If you do not consider yourself a Christian, please do not read any further. Thank you.
I know I said a while back that I wasn't going to talk about relationships anymore, but, in the past week or two, I had a major breakthrough on the topic. No, I don't have a significant other; it wasn't that kind of breakthrough. Instead, it was a realization that my many declarations in the recent past--both online and elsewhere--had actually been rather misguided. While I realize my reasoning for the beliefs I held, that doesn't mean that I currently agree with them. In fact, the reasons for my old beliefs on the topic actually made more sense when I thought about them. Before I begin, I'll warn you: This is going to be a long one, so, you'd better get comfortable.
What was my major breakthrough? Simply put: I need a relationship; not necessarily now, but, at some point in the future, unless I die young or Jesus literally does return soon, both of which could happen. Here's why I say that: In my experience, it seems that guys can't make it on their own; they need a woman--a mother, a wife/girlfriend, a female acquaintance, or even a daughter--to tell them what to do. Just today, there was an incident where an elderly lady asked for a strong guy to shovel her snow, and the only person to reply was a mother who volunteered her teenage son. I would say that it's just the feminist culture--more on that later--but, if you look at the Bible, you'll see that it's been the case for quite a while. When God made the first woman, He said he was making "a helper suitable for" the man; flip to the Gospel of John, and you'll see that even the Savior of the World needed a woman to tell Him what to do if you read the story of Jesus turning the water into wine. I once heard a Mother's Day sermon based on that latter Bible passage that was titled, "Even Jesus Needed a Mom". So, if the Messiah needed the guidance of a woman, I'd say there's not much hope for the rest of us guys. From a secular standpoint, you often see where mainstream celebrities--including many of the male gender--give a shout-out to their mothers, wives, and/or daughters, realizing they wouldn't be where they are today without them.
While most if not all guys need a female presence in their lives, I need one more than most. I've always had a penchant for wasting time; doing pointless tasks that I even regret later. Left to my own devices, I'd always be twiddling my thumbs; thanks to the guidance of others, especially my mother, I find out what I need to do and then do it. I'm thankful for my mom's help and that of other authority figures--teachers, supervisors, etc.--but, when it comes to my parents, I know they won't be around forever; they're not getting any younger, and, if someday I end up without them, I'll need someone to help me figure out what to do and how to do it. While some guys have been helpful, in most cases, it seems that the women in my life tended to understand me better, which is why I currently have mostly female friends. Most guys I've known have been confused, annoyed, or weirded out by my habits; then again, some women have been, too, especially one in particular.
So, then, why all this talk about avoiding a relationship? Simple: While getting married is kind of a necessity for my future survival, one of my biggest fears has always been saying, "I do," to the wrong person. You may think that's a product of my biological parents' divorce when I was very little, but it goes beyond that or even dissolution of marriages in general. When I was in school, I had many teachers, most for only a year or two, sometimes not even that long. I did have some instructors who took me under their wing and looked out for me, and I seriously respected them for it; however, others besmirched their profession, sometimes doing the unthinkable to me or my classmates, which caused their students to mock them behind their backs. You probably remember the story about how the lead special ed teacher at my high school lied to me about taking chemistry class over the summer; she told me it wasn't available and I had to take an Outdoor P.E. class instead, but, I saw a list of Chemistry students posted near a classroom door on my first day of summer school. When I told my family members about what she had done, they didn't believe me; my sister and brother-in-law believed she had to be mistaken, because they were 100% sure that a teacher would never lie to a student...but, I wasn't buying it. Maybe back when they were in school, teachers had that kind of decorum, but, in my experience, that was long gone. I had to deal with jerk teachers as early as kindergarten--no joke!--and my unfortunate experiences with them made me despise school in general almost as soon as I started. If you went to a public school when I did, even if it wasn't the same school, you probably have similar experiences.
Why bring that up? Easy: Like teachers, Christians are supposed to be called to a higher standard...but, instead, they often do exactly what the rest of the world does while still proclaiming Jesus. I've had to deal with enough jerks in my life; I really don't want to be married to one. Unfortunately, that may end up happening, and I may not find out that's the case until too late. I hate to compare people to pets, but, this is the best analogy I've got: You probably know the story of Sparky, the dog my family and I had from 2002 to 2006 whom I never did like. From the time we got him, I wanted my mom to give him away to someone who would appreciate him, because I sure wasn't going to. Eventually, when he started showing some problematic behaviors, my sister, who worked at a veterinary clinic back then, had talked about putting a classified ad somewhere in order to give him away...but, she couldn't think of anything positive to say about him other than that he was "cute". I was still talking about giving him away, but, my mom said, "We're stuck with him!"
Here's why I mention that: A person--regardless of gender--could claim to be a Christian but have no other redeeming qualities in any other area; if I were married to a woman like that, I'd go insane. I'm sure all of you reading this know Jesus' commandment about divorce: you can't do it except in cases of "marital unfaithfulness," which is another was of saying an extramarital affair. So, you can't rightfully divorce someone for being a jerk, unless he/she actually cheats on you. While part of me wants to say that my future wife could change her ways, another part of me knows that the "If you've got a problem with what I do, that's on you" mentality is far too prevalent, especially among those of my generation. Even if she doesn't start out being a jerk, circumstances could cause her to change for the worse; you all know the stories of my former friends who used to think the world of me, but now won't even give me the time of day, all because of my own actions. While a wife may not walk out on me because I make a major mess-up--though she might, even if she was a Christian--it could turn our marriage into something ugly, and, much like my ended friendships, it may never recover from that.
Honestly, I'm tired of women bashing guys just because they're guys. While I understand and agree with the basic tenet of feminism--women are people, too!--I hate the way it has turned into what I would call reverse sexism or female chauvinism. Seriously, looking down on everyone of a certain gender is no different than looking down on all Asians or anybody from Texas; it's nothing short of a prejudice. Unfortunately, the whole "women are superior" mentality has even found its way into the church, and not just in the context of marriage. Over a decade ago, an elder and longtime friend departed from the church I was attending at the time, and mentioned in an e-mail that one reason he left was people "not submitting to the eldership," and, while he didn't name names, he specifically mentioned "wives". So, the women of the church were not respecting the men who were supposed to be leading the church...which is just unacceptable. While I believe women are divinely created individuals, and shouldn't be maligned, disrespected, or objectified...the same is true of anyone! Much to my chagrin, many people, including Christians, disagree with that mentality because they've fallen prey to modern culture.
So, while getting married seems to be a necessity for the distant future--assuming me and this world make it to that point--the thought of it also scares me. It's sort of like a major surgery: You know you need it to survive, but, the thought of it isn't exactly pleasant. While being married to the right person would be great and wonderful, being married to the wrong person would be something I'd regret for the rest of my life. I'll just have to hope and pray that God leads me to the right woman; that's about all I can do at this point.
A postscript: Please do not send me any links to any Christian dating websites. For the moment, I feel that God wants me living with my parents because they need me. You have no idea how many times they run into tasks they can't do without my help, ranging from setting the DVR to printing images out on their Mac to reaching a high cabinet. I definitely don't want to force God's hand in this matter, nor do I want to abandon my parents when they truly do need me. I'll just trust that, when the time comes, I'll find the right girl...and maybe not online.