Saturday, July 25, 2009
Young men are widely misunderstood—especially by young women...and especially, in the courtship movement. Most of the time, girls are completely clueless about guys and their feelings and, really, mystifyingly so. Take several friends of mine, for example, they seem totally and completely clueless about young men…yet most of them have brothers and/or are close to their fathers. It is as if they cannot believe that other men do indeed have similar feelings to that of their associates. There's a lot of talk about treating young men as brothers in Christ…but I don't think very many young ladies even understand or think about how to do that. These same friends are crazy about Vision Forum and Courtship and everything that goes with it―they can recite all the steps in their courtship plans (though they deny having one…have you ever noticed how courtship people deny having a plan yet still have one??) but really cares nothing about understanding guys. It’s so unfair. I have a father, brothers, guy cousins, and a few close guy friends—I’ve talked to them and I’ve studied them… and have come to the conclusion that my friends and all the girls like them are very mistaken about guys. Below is a list of mistaken beliefs and behaviors that I noted that many of them hold on to and my comments (if I have them) on the items noted.
—Girls with a strong courtship mindset often:
1. Seem afraid of guys; as if they think every young man they meet is going to want to marry them or at least try to ask them out.
I’ve known a lot of guys…as friends. Some are nice and some are kind of Charlie Sloanish (read the Anne of Green Gables books to see what I’m referring to) but not one of them has ever done anything that was truly startling. :-) It might have been annoying or even aggravating but nothing to be scared of or worried about. I just keep other people around when I’m talking to a guy...it’s not a big deal at all.
2. Don’t give guys a chance or the benefit of the doubt.
3. Have over-blown expectations about guys between the ages of 14-18 especially.
Do you really think he’s going to brave all and hasten to your rescue when he’s 16? Is he really going to be perfectly polished or romantic? This is your chance to be encouraging towards guys; they need your support. Just don’t expect perfection from them. You wouldn’t want them expecting you to be perfect all the time, would you?
At a homeschool convention that happened recently, there were a lot of young men who were trying to be “cool.” You know the type, acting like surfer dudes on the wrong beach. Maybe the reason they were acting like that, trying to be tough, was because they are terribly insecure. Adolescence is a tough enough time for young men even without heaping expectations upon them that they cannot measure up to. There is no way a normal guy can be everything Vision Forum wants them to be…I know there are guys who appear to be everything and more. But inside, they must feel hollow.
I've also noticed that at many conventions there are far more young women than young men attending and as I pondered this, I wondered....
Could all this “vision casting” be having a negative effect upon young men?
That’s a whole other post and I’m not sure that I have enough information to write it.
4. Don’t understand real love; it’s either sappy romance or having to make a formal decision...both things can be part of love but neither is all of it.
5. Don’t apply their knowledge gained from father/brothers/cousins to guys they are not related to.
6. Seem shy, cold, or rude towards young men in their effort to keep their distance.
7. Obsess over marriage but don’t understand what marriage is.
A lot of girls are in love with love or they want to have children. They don’t truly want to get married. I know they say they do…but they really don’t. My friends say (quite often) that they want to marry young and have lots of kids…but what they really talk about are the kids. The guy rarely comes into the discussion―they say nothing him and what they hope he’ll be like. When I think of marriage, words like; “being able to read his mind”, companionship, humor, and love come to mind—thoughts of children follow afterwards. I really like children but they’re not my motivation for wanting to get married.
If all you think about in marriage is children or mushy romance...then you’re not ready to marry.
Marriage is, to alter a Jack Sparrow quote, “It's not just a man and a woman and a house and some kids, that's what a marriage needs but what a marriage is... what a good marriage really is... is a miracle.”
8. Think that love can be turned off and on like a light switch.
Well-meaning family and friends have sadly been guilty of telling me that I should just pray “that God will take your feelings for so and so away .” And my response is, “What if He doesn’t want to take them away?” That always floors them :-)
9. Treat God like a vending machine… saying things like, “Well God gave me a desire for marriage so I’m sure I’ll get married really soon.”
