Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Whenever I read a description or participate in a discussion related to the oh-so-popular-in-Christian-circles topic of married v. single, something always leaves me squirming and dissatisfied. I may have finally pinned down the reason for this, but I’m not sure I can express it with any degree of eloquence.

One thing that bothers me is that singleness is almost always treated as a temporary condition. It’s usually a given that Christians will marry. Sometimes singleness is spoken of like a very long sickness that you must endure until you can be “cured” with marriage. I would, of course, be lying if I said that I have never thought of singleness like that. But lately I have been strongly considering and praying about the prospect of never marrying, and in some ways I find that a desirable future. The fact is, not all Christ-followers will marry, and I could very well be such a person. Granted, the odds indicate that most of us will marry, but God does not always follow statistics.

Another thing that bothers me in the topic of marriage/singleness is that many Christians like to talk about the great benefits there are to marriage. Not only is there the obvious (you get to have SEX!!!), but a Christ-centered marriage is a great evangelism opportunity, you have a (presumably) lifelong companion and best friend, it’s a reflection of the covenant between God and His people, it’s the foundation of the nuclear family that is the foundation of society, and so on.

But if you’re single … well, sorry, you don’t get any of those things.

What do you get? Um … I dunno. Something, I’m sure. I think Paul wrote about it somewhere. He liked being single, didn’t he? Yeah, I think he wanted everyone to be single. Haha, he was a funny guy.

The worst part of being single is that you can’t say any of this without sounding like a bitter spinster, even if you speak out of genuine concern for the issue (ok, even if it is with a twist of irony).

I really wish more people would speak about the benefits of singleness in Christ—ideally, those who are single themselves, or married people who can at least be honest about things they miss about being single. Although maybe it’s not practical, since as time progresses those of us who are singles will become even more of a minority, and it will just look like we want special treatment. Sigh. But then, I do understand that since most people will marry, that’s what gets the most attention. Also, the world has such a warped view of sex and marriage that I very deeply understand the necessity of addressing that within the church.

I just wish we singles could get a little more acknowledgment and encouragement is all—preferably some that doesn’t involve hearing, “Awww, don’t worry, it’s okay, you’ll find that guy someday!” I might not! That’s my whole point!

There are really a ton of perks with being single, but not everyone would agree with my idea of a “perk,” and I’m afraid that if I list them, I’ll look like I’m bitter, overcompensating, averse to marriage, family-hating, and so on. But I did anyway, months ago, and these things haven’t changed. Except to say that lately I have realized how God has gifted me with singleness (at least for the time being) as an opportunity to grow closer to Him. And NOT just in the sense of “relying on God so I can endure singleness until it’s over.” But God has given me so many opportunities that I do not think I would have had if I had not been single.

I must point out that in I Corinthians 7:7, Paul refers to both marriage and singleness as “gifts”—one for some, the second for others. And yes, he does not forbid marriage, but he does point out that marriage does bring its own difficulties, and singleness its own benefits in verses 32-35 (emphasis mine):

I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.

I know you can sigh and say yes, you’ve heard this passage a million times, it was written for a different time and place, you still hate being single, etc. etc.

Fair enough. I’ve been there. I’m sure I’ll be there again.

BUT. As I’ve grown in my faith and become closer to the Lord, the idea of a life devoted to Him and the ability to focus more on Him has become of greater importance. I don’t mean to bash marriage and say it’s less holy than singleness or that those of us who are single have a closer connection to Jesus. But it’s true that singleness can make it easier to focus on Christ, and that marriage, although a beautiful covenant established by God, does come with its own distractions and complications.

I should add that singleness is only less distracting if you are not focused on finding “the one” that God has for you. Not to say that you shouldn’t ever think about it, if you do want to get married someday. This is just another example of how you need to “let go and let God,” as they say. Please, trust my own experience when I say that letting go of such things makes worshiping, depending on, and learning more about God that much more special and rewarding.

But then, this applies to all believers, no matter their relationship status.

