As dinner wound to a close, I thanked the young man sitting across me for the evening – for fetching me, choosing a restaurant and paying for dinner. By any other definition, that would have constituted a “date”. But neither of us wanted to get ahead of the other.
These days, it takes courage as big as slaying a lion for Christian men to ask Christian women out on a “date”, namely for what it would imply (Are they dating? Courting? Has he prayed about it? Has he sought counsel from his pastor? Has he asked permission from her parents?) A simple coffee date can be blown out of proportion by well-meaning brothers and sisters in church. If he hasn’t analyzed this enough, then perhaps he isn’t ready to date.
The repercussion of which, we are seeing less and less single men taking that step in intentionally getting to know a girl. He waddles in between group activities because that is the only “safe space” to get to know someone. Meanwhile, Christian women are left wondering, “Where have all the single eligible men gone? Why aren’t they asking us out?”
The Problem of Single Men
It’s a crappy time to be a man. Expectations are off-the-roof – they are to lead, serve, provide, protect and pursue. These God-given responsibilities have not changed in an ever-changing world – absentee fathers, extended “adultoscence”, proliferation of pornography and other sexual outlets.
No one knows how to be a man anymore. Fathers are not present to teach, to guide, to exemplify manhood. If they are, they have received weak examples from their fathers before them – short temper, lack of communication, not treating women right. Hence, this is what they pass on to the younger generation.
Lacking that guidance growing up, young men are left to wander on their own and meander. And what better path to take than that one which allows them to play. Video games, endless hobbies, new toys and technologies. Boys will be boys. With that missing link of a strong father and strong vision of what’s on the other side, growth spurts into adulthood are delayed. What’s the rush? I’m happy where I am and I’ve got game night with the boys later.
But the biggest challenge for young men nowadays is that which attacks their purity. It’s everywhere! Pornography is anything which intends to cause sexual excitement. It has seeped into the fabric of what we consider “normal” and has invaded our daily routines. Videos shared on social media, magazine covers of scantily-clad women displayed on eye-level of kids in the supermarket, movies with sex scenes played on long-distance bus rides. It would take a gouging-out-of-eyes and cutting-off-of-hands to take stock of one’s thoughts and not spiral into that darker realm of sin. What once can only be viewed and enjoyed within the context of marriage is now mass-produced and sensationalized for easy public access. Why buy the cow when you can drink the milk for free, right?
Single Men, You Are Not Alone
While it takes a village to raise a child, it may equally be true for a village to raise up young men. With the overwhelming odds stacking up against them, it takes real community effort to surround them with godly values and solid examples of God’s design for each one of us.
1.Ladies, Act like Ladies
Then [older women] can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2: 4-5)
While this verse speaks to young married women, we can glean out the traits set out for all young women alike – to be loving, kind, self-controlled, pure, busy and subject to God-given authority.
We show love and kindness to our brothers in Christ when we engage them in real friendship. No need to shy away in fear our actions may be misconstrued. But let us not overstep our boundaries either. Let us guard one another’s heart by being pure with our words and actions, and not mislead them or cause them to stumble. Ladies, this includes dressing modestly. We want men to lead so let’s give them the space to lead. Let’s restrain ourselves from wanting to do things our way because we think it’s better or they’re too slow. Compliment them and thank them when they step up, even in the little things. Gentlemen will rise up when they see the gap and recognize the need in an accepting and nurturing environment.
2. Older Men Teach the Younger Men
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned. (Titus 2:6-8a)
Young men need to see the example of older men. The wisdom of men is seasoned through years of experience, failures and triumphs. Ideally, this is passed on at home from father to son. But spiritual fathers can be sought out to counsel and mentor. While it is tempting for us women to be the ones to teach and lead, it may not be our place. They need to see other men do it. They need other men to speak truth into their life and hold them accountable.
This is what community is all about. We do what we can to help one another. We are not the ones to do things for them, rather we set the stage that would allow them to perform their God-given roles. Let us continue praying for our single young men to rise up and be the men God wants them to be.