained portions relevant to women also (especially the part about two different romantic paths in Scripture). I try to write gender-themed articles in pairs, so as to be fair and equitable to both genders in comfort, counsel, and correction. Today I am continuing to minister to singles, but specifically born-again women. Believe me, everything I say will be pertinent to men too.
The storyline is predictable. She is riveted by his interesting presence and hint of danger, his brazen jerk-humor and hysterical inappropriate comments, his triangle jawline and designer stubble. She is drawn in, gives her attention, then her time, then her heart, then her body, then her future. And yet she is nagged by a persistent lack of deeper emotional intimacy, a persistent lack of that warm glowing feeling of love when two vulnerable souls bond with zero defenses and zero performances. The longer the nag persists the more she mentally browses other options, namely, a man that is more docile and less interesting, but statistically more loyal, more emotionally available.
After reading that last paragraph you might anticipate, "Junior is about to warn us against the riveting, but emotionally retarded, alpha male." No doubt we all must beware of romantic candidates who are viscerally attractive, but not emotionally available enough to bond souls at meaningful levels. That is a subject for another day, though. Today is about the man who will do anything for you.
The Man Who Will Do Anything For You
Research in sexual science is discovering that women are sexually attracted to alpha males the most around the time of their monthly cycle, but they desire to be with a more docile, emotionally attentive male the other 80% of the month in the day-to-day relationship. Furthermore, anecdotal observation will tell you that young women in their teens and twenties fall hard for alpha males, try hard to change them and make it work, but after suffering a few good heartbreaks and headaches, finally opt out from those types and settle down with a more vanilla male who would do anything for them. This very common "opt out, opt in" tradeoff that unmarried women do--that most people recognize without actually articulating--raises important issues of its own, which I admonish my single born-again sisters to contemplate seriously with the Lord.
A man who will do anything for you is in idolatry.
I can hear some of you saying, "He wouldn't do literally anything, that's just a figure of speech." True, he may not murder your ex for you or give you all his credit cards every weekend, but that is not the issue. These are the "anythings" I am referring to: Will he follow your demands and expectations over the voice of God? Will he say No to you when you need someone to stand up to you or oppose you? Will he abdicate his leadership and let you wear the testicles in the relationship? Will he be an Ahab in 1Kings 21? Will he be an Abraham in Genesis 16?
A man who will do anything for you, according to these types of scenarios, is in idolatry. You are his god, his Archimedean point, his Aphrodite, a pedestaled being he must keep happy at all costs or at unhealthy costs. In a bind, in a tough spot, in confusion or fuzziness, he will let your kingdom come, your will be done, in the situation as it is in your mind.
Why Many Women Love This
Many women, Christian and nonChristian, love having a man that will do anything for them. It feeds the monsters in their lower self for superfluous attention, relationship control, even worship. In effect, the man who worships his woman has merely joined her in worshiping herself. The couple might be genuinely born-again, they might even be faithful church attenders, they might even be in ministry, but discerning observation reveals who is really on the pedestal of the relationship. It is not sweet Jesus and His daily presence and voice, but the woman. The man, recognizing and accepting the implied terms of the relationship, silently agrees and enables. But why?
Why Many Men Love This
Many men, Christian and nonChristian, love being that man that will do anything for her (according to the aforementioned definition). There are two main reasons for this.
One, many men will gladly trade fealty and docility for regular sex with an attractive, dynamic woman. They would never say it so ignobly, so emasculatingly, but it is the raw truth. Think Ahab was with Jezebel for her amazing character and political strategems? She was a textbook psychopath, a mass murderer, a pagan priestess, a Phoenician Gentile, who surrounded herself with 850 houseboys right in front of Ahab's face (1Ki 18:19). There were millions of reasons for a man to run away from her fast and far, except for one, the one that gets men in trouble over and over and over.
Two, a man who gives fealty and docility to his woman does not have to do leadership. He does not have to proactively design the relationship's culture. He does not have to make hard decisions or do hard things. He does not have to deal with the tedium of planning. He can cry in his room while his wife takes care of business (1Ki 21). How nice.
Sisters, is this the dynamic your born-again higher self wants? A transactional relationship in which you trade sex and permitted abdication of duty for attention buffets and full relationship control, all in the name of "a man who will do anything for me"? Yet this is the dynamic I keep seeing more and more in churches and Christian groups, especially among couples steeped in western culture in which men have become more feminized and women have become more masculinized. The result is an ocean of Ahab-like Christian men willing to be worshiping eunuchs a step behind a sassy, strong, sexy queen.
The assumption and conundrum of two choices.
I have had this conversation with many sister-friends in the body of Christ over the years. A response they often give me is, "But we have no choice! We have to choose between a riveting male who cannot bond emotionally and a vanilla male who will treat us like goddesses, but who are not exactly bursting with masculine dynamism. We feel damned if we do, damned if we don't."
Makes sense. In the minds of many single women, the scales of romance hold visceral attraction on one side, security and self-esteem buffets on the other.
With God, A Third Choice
There is a reason Isaac did not marry until he was forty years old (Gen 25:20), or Boaz until he was beyond midlife (Ru 3:10). These men prepared themselves properly and thoroughly (see the previous article, Romantic Wisdom for Single Men), developed themselves into presidential individuals in their singlehood, and waited for the best romantic candidate. Ruth, likewise, did not rush to remarry after Mahlon died, but dug into Naomi's discipleship and waited for the best romantic candidate, which providentially led to Boaz. We learn a few truths from these stories.