Honey, you’ve got a lot to learn. God gives you desires and dreams to test you and is watching to see how you handle them. They are wonderful things but have to be handled properly to be of any use. Saying things like, “But what if God doesn’t want you to marry soon?” is always amusing. Especially, because the young lady normally cannot think of any reply to this but repeating the avowal in #9.
It’s also like saying, “God has given me the desire to have a handsome guy for my husband...so I’m sure my guy will be gorgeous!” Sheesh. And I always wonder, “What about the homely man with a beautiful heart?” (Elizabeth Elliot relates a conversation similar to this in Passion and Purity...I think.)
10. Are unwilling to even think about having to be bold with a guy at any time.
There are times when you’re going to need to make a move and go after your guy…they’re rare but they exist. Think Ruth. :-)
11. Think that there are very few nice guys out there.
The world is full of nice guys…stop being so pessimistic!
12. Thinks that guys are “heart-stealers”.
I've heard a speaker about courtship say, (I'll paraphrase) "If a young man comes to you after he's already stolen your daughter's heart then he can't court her." Many people seem to agree with this but my mind always yells: "STOLEN!!! What the heck?? The poor guy!! Who would want to marry your daughter… you, you reprobate!!" Ahem, anyway.... :-D
First off, there's that word. Steal. That means to take something without the owner's permission. God should be the owner of a person's heart and when a Christian young lady gives her heart to someone, it should be because it's God's will. There's no stealing involved. No one can force you to love someone anymore than anyone can force you to stop loving someone.
"It is mine to give to whom I choose…like my heart," – Arwen Evenstar, in the movie of The Fellowship of the Ring.
Understand this: your heart is a gift and you give it to whoever you choose. It cannot be stolen without your permission. So stop acting as if the exchanging of hearts is a robbery!
Then, there’s the obvious question: Do you honestly think that a normal young man actually tries to steal a girl's heart?
Do you think that a guy wakes up in the morning and thinks “I’ll make so and so fall in love with me today!”
13. Think that all guys are Casanova heartbreakers that lead girls on.
A girl I knew once told me, "Any guy who leads a girl on and can't make a commitment is a jerk." I didn't agree with her then and I still don't now.
Because, I mean really, does a guy actually, purposely lead a girl on?
Think about it…if he knew what he was doing…would he actually do it?
I doubt it. In reality, I think most nice young men…the kind that are worth noticing…are just as nervous about girls as we are about guys. Maybe even more so…because after all, the guy is the one who has to lay his whole heart out on the line. Whenever he asks a girl out or talks to her Dad or asks her to marry him…he's giving her the chance to completely and totally wound him.
14. Use the excuse “he led me on!”
You can’t be lead anywhere unless you move your feet. Basically, unless he's asking you out, NEVER assume he likes you!
—And girls of any mindset seem to think:
15. That guys have no emotions.
I don’t know what idiot started that idea but womankind has been believing that’s it’s true for generations. For one thing, I can tell you that guys are sensitive and emotionally vulnerable―but they don’t talk about it all the time…if ever. Guys feel...deeply. I know they do. Have you ever seen a teenage boy after his team lost a ballgame and he thought it was his fault? Or when they’ve gotten really injured (but are trying to pretend they’re not really injured)? It’s worse for them...because they tend to stuff it and therefore, can suffer much more and for a longer time than girls. Stop seeing young men as shyster Casanova heart-stealers who are out to get you and start seeing them as human beings. They’re people too after all and have the same essential needs that girls have. Moreover, you may want to marry one someday and likely will end up being a mother... I think making an effort to understand guys is worth your time. So, give the guys a chance...before it's too late.
P.S. I don’t recommend books very often but if you need help understanding guys...this is a fairly good (clean) book: http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-About-Guys-Shouldnt-Secret/dp/0784715440/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196786739&sr=8-1
There are a few things I've discovered to be untrue or exaggerated in it but it's a good book to get you started being more empathetic towards young men. As with any self-help book though, it’s best to read it once and then refrain from referring to it unless you really need to. :-)