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What do you do when many of the men your age at church seem childish and not ready to pursue marriage?
Find another church that will satisfy your definition of a man.
Seriously though, I’m not really sure what you should “do” but here are some of my thoughts on how as a woman you might be able to be an agent of change.
When someone is believed in, his or her capacity to achieve can be incredible.
Think about it. Many of us women have grown up in a generation who have been told, for the most part, that we could do or be anything we set our minds on.
I’m personally inﬂuenced everyday by women who are strong, articulate, and smart…and sometimes that is simply due to the access I have to them on the internet. They don’t even know I exist! Many of us (and I know there are exceptions) were raised in homes and/or schools that not only believed in us, but empowered us to believe and achieve great things.
I am so grateful.
In the same way, if men have been told that they’re passive, insensitive, sexual beasts or childish, at what point do you think that message seeps into their belief system?
(Side note: If you want to understand more about this, I recommend a fascinating book called The War Against Boys by Christina Hoff Sommers. It looks at how recent American culture has inﬂuenced this next generation of men.
If you’re a male, know a male, or plan on having children who may be male, read this book. Also, if you’re someone who cares about equality and the ethics of research and propaganda, you should also consider giving it a read.)
So, as I thought about this question, I asked myself:
Joy, how can we shift our view of men as being childish? Are they really childish? Is there a reason many of them seem “not ready” for marriage?
I wonder if this generation of men feels less capable than women? I wonder if our lack of belief in their maturity causes them to feel that they don’t have much to contribute? I wonder if men don’t value marriage as much because it’s easier to be childish today? I wonder if our parents babied ALL of us too much, causing us to be narcissistic and childish in our own ways?
Yeah, let’s blame it on our parents.
I love the survey done by Shaunti Feldhahn, author of For Women Only, which asks a group of men if they would rather:
a) be left alone and unloved in the world?
b) feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone?
74% of men said they’d rather be left alone and unloved in the world. To me, this speaks volumes.
It screams that how we treat men does affect them.
Guess what? Men aren’t stupid and they do have feelings. If women, our culture, or the church are having conversations about their passivity, childishness, and inability to marry, I’m pretty sure the guys are aware.
If a majority of men would rather be left alone than feel inadequate, then it makes perfect sense that they wouldn’t want to actively pursue the very women who make them feel that way. (Not to mention, a man’s ability to procreate is much longer than a woman’s, meaning they can afford to take their time to decide if they reaaaaally want to have a family or not.)
So, my point? Will complaining about these men motivate them to grow up and come after us?
My belief is that it’s going to take effort for us to believe in their strengths and focus on that instead of the ways we feel let down by them. For those of you who were little girls growing up hearing messages of “girl power,” wouldn’t you agree that it feels good to be believed in?
As an empowered woman of this generation, I believe that I’m capable of a number of things, including empowering men and not being fearful that by doing so, I’ll lose my strength as an equal. If you fear that empowering others will make you less powerful, then I suggest you shift your perception of what a powerful person embodies.
If you have the power to empower someone, I’d say… “more power to you.”
I am embarrassed that “more power to you” was just typed from my brain. But hopefully you get my point which in a very round about way, answered your question.
From my heart,
Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.