Be Better

Looking Around

A recent study conducted on a dating site (with 7 million users) reported that American women find 80% of men “below average” when looking for a husband. Unattractive was the word actually used, but below-average works too. Granted, this study was not conducted by the European Institute for Gender Equality. But 7 million users? That’s a deep pool. If this study is accurate, it means eight out of 10 men are not “husband material” in the eyes of single American women. This also means that 100% of women compete for 20% of the male desirables. Men who “pass the bar,” so to speak. Which, in turn, means that 20% of desirable men get the opportunity to advance with the very best of the ladies. But what about the losing majority on both sides? The 80%-ers. A terrifying statistic was released, which states that by 2030, nearly 50% of middle-aged women in the USA will be husbandless career women. That’s ok if the woman desires to remain single. Single life is as praiseworthy and rewarding as married. In 1 Corinthians 7:7, Paul said, “I wish you were all as I am,” single. We don’t speak enough about the praiseworthiness of singleness. We should. Excellent benefits and blessings for the kingdom of God and man have been accomplished by single people. So this data only poses a problem for those that want to marry. Similar numbers show that many men have given up on finding a wife, or are looking for one in other countries. Think Ukraine, Russia, the Philippines, Taiwan, etc. The statistics of mail-order brides in the USA are astounding. 

The unmarketability of some young men has everything to do with poor life choices and refusing to turn themselves into their best version.

Some of this seismic shift has everything to do with the predictable stupidity of many young men. They refuse to grow up. Never in the history of mankind has a generation of males been so enamored with staying a child. All previous generations would gladly stand in line, to take this generation out behind the woodshed. The amount of time a young man (even if married) spends in front of a screen pretending to be someone he’s not, is astounding. These men find it hard to manage typical adult responsibilities such as chores, paying bills, keeping a job, and maintaining healthy relationships with those around them. They are at their personal “best” when they have a headset on and are yelling and laughing with their buddies in a make-believe world where they project, by fantasy, everything they are not in real life (the hero, the winner). This phenomenon has been dubbed The Peter Pan Syndrome by psychologists. Young men who refuse to grow up. The low stock value of some young men has everything to do with poor life choices and refusing to turn themselves into their best version. Sensible, intelligent, spiritual women shake their heads. Understandably. And it’s causing women to give up on countless men, or at least begin to weed out the undesirable from the chosen few. The truth is, some very good women are opting out of “settling.” Hence, 80%.

Husband Material

Psychology Today says most young men are single and feel (romantically) lonelier than ever. A real possibility of forever-singleness has settled over many hearts like a fog. It is also why so many men are busy working for “gains” in the gym. They want to somehow break into the top 20% of desirables. Or stay there. If they only knew that modern women of substance want more. Sure, there is a well-deserved component to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and personal grooming. Still, boys’ preoccupation with their looks and physique has everything to do with a warped understanding of what makes a man a man, and what a woman wants. This also explains why many young women are so discouraged! These men are shallow. There’s no mystery, no complexity, no depth. Think about it…if 100% of women compete for 20% of desirable men, then 80% of women are left with the 80% undesirables. What’s the result going to be? They will choose singleness over settling. It’s a foregone conclusion. It’s a love-starved-trapped cycle with no end in sight. These women keep picking up frogs, hoping to get a prince. But they never “kiss” one (friend zone); they never try. And these aren’t frogs anyway; they’re tadpoles. 

Young men can fix this. It’s not rocket science, but it is hard. Be better. Find your best expression, and work like a dog to attain it. And maintain it. This does not mean just a career, either. More profoundly, work on those things that will make you even more valuable to a godly woman:

  • Spiritual depth and growth
  • Personal character development
  • Education (however formal or informal)
  • Steadfast commitment

Take Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 13 to heart, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Then do it. Young men are in desperate need of growing up. Even a generation ago, every man knew these things to be true. Whether he was a Christian or not. Today, it’s a forgotten art. I guess that’s our fault as fathers. Which could be another article. The point is, invest in your whole person. 

What makes a man desirable? On the surface, good looks, openness, humor, and the ability to communicate rank at the top. Yet these are all surface. Good looks won’t get you through a recession. Humor does not put food on the table or prepare for retirement. Being open with your feelings does not fix the tragic and inevitable problems that life will throw your way. While these factor into romance (he’s cute, funny, smart, etc.), they’re not the lasting traits of a good man. Or a successful one in the eyes of God. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “We will not judge a man by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.” That’s gold young men. Content is gold.  

Even a generation ago, every man knew these things to be true. Whether he was a Christian or not.

Men who are in the 80th percentile need to make themselves more marketable. To find a way that makes a woman of character say, “Wow, he’s marriage material.” Marketable attributes such as:

  • spiritual depth,
  • career path, profession, future potential,
  • character development,
  • and education (it doesn’t have to be college, either).

