Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Singleness — one male’s view

Something I’ve noticed about the literature available on being a single Christian in a couples’ world: Virtually all of it is written by women. It’s as if we single men don’t exist except for the possible sake of being a partner.

Now, I readily admit that part of that has to do with men generally not being writers and thus probing deeply into the question, but a part of me still feels somewhat marginalized with a male perspective on singleness being virtually non-existent. (Perhaps I should be the one to start, so here goes.)

I’m a rare breed — a middle-aged Christian man who has never experienced matrimony. I could get into several legitimate reasons why that’s the case, but as much as people (again, mostly women) say that singleness is not a sign of spiritual immaturity, for us never-married men it really might be the case.

Much men’s ministry often doesn’t help us because it tends to be geared toward guys with families and thus focuses on “leadership.” Nothing wrong with that, as I’ve myself gone through a leadership course that my church offers; the trouble is that such leadership gifts often have yet to be cultivated in us and we often can’t spend time with other godly men in the meantime because they just don’t have it to give. It's even worse if you’re not into sports (though I am).

Moreover, the reason we’re single is that, for the most part, women just haven’t been romantically interested for one reason or another. Asking women on dates is nerve-wracking as it is, and taking the chance of being turned down — and, in this context, it really does represent personal rejection whether a woman who says no means it that way or not — is too great a risk for many of us, especially since we’re the ones supposed to take the initiative, so we do spend a lot of time alone or in unfulfilling singles groups. (This is why, for us, “waiting on God” is impractical.) We tend to be more socially inept than women anyway precisely because we’re men and thus need tutoring and practice in such matters; many of us simply don’t know how to operate.

Lest you think I’m being self-pitying or cynical, I’m speaking mainly from past personal experience because things have begun to change of late. Some years ago I did get to spend some good one-on-one time with a godly woman; though that’s no longer the case, I can’t underestimate the effect it — more accurately, she — had on me. Later I got back into social dance, which apparently the ladies think I’m pretty good at. (To be truthful, sometimes the attention they give me even makes me nervous.) And more recently I’ve become involved in a singles group at church that does focus on dating, with everyone encouraging everyone else on his/her respective journeys.

I wish to stress that I haven’t “wasted” my single years pining for a spouse; I took the time to finish college and, after graduating and getting a job in my field, began to develop a parallel music career; a man especially needs something to bring to the table, I know now, and there’s no time like the present to develop it. I just wish we in the church would pay attention to guys who haven’t “arrived” yet; we could use the encouragement.

No comments: