PODCAST: The Rise of Lonely Men–Plus How to Be Inspiring

by | Aug 18, 2022 | Podcasts | 36 comments

Rise of Lonely, Single Men Podcast

We’ve got some wonderful inspiring stories to share with you today–plus a new research study with implications for dating. 

This month on the podcast I’ve been talking about women heroes you should know–we talked about biographies of Josephine Butler and Katharine Bushnell, who were both amazing. 

Today Rebecca and I tell you about two modern day heroes, plus two young women using the gifts God gave them to try to change their world! 

Then we analyze that Psychology Today article we told you about–the rise of lonely, single men. Listen in!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:

Transcript

Sheila: Welcome to the Bare Marriage Podcast.  I’m Sheila Wray Gregoire from tolovehonorandvacuum.com where we like to talk about healthy, evidence-based, biblical advice for your sex life and your marriage.  And I am joined today by Rebecca Lindenbach, my daughter.

Rebecca: Hello.  

Sheila: And we will not be at tolovehonorandvacuum.com, hopefully, too much longer.  

Rebecca: Oh gosh.  Hopefully.  Hopefully.    

Sheila: We can’t give you an exact date because every time we think we’re almost done we find something else big.  But we are in the process of moving over to baremarriage.com.  We are only taking the posts from 2018 and forward because I don’t agree with 2016 Sheila all the time.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  Well, and it’s just easier just to start over than to go through every single one of the 2,700 blog posts that are on the site right now.  

Sheila: Yes.  Yes.  And I’m reposting some of my favorites too to make sure they come.  So that will be soon.  We hope.  So that’s one major announcement.  The second one is if you have been listening to the last two weeks you will know we are in the middle of a really good series called Women Heroes of the Faith That You Need to Know About.  Women that history has forgotten.  And so two weeks ago we talked about Josephine Butler because I read just a life-changing biography on her and so inspirational.  So please go listen to that podcast.  Last week we did Katharine Bushnell.  I interviewed Kristen Du Mez about her biography of Katharine Bushnell.  And yeah.  There’s just a lot of people that have done amazing things for God in history that we may not know about.

Rebecca: And they don’t get the air time because they aren’t usually in positions of power.  

Sheila: That’s right.  And also because a lot of these women were fighting—  

Rebecca: Were fighting the status quo.  They’re fighting the guys in power.  So, of course, they’re not going to want to be remembered.

Sheila: Yes.  So go check them out.  Today we want to do something a little bit different.  We want to tell you some stories of modern day women from around the world.  And we don’t have biographies for you to read, so these won’t be quite as long.  But just really inspirational stories that we would encourage you to check out.  And I want to start with Theresa Kachindamoto. And apologies to everyone in Malawi if I am saying that wrong.  But Theresa Kachindamoto is just an amazing story.  She was born the youngest of 12 kids.  So we all know if you’re the youngest of 12 kids, you’re not that important.  Kind of like the David and Goliath story.  Remember that?  Bring out your all your sons, Samuel says.  And he’s like, “Well, these are all my sons.”  

Rebecca: There’s one more.  Oh, it’s just David. 

Sheila: Yeah.  So youngest of 12.  She came from a family that was from the elite, tended to be the rulers in their tribe.  But she was the youngest, and she worked as a secretary for 20 years.  But she had the kind of personality that everybody just knows you.

Rebecca: Yeah.  You’re just a very typical baby of the family.  Yeah. 

Sheila: And so in the early 2000s, she was actually elected as chief of her tribe of 900,000 people.  So they have democratically elected chiefs.  It’s not hereditary or anything, but it is from her tribe.  And then I think there is like 500 tribal heads or tribal leaders under her.  And so she gets to be chief.  And she looks around, and she sees there is all these 12, 13, 14-year-old girls who have 2 kids.  And she’s like, “Oh, no.  This is not happening on my watch.”  And she goes on this huge crusade to end and annul child marriages.  And child marriages are against in the law in Malawi, but the law wasn’t being enforced.  And so she said to her chiefs, “Either you enforce the law in your areas, or you are fired.”  And she ended up firing a bunch of people.  And then when they did annul the child marriages, she let them back in.  So that’s great.  But she’s established these parent councils.  They do door-to-door campaigns where they knock on people’s doors, and they talk about the importance of girls getting educated and how when girls stay in school the family benefits and everybody benefits.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Because the problem is, of course, a lot of these communities, the reason that you don’t send your daughter to school is because you’re relying on dowry as part of your income, right?  Like you need to, in essence, sell your daughters to feed your family.    

Sheila: Right.    

Rebecca: And so showing them if you educate your daughters, if you give them a chance to build a life for themselves, the whole family will benefit.  It’s not just a one-time dowry payout, right?  Because remember?  A lot of people are quite desperate.  It’s not always an issue of being cruel as much as an issue of desperation.

Sheila: Right.  And in Malawi at the time, you had a 50/50 chance of being married before 18.  And girls, who become mothers before 18, they—they were having a 20 to 30% maternal mortality rate.

Rebecca: Yeah.  It’s horrific.

Sheila: Malawi is, I think, the sixth poorest country in the world.  So health care is really bad, so there’s all kinds of issues here.  And she has annulled, I think, over 2,000 child marriages now.  

Rebecca: Something amazing like that.

Sheila: Yeah.  And it’s not just girls that she’s trying to rescue.  She’s trying to rescue boys from child marriages too and just get everybody back in school, and nobody become a parent until you’re an adult yourself.  And she’s just doing such an incredible job in raising awareness of this.  And you think about a woman doing that as chief in what’s normally a patriarchal society, and she’s someone who was just using the power that she has to really make changes that are going to affect generations to come.  So I love that.  I love that.  And now you have a story.  

Rebecca: I do.  I want to talk to people about Dora.  The woman that I follow on TikTok.  She is in, I believe, Zambia.  And Dora Nyambe.  And she actually is doing something slightly different than Theresa because she doesn’t actually have power.      

Sheila: Right.    

Rebecca: She’s just a woman.  She’s a 20—I think she’s in her late 20s now.  She’s about my age.  She said at the beginning of 2020 she had already adopted 5 children.  So she had 5 children of her own already.  And actually, I’m just going to read out what she posted.  So she moved to the remote village of Mapapa in 2020.  She had already adopted her then 5 children by that point.  But then she started a free school for the kids of the village that provides food, education, health care, love, and a safe house for abused children.  They have since then begun building a hospital for the village, and she has added to her personal family by adopting 7 more children herself as well as fostering 150 children at the school.  And, as she says—“And yes.  I’m not yet married.”  Okay.  I love this woman.  She’s amazing.  So what she does is she actually posts everything that she is doing on TikTok so people can see what it is like to do a grassroots, on-the-ground operation where you are helping save children—save girls from child marriages.  She goes to court to get these marriages annulled as well.  She helps sue rapists of these children.  She’s doing all of this on her own and with the help of other women in the community.  And in essence, they’re doing this amazing thing all just because she’s a woman who saw people in need, and she said, “Well, I’m just going to do something about it.” And she’s done other TikToks where she talks about how she always wanted a family.  And people keep asking her, “When are you going to get married?”  And she’s like, “I have kids.”  

Sheila: Yeah.  I think you said she adopted—when she was 21, she adopted—

Rebecca: She adopted a 14 year old, and she kept on doing all these things like, “I’m 21 with a 14 year old.  Ask me how,” and stuff like that.  Yeah.  And she just has fun with it where she’s like, “Yeah.  You know?  You just help the people in front of you.”  And that’s what Dora does.  And so I—if you’re looking for someone to support or ways to actually make a real difference in people’s lives and to support people who are on the ground in their own communities doing it just check out Dora on TikTok.  We’ll put her link in the podcast description notes because I love her.  And the coolest thing is as you give money, I know last year they had a big fundraising initiative for the school supplies for the year.  And then she got to actually show them unboxing all the school supplies.  So you get to actually see it happening as it’s unfolding in real time.  It’s amazing.

Sheila: Yeah.  Yeah.  So that’s so cool.  And, again, here’s a woman who she didn’t have much, but she used what she had.  And it seems to me that both Theresa Kachindamoto and Dora are really living out the parable of the talents.

Rebecca: Oh, 1,000%.  

Sheila: Because Theresa was given 10 let’s say, right?

Rebecca: She just made 100.  

Sheila: And she’s made 100.  And Dora might only have been given like 5 or 2 or whatever, and she’s multiplied that hugely because not all of us have the same circumstances.  But you do what you can with what you have.

Rebecca: And it’s astounding what this woman has done.  It is astounding.  She went from just adopting one child because she saw a child in need and wanted to save her from a child marriage to now fostering over 150 kids. 

Sheila: Yeah.  It is incredible.  When you step out and you just do the little things that God has put right in front of you, “Hey, this is something you can do,” then it’s like God increases the things that you are able to do.  And I just—I love that so much.  So we will put the link to the story of Theresa Kachindamoto.  It’s just a wonderful story to talk about as a family—what she is doing and the reality of child marriage around the world and how we need to fight this.  We’re celebrating in Malawi outlawing marriage below the age of 18 and a lot of African and Asian countries have made child marriage illegal because of the problem of it.  What people may not know is that child marriage is actually legal in Canada and in—how many states in the United States?

Rebecca: 44 out of 50.

Sheila: 44 states.  In Canada, it is illegal to take your child abroad to get married if they’re 16 or younger or to marry them, but you can get married at 17.  In some states, I think you can even get married as young as 12 with parental permission.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  It’s horrific.  Yeah.  In Canada nationwide, there is, in essence, no way to legally marry a child, who is under 16 years old in Canada, but many states it’s terrifyingly young how as long as the parents or guardians sign off.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.  Mm-hmm.  So that’s just something that we should keep in mind and talk to your elected representatives about.   

Rebecca: Yes.

Sheila: Okay.  The big picture we’re trying to say is hey, when God puts something in front of you where you can really make a difference, let’s make a difference.  And we have a cool story to share with you about how two young women are making a difference.  Mailli and Abbi are two young filmmakers, who heard about The Great Sex Rescue, read The Great Sex Rescue, got really excited about it, but also were very horrified at the things that were being taught in other marriage books and the things that they had been taught as teenagers growing up.  And so they created a short film called All the Books.  And we’re going to put a link to that in the podcast notes even go watch it now.  Hit pause on this.  Go watch it now because we’re going to bring Mailli and Abbi on to talk about their film.  I am thrilled to bring to the Bare Marriage podcast two young women, who have done an amazing service for the Christian community.  I have Abbi Fisher and Mailli Brown with me.  Hi, ladies.

Abbi and Mailli: Hi.

Sheila: Now I need to tell the story of what you guys did.  Or maybe you should tell the story.  I’ll just say.  So Abbi, you are an English major right now at Grove City College, right?  And Mailli, you’re trying to figure out if you want to work in film or not.

Mailli: Yeah.

Sheila: But you’re both early 20s.  

Abbi: We’re not in our 20s yet.

Mailli: I just turned 19.  

Abbi: I’m about to turn 20.

Sheila: Okay.  So you’re really young.  You jumped into the fight with me.  So yay.  I’m so glad that there are young women jumping into this fight.  So tell us about the All the Books short film.

Mailli: It’s a short film.  It’s about 6 minutes long, and it follows a young woman who’s engaged and she’s very excited.  And she’s a Christian, so she goes to buy a Christian marriage book.  And it kind of follows her as this book kind of challenges her faith and—yeah.  Changes her perception of her relationship and herself.

Sheila: Yeah.  It’s got a real emotional punch.  I’m watching it.  And she gets—she’s so excited to get married and about her relationship.  And then she gets this book out.  You made up the book.  

Mailli: Yeah.

Abbi: Mm-hmm.

Sheila: So you created the cover and everything?

Mailli: Yeah.  We used Canva, so it was all free.  But we got together in Abbi’s room a Sunday afternoon reading through chapters of different books.  And the whole back cover is a composite of the Amazon synopsis of five different books.  So everything in it is paraphrased from a real best selling Christian marriage book.

Abbi: Yeah.  And we just sat up there, and we’re trying to not be horrified.  Really proud of what we’re writing but also like this is the worst.

Mailli: It felt so uncomfortable.

Abbi: This is terrible.

Sheila: I think the first heading that stood out to me when you opened this fake book that you wrote was, “A need you don’t have,” or something, which is a direct quote from Emerson Eggerichs, right?    

Abbi: Yeah.

Mailli: Yep.  Because I’ve listened to a lot of the stuff that you said about Love and Respect, and then I’ve read parts of it too.  Weirdly enough, it was for school.  We were practicing respect, so it was like, “Here is someone I disagree with.  Let’s see if I can respect him as a human being.”  So I got to read a lot more of Love and Respect.  I’m like, “Hey, look.  I know this stuff.  We can put it in our little fake book here.”  

Sheila: That must have been fun.  I remember last year my daughter, Katie, and I—we created all these fake romance novels.  She did a photo shoot.  It was really quite fun and writing the back covers was the best part.  But tell us what the back cover of your book said?

Abbi: Oh my goodness.  Oh—

Mailli: The book we didn’t bring with us because she got from—just came back from camp.

Abbi: I’m in the middle of a week of summer camp, so I left my campers for a couple hours.  Well, we have some amazing reviews from Emmett Egbert and Sharon Farnes.  

Mailli: Definitely fake names for sure.

Abbi: Yeah.  I know at least we have the phrase, “smoking hot wife,” in there.  

Mailli: I’m trying to see if we have a photo of it or not.

Sheila: And I remember in the internal part of your book I’m sure I saw something from Every Man’s Battle there too about—yeah.

Abbi: Oh yeah.

Mailli: Yep.

Sheila: So you’re critiquing it.  So she reads this book.  This is where the emotional part comes in because she gets really crestfallen.  And then her finance comes, and he’s all excited to see her.  And he doesn’t know anything is wrong, and now she just doesn’t trust him anymore.

Abbi: Mm-hmm.

Mailli: Mm-hmm.

Sheila: And just feels really awkward with him.  And that’s what so many women go through.  

Abbi: Mm-hmm.

Sheila: So what got you into this?  You guys are 19.  What made you realize how toxic this stuff was?  

Abbi: Oh, how toxic it was.  Well, so it was this weird thing of—maybe last year or the year beforehand, I suddenly realized that a church that we were at, at the same time—it was where we met.  We were there about 10 years ago.  My family was there for 4 years after that.  I kind of had the sudden realization of like oh, I have all these things that happened to me at this church and, specifically, with some of the young male members of the church.  It’s like oh that was super toxic.  That was super sexist.  That was bullying.  And just I became aware of it and then really shortly after that I had read some of your articles through Pinterest.  And I told my mom, “Mom, I found this really, really cool website called To Love, Honor, and Vacuum.”  And she goes, “Abbi, I’ve been telling you to read Sheila Gregoire for years now.  She has a book coming out soon.”  So then I read The Great Sex Rescue very shortly after it was published and was like, “Oh, there’s a name for this kind of stuff.  There’s a name for these kinds of attitudes.”

Mailli: And then I was at camp a year ago.  And I don’t know.  I don’t remember why, but you sent me the modesty episode, which you just reran.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

Mailli: About the modesty message.  So I had a free morning, and she sent that to me.  And I was like, “Wait.  This is our camp’s dress code.”

Abbi: Well, I sent it to you because that camp is run by the church that we were both at when we met.  

Mailli: Yeah.

Abbi: It’s not still run, but it used to be run by that church.

Mailli: Yeah.  So then I started getting into that.  And we talked about it.  And we’d been doing film making projects together for years and years.  And so last Christmas, I was—I wanted to get The Great Sex Rescue from a local bookstore, if I could.  So I went to the Christian bookstore, and it wasn’t there.  But I thought, “I’ll just read through the marriage section and see if there is anything there.”  So I picked up His Needs, Her Needs because I didn’t recognize the—I didn’t recognize the cover.  And I read the whole first chapter, and, at the end, I was like—my hands were shaking.  I just felt really gross because it’s about—yeah.  Yeah.  It just didn’t feel like a marriage book at all.  They don’t mention Jesus.  It was like you can’t really control.  So that’s a lot of this book is you have to keep him from having an affair was a lot of that message.  So then I came home.  I walked home, and then I texted Abbi.  And I was like, “This was so weird.”  And then I opened Google Docs, and I wrote the entire script in half an hour.  It hasn’t changed since.

Sheila: Oh, that’s amazing.  

Abbi: Yeah.  Just one draft.

Sheila: So what have people’s responses been?  It’s been out for, I think, about a month.  At the point where this podcast goes live, it will have been out for about a month.  So what have people been saying?  

Mailli: So the first bit of reviews that we got from the—

Abbi: Our feedback.

Mailli: The feedback form were really interesting because we had—basically, I would say 3 groups of people.  There was a group of people that was like, “Anyhow, I’ve been sobbing for the past 10 minutes.  I can’t stop shaking because this is exactly what my experience was in the church and part of the reason I left.”  

Abbi: That was a lot of women our age.  Our friends who we sent it to.  That was a lot of that.  Or 10 years old who are maybe divorced because they finally got out of an abusive marriage because of all of these books.

Mailli: And then there was the people who—they hadn’t really interacted with this kind of stuff.  And some of them were like, “Well, this—it was really good.”  And other people were like, “Oh my gosh.  I can’t believe that there are people saying these things.  I’ve had no awareness that there were these messages out there.  And I’m horrified.”  And that was funny.

Abbi: That was really nice to—a lot of our young male friends that we sent it to.

Sheila: Oh good. 

Abbi: That was really comforting to—

Mailli: They were so happy with the film.  And they were like, “I’ve never heard this stuff before.  It’s horrible.”

Abbi: And they were outraged at the messages.  We know their moms.  And we’re like, “Okay.  That makes sense.  Their moms are very good.”

Mailli: And then we had the condescending like some students.

Sheila: Yes.  That’s okay.

Mailli: Those are our three types of responses.

Sheila: I just want to say too about the guys.  I think this is really true.  Most men do not want women getting these messages.  These are not the messages that guys want women to hear at all.  And it isn’t just hurting women.  It’s hurting men too.  So but a lot of guys because they don’t read the books and they’re not aimed at the guys they don’t always get the messages.  So they don’t know what we’re hearing.  So it’s great that some guys have watched it and understand more.

Mailli: It’s been really fun making it because, like Abbi said, a couple months ago she said, “I think our parents are more excited about this than we are.”  My dad was the most excited.  And yeah.  Yeah.  He loves your podcast just so much.  Yeah.  It’s been really fun to see our parents learning more about these things and then looking back and talking with their friends, who have teenage daughters and teenage sons.

Abbi: But since releasing it, we haven’t had any negative responses whatsoever.  Have we?

Mailli: No.  I think it’s still been in communities of people who—it’s mainly been mainly women who’ve been through, who’ve seen it.  

Abbi: Yeah.  Yeah.  And that was kind of our goal because I realized I—neither of us ever had these things directly, directly told to us growing up.  But it was very—it was implied.  And we saw it.

Mailli: Or it was in the churches that we were part of.  But it wasn’t in our families, so I know I’ve had—and I still have—tons of friends and people who completely believe these messages and are saturated in it.  And they will sometimes indirectly say or behave in manners like stemming from these beliefs which is weird to watch.  

Sheila: Yeah.  So should we have faith in the younger generation?  I’ve always said that it’s your generation that’s going to change things.  And I love the fact that you’re proving me right.  But do you think in your group at Grove City College or in the people that you know—do you think there’s an openness to challenge what’s been taught?

Mailli: Well, I only talk to 3 people at school.  So I’ve had some girls from school who are absolutely loved it and were super excited with what I was doing.  But I’ve definitely had a lot of interactions with people there who they’re really willing to discuss ideas.  And even if they don’t directly agree with something, they’re going to sit.  And they’re going to listen to you and really think about stuff.  And you’ve had some good experiences at school with people who believe this stuff.

Abbi: I think what’s been—yeah.  The majority of interactions I’ve had with people who believe it it’s—were definitely willing to talk about this.  And I don’t actually—it’s like they’ve grown up in it.  But they haven’t really thought about it.  So it seems like people are more open, but the deepest conversations I’ve had with people who have actually left Christianity because of all of these things and have a lot of hurt from it.  And so that’s been really encouraging with this process to have those people say, “I’m outside of this now, but it’s neat to see that you can critique it from the inside because I haven’t seen that yet.”  

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

Abbi: So I feel like that’s what I really want to keep doing is showing that you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water, and you can stay—you can keep Jesus and get rid of all of the—all the bad stuff.

Mailli: The nastiness.

Abbi: Yeah.  Yeah.

Sheila: Amen.  And I want people to understand that.  Is that the people who have been so hurt and who are leaving the church they’re watching us.  They’re watching, and they’re so—they just want someone to say this was wrong.  What was done to them was wrong.  And I think you guys did such a good job of doing that.  Again, I’m going to put the link to their video.  Please go watch it.  It’s 6 minutes long.  It is worth your time.  So check out the podcast notes for that link.  Watch the video.  Share it on Facebook.  Share it on Instagram.  Share it everywhere.  And follow them on Instagram and let’s get the word out because here is two young people doing amazing work.  It’s so creative, and I’m excited to see what you’re doing to do next.  So do you have any plans for the next thing you’re going to critique?

Mailli: Well, we have ideas.  

Abbi: Yeah.  We have lots of ideas.  Nothing solid.

Mailli: We need to take a break from something heavy to do some funky space Western or something.  Vikings.

Abbi: Vikings or something.  Who knows?

Mailli: Before we do—the next one that—the one that I really wanted to do is one about—more directly about purity culture.

Abbi: More about modesty and girls.

Mailli: And specifically at camps.

Sheila: Oh yes.  

Mailli: I’ve got to do that.  You’ve dealt with it a lot more than I have.    

Abbi: It’s fun being at the camp I’m at now because it’s slowly changing.  And it’s fun to be part of the changing conversations and talking with the campers about it.  But it’s also uncomfortable.

Sheila: Our new book.  Yeah.  Our new book—our mother daughter book—She Deserves Better—it’s going to be out in April.  We have stats of what the modesty message does to people.  

Mailli: Yes.

Sheila: So if you want to get an early look at those stats, I can give those to you, and you can put them in your video.  

Abbi: Oh my goodness.  Oh my goodness.

Sheila: Just let me know.

Abbi: We’re so excited.

Sheila: And then we would love to see your video on that.  So thank you so much for joining us.  Again, why don’t you tell people really quick where they can find you on Instagram?  

Mailli: We have an Instagram page for the short film.  It’s called @allthebooksfilm.  And then I’m—

Sheila: @allthebooksfilm?  

Mailli: Yes.  Yes.

Abbi: And then you have the main film account.

Mailli: I have all my film making projects, which is @maillibrown.

Sheila: Okay.  So I will put the link in the podcast’s notes, @allthebooksfilm and @maillibrown.  And that is awesome.  Well, thank you, ladies.  It’s been great talking to you.

Abbi: Thank you so much.

Mailli: Thank you.

Sheila: Isn’t that amazing?

Rebecca: They’re fantastic.  

Sheila: And I honestly didn’t know when I began the interview that they were as young as they are.  So imagine what these two are going to do in their lives.  I love—I absolutely love seeing—I want to say kids.  And I know I shouldn’t say kids.  They are young women.  I’m getting old.  But seriously, it makes my heart so happy to see people in their late teens, early 20s, doing such incredible things.

Rebecca: Well, it’s prevention work.  The thing is it’s prevention work.  If you can get in it while it’s young—while people are young, it’s prevention.  And an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?

Sheila: Yes.  So if you want something to motivate your own teenagers, your own young adults in your life, show them that movie and say, “Hey, this is what some really motivated 19-year-old young women did.”  And so let’s see how else we can change the conversation.  All right, Becca.  Something else happened on social media last week.

Rebecca: Yes.

Sheila: We changed what we were going to talk about for this podcast.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  I did.  I don’t even remember what we were supposed to talk about because the minute this dropped we were like, “This is what the podcast is on, right?” 

Sheila: Yes.  There was an article in Psychology Today that came out.  And it went quite bit on social media because the top of the article had the key takeaways.  If you’re watching on YouTube, Katie will put that graphic on there.  But I want to read you how this article was introduced.  It is called The Rise of Lonely, Single Men, and there were key points.  You want to read them?

Rebecca: Sure.  The key points are these.  “Dating opportunities for heterosexual men are diminishing as relationship standards rise.  Men represent approximately 62% of dating app losers lowering their chance for matches.  And men need to address skills deficits to meet healthier relationship expectations.”  

Sheila: Yes.  And those are the key takeaways.  What I really appreciated about this article is that he linked the studies that he was basing his findings on, and the studies were actually quite good ones.  One is a peer reviewed study about how loneliness is increasing among single men quite a bit in the last few years.  Another one was from the Pew Research Project where they looked at census data.  So this was only census data for the last 30 years, and they just analyzed the numbers.  So it wasn’t any interpretation of the—it wasn’t anything.  It was just pure census data, and they were—and what they were finding is that there are now more unmarried men than unmarried women in the age cohort of 25 to 54.  Or I’m sorry.  Not unmarried.  Unpartnered.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Unpartnered.  

Sheila: Unpartnered.  I need to make that very clear.  They were combining married and cohabiting.  Yeah.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  And usually, it’s been the other way around, hasn’t it?

Sheila: Yeah.  So this was a flip.  This was actually quite the flip, and it’s the first time it’s flipped.  So if people are saying, “Well, how could there be more,” basically, younger women might be partnered.  So women might be partnering faster so that on the lower end of the age spectrum of 25 to 54 more women are partnered than men.  But also on the older spectrum where you might get people who have been divorced or widowed or whatever women are more—women might be more likely to be partnered because they’re partnered with older people.  So you get this—yeah.  This thing where at both ends you might have more women who are partnered than men.

Rebecca: The other thing, of course, is that as relationships—that what they’re saying here is relationship standards are going up.  And this is why people are not going for people who are emotionally immature anymore which, statistically speaking, tends to be men.  Women are just dating other women more often.

Sheila: Yes.  There are more same sex relationships now as well.  So, again, this is going to affect how many women are partnered.  And the other issue that they also said is that when you look at people who are not partnered women are far more likely to live with children.  And so women are less likely to be lonely because they’re more likely to have people with them than men.  So really interesting.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  And, obviously, we know single motherhood is incredibly lonely.  

Sheila: Yes.  Yes.  Not trying to diminish that.

