Adventure in Origins

Where did it come from? Why do Christian girls and Christian women say things like “if I keep focusing on my relationship with God he’ll give me the husband I want?” Why do we say that? Because here’s the thing. If THAT or anything else is our motivation for pursuing God, I can tell you right now that God isn’t our focus. You know what it is? Getting what we want.

I don’t know if you know this, but you can’t trick God. “If I just keep telling God I’m pursuing him, he’s totally going to believe me, and in two months I’ll meet the man of my dreams. It’ll be perfect. Which is good, because I’ve got a pinterest board full of my wedding plans. Which is in no way an indication of what I spend my time thinking about. Like I said, God, I’m just focusing on me and you.”

That isn’t to say if you aren’t pursuing God you won’t get married. Because lots of people get married. All of the time. But why lie to God? Why lie to yourself?

Adventure in Maybe Marriage Isn’t the Answer

I won’t say much. It really speaks for itself. But I’ve included the text for 1 Corinithians 7.
For those desperately clawing for God’s answer to their unmarried woes, for those who want nothing more than to be married, for those who feel left out or freakish for still being single. Take heart, and maybe consider that’s not just your current state. That it isn’t the end of the world, that it could be to your great advantage that you are not married. A life with one less distraction. A life with one more reason to rely on God. I’m not sure why we believe we’re so disadvantaged. We’re not. We have no other commitments except to desperately love and cling to Christ. What a wonderful blessing. What a wonderful blessing. Why are we so desperate to give this up?
 
From the English standard version.

Principles for Marriage

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again,so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.[a] I wish that all wereas I myself am. Buteach has his own gift from God,one of one kind and one of another.

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control,they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does,she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), andthe husband should not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you[b] to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife,whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Live as You Are Called

17 Only let each person lead the life[c] that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19  For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20  Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant[d] when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23  You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants[e] of men. 24 So, brothers,[f]in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

The Unmarried and the Widowed

25 Now concerning[g] the betrothed,[h] I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present[i] distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman[j] marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. Forthe present form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit,not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,[k] if his[l] passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrotheddoes well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.

39  A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 Yetin my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I thinkthat I too have the Spirit of God.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. 
 

Adventure in My I.D.

This Saturday I spent 14 hours with over 200 middle school and high school girls for an event showing and teaching the girls all about where their value comes from and that they are important in a world that wants them to believe they are not. That they are loved. It’s an amazing thing.

First a crazy story.

For weeks leading up to What’s Your I.D.2012 women in the community were praying for and writing letters to the girls that would be there that Saturday. I volunteered late during the week of the event. The opportunity to fill in gaps where I was needed was calling to me. I arrived Saturday morning and was greeted with the opportunity to write letters to girls who had registered last minute or were registering as they arrived.

I prayed for the girls and began writing my letters. Many of my letters were reminding the girls not just that they are loved by God and the women around them, but that they are valuable. They aren’t just valuable; they are being used by God at this very moment. He is constantly shaping them. I went about my day, and filled in where I was needed.

Before dinner that night Leah shared the Gospel with the girls. She had asked anyone who felt comfortable praying with the girls who came forward after the Gospel was shared to go into the next room and pray with them. I went to the room as the girls left and was met with six girls. They shared their names with me, but were not very talkative. One girl only held up her name tag. I realized, as they told me their names, that these girls were almost all of the girls I wrote letters to that morning. I prayed over them knowing that every part of that moment was orchestrated by God’s plan.

At the after party the girls were singing karaoke. I learned at the party the girl who had only held up her name tag had not said anything to anyone all day. So when her name was called for karaoke I squealed! I couldn’t believe it. She went up to the stage and sang her song. Her voice could hardly be heard, and then it was almost lost entirely. Because moments later about 25 girls rushed the stage. They stood in front of the stage singing and screaming along with this shy little lamb. I saw the girl begin to smile for the first time all day as these girls showed her more support than they showed anyone else as she made such a bold move.

It was all just so wacky. These girls being built into and up by so many women in the community.

But then came the bad parts for me.

