Yet another post from the drafts archive that I pulled and made myself finally finish, sort of.
I saw this in a forum I snoop around sometimes a few months ago:
I think women and men sometimes reject members of the opposite sex because they are valuing the wrong qualities, and not appreciating the right qualities. People often wait to get married for a very long time, because they are searching for the perfect man or woman who will not only be extremely good looking, but also charming, witty, wealthy, and morally perfect. Ok...this is just a BIT exaggerated , but people do value the wrong things too often. I don't know how many times I have heard people say, "We just don't have chemistry" or "I'm just not attracted." Well, I would say, do you have a good reason to not be attracted? If [your] only excuse is that he or she is shorter than you, or he or she is not as charismatic as you would like, then maybe those are shallow reasons for rejecting someone. Also, we should be attracted to our future spouses, but I think that if a person has good character, then why shouldn't we be attracted to their character? I have found in the past, that the most average and normal looking people can become absolutely beautiful/handsome if they have good character.This is a sentiment I hear repeated over and over in the Christian community. “Look at their character! You’ll be attracted to their beautiful character.”
And sure, it seems harmless and sound enough, but where and when are emotions ever allowed?
Oh, that’s right, they’re not.
Christianity is all about denying oneself. That’s all fine and dandy when it means not being just plain selfish, and loving your neighbor as yourself, but it’s become extremely unhealthy in so many ways.
We’re taught to deny ourselves real happiness.
The problem, we’re told, is that our definition of happiness is wrong. We don’t have the right feelings. Our feelings are wrong (and need to be re-interpreted and redefined by the "biblical" authorities). Our desires are wrong, simply because they are our own desires.
Personal happiness can never be a good thing when you’re supposed to be in constant denial.
Happiness is too worldly. It’s too fleshly.
(And abusers can't control it. If you have a sense of self, and of happiness outside of their rules, what do they have?)
I hate that all our desires are supposedly evil. Our wants and needs and cravings are just dismissed as “fleshly" -- this system of thought is so detrimental, and just plain wrong. I won’t get into the biblical aspect of it all, because I don’t even want to talk about it. I'm over it.
[I know I won’t convince anyone who wants to live in constant discontent that those feelings are not sin. You can’t force someone who is drinking poison to stop drinking the poison. If they want it, if they believe it’s good, they’ll drink it no matter what you do or say; no matter how much you care.]
Where am I going with this?
Christians, so many times, are told that they should prefer a certain person because he/she possess certain character traits. You know, the ones on the list.
But what if you’re just not attracted to them?
Oh that’s right, “it’s an excuse,” says the guy from the post. “A shallow excuse.”
To me, it’s the classic “nice guys finish last” complaint with a twist, and even more guilt attached.
I remember when I was 14 and on myspace there were a few guys who would post pouty things about how nice guys finish last. They wait around, they're kind and respectful and dutiful, and then the girl... goes for someone else! How could she! He is the NICE guy. He has the good character traits. He is honest and loving and everything she needs, right? She just likes bad boys. That must be it. Why doesn't she understand?
Even then, it annoyed me.
(There are two sides to this, where the girls are stupid about it, too, but I’m gonna start with the guys.)
I feel like guys so often feel like, “Well, look. I did all the right things. I read my Bible. I’m a LEADER. I’m loving. I hold open the doors. Why doesn’t she like me??”
And, I can understand that. It’s hard when you want someone who just doesn’t… want you. But I’m talking about something different.
Christian guys, well -- let me zero in on Christian guys who believe in the courtship model (and most likely patriarchy, and are probably homeschooled), feel like they should be able to prove themselves to dad by showing their resume and impressive characteristics and accomplishments, and the girl should just automatically love him. Not that I have any experience with this… cough.
But why is it one party’s duty to find a way to fall for a person? The guy who posted this thing, what was he talking about? It sounds like when one person is into the other, the second party needs to be the one to look at the character traits and try to become attracted to the first party. You follow me?
Why? It’s not fair.
For me, I need a “click.” I need that spark. I’ve felt it before; enough to know that that’s what I need. A connection. Where your souls just… feel it. And just an attraction, plain and simple.
There has to be a combination of fitting character and wonderful, compatible personality.
I gather that you're supposed to disregard personality almost completely.
Everything the poster from that forum and countless others advocate is against everything I just wrote.
