Given my experience with starting small groups and leading in a young adults ministry, the hottest topic of discussion and one of the biggest questions I have been asked is, “Why are single men in the church not pursuing?” There are two advantages that helped me shed a light on the topic. The first one is that; I myself, am a single Christian male and writing this required some vulnerability. Secondly, I have had hundreds of conversations with guys and girls in the church on the topic. Though there may be hundreds of reasons, I believe these are the 5 most common ones:
1- Fear Of Commitment.
50 years ago, the “American Dream” was all about commitment. It was what families, television, and the culture as a whole looked up to. Men were encouraged to find a career and grow in it, to plant roots, to buy the house with the white picket fence, and to start a family. Nowadays, things are exactly the opposite. Our culture romanticizes the idea of not committing to anything and getting lost following dreams rather than making them; Quotes like “Not all who wander are lost” and “Follow your dreams, they know the way” are becoming a motto of a whole generation. We are encouraged to try different jobs, live in different places, and even try different partners. We associate commitment with the last chapter of freedom. One of the scariest things about commitment is vulnerability. Unfortunately, for many guys, vulnerability is one of the scariest things they try to run away from.
2- Unrealistic Expectations.
This is probably the most common issue I find when I discuss the matter with other guys. Every guy is fantasizing after the perfect girl with the perfect face, body, personality, faith, humor, etc. The problem is that this fantasy doesn’t exist. Finding a “hot model” who “isn’t crazy,” shares the same interests as you, and loves vacuuming with her high heels and lipstick, do not exist because perfection doesn’t exist either. We think of our friend Freddy who is not the brightest or the best looking yet Freddy somehow married a super hot model. We think to ourselves, “If he can get this beautiful girl, I can too. I will wait until she comes.” Sadly, I have had a few friends who ended up marrying the “hot model” but little did they know that not only is she a bad fit for them, but she has made their lives so much more challenging and painful. I have had other male friends who are getting old and they are still single and waiting.
3- Over Analyzing
I have had guys that were concerned because their favorite genres of movies are different than the girl they are talking to. We are over analyzing and complicating things. The important questions a guy should ask are “Am I attracted to her? Do I enjoy spending time with her? Do our overall values and life visions heading the same direction?” rather than “I always imagined my wife to be a singer” or “I always imagined us liking the same type of movies and wanting to travel to the same places”, etc. etc.
4- Believing In “The One”
One of the most common lines I hear guys say, “Marriage is a really big deal, I have to make sure that she is the perfect fit”. The idea of believing that there is only one perfect person for you and if you don’t find that one perfect fit, you end up marrying the wrong person has caused men to over analyze every aspect of a woman. Men, unintentionally, try to find flaws with the girl they are considering so that they don’t end up with a girl that’s not “the one”.
5- Fear of Rejection
I have had guys that crushed on girls but their fear of getting turned down was greater than the courage they had. I have also been told by several girls that they turned down guys they had been interested in because it took the guy a long time to finally do the pursuing. When I asked those guys why it took them so long, their simple answer was that they were afraid and it took them time to finally go for it.
***Added: 3/19 at 12:40am PT (in blue): Based on an overwhelming response and being asked why porn was not mentioned as one of the points, I decided to share my thoughts on the matter: Porn is definitely one of the biggest issues that many single Christian men struggle with. Porn can be the fuel to the fire. Porn leads men to have more unrealistic expectations of what a woman should look like. Porn can cause fear of rejection, given that many guys feel intimidated and unfit by what they watch. Porn can make commitment less appealing given the fantasy they watch on the screen of a man being free to do whatever, whenever. However, it is very important for other Christians to not put single men in the box of “they must be watching porn”. Many guys still pursue and fight for holiness in the midst of singleness and having this kind of pressure can lead the guy to feeling judged or pressured to marry quick.
BONUS: There Are Less Single Men In The Church
One big problem people seem to miss when they start talking about the issue is the fact that the ratio of men above 30-years-old is a lot smaller than women with the same age.
SOLUTION: Honestly, I am not sure. Given the fact that I myself am single, gives me little room to speak (though I would like to think I pursue more than most of the single guys I know, I just don’t announce it on social media). Here are my thoughts based on the story of Isaac and Rebekah found in Genesis 24. They were deeply in love with each other though it was an arranged marriage. When Isaac’s servant was looking for a wife for him, these are the qualities he was looking at:
1- A woman that was an from the same household with the same faith values (in our modern interpretation, it’s a woman that follows Christ.)
2- A woman who had a servant heart (not only did she offer water for the servant but she offered water for all of his camels as well.)
3- A woman who was willing to say “yes” to God’s will even when it’s sudden. (She agreed to leave her family and home and go back with the servant the following day.)
4- A woman that was beautiful (she was a woman that the servant knew that Isaac would be attracted to – NOT find her ‘perfect’.)
So maybe the only input I can give is to say that it’s important to encourage guys to pursue any Christian girl they find attractive who has a servant’s heart and is willing to say “yes!” to God’s plan no matter how uncomfortable it is.
Below is part of an interview I had with Kris Wolfe, author of “10 Ways To Win A Girl’s Heart” where he shares practical tips on how he pursued the woman of his dreams.
What other reasons do you think men are not pursuing? What do you think needs to change? Why do we see less single men in their 30’s still in the church? Comment Below.