While I spent 14 hours with over 200 middle school and high school girls, I also spent the day with an unknown number of women. Women with opinions. Women who say one thing to the girls and another to each other. Women who, well…

On several occasions I found myself surrounded by conversations with different groups of women. On more than one of those occasions these groups of women began discussing a woman’s role. And then it happened. As it always happens. Just like the pastor who at a wedding said if you aren’t married you aren’t fulfilling God’s will for your life these women said that if you aren’t serving a man and tending to his needs you aren’t fulfilling God’s plan for all women. And not just in general if you aren’t serving. You have to be serving a man. And not just humanity. A woman’s role is to serve one man.

I can’t get over this mentality. One, because I know a good number of amazing women who have never married, and many who never will and are constantly serving God. One might say they’re doing more for the Kingdom because they aren’t married. They’re all very dedicated women. Dedicated to any cause. And while I’m sure they aren’t opposed to marriage, I know that at least a few of them would admit that would serve as a distraction from Kingdom thinking rather than a benefit to Kingdom thinking. Some of the most amazing women I’ve ever known have never been married. And they aren’t just amazing because of that or because they’re strong or any of that. It’s because they’re focus on Christ is so strong. They truly find their value in Christ.

The second reason I can’t get over it is because it hurts me. It made me physically ill a few times Saturday. Because THAT is the sort of thing Satan creeps into my mind. Many, if not most, of my friends are married, and often being around them makes me feel like a failure. Not because of them, but because of the lies we’re fed. And in steps Satan with words from other women. Women who are working toward the same end I am. Women telling me that not being married and serving a man means I’m not doing God’s work. And my brain screams they’re wrong, and there’s Satan whispering in the gasps for breath that they’re right. And I hear him. And it starts to sink in. And I get sick.

If you aren’t taking care of children, and if you don’t have children of your own to take care of for your man you aren’t fulfilling God’s will for your life. How is it all of these other people seem to know exactly what God’s will for my life is? How could they conceivably know that? I think what they mean to say is, “This is where I find my fulfillment, and I have to believe that if it’s true for me it’s true for everyone.” And I feel shame because now I’m two steps behind God’s will for my life.

Adventure in Single-Living

When I first moved to Indy I tried to live two distinct lives. Actually, I just tried to maintain my former life while working in Indianapolis. Well the time came quickly for me to get my act together and realize that lives change and people won’t always be together, despite the illusion the Christian college campus may make you believe. So I tried. I tried a few churches, some quietly without anyone else knowing. Some with pleading for prayer when I couldn’t get myself to get out of the car.

Part of the problem is this. It took my three years to feel comfortable or welcome at the 509 a place that most of my friends went to, but something about being there made everything completely different. Relationships outside the 5 seemed irrelevant. But after a few 509 summers I found a semi-comfort. After I moved that uncomfortableness at the 5 returned in the form of someone telling me I couldn’t be coming there anymore. So if that’s the relationship I have with a place I felt comfortable, for the most part, and that took a while to build, how much more difficult will it be when I know no one?

Well, let me tell you. Exponentially. Because first, it’s a lot of hit or miss searching. It’s a lot of sketchy theology. It’s a lot of stirring of the Spirit. And it is a lot of married people, or nearly married people. One particular church I tried a few times. I was on board with the teaching. I was on board with their philosophy of community. But it only one visit for me to notice the limited amount of uncoupled people. I went back once with a visiting friend. She saw it too. What’s worse, outside of a brief greeting when told to talk to your neighbor was the only interaction I received with anyone else there.

One Sunday I did not go to that particular church. I believe I was home. That Sunday my married friends tried it. (I will say they had tried it once before) Invited to a house church. Now it’s where they go. And that’s wonderful. It is. We should all be so lucky.

But we the singles are not very often so lucky. Especially those of us who are in no hurry to be married. With pastors saying things like “You aren’t fulfilling God’s will for your life, if you aren’t married,” I suppose I should be panicked, but I think I’m more along the lines of hurt and a little furious. (A little furious looks a lot like pissed). What if God isn’t calling me to marriage? Or what if he isn’t calling me to marriage right now? I’m not going to force his hand and get into some messy marriage because I have to be married to be a good Christian.

