I was thinking about the thread that will never die, which made me think about the following exchange from Ocean’s Eleven. Danny Ocean has just been released from prison, and instead of commencing a morally upright new beginning, he tracks down his old partner Rusty to help him mastermind a robbery of three prominent Las Vegas casinos. Rusty, however, thinks this is a huge mistake. Danny is determined, though, and turns on his powers of persuasion.
RUSTY: I need a reason. And don’t say money. Why do this?
DANNY: Why not do it? Because yesterday I walked out of the joint wearing my entire wardrobe and you’re colddecking Teen Beat cover boys. Because the house always wins. You play long enough, never changing stakes, the house takes you. Unless, when that special hand comes around, you bet big. And then you take the house.
It occurred to me that this is the mating strategy that Rebecca St. James followed. As is well-known, she was very vocal about her virginity and her intention not to have sex until she was married. She became the poster child of True Love Waits, cut a purity crusade anthem called “Wait for Me,” wrote the foreword to IKDG, and in general became an evangelical darling. Which was great and all, but no one could have predicted that Rebecca would go on to spend something like 16 or 17 years publicly waiting. Even among Christians, I think, there’s a point at which admiration turns to UM, WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?, especially for someone who has beauty, wealth, and access to presumably high-quality men.
But instead of cashing in her chips and getting out of the game with a respectable profit, Rebecca bet big on 7-Card Spinster and took the house. She waited, and waited, and waited…and ended up with a Beefcake Missionary who now has the good fortune of being in a band with a mainstream hit single, and who is both good-looking and gentlemanly enough to have old college acquaintances looking him up and vouching for his gentlemanly beefcakiness. Were there really NO other godly men Rebecca could have loved and who were willing to marry her in the last 17 years?
I expect that as a result of waiting and winning, Rebecca will continue to be a role model and inspiration to many single Christian women around the world, as she is now living proof that waiting and trusting in God brings big rewards…eventually. My question is this, though: is this a strategy that single Christian women at large should follow? I ask this because I feel that it IS the strategy that single Christian women are being encouraged to follow: don’t settle, don’t compromise, trust in God’s perfect timing, and He will answer the cries of your heart with more love than you can possibly imagine. You are His dear, precious daughter whom He loves passionately! Which is true, and yet…
…most churches have plenty of single women in attendance and few, if any, Jacob Finks in attendance.
So where does this leave most single church girls? Holding all of their chips, waiting for that special hand to come around, hoping that they’ll be the one to beat the odds? Or beating themselves up in the belief that if only they were more spiritual and “together,” God would finally send them the man of their dreams?
It’s just hard to see any other strategy catching any kind of fire, for a couple of reasons. One, American culture is all about going for the brass ring, shooting for the moon, believing that you’re the exception that can defy the odds. Two, this mindset colors everything we do, including dating and marriage. Churches these days are all about God wanting The Best For Us. God’s Best. God’s Blessings. Showering, Raining Down, Covering You, Wrapping You In His Arms, etc. It’s not that most churches are preaching prosperity gospel (at least, I don’t think they are), but it’s not an uninfluential mindset. Third, most young women are taught that they “deserve” a “great guy.” It’s all over the place in the media. Single female characters on TV and film who are looking for love are consistently told by friends that they “deserve” someone great (someone who’s going to be worth all of your own greatness, someone who will appreciate you just as you are, someone who won’t treat you like crap like the last jerkface you dated…). Anyone who disagrees with this probably is a misogynist. What young women want to hear that God’s Best for them might include a husband who’s mediocre-looking, bad at sex, and only wants to watch sports on TV?
Still, would it really be better to tell women to cash out early and forget about waiting for the special hand to bet big on? That’s horribly unromantic. Most women wouldn’t go for that, and most men would be offended and/or devastated if they suspected that their wives didn’t think the husbands were the best they could get but the wives just didn’t want to wait around forever.
So where does a single woman find the sweet spot between waiting for her “great guy” and settling for what’s available because the “great guy” is never going to come and find her?
DON’T TURN THE COMMENTS INTO A WOMAN-BASHING SESSION. THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHER PLACES TO DO THAT.