Maybe I've already exhausted the subject and I'm beating a dead horse. But it's my blog, right?
And I just have a few more thoughts on this that I didn't squeeze into my last post.
So here's another piece on "settling".
By the way, I've gotten more blog hits from so many crazy variations of searches about settling than anything else, I think.
Some have me giggling. "Does nice girl eventually settle for nice guy?" "When does girl settle for good guy?" Poor guy. I can just imagine him typing into his search bar. Dejectedly?
Other gems include:
- "Christian women over 40 don't have to settle"
- "Christian guys finish last"
- "Christian women have to settle"
- "Women settling for wrong things"
- "Women settle for nice guy in the end"
(Some of my favorites are unrelated: "Do christian guys do things differently than non-christian men"; "When attracting a real decent christisn man. should i wear skirts or jeans"; "Where in proverbs 31 does it say get out of my face")
Survey Says: Settle?
I keep seeing all these articles about settling.
Urging Christian brothers and sisters to set aside some of their ideals and just get married, already.
Kevin, in the comments in my last post, pointed out yet another one. This one is called Brother, You're Like a Six.
Before I jump all over these articles, like I love to do, I have one big question:
Why this huge push to just choose someone and make it work? To what end?
To what end is all this encouragement?
Why is marriage something that just has to be done?
All these articles make it out like it's the exact same way we treat our jobs.
Of course we all want our dream job. But not everyone gets it. We don't always get to be the writer, the painter, the singer, the composer, the CEO, the dancer, the athlete-- even if we're amazing at it. And why? Well, we've got to make it in life. You need money, and to get money you have to have a job. And so you settle. You get the best job you can. The hope is that you'll enjoy it, but we can't always have jobs we love.
Is that how marriage is? You have to just find something that will at least work and that you'll mostly enjoy... For what? It's not for money, like it is when you have to just choose a job.
What is the impetus for just choosing a marriage?
I'm fairly certain that the writers of articles like that, and those who hold similar beliefs, might argue that there's a biblical mandate for marriage.
Where can we find that?
All I can think of is the fact that Paul said that if you're unmarried, don't seek to be married.
How can that be twisted or ignored? Especially if you're going to take the Bible as the literal word of God.
I have never had marriage in the "goal" column in my life.
Well, maybe "never" is a stretch. When we were in the fundmentalist, abusive church, I thought that marriage was my only calling. But even at that point, I don't think I was like, "Here is how I am going to work towards this goal."
And that's what I feel it has become in all these cases where settling is encouraged. A goal. An assumed expectation.
Is the answer supposed to be something like, "To glorify God?"
He can't be glorified while people are single?
Something that this whole "settling" thing comes down to (how many times have I used to the words "settle" or "settling" in my last few posts? 10 points to the person with the correct guess. After I go count out of curiosity. And try to find a synonym.) is the idea that it's selfish to reject someone who meets most of the criteria on the list.
Honestly, that line of thinking freaks me out. It's startling because, well, where does it end?
They, as in the writers and proponets of this idea, make it sound like they believe that it's absurd to marry someone who you have absolutely no attraction to. But, where would the line be drawn?
In fact, in the article Kevin linked to, the writer, Scott Croft says (emphasis his):
"What's the big question most people agonize over with regard to finding a spouse: "How do I know if I've found the one?" As my friend Michael Lawrence pointed out in his article "Stop Test-Driving Your Girlfriend," "the unstated goal of the question is 'How do I know if she's the one ... for me.'"
And that's essentially selfish. I don't mean that such an approach involves malice or the intent to hurt anyone. I simply mean that such an approach is self-centered. It conceives of finding a spouse from the standpoint of what will be most enjoyable for me based on my tastes and desires. What will I receive from marriage to this or that person?"
"In Scripture, love is described not as a mere emotion based on personal desire (i.e., "attraction"), but as an act of the will that leads to selfless actions toward others. According to Jesus himself, the second-greatest commandment (after loving God) is to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31). He also said "greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Jesus' love for us did not result from our inherent loveliness or our wonderful treatment of Him. He didn't go to the cross as a spontaneous response triggered by mere emotion. His perfect love of us was a choice, an act undertaken despite our lack of attractiveness — and it led to both sacrifice and joy."