Ideal romantic candidates are rare. This is true of both genders, this is true of all time periods in human history (Ps 12:1, Ecc 7:28). Many singles have fabulous qualities in one or two areas, but are dismal and way behind in areas crucial to holy, healthy, happy relationships. To say there are only two options in the entire manscape, though, is to say God is failing to produce high-caliber Christian singles with balance and diversity in their life. They may be rare, they may not be in your environment, but with God a third category always exists. This is probably the unspoken background of why Isaac, Boaz, and Ruth prepared themselves for so long and waited on the Lord. They were waiting proactively for that elusive third choice.
Can Choice #1 or Choice #2 Evolve into Choice #3?
The question here is a good one. Of course the answer is Yes. The Lord can take anyone, from any starting baseline, and grow them into an oak of righteousness (Isa 61:3). However, realize there are caveats and variables in this that pose challenges.
A person's maturation is entirely dependent on their own freewill and diligent investment. This is something you cannot control, but the temptation will be great to try and do so. Also, the fruits of transformation take a bit of time to appear. They can appear faster if the person is diligent and has a great mentor or two, that is the good news. Nonetheless, can you be that patient, especially when they vacillate or fall off the wagon for a while? You may indeed have that level of patience, but what about your life situation? Some people's life situation requires a romantic partner/spouse to already be at a certain level (like a single leader in the kingdom, or a single parent with vulnerable minors). Certain fields simply cannot be plowed with an ox-donkey pair (Deu 22:10).
The Lord can take any man, starting from any baseline, and develop him into an oak of a man capable of a holy, healthy, happy romance. Before you get too excited about this proposition, though, be honest with yourself about the caveats, variables, and challenges of accepting Choice #1 or Choice #2 and hoping he will evolve into Choice #3.
The loss of femininity, the rise of the shemale.
Men who genuflect to romantic candidates/partners/spouses set up a near-irresistible dynamic for the woman. By offering her full or most control on a silver platter, alongside exaggerated levels of attention and attentiveness, he is positioning her to assume more masculine ways of being and behaving. The tragic outcome is a diminished femininity, a loss of the unique glory God wove into her gender. She becomes, in psychology and personality, a shemale.
Let me clarify exactly what I am saying and not saying. I am not at all saying a woman cannot be strong, confident, and independent. I have worked closely with and have been in close personal relationships (platonic and romantic) with such women. What I am saying unflinchingly, however, is that a woman's strength has to be healthy strength that does not diminish her God-given femaleness. Around docile or flat-out weak men, it is very hard for many women to not mutate into shemales.
There is not a black-n-white legalistic checklist that measures healthy versus unhealthy female strength; there are too many variables across vastly diverse situations. However, good observational skills, with sensitivity to context, often give a sense of when a woman has lost, or is losing, that intrinsic female grace and is devolving towards maleness. It is not a pretty sight, nor is it a healthy or godly one. What the fallen world and unsaved intellectuals say about gender matters absolutely nothing if it contradicts God's Word. In the beginning He made them male and female. It is the Creator's and Owner's word we go by. Sisters in Christ, do you need a moment to repent and cry out to God to reclaim, revive, and redevelop your God-given womanhood?
Realize the Position Choice #2 Puts You In
Single sisters, realize, therefore, the men you consider romantically will automatically position you in specific ways--spiritually, psychologically, and socially. That positioning will determine the culture of the relationship and its commensurate opportunities and challenges. And so, once again, yes, God can take a #1 or #2 and evolve him into a category #3, but can you patiently cope and manage (within yourself, with God) while his growth trajectory unfolds? Can you resist, day after day, the silver platter of fealty and the scepter of control in the relationship? Can you resist, day after day, the temptation to become a shemale, the temptation a genuflecting male will repeatedly cast upon you while he is still growing and changing?
The man who will do anything for you, according to the rubric described above, makes you a god. If you let that dynamic happen you are accepting worship. Do you realize how serious this is to Yahweh Elohim, the only God, who said you shall have no other gods before me? 1John 5:21 (NKJV) says, Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
The idols of greatest temptation to contemporary western Christians are not statues and figurines, but specific people we depend on in an unhealthy, codependent, genuflecting way. We follow them harder than we follow the Lord. Their voice is the final word, not the Lord's. In a counterintuitive twist, the woman who accepts a beta male's exaggerated attention and attentiveness is just as codependent on him as he is on her. He craves a momma, she craves self-esteem. A blind man carrying a lame man.
Brothers, realize what you are doing, why you are doing it, and take Biblical steps to stop. The mom you crave, the female impartation you crave, is in God Himself (see Isaiah 66:13). He might also use an aged female mentor, a "mother in Israel" (see Judges 5:7 and 1Timothy 5:2). Sisters, never allow a man to feed your lower self in ways that pedestal you like a god. Realize what you are doing, why you are doing it, and take Biblical steps to transform that self-esteem blackhole inside.
You do not have only two choices, (1) a riveting, but emotionally incapable, alpha male or (2) a docile and less dynamic, but emotionally attentive and obsequious, beta male. With God there will always be a third category, though rare, of men who can love and follow Him first yet have balance and diversity in their lives. Sisters, do not get ants in your pants and settle. You may have to be like Isaac, Boaz, and Ruth and prepare thoroughly for a while. (Be honest, are you really developing yourself in multiple areas with God, or lazily praying Boaz will come gift-wrapped just before Valentine's Day?) Become the presidential individual and ideal spouse you want someone to be for you. Like Ruth, you may need to move to a new city and work in a new field (that is a prophetic word for someone).
Women, what makes you extraordinary and exquisite is just that...you are women! You are not a man. Do not act like one. Do not let your psychology and personality devolve into a shemale. Why not spend the weekend on a new prayer conversation with God about this? Repent to Him where you have disowned, or unknowingly let slip away, your feminine nature and glory. Ask the Lord to help you rediscover (or discover for the first time) what He had in mind when He pulled "female" out of Himself in Genesis 1:26,27.