Rebecca: Just saying we’re talking about when we look at these studies that are looking at different markers of loneliness single women are more likely to have family community ties even if they are relatively draining ones— 

Sheila: Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

Rebecca: – than single men, who are truly, not just lonely, but alone.  

Sheila: Yes.  Yeah.  Exactly.  And that there was another study they linked to about how 62—how men are more likely to be on dating apps than women.  I was looking at other studies, and I did find—that one I find a little bit more ambiguous because it really seems like it depends which app you’re talking about.

Rebecca: Which makes total sense, right?

Sheila: Yeah.  If you’re talking about Ashley Madison where—  

Rebecca: It’s like 98% are men.

Sheila: I think it was like three-quarters.  Where you go to have an affair.  Or even Tinder is primarily men.  The hook up apps are primarily men.  But things like eHarmony are slightly more female I believe.  Christian Mingle slightly more female.  Not a lot.  We’re talking about a 52 to 47 or something.

Rebecca: I do wonder though, too, because the things about the Christian dating sites too I do wonder when we know that there are so many more religious women than there are men.  The fact that it’s not that huge of a difference actually might mean that it is more skewed in turn of men being on the sites, right?

Sheila: Yes.  That is true too.   

Rebecca: If the church is in general 60/40 and the sites are only 47/53, that actually is a pretty big difference.  

Sheila: Yeah.  So anyway so that one I wasn’t quite as sure about that study when I looked at it because I could see other ones.  But two very good studies.  And so the guy is taking this data, and he’s saying, “What can we—what conclusions can we draw from this?”  And one of the interesting things about the rise of unpartnered men, in particular, is that it does look like unpartnered men do worse on a number of things than unpartnered women do.  So they were looking at educational attainment, health outcomes, whether you’re living with your parents, and your finances and income.  And the group that has lost since the last census—the most on income—is single men.  The group that has gained the most in all those other things is partnered women.  So partnered women are doing really well.  Partnered men are doing really well.  And unpartnered women are actually doing—

Rebecca: Doing pretty okay.  They’re doing pretty well.

Sheila: Yeah.  Men are far more likely to live with their parents.  They’re far less likely to be independent if they are unpartnered than women.  So we have this group.  And what he’s also talking about in this and this is more anecdotal than he was talking about in this article.  But we have also seen peer reviewed studies on this is that women tend to be more emotionally mature and emotionally intelligent.  That is not biological.    

Rebecca: No.  It’s not.  And so the Lord decreed that the women would have the emotions and the man would have the sex as which is often said in our Christian marriage books.  No.  This is not biological at all.  This is a result of socialization, right?  And so there are certain biological things that make it more likely that we’ll be socialized certain ways such as, for example, if women don’t have social support systems in a land—in a community where it’s really dangerous and you have babies you might die.  And so women may have been more likely to create strong emotional attachments whereas men might be more focused on sports and athleticism because for each of us based on our risks that we’re likely to meet on a day-to-day level when you’re at a more primitive society that makes it less likely you’ll die.  It’s not because biologically speaking women are emotional and men can’t be emotionally healthy.

Sheila: Not at all.  Not at all.  And just to point out, in the Bible, Jesus shows a whole range of emotions.  Whole range of emotions are attributed to God.  Emotions are good.  

Rebecca: Yep.  David and Jonathan were super close.

Sheila: Yeah.  We had a whole series on emotional health.  I will put a link to that in the podcast notes to this.  So emotions are good.  So what women are really looking for in the dating pool is men who can invest in a relationship, who—where women don’t have to carry the relationship, with men who are emotionally healthy, and also men who just know how to clean a toilet. 

Rebecca: Yeah.  Well, there was that one study that we’ve talked about, I believe, on the podcast before that has found that in marriages men tend to always do better, married versus unmarried, right?  But women only do better in good marriages.  And if they’re in bad marriages, they actually do way worse.  And not abusive.  But just bad marriages.  Like even in a not great marriage, men are still more likely to have higher salaries.  They do better at work.  They have better health long term.  

Sheila: Less mental health.

Rebecca: Less mental health problems.  That kind of thing.  Whereas women in good marriages do great and in okay and bad marriages, just kind of either stagnate or do worse.  And so we have this situation now where women are just deciding I’m doing okay on my own.  I’m not marrying a man who is not—going to make my life worse so that I can prop him up while I just suffocate.

Sheila: Yes.  Yeah.  They’re saying, “Look, if I’m going to get married, you need to bring something to the table.”

Rebecca:   Exactly.  

Sheila: I want to get married because it will enhance my life.  And part of the problem, of course, is that this hasn’t always been the case.  Like now that women can financially look after themselves, now that women have support networks so they don’t necessarily need a guy to have their own emotional community support, whatever, they’re like, “I’m only going to get married if there is really a reason for it.”  And studies have also shown that when you marry women do more housework and men do less.

Rebecca: Yep.  And that’s not fair.  That should make no sense.  It should be that both of you do less.  

Sheila: Mm-hmm.  Yeah.  Because where you both had to do everything on your own when you’re married, now you should only have to do half as much.  

Rebecca:   Exactly.

Sheila: Well, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Rebecca: Exactly.

Sheila: So yeah.  So women are just being able finally to be selective and to say, “Hold on a second.  I would rather stay single than be with someone who drags me down.”  And we were talking about this in social media.  And overwhelmingly, that’s what women were saying.  

Rebecca: Okay.  So while we’re talking about emotional health and how men tend to not have the same kind of lessons taught to them in their earlier formative years as girls do when it comes to emotional wellbeing and relationship and all that kind of stuff, let’s talk about The Whole Story.  

Sheila: Okay. 

Rebecca: So my sister and I—when we went through puberty, we found that things were not as clear as they could have been.

Sheila: No.  I did not do a perfect job.  And so a couple years ago, they were complaining and laughing at me about this.  And I said, “Well, fine.  Do it better.”

Rebecca: Yeah.  Exactly.  So we actually create a course.  We did one course for girls, me and Katie.  And then Sheldon Neil as well as both of our husbands—me and Katie, our husbands—did the boys version.  And the boys version, in particular, actually has a whole unit on, in essence, spiritual development and character growth because, quite frankly, boys go through a lot less during puberty than girls do.  But on top of that, we knew that this is particularly an area especially in the Christian church we really need to work on with boys.  And so we thought that was a great idea.  But if you’re looking for an easy way to start these conversations in a way that’s not just fear based, it’s not purity culture.  It’s just the information your kid needs to know.  It’s very matter of fact, but also we do the hard parts for you.  We’re the ones who actually explain how does sex work.  What is intercourse, right?  What is an erection?  

Sheila: What’s a tampon?  

Rebecca: What is a tampon?  How do you use a tampon, right?  We do all that stuff for you.  And then we offer you discussion guides and question prompts so that you can continue the conversation and keep it going for years to come.  

Sheila: Mm-hmm.  So we will put a link to The Whole Story course.  It’s available in two different ages for younger kids, 10-12, and then older kids, 12-14, after that too.

Rebecca: Yep.  And you can get bundles as well if you’ve got kids of both genders and all different ages, whatever it is.  Just go check it out, and I’m sure you’ll find something for you.  Something that I also want to say with this is the idea that women are saying, “I’m not going to marry someone who is going to bring me down.”  A lot of people that I’ve seen online as people are talking about it is always saying, “Oh, well, they’re just being mean to these men.  And it’s not these men’s fault that they haven’t put in—they don’t know—have these skills.  And you’re going to have all these lonely men and all these women saying, ‘I’m so much better than them.’”  But I do want to say these are all learnable things.  There is no reason—people can say all they want.  “Oh, but your mom should have taught you this.  Or your dad should have taught you this.”  YouTube exists.  You can simply follow housekeeping channels on YouTube.  If your apartment looks like a very typical bachelor pad and is super destroyed all the time, because that is one of the big reasons why women are like I’m not marrying someone to be his maid, right?  If you don’t know how to keep a house and how to meal plan and how to cook healthy and how to get a budget going, I don’t know what to tell you, bud.  YouTube exists.  Google exists.  If you can memorize 800 football players’ numbers and stats, you can figure out the way to clean a bathroom.

Sheila: Yeah.  When I got married, I had no idea how to cook.  I really didn’t.  And so you know what I did?  I bought a couple of cookbooks, and I just—I followed—this is before the Internet, okay?  A long time ago.  But I just followed them step by step, and I actually learned how to be a pretty good cook.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Exactly.  

Sheila: I didn’t have anyone teaching me.  I just got a cookbook.  

Rebecca: Yep.  It’s not that hard.  This is what I hope that the next generation of men and the current generation of men, who are currently single, and like, “Why am I single,” can kind of think about.  Is like what are the skills that the girls around you—the women around you have had to learn simply because they’re women and people don’t allow them to not learn these things without a lot of stigma.  Because that’s the thing.  The bachelor pad aesthetic is not for girls.  It’s for men, right?  If you’re a single women whose apartment is super, super messy, you’re looked at like you’re a total slob.  A man, it’s like, “Ahh, your single days,” right?  So what are the things that I have not had to learn that the women around me, my peers, the people who I want to marry someday have had to learn?  And how can I learn those things, right?  Do you have close relationships?  Are you able to take criticism?  Are you showing personal growth?

