This is going to be a personal post. As part of my resolve to keep this blog from getting merely heady, I’m going to share my heart:
I feel that a man’s heart may be more easily broken than a woman’s.
A man, a man of courage, needs a fight. A man, a man with a heart, needs someone to rescue. A true honest man needs both. That is what chivalry is all about – not that a woman is incapable of helping herself, but a man is given worth when he is in the act of opening a door for someone, or fighting for someone… even if that someone never sees him again.
In Genesis it is written that “It is not good for a man to be alone”. That was even before the Fall! This longing to not be alone is what ought to drive us men to give of ourselves. We have a deep longing to serve, a deep hurting for a help-mate. We don’t desire just friendship (what a cop out that is!), but something deeper, something purer, something dangerous, something beautiful.
It has been very hard these past years as I have seen many women I have liked enter into marriage with someone else. It has also been hard to see many men enter the challenge of marriage while I am left alone. It feels as though I am trapped in the kiddie pool while there is great adventure for the real adults in the deep end (those who have taken the plunge) and it’s not by my choice! Recently, in September, my heart was crushed after I had confessed my feelings toward someone after 6 months of dating and was quickly and ambivalently told that I was delusional and had wasted my time with her (it was in an e-mail too – the medium of the message hurt deeper than even the message itself). That hurt… at the level of my very being.
So far my experience in this realm has been deep chronic longing punctuated by a impaled heart. I don’t want to hurt anymore.
C.S. Lewis writes in ‘The:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change.
It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
Yes, many people including myself will give up from time to time. They do not want to be vulnerable anymore. They do not want to feel pain. They always want to win so they will retreat to their bastions of security in their private worlds of sports, computer games, busyness, movies, mess and distractions – those small worlds under our control. Those counterfeits however do not give any relief to the deep longing for someone to share a life with, someone to share their love with, someone to be there. In Proverbs 12:12 it says:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
So I have to say, my heart is very sick of waiting. What good is a joy deferred if it is unknown that it will ever arrive? What good is a joy deferred if it may never be fulfilled? That is my main contention against those who say that there can still be this same sort of empty loneliness in marriage: when a spouse leaves on a business trip, at least there is a assurance that they will return. A married couple has vowed to be with each other till death; they have pledged their hearts to each other. A single person does not have the assurance that the longing of his heart will ever be fulfilled.
It is in those empty nights, those lonely days that hearts yearn for companionship. It is in those moments when we leave our distractions that we see ourselves as truly and utterly alone. The thoughts of doubt creep into the minds of single guys (like me) that it is too late – all the good christian woman are all ready taken. God has already blessed them with a spouse. All that is left are the mere scrapings from the bottom of the barrel of life. I feel like Diogenes of Sinope carrying my lamp in the daytime, searching for an honest woman. Perhaps Soloman was right in Ecclesiastes 7: 27-28 (“Look,” says the Teacher,“this is what I have discovered: “Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things— while I was still searching but not finding— I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all.”) There is going to be a certain point, maybe I’ve already crossed it, that it will be impossible to ever find someone – if it will ever be possible to fulfill the longings of my heart. How long should I carry that lamp… that torch?
Often I feel like that poor soul whose heart gets ripped out in ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ whenever those deep pangs of longing hit.
But then, what does my heart long for?
There was a great blog post on Reclaimingthemind.org that is entitled God-never-promised-us-a-mate/ that convicted me. There was another fantastic article here: Single-and-lonely-finding-intimacy-you-desire. It said that a spouse is not God. A wife can never replace God. A spouse is there to bring one closer to God. Then I heard of the wonderful story of William Lane Craig’s wife (which he shared on one of his podcasts) discussed here: Is-it-ok-for-christians-to-marry-non-christians/ . It is good to be discerning, it is good to have a correct focus.
My focus must be not be on myself or on just anyone anymore. I must have a holy charge.
What then is my charge, what is my dream? I want to challenge to world, to be a force to be reckoned with, a force worthy of respect. I want to fight hard, bleed hard, sweat hard, to earn and wear a token from my future love proudly into my daily battles. Then someday make… that lucky woman my bride. In short, I must become a brave warrior. I hope someday find to a woman whom I have proven that I am willing to fight the whole world to just be with her – as by then I would have already done so.
My heart cries out – will I have that chance? I sincerely hope so, that is why I desire to fight the windmills of this world.
Why do I fight? Is it for her? No, I fight because that is what I am charged to do. If God brings a woman into my life, she will be in for the wildest of adventures with me. If God brings a woman into my life, we will fight not just for ourselves but together for the Kingdom.
So in this public forum let me declare what I hope and pray for (hoping that I someday will be blessed with a honest epic fight, a honest wonderful woman or God-willing both… soon). I do not desire a wispy elf maiden: there one day and gone the next – one that disappears when life gets tough or when her feelings change. I desire a shield-maiden of the kingdom, an Éowyn. A brave warrior of a woman who fights with a bravery and ferocity that rivals any warrior, and yet cares deeper than any mere lover.
What does that look like? First some advice from the aforementioned William Craig article:
“And you young men, I would encourage you, if you marry, to find a gal who shares your vision, not some independent vision, but who is interested in aligning… herself with you, and pursuing together a common vision and goal that will draw you [together], so that you will avoid the growing separateness that so often creeps into marriages.” – William Craig
What does my heart yearn for?
1. A woman who worships and serves God, not herself (or me). I am not the center of all things, neither should my potential future wife be. God ought to be first is all things; not mere feelings and not wasteful pleasure. I think I have learned the folly in not looking for this first.
2. A woman who uses both her heart and mind. To many women (and men for that matter) feel with only their heart. That is a selfish love. That is the love (if one can call it that) of hoarding and/or escape. I cannot and will not tolerate anyone whose main goal in life is escape. If her compass in life is just her fickle feelings, she has much growing up to do, as she will run when her feelings change – when life gets hard or just on a whim. On the other hand caring only with the mind is also selfish love. That is the love (if one can call it that) of distance and/or escape. Either way she must not be trapped in vices or live a life full of distractions. If life is a battle to be fought, or a great adventure, then there is no room for cowards who run and try to escape into collections, horses, wine, pets, food, spending money, or anything else when any difficulty in life hits.
3. A woman who can defend the Kingdom in a way that I cannot. We must complete each other. Women have an amazing power that men can never obtain. She must have honed this power of true beauty… of femininity (and I true masculinity as well) by knowing that she is worth the pursuit – she is worthy of life, not mere existence. In addition to that, she must know apologetics and how to defend what we believe – not with vague intuition, but with bold assurance. She must know the Word and follow it.
4. A woman who has not turned bitter through the trials of life. Too many women I see dress immodestly because they have lost their self-image. Too many women I have seen spend all their time bickering like hens over the smallest things. Too many women become embroiled in petty things forgetting the greater purpose they are called for. I would rather stay single than get hen-pecked by people who have no goal in their life, get entangled with a shrew that only cares about looks, or lose my way in the petty distractions of escape. Goals give us the courage to walk through the trial and tribulations of this earthly life. She must have a goal. This goal must be more than just pleasing herself..
Is there a woman who even fits these standards anymore? Do I have the Faith to see these fulfilled? My heart wants to say yes, but there is that voice of doubt that says it will never happen, that I have missed the boat a long time ago. Perhaps romance is dead – as for me I believe that it is still alive and well, even if I never get to see it in my lifetime.
A man’s heart is continually broken every day when he is alone – for it is not good for him to be alone. That is why I say that a man’s heart is more easily broken.
If a man’s heart is broken too much it may never come back…