Once there was a good Christian girl who dreamed of growing up, getting married, and having children. She read all the right books and did all the right things. She read about how she was a princess in God’s sight and how he wanted the very best for her. She committed herself to sexual purity, to high standards, and to waiting for the good Christian man that God was going to bring her.
Just as she was getting old enough to start dating, however, she noticed something. Some of the popular Christian books were talking about not dating at all, and just being friends, until God had made it clear that the guy she liked was exactly the right one for her. Her Sunday school teachers taught from a very popular book about how dating was unbiblical, and how a truly righteous young Christian man would initiate a courtship with marriage as the goal, working in tandem with the girl’s father and the pastor and others in the church body.
The girl was given to understand, from various quarters, that it was girls like her, girls who delayed marriage, that were the trouble with her generation, with Christianity, and with the country in general. She was informed that it was her own fault that she didn’t have the things that she longed and prayed for. She started to hear words like “spinster” and “bitter” and “self-absorbed” and “career woman” whispered around her.
And the girl grew tired.
She was tired of advice. She was tired of waiting. She was tired of hearing about Prince Charming and Mr. Darcy. Perhaps most of all, she was tired of shaking heads.
So she ran off with the first non-Christian man who showed some interest, asked her out, and treated her with respect. And the knowing ones shook their heads and said, “What happened to her? She used to be a good Christian girl.”
I’ve never read a more succinct compendium of all of the bad dating advice bandied about in church circles. While not every single Christian woman over a certain age will run off with the first man who looks twice at her, whether or not he is a Christian, the temptation to do so will increase and the rationalizations will start to creep in. As long as he had good morals… But if we got along really well… He wants the same things in life that I do… He’s kinder than any of the Christian men I know, and smarter and funnier, too… He’s the only man who has ever thought I was beautiful…
It’s tiresome to hear married Christians lecturing singles about God’s good gift of marriage and how we must wait patiently for God’s perfect timing, and the meantime work on perfecting our marital skills (except for sex), or some other drivel. At some point, every Christian longtime single asks him- or herself, “Are my Christian principles the hill I want to die on?” What Dalfonzo’s article points out is that for some, the answer is no.
A Christian woman who holds on to her principles sometimes ends up in limbo: not cute and girly enough for Christian men, too prudish and boring for non-Christian men. This is how a non-ugly-faced, non-fat young woman can spend over a decade with minimal male attention thrown her way. I have this suspicion that men think that if they see a woman and think she’s attractive, the woman somehow automatically knows and it counts toward her inner mental count of male interest. For many women, however, short of a definitive action such as being asked for her number or out on a date, the woman will never know.
By the way, yesterday was my birthday, or, more aptly, the __th anniversary of my increasing SMV irrelevance! Feel free to congratulate me in the comments.