It has taken me months to determine what to write next about singleness. I wrote a few months ago on how the dating scene has changed, even within the last few years. Furthermore, I touched on how some of the advice I’d had in the past did not reflect the reality of male-female gender dynamics in terms of what people are looking for. I don’t have a lot to say here, but here I am and here are a few thoughts.
Changes of Mind
The way I have come to think about these issues has changed quite dramatically since I lived in Japan. In Japan, gender dynamics and traits like appearance, demeanour, roles, etc. are fairly clear cut. Whereas in my home country of Australia, in its egalitarianism, the distinctions are increasingly blurred. (In discussing some of these distinctions, the ‘Aussie-style’ is somewhat coveted by my Asian-background friends). Furthermore, with the advent of the Sexual Revolution and its children, the confusion in our culture and churches continues.
I didn’t feel I could write much on singleness after my initial post because I was feeling angry and frustrated. I was frustrated that I’d been acting and behaving a way that was counter-productive to my pursuit towards women and marriage. It was something akin to ‘Cage-Stage Calvinism’, when you discover the doctrines of Election and Grace and realise how profound it all is but you’re not yet truly humbled by them. Therefore, in your pride you go on to steamroll over those that either don’t hold the same beliefs as firmly, or don’t hold them at all (I think it is called going ‘Rambo’ in the Manosphere). However, I hadn’t the grace to comprehend how Christ is the one that needs to shape these desires and breed the fruit required for godly masculinity.
The Red Pill community is replete with YouTubers like Better Bachelor, Donovan Sharpe, Paul Elam, Order of Man, Jennifer Moleski among an entire rabbit hole of others who highlight the pitfalls of the current gender dynamics. It is very easy to get hooked on these sorts of videos that essentially say ‘See? I told you so!’ But any prolonged period of time in these sorts of videos will produce an unhealthy and cynical view of relationships and their potential. There’s a lot of truth and positive things to be gleaned from the videos, but some are tinged with nihilism and determinism. Be discerning.
While I don’t think that the hosts of these shows are particularly vindictive people, there is a low view of marriage among them (and this isn’t without some logic – men are shafted in Western society when it comes to divorce among other things). The Christian alternative to these videos can be found in It’s Good to be a Man, Aaron Renn’s The Masculinist, The Hard Men Podcast, Dalrock, and some of Douglas Wilson’s books (Father Hunger, Future Men). Plus simply reading your Bible all of the way through will show how God’s men have behaved, culminating in Christ, and the kinds of pitfalls men fall into (Proverbs is a good place to start).
And also, I hate feminism as a secular concept. But those Christian women that are beholden to the idolatry of it need prayer. Pray for yourself that you don’t hate them and display a contentious spirit, and that you yourself follow Biblical masculinity. Pray for them that they hold to the Biblical view of femininity.
Though a feature of the human condition, our culture is increasingly dividing into those abdicating responsibility and those who are recognising the need to own their stuff. Jordan Peterson’s banal statement of ‘tidying your room’ revolutionised many men’s lives. Jesus said this much earlier when we seek to take the speck out of our eye when we have an entire log sticking out of our own eye (Matt 7:5). Jocko Willink in his book Extreme Responsibility, Jocko, an ex-Navy Seal, discusses the difficulty in taking on leadership and responsibility, and shows how this is essential for effective leadership.
We all make decisions that affects our future. Rather than blaming others for our misfortunes, we should own our stuff. How could be handle a wife and kids when we can’t even handle get a lid on our finances or weight?
Skin in the Game
Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s idea of Skin in the Game is something like this: those that risk have a lot to lose. They, therefore, have skin in the game (and sometimes Soul in the Game). The illusion that modernity has created is that we have a series of experts that make decisions about activity on the ground without sharing in any of the downside of bad decisions. The knowledge market is replete with advice from Christians on how you should date. Of course, we use biblical principles but attraction is multifaceted and not just about being godly.
The bad advice that I’ve listened to is from people that didn’t share in any of the downside of following their advice. Additionally, many married pastors haven’t been single beyond 25-30 years old. This is why you need to make decisions and get out there and date for yourself. Situations may overlap but each of our contexts are different, therefore things will play out differently. Take on some of the wisdom from others, but don’t following it mindlessly.
I’ve gone on more dates this year than I have in years. It isn’t easy. The process is awkward and sometimes embarrassing. I have recognised that many past experiences surface. Be prepared for rejection and heartache. Yet this is the cost that needs to be taken in the dating scene. This is true skin in the game. Don’t sit back and theorise. Do it. Don’t do it forever, but do it.
I have found that every woman I have told that I would not pursue was really grateful for being let down with clarity.
Dating honourably is possible if you date with what you want in mind.
I’m still single, but I have learnt a lot by getting back in the game and will continue to learn.
In the end, follow Jesus Christ and all will follow.