Hello everyone and happy summer! Thank you all so much for allowing me a much- needed break over the past couple of months. I so appreciate that you continue to read my blog posts and seek God for marriage.
I have been writing about various topics in a series on reasons for prolonged singleness. So far, we have looked at (a lack of understanding regarding) the universal vocation to marriage and woundedness in our family of origin. It is in this present blog post that I want to address the topic of male/female relational dynamics.
Many, many moons ago this issue would not even have been a reason for prolonged singleness. When I was struggling with my own battle of prolonged singleness, it was a problem for me, but for different reasons, and not on the grand scale that I believe it is for singles today.
Some of you may get offended or annoyed as you read what I have written in this post. Your reaction may be, “This is so old-fashioned!” or “This girl is crazy; doesn’t she know times have changed and this is the year 2022?” However, God’s truth doesn’t change and there are somethings in the natural order that just do not change, such as how men and women relate to each other in what I call, “the romance dance.”
As such, I encourage you to peruse, ponder, and pray about this information, giving thought to how it might be contributing to your own prolonged singleness.
In the Beginning
Back in the garden, God created man first and then woman. As you may recall, it was the man who was working in the garden, naming each of the animals, when he realized that there was not a suitable spouse to be found for him.
“The LORD God said: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be his name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.” (Genesis 2:18-20)
Even in the garden, the man had to be shown his own need for a suitable spouse. This is important to recognize. Many times, women try to get a man to see that he needs a wife, whether it be a female friend, a sister, a mother, or the woman herself that is interested. But only God can do this for a man.
Let Go and Let God
If a woman tries to get a man to be relationship-ready, one of two things will happen. Either the man will be non-responsive, and the woman is rejected. Or he may passively respond to her. This leads to either a relationship wherein the woman does most of the heavy lifting or it ends because the man was not ready and/or he did not really want to be in it.
I know this reality smacks in the face of our postmodern “we can do everything” mantra. However, this conclusion is drawn because God established certain principals in each sex. These principles are the underlying faculties and endowments from which men and women relate to each other. This is regardless of what society dictates. To ignore these fundamental precepts is akin to disregarding the law of gravity: you can jump off a building, but you will fall to the ground. Even in the 21st century.
For example, God allowed Adam to see his own need via his circumstances, e.g., naming the animals. Adam saw that he had a need for someone like him, it needed to be filled, and he was coming up emptyhanded in his own searching. (“The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.” Genesis 2:20). All this activity created space for God to intervene.
“So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: ‘This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,” for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.’” (Genesis 2:21-23)
A Better Way
Adopting better dating practices is a great place to begin when contemplating your own prolonged singleness. In my three-part blog series, “Can The Bible Teach Us to Date?” I look at how biblical principles can be applied to dating situations today. Learning how to enhance relationships with the opposite sex has great value. I encourage you to read these three posts in that series as an adjunct to this one.
For example, by following biblical principles rejection and hurt can be minimized, but not eliminated altogether. This is because rejection is, unfortunately, inherent to the dating process. (This topic is an entire post all together)
Biblical principles delineate the essential role and essence that each sex plays in the romance dance. While it is important to realize that there is not some magical formula or set of rules that can be deciphered and then followed is very important. Nonetheless, when we relate with each other in accordance with our natural design, it creates space for God to work and relationships to blossom.
I struggled with relating to the opposite sex in my twenties and early thirties. In my twenties, I was just doing what society said was okay – pursuing men and not following any of God’s ways. I felt really rejected and hurt when it didn’t go well. When I became a Christian, I was told, “Don’t pursue.” Well, no one explained to me why (again, read, “Can The Bible Teach Us to Date?”)
However, I also had deeper issues going on. In my heart, I didn’t think anyone would pursue me. And when they did, it wouldn’t last. So, my pursuing behaviors would kick right back in – desperately trying to hold on to the relationship that was budding. “One who is full, tramples on virgin honey; but to the man who is hungry, any bitter thing is sweet.” (Proverbs 27:7)
The very thing that I feared, which was rejection, abandonment, and loss of relationship, was furthered by my actions. My conduct was fueled by the very things that I feared happening. It was a vicious cycle. “For what I fear overtakes me, and what I shrink from comes upon me.” (Job 3:25)
I was not able to just stop the holding onto and grasping behavior in my relationships with men. It took healing from God; healing at my core to know that I could have something good, and that God wanted to give it to me. Through a slow process, my behaviors became more in line with biblical principles as my core beliefs about myself and God changed.
These advancements made a difference in how I related and responded with men. The process wasn’t perfect. But God doesn’t expect us to be. He wants to help us heal and order the disorder in our lives. I encourage you to look at what behaviors you may have with the opposite sex that could be sabotaging your chances at love and marriage. What is underneath them? What thoughts and beliefs about God could be contributing to these patterns as well?
Next month, we will continue exploring reasons for prolonged singleness. The next topic we will look at is spiritual warfare and prayer. Over the last few months, I have come into a realization of just how much bigger spiritual warfare is on this topic than I originally thought. I look forward to sharing this with you!
Julieanne M. Bartlett All Rights Reserved Copyright 2022