Sheila: Yeah.  Because it’s not just housework.  It’s also this emotional—it’s also this emotional health.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  Emotional health.  And it all ties together, right?  Do you have—and be very honest with yourself.  Do you have a lot of entitlement? Because currently, women are not putting up with that anymore because they don’t need—and this is going to sound harsh.  But they don’t need you.  They don’t need you.  

Sheila: And there are a lot of guys who—and it’s not fair.  It’s not fair that so many men were raised without any help in identifying and talking about their emotions.  It’s why so few men have deep friendships whereas most women do have deep friendships with other women.  It isn’t fair.  But the problem is it isn’t a woman’s job to fix that in you.

Rebecca: Or to allow you to go on without learning those things because that’s really what they’re saying.  They’re saying, “Well, you should marry us anyway and feel bad for us.”  It’s like I shouldn’t have to fix this.  It’s like no.  No.  You can but you have to do the work.  And they’re going to be a lot of people who are single and they shouldn’t be.  And that’s just the unfortunate reality.

Sheila: Yeah.  I think we can—all of us can think of people who were like, “Why were they not married?  They’re an awesome catch.”  

Rebecca: Yeah.  Goodness sakes.  And sometimes it’s just luck of the draw.  But I know that my goal when I was dating because—and I’m not talking to singles because I got married at 20.  I’m just talking about the evidence.  But my philosophy was very much like, “I don’t know if I’m going to find someone.  I don’t know if it’s going to work or not.”  And so I was just like, “Well, I just don’t want to have any what ifs,” right?  And so I went to like literally everything.  I went on tons of dates even with people I was like, “This is not going to work.”  And we tried everything, and I did end up finding Connor very quickly.  But don’t let the what if be that you didn’t just become a better person.  Like don’t let the what if be that you didn’t learn how to take criticism, or you weren’t able to be a safe person to confide in.  Or you weren’t able to be a good partner.  Let’s not let that be the what if.  

Sheila: Mm-hmm.  And that goes for both men and women.  

Rebecca:   Yes.  Totally.  But statistically speaking, it’s just as more likely to be men.  That’s my big thing is these are things you can learn.  And these are things that there are women out there.  Women are not saying yes.  I love being single.  I’d rather not be married.  That’s not what they’re saying.  They would rather be in a good marriage relationship.  And then they’d be single, and then they’d be in a bad marriage relationship.  That’s all we’re saying.  So if you can do the work, if you can put yourself out there having been honest with yourself, maybe go to therapy.  If you’ve had a hard time keeping relationships or you’ve been choosing bad partners or you don’t have a lot of close friendships, just go to therapy even if you don’t have mental health problems.  Just be like I don’t know why people don’t seem to stick around me.  And just talk it out and get the skills that you need because this is something that can be learned.  And if you do learn it, there are people out there who are looking for a partner, but they’re not going to settle.  So don’t make them.

Sheila: Yeah.  Yeah.  Women are increasingly less likely to settle.  And I want to another dimension to this conversation too which is that this is even more so in the church.  

Rebecca: Yes.

Sheila: Last week was just an interesting week on social media.  And if you do not follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, please do because I love the fact that you listen to this podcast, but the community is a lot bigger than this.  And often the funniest stuff happens on social media.  And I seem to be a different person on each social media platform.  On Twitter, I’m just like burn it all down.  

Rebecca: Burn it all down.  I don’t care.

Sheila: And on Facebook, I tend to be a little bit more measured.  And then on Instagram, I’m like very pithy, and I have all my famous fixed it for yous.  But there were several interesting conversations that happened on Facebook last week.  And I was sharing a graphic where a man had been talking about how it’s a husband’s job to get his wife ready for Jesus by lovingly correcting her.  And I was fixing it so that it was proper because husbands are not our Saviors and Jesus already saved women.

Rebecca: Mm-hmm.  It is by grace you’ve been saved through faith except if you’re women and then it’s by your husband’s loving correction.  Yes.  That’s not how the verse goes, guys.  

Sheila: Yes.  Yeah.  Just not how the verse goes.  But a lot of men who are never on my social media ever were jumping in and calling me a heretic and all the bad stuff that often happens.

Rebecca: The very typical.

Sheila: And this is really common in Christian circles is whenever there’s a conversation about how there shouldn’t be male entitlement towards sex or where women are—

Rebecca:   Standing up for themselves.  

Sheila: Or are in the image of God just as much as men are.  Or where women should be treated as equals.  Men come out—certain men come out and really, really yell.  And women just aren’t taking it.  And that’s what’s interesting in the comments is that article that I shared about getting your wife ready for Jesus—I also shared that four years ago.  And while most people agreed with me, there was much more of a debate.  Today there is not the debate.  Women are just like now—the culture has changed.

Rebecca: Yeah.  And some of that is that the people who disagreed with us have left our page.  There’s also a lot of people who I remember from four years who have totally changed their mind.

Sheila: Yeah.  Because we even changed our mind on some things.    

Rebecca: Yeah.  Exactly.

Sheila: But the culture is changing.  

Rebecca: It is.

Sheila: And women are less likely to put up with this.

Rebecca: If the only thing that, as a Christian husband, you have to offer a potential wife is control over her, she’s not going to want what you’re offering because she doesn’t need it.  These days.  What do you bring to the table if you are like these men in these Christian marriage books?  Men, who like Emerson Eggerichs says, they need conquest and hierarchy and insight.  And incite doesn’t actually mean insight.  It means I need you to think that I’m smart even when I’m not, right?

Sheila: Yeah.  It means   that you need to forget everything you think, and you need to go ahead with my—my way goes.  My insight is the one that we listen to.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Exactly.  Yeah.  What really is disgusting when you read it because it really feels like they want some sycophant to just pant and drool over their wise words, and that’s entirely my opinion of Love and Respect.  But it’s disgusting.  But yeah.  Authority, insight, relationship.

Sheila: Yeah.  Conquest.  Hierarchy.  Authority.  

Rebecca: I love how I know how to spell the chairs.  And I automatically skip over authority because I find it so abhorrent to have the idea of wanting authority over your spouse.  It’s just so disgusting to me.  It’s like subconsciously I can’t remember that one.

Sheila: And all of this has to be unconditional remember?  Yeah.

Rebecca: Yes.  Unconditional.  But this is the kind of person who Eggerichs describes as what they need.  The kind of man who needs that much power and control over a woman is incredibly emotionally stunted.  Like incredibly emotionally stunted.  Like to the point where it’s like how can you even have a relationship with that kind of person.  But when you look at the relationships that are described in these books, it’s not a relationship.  It’s not what these women want.  This is the kind of relationship that makes her life worse, not better.  

Sheila: And that’s why, I think, so many women are saying, “I am not dating a Christian.”  We had so many women on our page saying, “Look.  I have dated evangelical men, and I will never do it again.”  A lot of women said, “I married an evangelical man.  He was entitled and abusive.  I divorced him, and I now married a lapsed Catholic.  And he treats me so well.”  Or, “I married someone that’s not a Christian.”  I hear that all the time, and it breaks my heart.  What does that say about our evangelical culture?    

Rebecca: Well, I mean even myself, I always said that Connor becoming a Christian when he was 19 years old was actually not a negative for me.  That was something where I knew I was much more likely to connect with someone from that background than from someone from a traditional conservative Christian background.  

Sheila: Yeah.  Who had grown up feeling—

Rebecca: Because I knew that I could make sure that I was with someone who honestly saw women as equals.  And that was the number one priority for me. 

Sheila: There was one comment on our Facebook page about this, and she said, “I was dating a guy who told me that if we married I was allowed to keep my car.  I still have my car.  I don’t know where he is anymore.”  

Rebecca: Exactly.  I love that comment.  I love that comment.  But this is the problem in these religious circles is the entire focus of marriage is so about male control and male headship that you have to wonder why are they so focused on this.  And let’s talk about the Halo study.  It’s so interesting.  

Sheila: Okay.  Okay.  Peer reviewed study.  We are using this a lot in our book She Deserves Better for mothers of teen girls which is coming out in April, so you still have to wait.  I’m sorry.  It’s all written, but it just takes awhile to get these things out there.  But we looked at this study that was done in Halo 3 players.  Okay?  And they were looking at female-voiced players, and they were seeing their interactions with the male players.  And what they found was that if you had a really, really skilled female-voiced player, the skilled male voice—male players treated her fine.  But the unskilled male players were so abusive and insulting and tried to take her down.

Rebecca:   Yeah.  Like sexual harassment, absolute insults, crass language, horrific.  And they did not treat the skilled male players this way.  In fact, the title of the news article for—by which we found the actual, original study is just hilarious.  I love how they titled it.  They titled it, “Video game study finds that losers are more likely to harass women.”    