I don’t want my reliance to be on another human, and it’s easy enough for me to do that without being married. Add the constancy of another person, and I can’t imagine my focus would ever remotely be on God. Not right now. Yet, in the Church this somehow makes me feel like a failure. Because even if I find a group of single women to interact with, many of them are still just looking for a husband. And a group of coed Christian singles looks a lot like that too. Which is confusing to me. Because I was under the impression we were supposed to “Seek first the Kingdom of God.” If I’m wrong and somewhere in the Bible it says “Seek first your husband,” then please, point it out to me, and I’ll get right to work.

So no. I’m not married. No. I’m not dating anyone. And no. I’m not really interested in it, because there’s this other relationship I’m still really trying to work on that has nothing to do with his and hers towels.

Adventure in Improper Liasisons with Dr. Mary Ruthi

Ah, I think that the idea of being happy and emotionally close to another person through marriage is indeed a relatively recent idea.  A century ago, for instance, women were thought to be too unintelligent to share meaningful conversations with their husbands, and even sex was seem as primarily for reproduction and not as an emotional bonding experience.  The notion that marriage is a partnership of equals is a fairly new idea.  And, it probably does have a lot to do with women’s lib, which advocated the rather novel idea that women were as intelligent and competent as men.  

Of course, the desire for satisfaction in all areas of our lives is far more prominent than it used to be.  We aren’t content with having jobs to support ourselves; we must have meaningful jobs that pay well and don’t demand too much of us.  We aren’t content to attend church; we must be entertained and impressed by the service and by the pastor(s).  We aren’t content to have vacation time; we must go to more exotic locations and do more daring feats.  Once we have met our basic physical needs, we start going after psychological needs (wants??).

Women’s lib has changed over the past couple of decades, or so it seems to me.  In the 1960s and 1970s, women’s lib was concerned with having women receive equal pay for equal work and with securing reasonably equal opportunities for women in employment, education, etc.  Having largely achieved those goals, the women’s movement looked around for other dragons to slay and then started tilting into a bit of insanity (claiming that it was sexist to have mother/daughter banquets instead of parent/child banquets, arguing that all sex is actually rape because of patriarchy, etc.).   

Mary Ruthi, Ph.D.

Gosh, we’re so extreme.
 
See, I can see myself getting being the original notions of women’s lib. Though if someone let me stay home all day and bake and cook I’d be thrilled. I don’t know where this lust for more than we need comes from. Granted, I’m more than guilty of it myself. I have to wonder if the momentum behind it builds as things around us quicken. With the ever increasing immediacy of technology do we find that we should also be obtaining other things more quickly and more extravagantly? And is this “need” for better and better things a first world problem? I don’t really see how it could be anything, but a first world problem. It still begged to be asked.
 
There’s definitely a bleakness to this conversation, but when have we ever shied away from the truth at the risk of a lack of sunshine and rainbows? It’s raised a question with L though, which is, “Is it possible to find a godly man anymore? One that hasn’t had sex?” I happen to know the answer to be yes, but to find one that isn’t an asshat too, now that’s the real trick.
 
She finds herself daunted by the idea that such a man doesn’t exist. But I think that’s a fallacy of our generation. That 1) we think it’s something we deserve and 2) if we look hard enough we’ll find exactly what we’re looking for. Which I don’t think is ever the case. I feel like we’re all too broken to ever be exactly anything to anyone. But I feel like the women, or in some cases, girls of my generation are searching for this “ideal man.” Like life is a scavenger hunt and the perfect husband or even a husband is the prize. But there’s also this wait for him mentality. That if I sit on my couch long enough he’ll just show up at my door. Which, for me, and I think everyone, but for me especially, that’d be a dumb way to look at things. I live in a gated community! It’s dangerous. And it’s I think very telling of us as women, now. That we believe that what we want will just come to us if we wait around long enough. Not that it won’t, but I’m a pretty big proponent of living life and letting things happen.
 
Meanwhile, it poses another interesting question. How did you and the farmer come to meet?
 
Hayley

Hayley,

To me, the heart of feminism is about freedom of choice.  If a woman (or a man) wants to be a full-time homemaker/child care provider, I think that’s fine.  But, if a woman (or a man) wants to work outside of the home (full time or part time), I think that’s fine also.  I don’t like to see people constrained by gender roles.  Fortunately, there are far fewer constraints than there used to be when I was your age. Actually, in some ways, I believe that women have more freedom than men do in this area.  A married woman with small children can stay home full time, work full time, or work part time.  There’s a lot of pressure on married men to work full time, regardless of what they want to do.  And, the cost of child care (and other expenses associated with having both parents employed) is greater than the additional income produced by the spouse with the lowest salary (usually the woman, but not always).  

Certainly there are men who haven’t indulged in premarital sex, but, as you suggested, some of those men may not be particularly attractive and charming.  And, again, the double standard rears its ugly head.  Men tend to want to marry women who are virgins, but many of those men have conducted a number of improper liaisons themselves.  Grrrr!  

Sitting around waiting for the knight to come riding up to your castle on a white horse probably isn’t going to work for most women.  I think you are right that you have to live life and enjoy it as it happens.  If you meet a great guy and end up married to him, that’s wonderful.  But, if you don’t ever get married, that doesn’t mean that your life will be miserable and devoid of meaning.  Marrying a jerk is far worse than being single. However, the more you are involved in your community, church, volunteer organizations, etc., the more likely you are to meet potential husband candidates.  Most of them will end up being jerks, but it only takes one good guy to fill the husband role! 

I picked up the farmer in the Chicago airport.  He had been in California visiting his sister, and I had been in Kansas visiting my family there.  The flight from Chicago to Fort Wayne was cancelled because of fog, so the airline chartered a bus (something that would never happen today!) and hauled us to Fort Wayne.  The farmer was in the line ahead of me as we waited for the bus to arrive, and we just started talking.  He seemed nice, so when we got back to Fort Wayne, I agreed to his offer to come to Huntington to visit me the next weekend.  And, the rest is history (although it did take him a decade to get around to deciding that getting married might be an okay idea).  He doesn’t like to rush into things!  Eeeek! 

Mary Ruthi, Ph.D.

Adventure in “People Are Selfish Little Piglets, for the Most Part”

Hayley,

Our culture (of course, a sociologist would have to mention that!) encourages us to think that all of our emotional needs will be met and we will live happily ever after if only we find Mr./Ms. Right.  The assumption seems to be that we can’t be normal, happy people unless we are in such relationships.  Of course, even the best of relationships can’t come up to the level of perfection that we expect, so we become disillusioned and go on to other relationships that we hope will be better than the previous ones.  I think women are particularly inclined to seek for those ideal relationships, which may be why women are less satisfied with their marriages (on the average) than men are.  We want to find our “soul mates” who will always understand us, listen to us, and take care of us.  But, maybe if we tried harder to understand, listen to, and take care of the others instead of focusing on ourselves, we would be better off in the long run.  People are selfish little piglets, for the most part.

I think it’s good that you are considering the complexities of relationships.  Different people define love differently, but social scientists generally argue that the passionate/romantic love that is the main basis for dating and marriage in our society tends to fade into companionate love after a few years.  So, if you are good friends and have a lot in common with the significant other, the relationship is much more likely to endure for the long haul.  Folks who have the romantic love without much other base to build on may not stay in the relationship when the excitement starts to decline.  Contrary to popular opinion, romantic love does not conquer all.  As you suggested, lasting love is more of a verb than a giddy feeling.

Mary Ruthi, Ph.D.