 Have these, and your relationship stock goes sky-high. These deep character traits will outlast and beautify all the outward traits so popular today. Young men are arrows, either aimed at specific targets or, more tragically, at nothing at all. Many young men are aimless today. And it’s not that they don’t have potential, or want the best things in life. They do! It’s just that they are waiting for the target to hit them. In other words, they’re waiting for certain things (character development, spiritual maturity, a better job, a deep romantic relationship, etc.) to happen to them. This is delusional. And lazy. Dr. Peterson recently said that women “cross-culturally like men who manifest signs of success as well as being handsome and personable. They’re looking for someone with openness as well as other desirable personality traits such as competence and intelligence.” He goes on to encourage young men to better themselves. Read. Improve your vocabulary. Think deeply about deep things. Do new hard things. Strive for ten impossible things, and hit three. Work in every possible way to make yourself more marketable in attainments, character, and depth, than the next guy. It’s a win-win for all 80%-ers.

“women cross-culturally like men who manifest signs of success as well as being handsome and personable. They’re looking for someone with openness as well as other desirable personality traits such as competence and intelligence.”

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson

Christian men are fallen victims to postmodernism. They are casualties of a war they didn’t know they were in. And life is passing many of them by. Thousands of hours are spent gaming, streaming shows, or hanging out with their semi-adult friends. Meanwhile, the twenty-percenters are taking all the best women. Thousands of hours are spent on entertainment and zero on making serious efforts toward becoming what they hope to be 20 years from now. As a result, a depressing thought is washing over 80% of this male generation “I may just be single for the rest of my life. Might as well game.” They actually have thumb muscles! It’s tragic all around. 

Prince Charming

On the other hand, Christian women have been deeply and, if not fixed soon, permanently damaged by Hollywood and the music industry. Subconsciously, they have been sold on the hedonistic idea that the tip of the spear in a relationship is romance. Romantic feelings are one component. But it is far less crucial than we think. I have spent countless hours with couples who began their life together ravenously in love, expressing ground-shaking, earth-shattering passion for each other. At the beginning. Now they merely tolerate each other. At best! Love does not conquer all. Love only conquers about 1/10 of all. The additional 9/10 is sheer work. But being a person of character and marrying a person of character makes the hard work of life more bearable. Plus, these traits also point to a greater probability of marital success. That’s why marital happiness transcends economic strata, culture, and country.  

So, depth of character is immeasurably more important than any surface element. I’m not saying you should not be attracted to the person, but let’s define “attractive.” Ask any devout Christian woman what is sexy, and they will tell you that the most attractive part of a good man is his character. Finding a spiritual leader, provider, protector, and lover is paramount in their mind. Notice where lover came in on that list? That’s because depth of character hansomizes a man (my word) in a woman’s eyes. On the other hand, it’s easy to trash the imbecilic notion of romance that oozes like puss from shows like the Batchelor, The Princess Diaries, or Titanic. At least, we hope it is easy. Not only is this not the standard, but those playing the characters have never experienced it either. The ideal is a myth. At best, it’s all pretended. At worse, it’s a toxin wrapped in sugar, handed out to this generation of women. Meanwhile, its poison destroys rather than fortifies real, abiding present and future love. And a big gorgeous door of opportunity has slammed shut for many incredible, intelligent, and spiritual women because of it. The “What-could’ve-been” women willingly choose singleness because they will not settle. We get it. You are not wrong. But because of this choice, she misses out on a future built on far more profound things than sight, taste, or smell. She bypasses perfectly suitable men because they do not fit the mold of what she subconsciously believes a Prince Charming to be. And everyone loses. Especially her! She has so much to share and wants to share it! Her depth, her intelligence, her spirituality. But only on her terms. Which never were hers to begin with. Her mother didn’t teach her this. Her Bible didn’t either. It’s not anywhere in history. So, where exactly did it come from? 

And everyone loses. Especially her. She has so much to share and wants to share it! Her depth, her intelligence, her spirituality. But only on her terms. Which never were hers to begin with.

She now must settle for the single life because true love was “Never meant for me, I guess.” She’s an eighty-percenter who settled in a different way, robbing herself of what she could have given and received. Perhaps somewhere, a good but flawed man was robbed too. And the only person she can look to is herself. Today she might say, “Ok, I’ll pay that price.” Yet I wonder if her 45-year-old self would agree. And if her 70-year-old self grieves over her blindly idealistic youth? Think of it. No one to love on any romantic level. Ever. And love so profoundly now, that she wonders if it was actually love at all in the beginning. It means no one to share life in all its wonders and pains. No children, grandchildren. No weddings, births, graduations, anniversaries, or birthdays. No hand to hold as he passes away. No hand to hold hers either. Now, I am not promoting this, but if arranged marriages and the biblical method teach us, 21st Century people, anything, it’s that there’s more than one way to marital bliss. Just ask Rebecca and Isaac and the tens of millions of couples happily married before the age of Western, independent, romantic feminism. (Thanks Harlequin)

We didn’t invent marriage in America. But we’re sure on track to turn it into an abysmal failure on the verge of becoming unrecognizable.

 The joy of marriage is not candlelight dinners and exotic trips. Its happiness is found in two limping people, leaning on their Lord together, changing and being changed into His image. We want the best for the next generation. However, for many, the best of God’s created order has been pushed aside by society’s leading and, in its place, left a stinking pile of rubbish. And we’re not only buying it, but we’re also selling it. Young men and women, think about this.     

Pastor Lewis