I am not trying to bash marriage. But if I said I still wanted to get married someday, I don’t know if that would be entirely true. And yet, saying that I don’t want to get married might also not be true.

I simply believe that people who are single and don’t want to be, should focus on Christ first and not be overly concerned with finding that other person, but concentrate on living a God-pleasing life.

Personally, right now I’m in a place where I no longer have any idea whether I am gifted for marriage someday or lifelong singleness anymore. But what I don’t want is anyone telling me, or making me feel, that my current / possibly future position in life is at all pitiable.

That’s all I ask.


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Hello, everyone. I hope you had a nice holiday weekend (those of you in the U.S.) and an excellent start to the week.

Very often God provides answers that I need to hear, not necessarily ones I want to hear, or ones that directly answer my questions. My last post was a plea for help and advice in figuring out how important physical attraction is in a relationship. Recent messages at church, my prayer time, blog posts from others, and insight from the Holy Spirit have yielded a number of answers—none of which answer my question per se, but are far more important.

Here they are:

1. If physical attraction to my Hypothetical Future Husband is my top concern regarding my maybe-someday-future marriage, then my heart is not in the right place, and I have bigger problems than that.

2. God calls us, as Christ-followers, to love without prejudice, discrimination, expectation, or selfishness. Whatever guy (or girl) enters my life for however long, I need to love him (or her) anyway, no matter how attractive (or not).

3. I Thessalonians 3:24: Faithful is He Who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

Have a blessed start to your week.

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You guys, I’m in a bit of a quandary. Or probably a lot of a quandary, actually. I could use whatever input or advice you would be willing to give on this matter. But it involves me being publicly vulnerable in a way, which I hate.

So here’s the deal. Essentially, physical attraction: how picky are you allowed to be?

Here’s what I already know:

1. Physical attraction or appearance cannot be the basis of one’s judgment of a person’s character, beliefs, personality, health, intelligence, etc.

2. It also cannot be the foundation of a solid, lasting, Christ-honoring relationship.

3. It can also fluctuate.

4. “Looks can be deceiving” and “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

5. Novels, movies (BOLLYWOOD, I’M LOOKING AT YOU), and TV shows are not real life, and not relationship examples to follow.

6. Henceforth, when I refer to guys as “unattractive,” I mean in my eyes and my eyes only. Beauty in the eye of the beholder, etc. etc. etc.

Sometimes I think I am a lot more visual than most other women. I know I’m not unique to all of history, but when I hear some story about the “conventional wisdom” of men being more visual than women in some way, it’s difficult to understand how womenaren’t. Maybe I have fewer female hormones, or maybe it’s because this particular piece of conventional wisdom is utter crap anyway. However it happens, it happens to me.

I’m single, and I want to get married someday. There, I said it. And like most other people, I want to marry someone to whom I’m physically attracted—after the other prerequisites such as spiritual, emotional, and intellectual compatibility.

Recently, I started thinking about this a lot, mostly because I started to try online dating again. I’ve kicked eHarmony to the curb and decided to try OKCupid, and so far it’s at least been fun and interesting, and I’ve gone on one nice-not-great-but-not-terrible-either date via that site. Here’s the deal, though: the only guys interested in me are either not Christians (and therefore not optional as future-spouse material), or are not in any way physically attractive.

This has been kind of a theme my entire life, both on and off the Internet. I’m attracted to guys who end up not interested in me, and I’m just not attracted to most guys who find me attractive. I am not talking about the classic “I’m attracted to jerks” dilemma or “why don’t nice guys like me?” I have been attracted to genuinely wonderful guys that just aren’t interested in me, and there have been total jerks who have found me attractive despite my lack of interest in them. For the sake of this particular blog post, I am ONLY talking about physical appearance/attraction.

Although I have a particular “type” that I prefer, I have found many different guys attractive, and I am completely reconciled to the fact that I may not marry someone who fits my ideal. And because I myself am not conventionally attractive, I already know I need to have realistic expectations overall.