Sheila: Yes.  Yes.  And here is the conclusion that has taken from the peer reviewed study.  “Low status males that have the most to lose due to a hierarchical reconfiguration are responding to the threat female competitors pose.  High status males with the least to fear were more positive.”

Rebecca:   Yeah.  And this makes sense.  It’s like say you think there is only room for 10 people to play.  And right now there are 10 men who want to play.  And it’s a boy’s club.  And then women say, “I want to play too.”  Now it goes to 20.  But if you were in the top 10 when it was only boys and now you’re going to be in number 18 if the girls play, it’s not—the problem you see is not your own lack of skill.  It’s that the girls came in, and that is entitlement.  That is male entitlement.  And that’s what we’re seeing here.  And I think that’s what we’re seeing in the church too.

Sheila: Yeah.  And so when the conversation changes and we’re starting to say women are equal to men.  God loves women.  God wants us to follow Jesus together and to have us both follow Jesus.  Listen to the Holy Spirit rather than tell a woman that she has to listen to her husband that that is the way she listens to God.  Telling a woman that, “No.  Together we’re supposed to listen for the Holy Spirit’s voice together.”  That becomes a threat—  

Rebecca: When you don’t have anything to offer.

Sheila: When you have nothing to offer and when your whole identity was formed in having someone under you and having a woman under you.

Rebecca: And not having to earn your place.  This is the problem is men don’t have to earn their place in marriage, in Christian circles.  They just simply are given a role where they have absolute power and authority, and they’ve never had to earn it.  They can be horrible people, and you’re still supposed to obey them as a woman.  And since women are not taking this anymore, I want to make prediction.  

Sheila: Okay.

Rebecca: So we’re already seeing this happen, but I think it’s going to happen even more is that the people in very conservative Christian spaces that are highly gendered focused especially when it comes to marriage are going to find that women who are exposed to the outside world don’t want what they’re offering anymore.  And so they’re going to have to breed up their own women in essence.  And how they’re going to do that, Christian schools, Christian college.  Keep them in the bubble.  Keep them in the bubble.  Convince them that everyone else is a tool of Satan.  They’re going to become more and more cloistered, and it’s going to become even more cult like because that’s the only way you can actually get women to marry unimpressive men.  But there’s no way to raise impressive men if you raise them with entitlement which is what their theology is.  So that’s my prediction. I think that in the next little bit I think that, as a whole, we’re actually going to see the influence of this kind of thinking die down.  Because why would a woman put themselves through a marriage like that?  Why would they put their children through having a father like that if they know they don’t have to?

Sheila: Right.

Rebecca: Unless they don’t know they don’t have to.  

Sheila: And so we’re going to see this increasing polarization.  There was a really interesting article, The Six Way Fracturing of Evangelicalism, talking about this.  We won’t get into it.  I’d love to talk about the article.

Rebecca: I’ve talked about it a lot of times in the unfiltered podcast, so all of our patrons will know what we’re talking about.  

Sheila: So here’s a plug to join our Patreon.  You can support us for as little as $5 a month, $8 a month.  You get unfiltered podcasts.  You get access to an amazing Facebook group, and it helps—it really helped us fund the writing of She Deserves Better.

Rebecca: Honestly, we thought the Patreon was going to fund totally different things this last year.  And then we are supposed to write this small, cutesy devotional for moms with daughters.  We’re like, “What if we try a second Great Sex Rescue?”

Sheila: Yeah.  What if we just go all out? 

Rebecca: What if we just put the same amount of work in as we did the first time?

Sheila: And by the way, let’s do it while you are Joanna are having another baby.  

Rebecca: Yes.  It was a lot, guys.  And the Patreon is really—it made it possible.  

Sheila: Yeah.  So we’re so grateful to them.  We’ve got some really fun ideas of other things we want to fund, so we’ll be telling you about those in a few weeks, but you can see the Patreon.  And our unfiltered podcasts are there including the ones where we talked about The Six Way Fracturing of Evangelicalism where things are going to get more polarized because yes.  People are no longer going to put up with toxic things.  And so I think it’s a good thing.  I think it’s a good thing that women are no longer settling.

Rebecca: I think so too.  And I think that the more that these more abusive communities have to dig in to the harmful parts of their theology because it’s in such stark contrast to the regular public I think it’s going to be easier to see them for who they are. 

Sheila: Yeah.  But let me end on, again, a good note because we know that there are a lot of single people listening to this podcast who desperately do want to get married, and we’re not the best people to talk about this honestly because we all got married so young.  And so I feel like I might have all of this advice, but it’s almost—

Rebecca: It’s insulting when people who got married before they were legally able to drink in the States gives singleness advice. 

Sheila: Yeah.  It really is.  And so I am sorry about that.  And I do really want to see people who want to get married get married.  But I want even more is just for people to be able to have meaningful relationships and be emotionally healthy wherever they are.  And we know there’s a lot of people who are married who are not emotionally healthy.  And so let’s get us all having meaningful relationships.  And in terms of getting married, the best piece of advice—I will just give you this.  It’s not for me.  It’s from Andy Stanley’s book, The New Rules of Love, Sex, and Dating.  I read it back in 2016, and it really stuck with me.  There’s this one phrase he says over and over and over again.  It’s his catchphrase from the book.  “Be the kind of person the kind of person you’re looking for is looking for.” 

Rebecca: Yeah.  No.  Andy Stanley.  That was just such a good quote from him.

Sheila: Yeah.  So be the kind of person the kind of person you’re looking for is looking for.  So do what you can.  Get emotionally healthy.  Get your finances in order.  Learn how to do housework.  And then you know what?  Even if you have to wait longer than you would like to get married or even if you don’t get married, you’re still in a really good place.  

Rebecca: Yep.  And that’s coming from, we’re talking about from the evidence based.  Just want to make that clear here.  We’re not talking as like married people, “You should be happy being single.”  I’m saying evidence based, research speaking this is why women are doing better when they’re single is because they’re more emotionally healthy.  

Sheila: So anyway, thank you for joining us for that discussion.  And we will put links.  I know we’ve talked about a lot of stuff.  We’ll put links to the article and all the research that went on for the article to my emotional maturity series.  Please look at that, The Six Ways that Evangelicalism is Fracturing.  And, of course, to Theresa Kachindamoto and Dora.

Rebecca: Dora Nyambe.

Sheila: And Dora Nyambe.  And All the Books video.  I want to say too—just one thing about the All the Books video as we are wrapping up.  I just want to do a plug for next week’s podcast.

Rebecca: Oh yes.  

Sheila: Next week’s is going to be an important one because we’re asking the question where are the authors now.  It’s been over a year.  It’s been a year and a half since The Great Sex Rescue was out.  So what’s happened?  What have the authors said that we were critiquing?  What have they done?  And where are they now?  And we’re going to be answering that question.  And so join us, it’s going to be great.  

Rebecca: Yes.

Sheila: A little sobering.

Rebecca: There is some tea that will be spilled.  I’m going to be honest.

Sheila: Yeah.  Little bit sobering, but I think you’ll understand a lot more where we’re coming from too.  So I’m looking forward to seeing you next week at the Bare Marriage podcast, hopefully soon at baremarriage.com.  

Rebecca: Lord, please.  Connor and I have been working on this for so long.  But hopefully soon.

Sheila: Yes.  And remember, subscribe to this podcast.  Tell other people about it and rate it five stars.  It helps us so much.  Okay.  Bye-bye.  

Timeline of the Podcast

0:10 Bare Marriage IS coming
2:00 Theresa from Malawi
5:40 Dora from Zambia
10:45 Mailli & Abbi join to discuss short film ‘All The Books’
25:45 “The Rise of Lonely, Single Men”
41:30 The changing culture
46:30 “Losers are more likely to harass women”
52:00 Encouragement for singles

How To Be Inspiring!

We talked about the amazing Chief Theresa Kachindamoto who is on a mission to annul child marriages for those married too young, prevent them from others, and keep kids in school.

She’s been so effective, forming grassroots organizations to go door to door and educate people on why it’s important to have your daughters in school.

AND MAJOR APOLOGY: I totally said her name wrong in the podcast. I have read her story so many times but I’ve never heard it said out loud, and I completely butchered it. I feel quite badly about that!

But regardless of how you pronounce her name, she is a wonderful model of someone using the power that she has been given to make amazing change in the world.

We then turned to Dora Nyambe of Zambia. 

Dora is just an ordinary (well, extraordinary!) young woman who saw injustice around her and did what she could to help.

When she was 21 she adopted her first child, who was then 14, to save her from a child marriage. 

She has now adopted eleven altogether, I believe. She has built a school for 150 of the poorest children of her region. She attends weddings with child brides so she can sue them in court and rescue the girls. She is building a hospital.

And she is just 27 years old.

She likes to say she did it all without a husband, because she already has all the kids she needs! And she has such a vibrant personality her TikTok channel has gone huge. That’s how she raises money, and then you can see directly where the money goes. 

