The Gap Between Marriage and Men


It’s not a big surprise.  We’ve all seen the signs.  The gap between men and women’s belief about marriage is widening at an alarming rate.

A recent study by Pew Research Center revealed the amount of women ages eighteen to thirty-four who say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives rose nine percentage points since 1997 – from 28 percent to 37 percent. For men, the opposite occurred. The share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.

Here’s the facts…Women want to get married.  Men don’t.

Even in the church.

When I delve into the guys heads to understand their perspetive…here is what I’ve discovered.  Men are frustrated with women but they can’t articulate why.

And it holds them back from asking them out and moving towards marriage.

It’s this unseen intangible that’s very real and it creates distance between men and women.

This is what I hear men say…

“The women around here want to see your W-2 before they even consider going on a date with you.”

“Women are angry and bitter.”

“If a girl never gets asked out there is often something else to that, as hard as it is for me to even type that. I don’t want to type it. I just feel like it’s true.”

“Women will have sex outside of marriage (or even a relationship) so why bother?”

“If a woman can take care of herself so well, why does she even need a guy?”

“I have asked out multiple girls who have said “yes”, only to play dozens of tricks with setting the date, rescheduling, cancelling, going silent, saying yes when they mean no, going unresponsive on the day, and overall flakiness.”

A friend sent me an article the other day –The War on Men and I wanted to add it to the conversation.  The writer suggests this unseen gap or ‘X factor” is due to the feminist movement.

 “Contrary to what feminists like Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, say, the so-called rise of women has not threatened men. It has pissed them off. It has also undermined their ability to become self-sufficient in the hopes of someday supporting a family. Men want to love women, not compete with them. They want to provide for and protect their families – it’s in their DNA. But modern women won’t let them.
It’s all so unfortunate – for women, not men. Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.
It’s the women who lose. Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex, by dismissing male nature they’re forever seeking a balanced life. The fact is, women need men’s linear career goals – they need men to pick up the slack at the office – in order to live the balanced life they seek.
So if men today are slackers, and if they’re retreating from marriage en masse, women should look in the mirror and ask themselves what role they’ve played to bring about this transformation.”

So what do you think?  Is feminism creating a big dark hole of resentment between men and women?

Are women shooting themselves in the foot by becoming equal with men only to lose relationship with them?

Guys…does this resonate with you?

You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling…

As a pastor, part of my job is to give encouragement and hope to those in relational conflict.  Even though God created us as relational beings, most relationships at some point face a trial or obstacle that seems insurmountable.

I see people struggle with their dating lives, an upcoming engagement or marriage; not to mention the many difficulties that crop up with family members, friends, co-workers and classmates.

But the most common phrase I’ve heard over the years, from people hurtling towards relational demise, is some form of this: “We have fallen out of love.”

Sounds like the familiar song from Top Gun, (remember Maverick and Goose belting it out to the blonde beauty at the bar?) “You’ve lost that loving feeling, now it’s gone, gone gone…wooa wooa woah.”

But is love a feeling to be won, accidentally found or somehow lost?

A recent survey of divorce lawyers in England revealed that “falling out of love” is the number one reason marriages fail.

I have a close friend who got married soon after college. We had many long discussions about why he wanted to get married, and the simple truth was he felt she “deserved” it. She had stuck with him through some crazy times in college and they had been physically intimate for years. He wasn’t sure he wanted to get married, but felt like it would be inappropriate to dump her after she had put up with so much and given him everything, so he asked for her hand.

They did okay for a while, but their relationship was difficult at best. I’m not sure he ever had the feelings he thought he should for the woman he married. Eventually, after settling down in a home in the suburbs and having a couple of kids, my friend called me and confessed. “I think I have just fallen out of love with her,” he declared. “I just don’t feel it anymore.”

After a long discussion, I realized he was getting attention from a number of other women in his workplace, which led him down the path of questioning if he even wanted his marriage anymore.

Now I understand how it works when it comes to music or food. A song we “love” and listen to every day eventually becomes annoying and we say we don’t love it anymore.

We fall in love with the new Memphis BBQ Six Dollar Burger from Carl’s Jr. for a week or two, but when we can’t pull hard enough to clasp our belt on the last hole and we can’t get the BBQ stain out of our favorite t-shirt, we fall out of love just as quickly returning to the Lo Cal Tofu Caesar Wrap at the local health food restaurant.

But when we talk about real love, relational love, the type of love described in the Bible, it seems to me love isn’t something we “fall” into or out of.

For all the Greek scholars out there, there are a few different words for the English word love. There is a word for familial love (storge), a word for friendship or brotherly love (phileo), and another word for passionate love (eros); but the word I want to discuss is the type of love Jesus modeled for us and called us to have for one another. That word is agape, or unconditional love.

Our ability to love this way is thus initiated by God. John talks about this love in 1 John 4. He compels us to “…love (agape) one another, for love (agape) comes from God.” He goes on to say that “We love because he (God) first loved us.”

If this is true, it seems as though we are incapable of having this “agape” love unless we have received it first from God. And what this passage communicates is that true love is not a feeling at all, it is a choice. And as God chose us, we get to choose to love one another.

So when a married couple comes to me and declares they have “fallen out of love” I generally respond with this truth: they have CHOSEN to stop loving each other, and fallen out of nothing.