Also, there is a “range” of how attractive I find someone, which I think I’ve talked about before. I don’t quantify it when I see someone, but for the sake of clarification I will use the 0-10 scale. Anything below 3 I consider “unsalvageable,” meaning that no matter how awesome he is and how compatible we might be, I just can’t get past how unattractive I find him. Anything between 3-4 and 6, and I will find him much more attractive on closer acquaintance, if he’s the right kind of guy. If he scores an arbitrary 7 or more, then he pretty much meets at least most of my ideals, so physical attraction is a given, although what remains to be seen is what lurks below the surface AND I AM TOTALLY AWARE OF THAT.

Now, I do try to have an open mind about it. The guy I went on a date with? Not attractive to me (to someone, I have no doubt; just not me) at all, but I went and had a perfectly fine time. But even when I try to have an open mind when I find guys unsalvageably unattractive, it still doesn’t change anything.

What bums me out is that if only guys I’m not attracted to are attracted to me, then I’ll never find someone I’m attracted to. I don’t know if it’s that unattractive guys find me more approachable, or if I’m sending out some kind of vibe I don’t even know about, or if I’m really actually just that unattractive myself and I should lower my standards. And even thinking about not being attracted to good guys makes me think, “I’m a horrible, shallow person and I don’t deserve nice things anyway.”

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I’ve never met a married/dating couple that didn’t find each other physically attractive somehow. And most “how we met” stories involve noticing some good-looking guy/girl hanging around/pouring coffee/in the same church pew/across the cell block.

I’m basically asking the same question I asked a few weeks ago: Am I being too picky? Unlike last time, however, my conclusion is a resounding, “I DON’T KNOOOOOWWWW!!!”

Bethany’s advice has been, “Hold on to what you want, but keep an open mind,” and I think that’s spectacular advice that so far I haven’t been able to improve upon. This is where any input from you guys comes in: what you’ve learned through your life experiences, advice for me, scripture references, anything. And if you’re struggling with the same question, please do share that too.

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Disclaimer: I discuss my political beliefs in this post more than usual. I’m not trying to argue any of them, I’m just using them as examples and illustrations and, as always, you are all totally free to disagree with me.

This is one of the few posts that I wrote for my personal blog that, after it was published, I thought, “Hey, I should share this with more people.”

If you’ve read my sometimes-sensical ramblings for a significant length of time, you know that I’ve waffled over the will-I-won’t-I get married, or do-I-don’t-I-even-want-to. After several church sermons, some prayer, and reading How to Avoid Falling in Love With a Jerk, I’ve decided that I do want to get married … eventually. Not next week, obviously. Not even next year. But definitely some day in the however-distant future.

This has had an interesting effect on my prayer life, how I see guys, how I see myself, my spiritual desires, and what I think I’m looking for in a life partner.

For one thing, after mentally rejecting a guy who is my polar opposite when it comes to politics (and economics), I began to wonder, Am I being too picky if I reject guys who significantly differ from me when it comes to politics?

I’ve casually mentioned before that I am really into politics and economics (especially the theoretical/principle side), and I have always been especially attracted to guys who share my libertarian ideas. And if they’re libertarian Christians, then hooooo boy—instant chemistry!

Now, I am particularly extreme in my libertarian ideas, and many of my beliefs are rare in general, and especially so for a Christ-follower. So if a guy who is extremely different from me when it comes to economics is still interested in me, should I just shrug off such differences and say “Well, we can agree to disagree?”

After thinking about this for a while, I came to several conclusions.

First of all, let it be known that I do not expect to marry someone who is as extreme as I am. I know that such people are relatively rare, and I’m completely reconciled to the idea that I’m not going to marry someone who agrees with me 100% when it comes to politics/economics. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I just know it’s improbable enough not to expect it. (Also, I’m not trying to be like, LOOK AT ME AND WHAT A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE I AM! I HAVE NO EQUAL! BWA HA HA! Well, I mean, in a way that’s true, but … look, I’m just not trying to brag about it.)