Go follow her on TikTok!

The “All the Books” Short Film 

Next we talked to Mailli Brown and Abbi Fisher who created this awesome short film after reading The Great Sex Rescue! They even created their own book featuring some of the worst quotes from all the books I’ve pulled out! And they want to show the effect on a young, engaged woman reading the evangelical view of sex.

It’s powerful. Watch it before you listen to the interview. 

 

"A groundbreaking look into what true, sacred biblical sexuality is intended to be. A must-read." - Rachael Denhollander

What if you're NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the messages that you've been taught have messed things up--and what if there's a way to escape these toxic teachings?

It's time for a Great Sex Rescue.

Great Sex Rescue

The Rise of Lonely, Single Men

Finally, Rebecca and I did a deep dive into that Psychology Today article about women setting higher standards for who they will date and marry, and what this means in the evangelical community.

Things Mentioned in This Podcast:

 

The Rise of Lonely, Single Men Podcast

What do you think? Have you ever met someone really inspiring? Have you seen the Halo 3 study act out in real life? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Comments

We welcome your comments and want this to be a place for healthy discussion. Comments that are rude, profane, or abusive will not be allowed. Comments that are unrelated to the current post may be deleted. Comments above 300 words in length are let through at the moderator’s discretion and may be shortened to the first 300 words or deleted. By commenting you are agreeing to the terms outlined in our comment and privacy policy, which you can read in full here!

36 Comments

  1. Mara R

    Haven’t listened yet. Will when I can. Those women sound amazing.

    But my second thought was, “Oh, dear. Are we going to continue the (apparently) inflammatory discussion concerning lonely men over here? The last one was exhausting.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yep! We recorded this a while ago, but I think it was good! But, yes, that was exhausting.

      Reply
      • CMT

        You know, I’m kinda confused by all the pushback. For one thing, these are broad trends- a *tendency* for men *in general* to have less developed emotional skills, that may be contributing to an *overall* rise in singleness, as well as making it tougher for men *generally* to thrive as singles. Not “every single dude is an inept neckbeard and every woman is basically a relationship guru,” but some people seem to have read your piece that way.

        Also, it’s, well, less than shocking that as women in general have more options, they will tend to make different choices. There just isn’t as much pressure anymore for women to put up with men if they don’t pull their weight in the emotional side of a relationship. So a lot of them…don’t. Why is that strange? Ofc that doesn’t negate the fact that some women aren’t emotionally healthy, but to me the underlying message isn’t “boys drool” or “girls drool,” but “patriarchy drools.” Right??

        Reply
  2. Anonymous

    The psychology today article was just pointing out men need to be encouraged to be more emotionally available but it’s been kind of twisted to be insulting. If women want emotional available men, that means they are probably lonely for male companionship too but in a different way.

    My husband started a new job. I hear him often open up about his fears of not being accepted, not being an expert in the field where he once was at his old job, and will he be good enough. My husband is no wimp either but he’s human enough to not stuff these feelings down like many men have been taught. Especially in my generation.

    Its him going with me to bath and body works to smell every single candle for the 20th time this year and discussing the scents over lunch.

    I think the article just wants men to be open and communicate. It makes women feel safe and like they can trust the guy.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Totally! I feel honestly so sorry for men who want to be emotionally available, but then they can’t find real male friends who are willing to be vulnerable.

      Reply
      • Codec

        Friendship is hard and scented wax is nice.

        Reply
        • Laura

          I went to Bath and Body Works with a male friend and we had so much fun smelling everything. After a while, I jokingly told him we had to stop or I’d get a buzz from all the smells.

          Reply
  3. Codec

    As one of the sad lonely young men I have to say its nice beingable to be here.

    I know the persona of me you see here is that of a young man who tries to be a gentleman. That is indeed a part of who I am. Admittedly though sometimes I think women would hate me if they knew some of the horrible things I have seen race through my mind. I try not to be hopeless. I do not want to condemn myself to being a pervert.

    I am a mess. I deal with depression. I am going to therapy. That does not make the bad things I have done into good things.

    Not gonna lie part of why i am here is to learn. Another part is an almost teenager like questioning that can be summed up by asking as The Cramps did “What is inside a girl”.

    Reply
    • John Doe

      Codec,

      I have been with my wife for 20 years and I still don’t understand her sometimes. One of the things that I wish was talked about is are the standards in the current dating environment that men and women desire reasonable. Emotional maturity in men is important, absolutely. But it is dishonest to not examine women to determine if there are not deficits there as well.

      For instance, many women seem to focus on superficial things as much as men, especially when they are in their teens and 20s when they receive the greatest amount of attention from men.

      I have seen it described as ‘The sixes’. Women appear to want a man that is 6 foot, with a 6 pack and a six figure income, and that is before the considerations of personality are even factored in. These criteria make the majority of men invisible to women.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Again, John, please show support for the claim that women do this in large numbers.

        Actually, when people marry, the woman is more likely to be the better looking one.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          For instance, this study shows that a wife’s level of attractiveness plays more of a role in marital satisfaction that a husband’s level of physical attractiveness. So it seems that men value it more. And at the dating stage, the study found that both were about equal in their desires for a good looking spouse, but in the end it mattered more to men. So please change the way you talk about this. It’s not based in research but on how women are talked about on incel reddit threads.

          Reply
          • John Doe

            Sheila,

            A study from University of Chicago and MIT in 2006 looked at online dating patterns. In regards to height, “Women like tall men. Men in the 6’3 – 6’4 range, for example, receive 65% more first contact emails than men in the 5’7 – 5’8 range.” (Pg. 21).

            Regarding income, “Income strongly affects the success of men, as measured by the number of first-contact emails received…Relative to incomes below $50,000, the in number of first contacts is at least 34% and as large as 151% for incomes in excess of $250,000.” (Pg. 21).

            A Pew Research study also address the desire for a higher income earner for women. “(S)ingle women looking for a relationship are roughly three times as likely as men to say they wouldn’t consider a relationship with someone who makes significantly less money than them (24% vs. 7%).’ (Pew Research)

            https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/08/20/key-takeaways-on-americans-views-of-and-experiences-with-dating-and-relationships/

            Regarding physical appearance, a man who has below average looks can make up for it by making more money. “A man in the bottom decile, for example, needs an additional income of $186,000 (a total annual income of $248,500) to compensate for his poor looks.” (Pg. 27).

            In regards to the physical fitness, the only example was BMI, which is based on height/weight ratios and is not the best indicator of the actual physical health of the individual. (Pg. 21).

            https://home.uchicago.edu/~hortacsu/onlinedating.pdf

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            None of this disproves what I’m saying, John. Of course women have preferences! But the point is that men do too, and women’s preferences are not greater than men’s. And in the end, men care about looks more than women do.

            Yes, women care about income more because many women would like to be able to stay home with children, so the stability of being able to do this is a big plus.

            None of this is surprising. As the study says, though, single women are happier than single men and do better long term than single men. So the question still remains: What will the single men do to rectify this situation? The answer is not for women to lower their standards, because women are doing better.

          • John Doe

            The only thing that seems to change things is time.

            The older a man is, the more wealth, status and maturity that he accumulates, the more attractive that he is.

          • Phil

            Pretty shallow dude.

          • John Doe

            Sadly it is true. Women prefer men who are older. 4 to 5 years on average. And it fits well with the discussion that women want men that are mature.

            Men on average mature, socially and physically, slower than women. Age is an easy indicator of maturity. However, it is not always accurate.

          • Jane Eyre

            John, none of that is particularly persuasive. Let’s look at the income part.

            We’re going to compare (1) men making less than $50k a year and (2) men making more than $250k a year. Wow, the latter get a whopping 34% more contact for women! That’s from going from the bottom half to the top 5% in income, and for every three women contacting men the the first group, four women contact men in the second group.

            That’s not really a huge thing, relative to the difference in income. That income disparity is also the result of age, and there’s a roughly equal number of young single men and single women, whereas there’s about twice as many single 60-year-old women as 60-year-old men. Men in their 60s have a very easy time finding women – the odds are in their favour. Of course older men get more contact than younger men do!

            I notice on height, you’re comparing men over 6’3 with men who are 5’7. You’re comparing men in the 24th percentile with men in the 99th percentile. That gives us very little useful information, if any, about what life is like for three-quarters of men taller than 5’7 and shorter than 6’3. What happens: they find someone and get married, if that’s what they want.

            Why not compare women in the bottom 24% of looks with women in the top 1% of looks? We’ll find a Jennifer Lawrence look-alike and see how much more attention she gets than an overweight middle-aged woman with thinning hair and bad makeup.

          • John Doe

            The comparisons were not mine but what was cited in the study. There were comparing men of above average height to those of below average height.

            Let us also combine the numbers, so if you are a man that is above average height and makes $100k or more, you are getting a lot of responses. That sounds a lot like the point that I was making. If you are a tall man with a high income, you have very good odds of finding a date.