You can’t just have that. You can’t just feel happy, or desire that feeling that you just belong with someone.
It's selfish, it's wrong, it's worldly like the movies, they say.
If the person reads their Bible, if their character is sparkly, if they talk about God a lot-- then you’re just shallow if you don’t want that.
And I don’t want to hear the spiel about, “Sure! Love is a good thing!” or “Yes, love comes.” Or attraction comes, or whatever.
Like the guy above wrote: “We should be attracted to our future spouses, BUT…”
The BUT is the huge part. In the end it’s: Who cares whether you like the guy or not? Just get together, because that’s how it should be.
Oh, I forgot, there were a few links talking about that exact issue: Settling.
They (people like the poster) say that everyone is being too picky and feels like they’re settling if they don’t have those feelings and attractions I was talking about.
I definitely call that settling.
Marriage has evolved. That’s another issue with this whole thing. People don’t have to get married any more. It used to be that women needed husbands in order to even have a roof over their heads. Someone had to provide for them.
Things have changed.
And so often, people don’t want to accept that.
They think we need to live life based on a model.
Some people pick the Victorian era, some people pick prairie times, some people pick Bible times.
But guess what?
We don’t live in those times.
Situations are different.
LIFE is different.
The other huge issue is that people want to use the stories and accounts in the Bible as instruction, when that’s not what it was meant for. I can’t believe I’m even daring to touch on this, because I’m sure this merits its own post.
But, news flash, everyone: The Bible was written as documentation of what was happening then. What God was doing in those times. Parts of it are accounts, parts of it are letters to specific people or groups.
What I’m saying is: you can’t take a verse and say that everyone has to get married and a woman shouldn’t live on her own or have a job for herself.
So the times have changed. Marriage has evolved.
Charlotte doesn’t have to settle for Mr. Collins if she doesn’t want to.
But the notion of “settling” is also sinful, apparently.
This also should probably be a whole post of its own, but I’m gonna continue to plow ahead.
Here’s the link to the article that the poster of the gem above referenced:
The writer opens with this quote:
“My advice is this: Settle! That's right. Don't worry about passion or intense connection.... Based on my observations, in fact, settling will probably make you happier in the long run, since many of those who marry with great expectations become more disillusioned with each passing year.
Whenever I make the case for settling, people look at me with creased brows of disapproval or frowns of disappointment.... It's not only politically incorrect to get behind settling, it's downright un-American. Our culture tells us to keep our eyes on the prize ... and the theme of holding out for true love ... permeates our collective mentality.”
It came from an piece she was reading “written by an apparently non-Christian, successful, early-40s, single professional woman who had recently experienced an epiphany of sorts.”
“In lamenting their common lack of romantic prospects, it occurred to the women that each of them had had decent guys interested in marrying them at some point but had turned them down in the hope of landing "The One," "Mr. Right," or some other term connoting the perfect man as they individually conceived of him. The had all refused to "settle" and were not pleased with the results of that strategy — thus the above advice.”
So many things here.
I’m gonna get personal.
I’ve had my fair share of guys that have been into me.
That is why my sisters (jokingly) never let me (half-jokingly) lament being single. Because, honestly, it is my choice. I could have “settled” in ways, but I’ve decided not to.
There are guys who maybe coulda (maybe sure, later things might change, who knows?) been right, but I just didn’t feel it. I couldn’t do it.
I’m supposed to regret that later in life if I stay single.
I do not think that I will. (I might regret some other things. Which I feel like also writing about later.)
Life isn’t a game for me, where I just find someone acceptable. Settle down, have the house, have the kids, have that life, just to have it. No thank you. I want it all to be so real, and natural.
I don’t feel that I have unattainable expectations. They’re rather simple, really.
I will write more about that article, because there is so much I’d like to dig into.
Actually, I think it's time to wrap up. Now.
Haha, geez, I'm so disjointed in these posts. I'm disappointed in myself that I fail to have good endings.
But if I don't just put it out there, I'd never get it perfect and I'd never say anything at all.
This is me just talking.
Anyway, coming up:
- More thoughts on settling
- The flip side of this-- girls demanding that guys settle
- Maybe my relationship regrets...? Too personal, probably. Haha.
- A post titled "Nice Guys Finish Last Because They Have a Terrible Sense of Humor."