I also know that a lot of people aren’t that interested in politics and/or economics. Which is also fine. And there are people who ARE interested, but not in a way that affects how they see the world. I am perfectly willing to concede that two people with vastly different political beliefs could create a very happy marriage, depending on how deeply those beliefs run.

However, my political and economic beliefs are right up there with my faith in shaping how I view the world and how I live.  Therefore, I can’t imagine being happy with someone who significantly differs from me when it comes to those things, because it affects so much about me—how I take in the news, how I perceive society, what I consider a social right/wrong, how I like to spend my time. This is one of those things where a little difference is well and good, but a lot of difference makes for complete incompatibility.

Allow me to excessively drive my point home by creating a secular, hypothetical example. Let’s say we have a casual vegetarian—maybe for her health or simply for taste preferences. That person is more likely to tolerate a common omnivore than, say, a strict vegan who is so because of her beliefs regarding animal rights. The strict vegan may cultivate a lasting relationship with someone who is a casual vegetarian, but she probably wouldn’t be able to marry, say, a hunter. They could say that they’ll “agree to disagree,” but ultimately these differing beliefs affect so much of their lives—not only what they eat, but what they wear, how they see the world around them, and how they spend their time. It’s unlikely that they can be easily reconciled. The more casual vegetarian, however, may be perfectly willing to accept hunting and meat-eating, because their “brand” of vegetarianism is not a deep-seated part of who they are.

Let’s say, metaphorically speaking, that I’m the meat-eating hunter—I may be able to forge a lasting relationship with a casual vegetarian, but any further differences beyond that is probably just not going to work, based on my set of values.

Maybe Hypothetical Future Husband Guy believes that government should be tiny, but should still have more powers than I think it should. Maybe he likes Sarah Palin way more than I do (read: at all). Maybe he believes in a Fair Tax, or that certain people should be restricted from owning firearms, or that some drugs should not be legalized. As long as we can agree on major things—smaller government = better, and free-market capitalism is the best economic system available—even if he’s not as enthusiastic as I am, that’s a better recipe for success than someone who subscribes to Keynesian economics and believes in high corporate taxes and strict gun control.

My conclusion: While “agreeing to disagree” on politics is the best approach when it comes to coworkers, friends, and family members, I don’t think it’s the proper stance for me when seeking a future life partner.

So no, I’m not being too picky. Well, I am, but reasonably so.

So what about you? Are there any non-negotiables or barely-negotiables that sound superficial but may actually be fundamental for a future relationship? Think about what’s really important to you—in a godly way.

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who have real-life examples that would shoot down my inexperienced theories. I’m just waiting to hear someone comment with, “Actually, my uncle is a meat-eating hunter who runs down roadkill for fun and his wife is a raw-food vegan who doesn’t wear leather and they’ve been happily married for 30 years.” If you know of a couple like that, please share. I would love to hear that story.

Additional disclaimer: Just so we’re clear, I’m only talking about non-salvation related issues that truly are a matter of opinion, biblically speaking. Obviously there are things that the Bible makes perfectly clear are non-negotiable, such as the Christ-follower’s calling to marry only another believer and not be “unequally yoked.” I’m not talking about anything quite that serious and deep-seated. This is just good, clean, hypothetical fun.

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The second (very long) section of this book begins with an in-depth discussion of what it means to know another person, how important that is in spotting the jerks/non-jerks, and why it takes much longer than we really think.

Dr. Epp warns against judging too soon whether you really know someone or not. Significant patterns in a person’s behavior are usually not even obvious until much later in a relationship—the third month, not the third date. We begin to bond with someone as we get to know them (not merely after), so it’s important that we’re getting as much correct information as possible, so we’re not bonding with the wrong person. We tend to feel a bond with someone about whom we know a great deal—even if all our information is false! But even if all the information we have is true, we may not really know a person just because we can recite a pile of facts like height, favorite color, and where they went to college.

