Cut Christian men some slack

Sometimes we women give Christian men a hard time when it comes to dating and relationships. To be fair, sometimes they deserve it. BUT how often have you stopped and thought about the huge amount of responsibility men carry?

If I were to break off a single rib from two separate skeletons and put just the rib on the table along with a written description (NOT a picture) of the rib cage each bone came from, do you think you’d be able to match them correctly without additional help? Many men are out here seeking their rib but don’t know themselves well enough to recognize her.

When choosing his rib, a man needs to feel like she will allow him to lead her. He needs to know your mouth isn’t going to tear his soul to shreds when you’re angry. He wants to know that marriage won’t suddenly put a halt to you being his best friend and doing things with him that he likes.

Today’s Christian man must use extreme caution when dating for fear of being labeled “a player” or even “toxic” (today’s buzz word for every person that challenges us – in both healthy & unhealthy ways). But, he also can’t be too passive for fear of being put in the “friend zone”.

Men used to learn basics of relationships from the men in their extended family while working together (in a farming field or trade). Grandfathers, fathers, brothers, cousins, and sons would casually mention in an anecdote about an issue at home and, most likely using humor, the older, wiser men would offer loving guidance. That guidance was also demonstrated for centuries as extended families often lived under the same roof.

Modern society doesn’t afford those types of scenarios typically. A shift in culture away from treating wives and children as property, has given women and children a voice, but some of those same abusive ideas about how to “handle” a family remain prevalent – being passed down through many generations. Those men get frustrated and angry when they can’t control the person they desire the way grandpa did with his family AND/OR they are shocked when their wife leaves.

Christian advice for single women has us ignoring all the men who don’t meet our standards up front. “Trust your gut” is the advice when things get tough (that’s not scriptural). Women will get anxious and angry if a man pursues her relentlessly but complain that nobody wants them. Some women act holier than thou when it comes to anything physical – no kissing, barely ever holding hands, etc. This would drive just about any man away because they are wired so much differently. How many hoops are we gonna expect them to jump through just for a chance at our attention? It’s no wonder they throw up their hands and stay to themselves.

My point is each gender needs to step outside their own perspective when it comes to dating and try to see the other side. Try to be more understanding of the unique pressures we each face AND learn more about what makes the other gender different.

Remember that the goal for all involved is to be like Jesus. He ALWAYS loves. Jesus shows love and kindness to those who reject him. He doesn’t stop pursuing us when we fail. Jesus doesn’t pull away from our embrace or look down his nose at us because we didn’t meet his expectations.

In dating, I think we ALL need to be a lot more compassionate and understanding with one another. When God sends 1 or 2 or 4 or more people He thinks would be a good fit for you, you can guarantee those people will be flawed, imperfect people – sometimes difficult and in some moments of suffering not at all like Jesus – BUT that DOES NOT mean God didn’t send them for you to choose from. There is NO one perfect option and we’ve got to stop acting like there is one.

God knows what each person’s heart is capable of and what each heart needs to be healed. For some women, your assignment will be more difficult than others. No, I’m not saying tolerate abuse in any form, but be strategic, like Jesus, in your response. Sometimes firm boundaries are enough to make a change and sometimes it takes a more significant, permanent loss. If you’re in this situation, I can’t tell you which one is right for you. But God can and will – you just need to be still and quiet to listen.

Marriage is not about our happiness. Marriage is about demonstrating to the world how God loves us and bringing glory to God’s kingdom.

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