An Epidemic of Single Women

I look around at all the people I know, and realize that in addition to the plethora of married people I know, there seems to be another stand-out characteristic that I cannot fail to notice: an epidemic of single women. An epidemic of single women who (and I have to lift a guilty hand on this one) wails about the fact that a corresponding number of single men seem nowhere to be found.

But it ain’t necessarily so. Looking at a census or a survey of any given region (you can Google any city you want to…I know I have), the numbers appear to suggest a pretty close 50/50 or 51/49 split of men to women or women to men in the population. So where are all the single men at?

What if the number of single men has to do more with our perspective and less with actual numbers? By perspective, I mean the whole lens with which many women in American society tend to view men and dating relationships. I feel like many women have talked themselves out of marriage and long-term relationships because of this idea of “the perfect man” that seems to permeate our culture. It’s never said overtly, but certainly the implication is that the man of our dreams must be perfect. He has to be at least 6 feet tall, good looking, chiseled body, has all of his hair, rich, a successful businessman (or lawyer, or doctor, or something else with equal money-making potential), smart and thoughtful, charming and charismatic, sweet and romantic, cares about cancer kids and puppies, and with no emotional baggage. And if any one of these criteria are not met, then many women write him off as “not good enough” and continue chasing after a fantasy man that does not exist. All the while wanting this man to “love me the way I am”, emotional scars, past baggage and all. *Eye-roll*. It’s time to get real!

No one is  perfect. All women, being women, are hyper-aware of their imperfections at all times. 24/7. We can never escape them. We want someone to love us, cherish us, and tell us that we are perfectly lovable just the way we are. Why don’t men deserve that as well? As much as they try to hide it, men have feelings, insecurities, and imperfections as well. They deserve to be loved for who they are and cherished as people. Despite all of our human imperfections, deep inside of each of us there is an inner light, a beautiful spirit that has a wonderful capacity to connect with others on a deep soul level. I think we should all take the planks out of our own eyes so that we can look and see who the men that come to us really are, past the outer, shallow things into the inner self. We should open our eyes and judge the man by the soul and character he has and how deep of a connection we feel with that inner soul, because that is what will make for a happy relationship in the long run. Money, looks, expensive dates, all of that external stuff is temporary and will fade with time. The external things do not equal love. But our inner selves are eternal, and a love that connects with the beloved from the inner self is one that can burn eternal. The relationship won’t be perfect, since we are in a fallen world, but it will continue to shine like a gem with a little daily polishing.

 

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Confusing Lust with Love: A Perspective

I think it is pretty obvious that when it comes to love, most Americans have no idea what they’re doing. Dating to get to know someone and develop a relationship seems almost non-existent these days. Random hook-ups, friends with benefits, and “Netflix and chill” opportunities abound, while good, old-fashioned romance and relationships seem to be slipping away faster than the Kardashians’ last shred of dignity. People (both men and women) come back from these casual encounters bitter, insecure, and more resolved than ever to put a wall up and never let anyone in because “It’s not worth it”.

There are many thoughts as to why love is such a mess nowadays. But today I offer up one perspective in particular: our society hardly knows how to distinguish love from lust anymore. Movies and tv shows gratuitously show people “falling in love” at first sight, having a passionate sexual relationship for a few weeks or a month or so, and then soon enough, the relationship falls apart. Or, man and woman lock eyes, fall in love instantly, and live the proverbial “happily ever after” after having at least one passionate sexual encounter. We as a society all watch these things and think that this is the norm. We think that love is supposed to happen instantly: that we just meet someone by bumping into them at the grocery store, feel the sparks, and just know in that instant that this person is “The One”, our soulmate. Well, my food for thought for you is this: Hollywood is lying to you. The media presents the idea of love as a temporary high in which the sparks and the chemistry between two people wear off just about as quickly as they seemed to explode. Couple meets, falls in love and feels like they’ve finally met The One, has sex as soon as possible, and in a few months or a year or so, resolve that they don’t love each other anymore and that the other person is not The One after all. Why does it all seem so transient?

I posit that the “love” that the media so freely shows us day in and day out is nothing more than lust. Lust is seeing a person, thinking that they’re hot and sexually desiring them, and feeling any chemistry between you two, which is based on your assessment of how that other person looks. Let’s be real: a lot of us can create a whole fantasy relationship in our minds just based off of how a person looks and the image of them we created based on our own internal constructs of what we think would make us happy. I have definitely done that before. It happens all the time to people. But that doesn’t mean that it’s love. Lust is a slick manipulator that masquerades as the real thing time and time again.

So what does love look like then? It’s freeing your true love from a Nazi concentration camp, losing contact, and then being reunited 39 years later (see the full story on http://listverse.com/2014/05/16/10-inspiring-stories-of-true-love-from-the-holocaust/). It’s working for 14 years to have the hand of the woman of your dreams in marriage (see the story of Jacob and Rachel in Genesis chapter 29 in the Bible). It’s meeting in college, falling in love, and holding off on sex for 5 years until you get married (Google Elisabeth and Jim Elliot or read her book “Passion and Purity” for the whole story). Feel free to insert your own favorite tale of true love here. There are a lot of them!

Love isn’t just feeling the sparks, the chemistry, sexual passion, etc. with a person. It’s not just extreme emotion. Science has shown the the feeling of falling in “love” activates the dopamine in the human brain the same as getting high off of drugs does. True love takes time. It’s getting to know someone without rushing into the bedroom. It’s a deep connection based on mutual respect, affection, and knowledge of the other person. It’s self-sacrifice at times to make the other person happy. It’s commitment to the relationship no matter how the person is making you feel at the moment. It’s patience, giving of yourself, tenderness, the ability to trust the other person wholeheartedly and the freedom to be yourself in that love. True love is deeper than what the world tells us it is. And it is available everywhere and to everyone who opens their eyes to see it.