I love the part where Epp says (emphasis mine):

Romantic relationships often begin in a whirlwind of excitement and passion. You see your heartthrob across a crowded room, you make that first connection when your eyes meet, and you feel electrified with the slightest touch. But the process of getting to know the person takes just as long as it would if there had been no connection at all. Once again, there are no shortcuts!

I’ve said before that I relate very much to Marianne Dashwood of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. In the film version, after meeting Mr. Willoughby, the Dashing Man of Her Dreams, she says, “Time alone does not determine intimacy. Seven years could be insufficient to make some people acquainted with one another, and seven days could be more than enough for others.”

When her sister Elinor dryly responds, “Or seven hours, in this case,” Marianne argues, “I feel that I know Mr. Willoughby already.”

Dr. Epp likes to use films sometimes to illustrate his points, but he doesn’t use S&S, much to my disappointment. Marianne and Willoughby’s relationship is a perfect example of bonding too quickly with someone before really knowing them, only to be brokenhearted and disappointed and realizing that too much trust was initiated too quickly.

While it’s true that time alone doesn’t determine intimacy, it’s a very, VERY important part.

So what’s the long-cut? Dr. Epp recommends a formula in which Intimacy equals Talk, Togetherness, and Time. This is the only proven successful combination, he says, to really know a person. I haven’t finished the book yet, but from what I’ve read so far, all the rest of his advice is based on that formula, though he may not refer to it specifically. But in every aspect of dating and of life, he reinforces the need for time to get to know a person, talking and self-disclosure, and spending time together in a variety of situations and activities. This will give a more well-rounded picture of the person one is dating.

(When you think about it, this formula, like a lot of his advice, is based on conventional wisdom.)

Now for my favorite part. Epp reveals a “dating disclaimer” that I learned all too well from the relationships of friends and family, and from being a child of divorce and subsequent blended families. Buckle up kids, because this one is a bit of a blow: The good doesn’t always last, and the bad usually gets worse. If you’re following along at home, it’s page 65 in my edition.

What he is saying is NOT 1.) the good will never return, or 2.) it’s no use to even bother with a relationship. What he says is that how a person treats his/her significant other while dating reflects how he/she will do so in marriage. This sounds like a “Duh” moment, but he explains it further. If a couple shares interests, common beliefs, effective communication, and if they feel a strong, bonding friendship with each other besides romantic affection, then their marriage has a good foundation. Although it’s not easy to “stay” in love, such a couple will definitely find it possible, even as certain feelings come and go, and conflicts will arise.

But a couple that constantly battles with trust issues, miscommunication, minimal chemistry, or any other possible relationship problems will not see these issues improve just because they’re married. In fact, they will probably get worse. Their premarital relationship wasn’t so great before, so there’s no reason to believe that marriage will set the bar any higher. Relationships have to have good communication, varied shared experiences, and oodles of time before you really know a person, and before you even know whether it will last.

That was my summary of just one chapter, but I won’t cover them all in such depth. I went on about this one at length because it establishes a foundation for the rest of the book. Plus I don’t want to tell you everything! You need to experience the book yourself!

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I hope that my future posts aren’t all about this book until I finish it. Some of the political blogs I read have done that, and I hate it.

I’ll try to keep this brief-ish.

How to Avoid Falling in Love With a Jerk by John Van Epp, PhD, is quite good so far. After buying it and beginning to read it, I was surprised that it had been in my church bookstore, since it is not written from a strictly Christian viewpoint, and definitely not targeted specifically to Christians. But based on what I’ve read, it seems full of common sense, smack-yourself-on-the-forehead insight, and suggestions for alternate ways of thinking about life and love. There is a lot of information based on scientific studies (but not presented too dryly) and on the author’s own anecdotes from his experiences in counseling.