Let me clarify a few points here.
1. I agree wholeheartedly with loving our neighbors as ourselves and laying down our life for our friends.
The other night I woke up from this weird dream where a gunman came into our store (please tell me I'm not alone in having this odd dream), and held up the kid I was working with at gunpoint. And, in my dream, I jumped in front of him. I woke up before anyone was shot. But, I believe, and hope, that I would do that in real life. I would do it for just a lot of people I know, and especially without a doubt or a moment's thought for those I love.
And it's the smaller, not actual "laying down your life" situations that speak volumes. How do you treat those around you? Do you give deference to others? Anyway, I'm not gonna preach. The point is simply that I do believe in these things.
But how does this figure into choosing a mate?
How is it selfish to just not want to be with a particular someone?
What cause are we supposed to be sacrificing ourselves for when we choose to just go ahead and get married?
The logic just breaks down.
With this line of thinking... whew, so many bad implications.
Arranged marriages would just be the best option. "Is she 'godly' by this list we have here? Good. Is he 'godly' by this list we have here? Good-- let the ceremony begin."
And that's practically what it's become with courtship and all.
But you know what the really hypocritical part is?
When it's not an arranged marriage type situation, atleast one party is wholly interested and has next to zero inhibitions about the whole thing. Someone is pursuing. Because they just like the person they're pursuing. The responsibility, it seems, it placed on the shoulders of the one who is just not quite feeling it.
I guess that's why the whole "nice guys finish last" routine drives me so crazy. Seriously? Shut. Up. You could have a girl. You could have just a girl. But it's a specific girl, or a specific type of girl that you want. Why don't you settle, instead of whining that girls won't stay with you?
Same goes for girls. Quit bemoaning the fact that he just wants a different caliber girl. Quit trying to make that seem like a bad thing.
Phew. Ask me how I really feel about it. Haha.
Where was I? Oh, yes, my second point.
2. Sacrifice within marriage.
Maybe I've come across as a raving lunatic who never wants to make any sacrifices for anyone. While this may be true... just kidding.
The thing that I'm adamantly against here is making ridiculous sacrifices prior to marriage. The "sacrifices" I keep seeing being promoted are just silly, really.
They all require you to let go of your notions of what type of personality you'd like your partner to have.
But why sacrifice your preferences? Why, if there's nothing wrong with them?
Again, to what end?
Within marriage, so called "sacrifices" as far as personality and character will be minimal, I believe.
I think it's silly to be talking about making "sacrifices" to like someone at the beginning.
And yeah, marriage takes work. I'm not trying to say that it always is or always should be smooth sailing. This is true of any type of relationship.
Months ago, my sister told me about an advice column she had read. The columnist had asked her readers to send in their prescriptions for a happy marriage. An 80 or 90-year old lady wrote in, who had been married for... I can't even remember how long.
Her biggest tip?
"Make the right choice in the beginning."
Accept. Make do with. Take. Be happy with.
These are the synonyms I found for settle.
Why would you do that at the outset?
The real sacrifices, I will be making will be after marriage, and won't have to do with my initial choice.
Are you a 10?
I've been talking about "connections" and "spark" and such.
And then I write these blogs because I value them so, and I don't think anyone should be told they should settle for less.
(If you waaant to, go right ahead. Why would I try to convince you otherwise? Just don't try to tell me that your way is the right way.)
So let me make another clarification:
I'm not talking about looks.
When I talk about attraction, I'm talking about personality. Character. The whole package. Some looks, I'm sure. I am human. God created us to appreciate beauty.
Maybe the writers of all these Boundless articles and I define attraction differently. Because every now and then, they mention not defining a relationship based on looks.
I don't. I wouldn't. Who would, honestly? Maybe I'm being naive. Do people really, truly pursue relationships based 60% or more on looks? That, I don't get.
But the general tone I've gotten from these and other articles and commentaries is that you shouldn't base your relationships very much on personality.
And that, my friends, is what I am so opposed to.
In the end...
If you want to get married to have children, and build a home and a family, that is great! Go for it. But don't contrive biblical reasons for why everyone needs to hop on the same train and just get married, already.
Don't accuse others of being picky or shallow or anything like that.
Those of us who have different ideas aren't wrong.