How Not to Help All the Single Ladies
Just over a year ago, I sat at my parents' kitchen table, across from a friend I had known for years. We were both in town for a wedding and catching up on life. Me, my friend, and the bride had seen one another through many years of singleness, and now two of the three of us were married. My friend was the odd woman out.
As we sat there drinking coffee, her eyes filled with tears. She is normally one who keeps her emotions close to the chest, so I knew she was really hurting. She didn't understand why marriage hadn't happened for her yet. Was there something wrong with her? she wondered.
I knew that there wasn't. She is an incredible woman who God has used mightily. She was a staple at the church we attended together, rock solid in her faith, the salt of the earth. All I could think to do was affirm her in those realities.
for some reason, fall 2011 was marked by several conversations like that one. Earlier that month, I had wept on the phone with a single friend as she shared her feelings of inadequacy. Several weeks later, I spoke with another friend across the country who also wondered at her singleness and ached to find a godly man.
In each of these conversations, I struggled to find the right words. Part of me wanted to shout, "What's wrong with men? These ladies are amazing! They should be fighting guys off with a bat." But the situation is more complicated than that. For one, women in the American church outnumber men. In 2009, sociologist Mark Regnerus reported in CT that there are 3 single women for every 2 single men. Simply put, there aren't enough Christian men to go around.
Add to that the elements of romantic chemistry, life circumstances, and God's providence—all factors that are simply out of one woman's control. It's not her fault, and there's nothing wrong with her. Nevertheless, most longtime single women are tempted to pause and wonder, Is it me?
Don't get me wrong. There are certainly single women out there who have difficult personalities. But, there are married women with equally challenging personalities who still managed to find a mate. Having a strong personality or being independent or failing to look like a supermodel are not deterrents to finding a spouse.
Dating is not simple. There is no tried and true formula. Which is why I become frustrated whenever I come across articles, blog posts and books purporting to tell women why they are still single, and how they should act to snag a man. Author Suzanne Venker recently made a splash over at Fox News with her article "The War on Men." In it she squarely blamed women for men's reticence to marry, writing,