Apparently he has developed a program called PICK a Partner, which includes the Relationship Attachment Model (RAM). The first section of the book, which I’ve now finished, consists of introductions to how he came up with his ideas for the program and why you might need it. If you’ve had problems with becoming attached to “jerks” (a term that he defines, pointing out that they can be male or female), then you’ll probably spend the first chapter of the book nodding or thinking, “Hmm, yes, so true…” He emphasizes the need to use both your head and your heart when dating and choosing a partner. This may cause you to react with some form of, “Well, duh,” but if you read this book, you might end up reading a lot that you already know, or what seems like common sense—but presented in a different and straightforward way that makes it eye-opening. At least, that’s been my experience so far.

The second chapter is when he describes RAM, and because I’m crazy about analogies, I found it to be AWESOME. Getting involved with jerks, he says, often comes from prematurely accelerating a relationship. A relationship should follow a pattern based on five dynamics, in the following order: Know, Trust, Rely, Commit, and Touch. Basically, don’t trust someone more than you know them, don’t rely on them more than you trust them, etc. etc. The analogy part is when he describes the balance of these five dynamics as a sound enhancer, in that when you rachet one quality up too far, or turn one down too low, the sound (i.e., the relationship) is out of balance, and something goes wrong.

The third chapter (the final chapter in Part One) discusses the need for emotional and mental health before an individual can be involved in a lasting relationship. Basically, fix yourself, because a relationship won’t. (Obviously this book, being secular, doesn’t discuss our completion in Christ and the gradual healing from the Holy Spirit. Those are important topics, but are not discussed in this book and must be found elsewhere.) Relationships cannot fix problems such as daddy issues, unhealthy emotional extremes, projection, and unrealistic idealism.  These things, in fact, can inflict further damage, and cause relationship history to repeat itself until such issues are addressed and dealt with in a healthy manner.

There. That’s my summary/opinion of Part One. Based on what I’ve read so far (admittedly a small fraction of the book), I definitely recommend it. We’ll see how/if my opinion changes as I progress.

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It’s been, oh, about 7 months since I wrote the fourth and penultimate segment in my “Woman’s Guide to ‘A Girl’s Guide'” series. I was bored with the whole thing, and then convinced I didn’t want to get married at all, so I didn’t have to bother reading it, and then forgot about it, and then lost my notes, and then found them again and was bored still…

Finally I decided that I just needed to finish what I started—better late than never, you know. I’m going to try to keep this short(er…ish) because there’s something else I want to talk about afterwards.

(And if you’re a newer reader, just do a search on this site for “girl’s guide” and you should easily find the past entries.)

I have just a few things, really, to stay about the rest of the chapter on Christian Compatibility.

First of all, they give some hints on staying objective when you’re dating and awash with emotion. Any attempt to stay objective in a new, exciting relationship is pretty much a good idea. I’m all for having a ready crew of friends and family who will be both willing and able to basically pull you aside and say “Hey, look, I’ve noticed some warning signs you should be careful about.” This could be the guy you’re dating, or the way you’re conducting yourself in the relationship, or a number of other issues. But the Boundless authors seem to think that this will make you stop and think rationally and objectively, and immediately put on hold all future plans for this relationship. I think—in fact, I know—that there are people fully capable of doing this. But not everyone–including me. My advice? Never stop praying for the relationship, and make sure you have friends willing to harangue you repeatedly for your own good.

The section on what “good guys” are looking for really had me chuckling. As in many areas, the authors have some good ideas and make good points, but they’re often a little off-track or unclear in their wording. The authors of Boundless generally hold to the traditional dating approach where men pursue women. I have no problem with that. But the part of “A Girl’s Guide” that talks about “good guys” and what they want is almost contradictory. I must give them credit for having a man write this part, but he doesn’t seem to be quite on Planet Earth. I will explain.

First, he discusses what guys are looking for: a woman who is authentic, secure in who she is, honest and humble, and has an adventuresome faith that is willing to follow God wherever He leads. Hey, this girl sounds awesome! And then he adds,

When a girl is willing to love the unlovely and give without thought of receiving anything in return, guys take notice.

