As I grew frustrated with Gottlieb’s bullheadedness, I started thinking that modern Christian women have been taught to think like Gottlieb – to be what she calls “maximizers”: people who will only accept the absolute best. The fear of settling for a less-than-totally on fire for God man is implanted in Christian girls from at least junior high on, both in church and in Christian media. How many times have Christian girls been warned not to marry a man who doesn’t TOTALLY LOVE JESUS WITH ALL HIS HEART, with dark implications or outright warnings that life will be TERRIBLE otherwise? How many times have Christian girls been told that the man must be the Spiritual Leader, with the implication that if he’s not leading the charge to go to Sunday School and lead devotions and pray all the time, that he must be disqualified as a potential husband? Conversely, how often have Christian girls been told to give Christian men encouragement to grow in their faith and to have patience with them if they weren’t as “strong” in the faith as the women? The bar has been raised so high that hardly any Christian man can be marriage-worthy.
The problem that Haley strikes at is that there is no room for growth in a relationship. This is mostly a cultural problem, and one that is not going to disappear soon. America is a democracy, operates on an assumption of equality, is rather youth-oriented and anti-tradition. Unfortunately, the common man is an idiot, equality doesn’t exist, youth is fleeting, and tradition is useful in helping people avoid the mistake of their ancestors.
Consequently, there is a strong bias in modern America for having a perfect life in place by your mid-twenties (basically after you get out of college). Practically speaking, this idea is completely nuts but it never ceases to amaze me how many white middle class Americans spend their twenties trying to acquire a perfect life. Thanks to clever marketing and absolutely no perspective, a lot of people appear to have convinced themselves that need everything to be just perfect right off the bat.
The wisdom of tradition is that there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to human nature and as such young people are often immature and need some to grow up and mature into the role of, say father or husband. As such, it was important to note not only what someone was, but what someone could become in, say, forty years.
The truth is, few men under the age of thirty are natural leaders, and even among those who have the personality for leadership, almost none have the wisdom or life experience for it because of their age. The American fascination with youth is rather a pity since young people are generally inexperienced in life, and impatient to boot. As such, there is rarely any value in their words, and little to respect in their behavior.
Fortunately, this is not a permanent state. As people age and experience life, they change. The loss of parents and the birth of children change a man (or a woman). Adjusting to reality and letting go of unrealistic dreams bring a newfound depth and maturity to a person. Feeling the pain of injury or the humiliation of failure can bring about self-reflection. However, this process takes time and cannot be forced or rushed. It has its own schedule.
As such, it is truly lamentable that many women, particularly single young white modern evangelical American women, are unable to think in terms of long-term potential and instead insist on focusing on the here and now. They are fools, lacking wisdom, and it is a pity that their elders have not either the balls or the brains to impart unto them the wisdom that they lack.