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There Are Plenty of Good Fish in the Sea
As I’ve noted many times, the degree of difficulty dial on finding a spouse and staying married has been turned up a lot in America. Falling marriage rates attest to the problems here, ranging from the rise of technology mediated dating, to an imbalance in college degree attainment between men and women, to a politically polarized dating environment.
At the same time, a bad macro environment does not necessarily determine our individual results. In some cases, these trends can even help a subset of people. For example, if more women than men are getting college degrees, then if you are a man with a degree, in theory that could work to your advantage.
However, I hear a lot of complaints from some singles about how this environment makes it all but impossible to get married. For example, one of the tropes of manosphere thinking is that the dating pool for men is poisoned. In their view, the American woman has been ruined as wife material — by feminism, sleeping around with too many men, etc.
One of the more recent incarnations of this view is the rise of the so-called “passport bros,” or men who decide that there are so few good women in the US, that they have to seek out a wife overseas. There are a ton of Youtube videos on this phenomenon, many with hundreds of thousands of view. I think that only a small number of men have actually done this, but the huge amount of debate over it is revealing of a certain attitude.
While few Christians likely spend time consuming this kind of material, I’ve noticed that a lot of single Christian guys also seem to believe it’s hard to find someone to marry, even in cities with tons of Christian singles like NYC.
My church in New York never had more than a few hundred members, and many of them (most?) were married. Yet there were several single women there that I thought seemed to be high quality dating and marriage prospects. Now, I didn’t date any of them. Maybe they had hidden flaws or were not compatible in some way that I don’t know about. Maybe they were prima donnas with ridiculous standards who ended up breaking it off with every guy they ever went out with. Some of them were out of my age range. But if I were single in that church, I would not have been complaining about a lack of quality women to ask out on dates. I have to believe that the same is true of most other churches in town, maybe even to a greater extent, since many of them are larger and with a higher percentage of singles.
At the risk of sounding like a white knight , my impression is that there are actually plenty high quality single Christian women in America, regardless of your theological or denominational persuasion.
I’m not completely sure why people have this view that there’s a huge shortage of marriageable women. A few possibilities:
Firstly, there actually are a lot of women in America it probably would be a bad idea to marry. There’s a lot of talk about “marriageability” for men, especially when it comes to men needing to have a job paying a certain income. Women are just assumed to be marriageable, but this isn’t actually the case. Yet it’s easy to over-generalize from negative examples - for both men and women.
Some people have had bad experiences in dating, and their previous wounds are coloring their perspectives.
Some men probably have unrealistic expectations or an inflated view of their own value in the dating market. Both essentially lead to an overly narrow conception of who could be a good match for them. Women aren’t the only ones who act like prima donnas here. This is particularly a problem in a place like NYC, which, despite the large number of singles, does seem to be shark infested waters were the culture militates against marriage. But again, the numbers are so large there, at the individual level, this can’t be an insurmountable barrier.
I have noticed that non-religious women give off indicators of interest to men they’d welcome conversation, etc. with, whereas Christian women don’t seem to do this nearly as much. I’m not sure if this is true generally, but that has been my experience. Some men might interpret this as coldness or something else that allows them to “disqualify” women - and thus not have to take the risk of actually initiating a conversation or asking them out on a date.
Maybe all or none of these are a factor. But realistically, if you are a single man who thinks there aren’t very many high quality women to potentially date out there (the proverbial “scarcity mindset”), that will have consequences. It provides an excuse for passivity in dating, among other things.
I’ve made it clear that, while I support people’s right to make their own decisions about their own lives, I view marriage and children as the normative life path, and one that offers the most likely chance of flourishing. We are seeing less and less of that these days. So if you are a single man who wants to be married, you need to be intentionally working towards that in terms of preparing yourself and actively seeking out a wife.
It’s risky to ask a woman out on a date, especially in real life, which in my view is the only way to fly. Online dating is mug’s game for most people. Even the most attractive guys will get rejected a lot. So there’s nothing more natural than to look for ways not to do it. I think the idea that there aren’t any good women to date functions as one of those ways.
But whether you agree with that or not, the reality is that there are plenty of high quality single Christian women, and men, in America. The problems of frustrated singleness are real and shouldn’t be discounted. The technological and cultural problems of America when it comes to marriage are likewise real. But an absolute shortage of high caliber potential marriage partners is not one of those problems.
American Reformer Matching Grant
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Cover image via Upsplash.