            Regarding your comparison of men vs women responses based on looks, using the same study, “The median man (in terms of photo attractiveness) can expect to hear back from the median woman with an approximately 35% chance, whereas the median woman can expect to get a reply with a more than 60% chance. Figure 4.2 (They have a graph here) also provides evidence that more attractive men and women are “pickier.” The least attractive women are two to three times more likely to reply to a first-contact e-mail than the most attractive women.” (Pg. 16).

            This indicates that online dating is a numbers game with women getting more responses. Granted, not all of those responses are good or desired.

          • CMT

            “online dating is a numbers game” Well, yes. I don’t know from personal experience, but if I’m a woman in an environment where men outnumber me by a significant margin, and all I have to go on is superficial information, then yes, my initial decisions about the men contacting me are going to be superficial! They have to be, because I’m getting spammed by guys I know basically nothing about besides their photo. This doesn’t prove I’m superficial and judging men too harshly. It’s the most logical way for me to operate in an artificial system that lacks nuance.

          • Jo R

            Please explain the factors that both men and women should be using to find relationship partners.

          • Angharad

            John Doe, you are talking about dating opportunities, Sheila is talking about marital satisfaction. You can’t compare two totally different things.

            Given that you can only be married to one person at a time, it’s not really relevant if you have 1,000 people wanting to date you or just one – as long as the one who wants to date you is right for you!

            Yes, a lot of women are looking for superficial things in potential dates, as are a lot of men. But if you don’t want to marry someone who is shallow and superficial, why would it bother you that shallow and superficial people don’t want to date you?

            Being wealthy and/or good looking can actually make it harder to find a good spouse, because you have to filter out all the people who are only interested in looks or income before you find the people who are looking for good character/personality.

          • John Doe

            Angharad,

            You are correct that I am talking about dating and not marriage. However, you need dating to get to marriage unless it is arranged. Which is not that common in the West.

          • Angharad

            Sure you do. But you don’t necessarily need to date 100s.

            My husband was the first guy I’d dated in nearly 20 years. It’s not that I hadn’t had any offers in those 20 years, just that every other guy ruled himself out by his behaviour before we’d got as far as a first date. I’d far rather he had been my only opportunity in those near 20 years – I got so tired of turning down arrogant, rude, self-centred men. (I was raised in a culture where the woman never, ever asks the man on a date) So I really don’t understand men complaining that selfish, shallow women won’t date them. Guys, you should be GRATEFUL that they won’t date you. If a woman is turning you down because you’re not wealthy or you don’t look like a film star, you should be celebrating that she’s just ruled herself out. Because why would you WANT to date someone like that?!! I mean, which would you rather have, one good person who agrees to date you and who turns into a wonderful life partner, or 1,000 selfish, shallow people who agree to date you and make you realise they’ve just been using you for a good time?

      • Jo R

        “These criteria make the majority of men invisible to women.”

        Yeah, must suck for that shoe to be on the other foot after all these centuries.

        Reply
      • Jane Eyre

        John, when I was younger, I got a lot of attention (and crap) from superficial men. They wanted me because I was young; they thought I should lose five pounds to be better arm candy; they catcalled me; they grabbed at me; they acted like I was stupid for pointing out that their lack of interest in women their own age was a problem. They treated me like a prostitute who was there to be arm candy and were angry that I refused to gratify them sexually.

        Ultimately, although SOME men behave that way, SOME men do not. My job isn’t to persuade the first category to care about me as a person; it’s to find someone in the second category. The first category will take care of itself: those men will either find their perfect little model/animated sex toy, or not. Either way, not my problem. These aren’t people who are marriage material.

        If “some” women want six packs, six figure incomes, and over six feet tall, that’s their issue. They will either succeed in marrying a handsome rich dude, or not, most likely not. But what you’re not understanding is that it’s better for YOU if you don’t bother with anyone that superficial.

        Reply
      • Sarah O

        I find it perplexing when guys complain that women only want tall guys…because I can tell you as a tall woman most guys won’t date women taller than them anyway.

        However, most is not all. I’m married to a guy that’s shorter than me and I make more money than him and we’re both happy.

        Andy Stanley said in one his series “Be the person who the person you’re looking for is looking for.” That’s the bottom line.

        I think we’re in a transitional space where marriage is no longer mandatory and it’s going to take people time to catch up and ditch the entitlement or inevitable mindsets. Studies give some general observations that may help, individual results may vary.

        Reply
  4. Mara R

    You know that prediction concerning the Evangelical Bubble that you made toward the end of the podcast?

    The Warren Jeffs FLDS completely perfected that before his arrest life prison sentence for statutory rape of a multitude of underaged girls (who he married at 12, 13, 14.)

    This is one reason I keep pointing in the direction of the FLDS. They are the future of certain parts of Evangelicalism, polygamy or not. And yes, I’ve heard a few of those guys defend polygamy as ‘biblical’ just like slavery is ‘biblical’.

    Reply
  5. Phil

    All I have to say today is 😁

    Reply
  6. Laura

    As always, this is a great podcast! I am surprised that 44 out of 50 states in the US allow child marriage. I just don’t know the age. I know that marrying before 18 was common for many years, but it just does not seem practical to marry before you are out of high school.

    Sheila and Rebecca, at the end of the podcast you mentioned something about singleness and you both admit you’re not qualified to go into depth about it because you both married young. Thank you for your honesty. I do think you’ve done well talking about singleness and pointing single women like myself to the right resources. Throughout my years of being single as an adult, plenty of “well-meaning” long-time married people who know nothing about being single act like they have all the answers to why I’m not married and how I need to be content being single. It’s like a non-parent like myself giving parenting advice to young parents. The church has done a terrible job with handling single adults past college age.

    For those who are single, I have discovered a great book about singleness after 30. It’s called Sexless in the City by Kat Harris. The author is in her mid-30s and grew up in purity culture and is single.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’ve been on Kat’s podcast a few times! Yes. So glad that you found a helpful book!

      Reply
    • Angharad

      I can really recommend Single Issue by Al Hsu – it’s the best book on singleness I’ve ever read (speaking as someone who didn’t get married until mid 40s)

      Reply
  7. No name

    Can we talk about that Evangelical Bubble? I think a fear of hell kept me in that bubble to my detriment. I’ve watched so many young single people leave church. I didn’t keep up friendships with most of them, so I can’t tell you how they are all doing. But I know I was told by leaders at church that they had given up on God (implication being they’re going to hell). I think the most common reason single women left was to find a husband. And a scripture that comes to mind is “God can’t be mocked. You reap what you sow. If you sow to please your sinful nature you will reap destruction.” And this was always such a heartache for me because it felt like I was being forced to choose between a present happiness and an eternal happiness. Like I couldn’t have both. EITHER you can leave God/church and find a spouse and have a family OR you can go to heaven. Finding a spouse in church is tough. I actually thought I was going to be an old maid, but I met someone and was married at 30. And at the time I was just happy that I was not going to be an old maid, but I can see now that I had “settled.” (shh. Don’t tell my husband. It’s ok. He doesn’t read this blog.) I mean, I had done the best I could given the dating pool. But if I was not constrained to my church I could have done “better” in worldly terms (job, looks, etc.). So anyway, my question becomes: what do we make of that scripture above? Is God actually able to be mocked? Is it wrong?

    And I’m so sorry if my post triggers anyone. I can see it triggering lots of people. I’m working through a crisis of faith right now. I don’t know what’s true anymore. My apologies to everyone I’ve offended.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I understand completely what you’re saying! Yes, I think there was a lot of fear messages given to young people, and I’m sorry you felt you had to choose between present happiness or eternal happiness. That’s really hard.

      I do think there’s a huge sea change going on in the church right now, and that shaking will likely end up in a realignment, or a split between the patriarchal/hierarchical church and the more egalitarian/Jesus-centered church. When that happens, and when people have more choice beyond just the patriarchal/hierarchical church, I think things will start to get better.

      Right now, most churches in evangelicalism are patriarchal/hierarchical, but most Christians are not. When Christians start voting with their feet and don’t just leave the church but form new ones, or flood the more egalitarian/Jesus-centered ones, we’ll see real change. But in the meantime, I think there will be a lot of people in the conundrum that you were, and I’m sorry for that.

      Reply
    • Laura

      No Name,

      I can relate to this and am not at all offended. I often wondered about the present happiness vs. eternal happiness. I have heard the whole spiel about how all the suffering that you have endured on this earth will make your rewards in heaven much greater. I just don’t know how true this is. I do believe Heaven will be far greater than what we have on this earth, yet Jesus told us to live an abundant life. The not-so-pleasant experiences I’ve had with “Christian” men caused me to realize that being a Christian is not equivalent to being a good spouse. My “Christian” ex-husband was a male chauvinist who believed he had the right to make decisions without consulting me and he could have 24/7 access to my body. The last “Christian” man I almost dated was heavily into conspiracy theories, believed in hierarchy in marriage, and didn’t have a job.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.