Dr. Ruthi,
 
Do you think that the satisfaction we find in marriages is a newer trend or one that has, for the most part, always been there? At the risk of continuing to sound less and less like a feminist, which I will never claim to be, that it has something to do with women’s lib? That we’ve made these strides towards equality and selfishness and greediness pulls us to want more? To want better, when it would be so much easier and more fulfilling to be content in what we have? Culturally speaking, it exists outside of the marriage and not just in women. I know I’m guilty of it, and with the aging of each younger generation I find myself more and more disgusted with their lack of contentment. (Maybe I’m just becoming a cynical old woman)
 
It just makes me wonder how greedy we’ve really become. It’s also pretty heart-breaking if I let myself get carried away in it.
 
Hayley

Adventure in Stop Marrying so Young if You’re Going to Keep Your Head Up Your Ass

The saga continues with more insight from the astonishing Dr. Ruthi. How long can I drag this out? There really is no knowing, but I imagine the answer is forever. If you have any questions you’d like to add to the conversation please feel free to let me know. We’ll get them worked in.

Hayley,

Young people are going through puberty at earlier ages than ever before in history, but they are waiting a very long time after puberty before they get married (mid-20s for women and late 20s for men).  So, it’s probably more difficult to avoid premarital sex than ever before.  Of course, men have always had socially tolerated options for premarital sex (prostitutes, family servants, slaves, etc.), but “nice” women generally have married soon after reaching puberty, thus lowering the risk of premarital sex.  Today, a woman is likely to become physically mature while in middle school (if not before!), but she probably will wait until age 25 or so before marrying.  The availability of birth control makes premarital sex relatively low risk, so it’s not surprising that so many people opt for the sex before the marriage.  And, I agree with you that couples who marry hastily because they want to have sex are playing a very dangerous game.  Perhaps people shouldn’t even enter serious dating relationships until they are at a point in their lives where they are ready to think about settling into marriage,  but that’s a tough goal to pursue, especially when one’s peers all seem to be in serious dating relationships by  the time they are 14 or 16.  Besides, how can one select an appropriate spouse if one avoids serious dating relationships?  I’m sometimes frightened by couples who tell me that they started dating each other at age 12 (or some ridiculously early age) and that they have never dated anyone else.  So, they get married when they are 18 or 20.  Some of them do live happily ever after, but a lot of them don’t.  I haven’t seen any statistics on the phenomenon, but it seems to me that an increasing percentage of HU students are getting married before graduating.  Maybe that’s the best way for them to avoid premarital sex, but I think they miss out on a lot of the college experience by getting married so young.

Just when you are ready to give up on relationships and to have all males exiled to Antarctica, a high quality male will come along and sweep you off your feet (probably!).  Wouldn’t life be simpler if we had arranged marriages?!?           

Mary Ruthi, Ph.D.

Dr. Ruthi,
 
Gosh, arranged marriages. I think about how much better that would be all the time. As someone who sees love as a choice and less of a dopey feeling I think that it just seems more logical. If love weren’t something we did and not something we felt we wouldn’t be told to do it.

I’m very much of the mind that the dating game is a silly thing to get mixed up in, if one isn’t ready for a more serious and lasting commitment. I find myself horrified with you for those who get married having never really encountered anyone but the person they’ve dated since high school…or middle school. (Middle schoolers dating. I can’t handle it)

On a personal level, I can’t imagine knowing myself well enough, even now, let alone at 18 or even 20 to say, “yes, this is clearly the exact sort of man I’d like to spend the rest of my life with and who will best build me up in Christ and live my life with me. And whom I will best benefit.” That isn’t to say some people don’t know themselves well enough for that, but most of the 18 or 20-year-olds I’ve ever met hardly know what they want for breakfast. (perhaps in part because they don’t wake up for it) I can’t imagine them making more important life decisions with discernment.
 
And I’m sure to many I sound like some stuffy prude or a heinous and jaded woman with no place to speak to the subject of relationships. Maybe that’s true, but I’ve seen enough people make stupid, life-altering mistakes to want to be a part of those statistics. That isn’t to say I shall never pursue a serious relationship, but it definitely has me thinking more carefully than I see a lot of my peers who are just happy to have that attention of another. Which is understandable, but the instant that begins to be the reason we start relationships we find ourselves on a slippery slope. That leads to sex and more approval or using each other for our own benefit. We begin to find our self-worth in someone else. In a person who will inevitably let us down. Because people do that, whether they mean to or not. It’s scary that that’s a game anyone would want to play with their self-esteem, heart or mind.
 