As a pastor, one of my duties is to officiate weddings.  During the ceremony, I often refer to the words of Paul as he describes this type of love. 1 Corinthians 13 states: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

When I read this passage, I recognize I don’t fall in or out of any of these things! The last time I was in the express lane at the grocery store and the person in front of me piled thirty-seven items on the conveyor belt with a corresponding coupon for each item, I and only I, decide how to react (or overreact).  I  can choose to churn with frustration or move towards building patience.

Patience is difficult and elusive – something we must choose if we are going to love like Jesus loved us. All of the things on this list are choices. I have never once fallen into patience, humility, generosity, kindness or honesty.

This proves to me that LOVE IS A CHOICE!

After long conversations with my friend, he recognized that if he was going to save his marriage, he was going to have to begin choosing love. And I am happy to report that he did. He stopped listening to the tempting voices of other women, recognizing they were only attracted to his status and income.

He did the math on a future separated from his wife and kids, a life of child support, visiting rights and being alone. He played out the movie in his head and shuddered at the ending he was moving towards.

Then he began to make the difficult and daily decisions of kindness, protection, humility and truthfulness. And you know what happened? His feelings followed!

It didn’t take long for the passion in his marriage to return. Before long, the marriage of my friend who CHOSE to love his wife became a marriage others wanted. It was full of fun and joy, intimacy and excitement.

Do you believe that love is a choice?



8 Keys to Divorce Proof Marriage

I found an amusing article on a country music blog about divorce (not to say there is anything remotely fun about divorce), but this boot-scooting boogey website did a poll and asked their readers to send in their best tips to divorce proof a marriage.

Here are the tips they gave to unmarried’s…

* Don’t have a baby out-of-wedlock

* Finish high school

* Don’t marry until your 20s

* Know your partner for at least a year

* Don’t live with too many partners outside of marriage

* Get a decent job

While these are relevant suggestions, I think they forget a few biggies.

Research proves the single most effective element in preventing divorce in a marriage is PRAYER and strangely enough I don’t even see it on the list.


Couples who attend church and pray together have a much lower divorce rate then the current 51% divorce rate.

The University of Virginia’s Brad Wilcox found that church attendance on a regular basis reduces the likelihood of divorce by 30 percent to 35 percent. Wilcox’s research supports another study by Annette Mahoney of Bowling Green State University, which independently came to a similar conclusion.

But it’s not just going to church, when you insert prayer along with a lifestyle of faith, thoughts of divorce tumble.

A 1998 survey by the Georgia Family Council discovered that in marriages where couples prayed together weekly, only 7 percent had seriously considered divorce, compared to 65 percent of those who did not pray together.

So, maybe not having a kid outside of wedlock is a good idea and a great job never hurts, but when the cards are down and the struggles of marriage emerge, it’s the couples who get on their knees and cry out to God who tend to make it.

Do you have any tips to avoiding divorce?

Sources: Focus on the Family



Duped Dating? Waiting and Waiting and Waiting for Marriage

Postponing Marriage

We have a thirteen-year old son.  Imagine if we sat down with him and told him he probably wouldn’t get married until he was at least thirty years old (or older according to the world’s standards of success) and because he is a good Christian boy we fully expect him to postpone his sexual desires for the next seventeen plus years. 

Now our son who is entering his freshman year in high school is already highly attracted to the ladies, so to get him to buy into this preposterous idea of postponing his sexual desire for seventeen years is absurd. He would more than likely laugh in our face or maybe behind a closed door just to be respectful.

Do We Really Have to Have Life all Figured Out?

But this is the reality of what we are asking Christian singles to do every day.  The world tells us to wait and postpone marriage until we have our college loans paid off, money in the bank, an illustrious career and a home complete with a large mortgage.  But how many young people out of college are in this situation?  None!  And so we wait, and wait and wait some more until we wake up one day and realize we aren’t getting any younger, all the good ones are gone, and we have still yet to achieve the elusive dream of getting our act together.

The result is a generation of single Christians left frustrated by their uncontrollable sexual appetites and inability to control their impulses who feel like somehow they missed out on something good along the way. 

Denying Our Sexual Nature

Martin Luther in his 16th century Estate of Marriage identified this very dilemma of denying or postponing our sexual nature as he witnessed how young men and women attempting to make a celibate vow for the purpose of following Jesus fell into uncontrollable secret sins. 

“For this word which God speaks, “Be fruitful and multiply,” is not a command. It is more than a command, namely, a divine ordinance which it is not our prerogative to hinder or ignore. Rather, it is just as necessary as the fact that I am a man, and more necessary than sleeping and waking, eating and drinking, and emptying the bowels and bladder. It is a nature and disposition just as innate as the organs involved in it.  Therefore, just as God does not command anyone to be a man or a woman but creates them the way they have to be, so he does not command them to multiply but creates them so that they have to multiply. And wherever men try to resist this, it remains irresistible nonetheless and goes its way through fornication, adultery, and secret sins, for this is a matter of nature and not of choice.”

We aren’t saying it’s impossible to wait until middle age and remain sexually pure –in fact we have a dear friend who made it until the ripe age of forty-two and maintained his virginity until he shared his bed with his beloved bride, but he is far more of an anomaly than the norm for Christians who struggle daily with the temptation of masturbation, pornography and addiction to romance novels.

What if we were actually designed to marry young?  What if we didn’t have to have life all figured out before marriage?  What if we had a partner and best friend to help us navigate the often treacherous roads of life?

Photo: Dark Lady via Lemon on Pinterest

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