I was baffled, and honestly, pretty angry when I read this, taking it to mean that women should be willing to love the unlovely guy who may be interested in her. Pastors, writers, comedians, etc. will often refer to their wives as their “better half” and make jokes about how much nicer, more attractive, etc. she is than he. But this is ridiculous and just completely unfair. Is he actually saying that the girl should be fabulous and willing to overlook the fact that the guy interested in her is completely not?

Upon the 50th reading, I realize that he might just be referring to a woman who loves the unlovely around her, caring for things that many people don’t, but should—perhaps making friends with the girl nobody else likes, or defending someone else’s opinion, or cheerfully giving up an hour of her time to help out when she might rather spend it elsewhere. The “unlovely” may not actually refer to the guy who is “taking notice” of her. But man, as I said, the wording is a little unfortunate.

But then, maybe my first interpretation was correct, since the author also pleads with women to be patient with men. They are works in progress, after all, and the culture is fighting against them to keep them from growing up and becoming men of God.

That’s definitely a good thing to keep in mind. Unfortunately, women don’t get such a free pass, at least in this guide. I haven’t seen any mention of how society teaches us that we have to play a number of roles to get guys’ attention–the skank, the foul-mouthed “one of the boys,” the damsel in distress, the independent woman who needs nothing, the disinterested ice princess, the fawning needy chick, the sexy nerd, or the future housewife. Even if somehow we defeat these stereotypes, we too are God’s creation, and imperfect, and still learning about ourselves, our lives, and our relationship with God. Guys need to remember that too.

The author adds,

The good guy can be like the great restaurant that only locals know about. The tourists miss it because they fall for the “traps” of the neon sign and convenient location of the franchise, not realizing that the best is tucked away just a few blocks over. The good guy is more a discovery, finding him can take more effort because you have to work your way past all the flash of the franchise guy. He could be working in the cubicle next to you, or sitting just a few rows over in class, or playing guitar in your church small group.

This is kind of the basis for my favorite fictional love story, that of Colonel Brandon and Marianne Dashwood in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. For a while, Marianne ignores the Colonel, essentially because he’s not her “type,” when he’s exactly the sort of man she needs. So, I’m completely sympathetic and open to the idea that I’m overlooking a worthwhile guy, or setting aside petty prejudices to give Love a chance.

But if this guy is so great and so overlooked, why isn’t he making a move? If he’s not demonstrating any interest, why should I? There’s a difference between blowing off a guy who is at least initially worthy of my time, and passing over a man who doesn’t seem interested in me. Marianne Dashwood doesn’t doubt the Colonel’s interest in her—she just doesn’t like it. And how do we “find” such a guy if the girls aren’t supposed to be doing the pursuing? HMMM? If this “great restaurant” hasn’t built up a customer base from word-of-mouth, then it needs to improve its advertising or rethink its business model. Because if no one is saying good things about you, if there’s no sign saying BEST FISH & CHIPS IN TOWN!!!, and if you’re huddled behind a thick wooden door in a dark alley, why should anyone choose you?

Whoa, sorry, my capitalistic side just went crazy for a sec.

That’s really all I had left to say regarding Boundless‘ “Girl’s Guide to Marrying Well.” It’s definitely an interesting read, and you should check it out. You may have a different opinion than I do. But take both the guide and my opinion with a grain of salt.

Now, on to the other thing that I wanted to talk about.

Seriously, this part WILL be brief. I wanted to talk to Bethany about this beforehand, but it’ll have to be a surprise for her, as well, since she went on a retreat this weekend and I don’t know when she’ll be back.

I bought this book at the church bookstore yesterday, and I’m going to blog about it (hopefully with greater success than the “Girl’s Guide”). The title, which is what caught my eye, is How to Avoid Falling in Love With a Jerk, by John Van Epp (PhD!). I’d never heard of this book before I saw it yesterday, but it’s something I know I need to read, sadly. I’ll save a full introduction and description for later, but I wanted to give you guys a little notice about what’s coming up. I’m quite excited about this one.

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