But what do I know?!
Hayley

Adventure in E-mailing Dr. Mary Ruthi

Recently I had been discussing sociological things with a friend. We did not come to a conclusion, so I posed our questions to my favorite sociology professor, former employer and hero.

Here is our informative exchange. You’re welcome. But also, women, I’m sorry.

Well, hello!
Mary Ruthi is to Hayley Johnson as Jerry Smith is to Brett Jenkins-Braun.
 
So I was discussing boys with L today and a question came up. Now I remember you saying that we pursue those of equal attractiveness to ourselves. I know because I said “No one wants to be the group ugo.” But L said someone else told her that women pursue men on their level or under, but men pursue women on a higher level of attractiveness. I’m not saying either is necessarily wrong, but I just wondered what it was you exactly taught us.
Obviously we’re both disgusted by all men anyway.
Hayley

Hayley,

I think that being disgusted by men is the main message!  No, I’m just joking!!

Physical attractiveness seems to be valued more highly by men than by women.  Women (having more sense, of course!) attach somewhat more value to men’s personalities and social standing.  This is probably why ugly (but rich and/or charming) men often end up with cute chickies.  It may also explain part of the “trophy wife” phenomenon.  A guy who becomes an economic success in mid-life or even later can use that as a bargaining chip in seeking a more attractive woman to replace an aging and decreasingly attractive wife.  However, as more and more women achieve high educations and good jobs, it’s not unheard of for those women to look for “trophy husbands.”  So, the differences between men and women may have as much (or more) to do with gender roles than with biology.  But, I digress! 

Mary Ruthi, Ph.D.

Dr. Ruthi,
This has been most helpful.
It raises a few other questions for us.
Namely, what’s wrong with us? Or which of us is more ridiculous? Because when L sees a mismatched couple she thinks “How’d a guy like THAT get her?” While I think, “How’d she get him?”
And do you think it more likely for women to pursue relationships with men they see on their level because of insecurities? We’ve been talking about this for a while, obviously.

Hayley

Hayley, There’s nothing wrong with either of you.  It’s true that women tend to have lower self-esteem than men.  So, women might be more likely to date below their actual levels of attractiveness because they think that more attractive guys would never be interested in them.  Guys tend to assume that they are God’s gifts to the world, so they probably are more likely to go after women who ought to be out of their league.  Besides, women may worry more about hurting men’s feelings by rejecting the men’s overtures, so some women “waste” time by dating men who don’t really interest them.

Also, the whole dating/marriage system creates some serious problems for women.  The reality is that sex outside of marriage is so common that men feel almost no pressure to get married.  It’s easy for an average guy to find lots of women who will have sex with him and who will even cohabit with him (and who will have children with him, for that matter).  So, why should the guy bother with marriage, especially since guys tend to be commitment-phobic?!?  Maybe by the time the guy is 40 or 50 years old, he will decide to settle down and get married.  But, women who want to have children can’t really afford to wait until they are 40 or 50 to find those guys who want to get married.  Besides, those 40 and 50-year-old guys will be going after the 25 or 30-year-old women.  Yes, I’m sounding cynical.  Imagine that!  Women are confronted with pressure to have sex early in dating relationships.  They worry that refusing to have sex may mean that they will be rejected by men whom they find attractive, but, on the other hand,  having sex may reduce the men’s eagerness for marriage.  More conservative Christian guys who aren’t sexually active before marriage tend to get married young (about age 3 or 4, I believe……well, I exaggerate a bit) so that they can begin having sex.  You ladies are victims of social dynamics over which you have little control.  

I’m not sure what’s the solution.  Perhaps you should make a concerted effort to get involved in activities that would attract more males than females (volunteer in a political campaign, join a coed softball league, take up whitewater rafting, hang around farm supply stores, etc.).  Personally, I find the Chicago airport a good place to meet men.  Eeeeek!        

Mary Ruthi, Ph.D.