How *Not to Help All the Single Ladies | A Clarification

Dear Ladies,

When this article popped up on the Christianity Today blog for women last week calling my post a ‘Cosmo checklist’, a prime example of how *not to help single women, I felt terrible! I want to apologize if my post 10 Reasons He’s Not Calling You made you feel at fault for your singleness. For every 1,000 posts and articles about how men are doing it all wrong, I thought we could use one post that focused on some of the common mistakes women make in dating. I’ve done my share of man-bashing on the blog, and I felt like it was time for us to take a look in the mirror. My intention was never to cause you pain or shame—but only to provide a helpful list from my research. Please forgive me if you felt blamed! Your singleness doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you (of course not!)—but I can see how some of you may have taken it this way. I sincerely apologize.

Miller’s post, How *Not to Help All the Single Ladies, quickly became a big hit over on the Her.menutics site—and I’ve been asked to share my thoughts on her post in combination with the recent article, The War on Men. It should be a good debate. Will you share your thoughts about The War on Men below? It’s caused some intense controversy and I’d love your input for the finishing touches of the article I’m writing.

My post this week is going to rustle some feathers, so I’d appreciate if you’d leave a comment;)

Have I told you lately how much I love each of you?!

Dear Gents,

I’m sorry if you’ve felt attacked in the past on this blog. Singleness is a sensitive topic for women and it’s easy for us to lash out about the lack of good men without thinking of your feelings. Good men do exist—you are one of them—and thank you for still reading and offering your valuable perspective. You are not the source of our problems and if we’ve ever made you feel differently, I’m sincerely sorry.

On another note,  Michael completed his first Tough Mudder race this weekend. Check out that headband. So proud of him!

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16 Responses to “How *Not to Help All the Single Ladies | A Clarification”
  1. Kristy says:

    Hey Ruthie!

    First off, I want to say, I totally disagree that your post was “a prime example of how *not to help single women.” I thought that it was insightful and really helped me look at the way I had been approaching the dating scene. I think there are always ways in which we can better ourselves, and your post laid some of those things out on the table.

    In response to the war on men, I think that the writer has made it seem like all women today are a bunch of angry, heel stomping feminists who are out to emasculate all the men out there. SO NOT TRUE. There are LOTS of us who still hold onto traditional values and gender roles, and who long to be a wife, a mother, and want to have a man to support them. Don’t get me wrong, I have professional goals and ambition, and want to be successful in my work, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that the modern woman, to catch a husband, can’t be both.

    In my experience, I haven’t been able to find any men who actually want those things in return! I feel like I am constantly surrounded by 30-year-old wanna-be frat boys who have no desire for marriage. I know that isn’t all men, so where are all the good ones hiding!? I love all of your posts and they have given me great hope for my future as both a single woman and hopefully one day a married woman! I can’t wait for your book!

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Kristy,

      Thanks for commenting! Thank you for understanding the heart behind my post-because it was never to blame, only to help us look in the mirror (which we all need to do from time to time;). I agree with you-the war on men just isn’t true for the majority if not all of the women around me. I don’t know where all the good men are hiding, BUT Michael and I are on a quest to find them! Thanks in advance for reading our book!!! It still feels like a dream, seriously. God is SO good to us!

      Have a great Friday!

    • Eugene says:

      Many men are taking up the challenge, many men I know want nothing more than to love a God fearing woman and have a family. Many men want to take up that challenge, yet they do not know how. In our culture we have taken the traditional role of men from them, leaving a void that many are trying to fill. Other men know that in order to take on the role of a husband you need to have your house in order before you take on a relationship. As a man I would not want to take on a relationship until I knew I has secure and could provide, you have a lot of men in this phase and it takes some time. So here is what I will ask of any woman reading this. What do you want in a man? When you talk to your girlfriends what qualities are you looking for, what do you wish to see that you do not see? I don’t know where all of the good men are but I can tell you what I do know. Take a look around you at the people that you know or even the people you interact with. There may be a man who is quiet but going about his business in a professional way. In church there are many men how are there every Sunday and who are involved in ways that you may not be aware of. An issue that I have found in many churches is that they have no idea of what to do with single men. So instead of encouraging support you get the message that something is wrong with you. That can explain why you do not find many men in church, why would you go if they do not know how to deal with you or what to do with you. Good godly men are out there we go about our business in a very professional way you can find a few of us doing some sort of volunteer work. We may not speak to you when you are with your girlfriends or when you are in a group. That does not mean we do not exist we are out there.
      Eugene Potts

    • Mickey says:

      Where are all the good ones hiding, you ask? Has anyone considered the possibility that they’re not hiding? I submit that good men are in plain sight. They’re probably sick to death of trying to prove that they are normal, sane human beings, and not the evil monstrosities they are always presumed to be.

  2. Trish says:

    not to sound like a politican, but I think both your post and Miller’s have valid points. There are some singles who need to be shaken out of bad habits. There are others who are “doing everything right” and need to be reassured.

    But its true — there are seasons when it feels like men are getting 100% of the blame for the # of single women. And there are times when women are getting slammmed for being too passive, too aggressive or whatever trait that might frighten potential partners.

    Judging from the intensity of the comments on some CT posts, I often feel that we put too much weight on what others say. Maybe we read too many books about dating/singleness and we get OBSESSED in the search for an answer. In the end, the answer is Christ. This isn’t a slam against you and your ministry but I really really believe that if we stay connected in the Body, fight for contentment and fight against bitterness, we will be able to weigh the validity of certain statements about where we are. We will know what is for us and what is biblical. We won’t crumble or have spurts of high self-esteem based on those who speak to our situations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the mighty voices that the Lord is using; I’ve been helped by your blog and Sharon Miller’s in times where I was STRUGGLING! But I see you and Miller as women who are giving helpful advice. I certainly don’t want to put the pressure on you by thinking that your advice is THE ONLY WAY to go. If singles can get a better handle on listening for the Voice of God (from the Word itself) rather than putting equal weight on Christian blogs/magazines/books, we can navigate singelness without crumbling at everything that is said to us. I’m still single and its HARD when people don’t understand, but I know I can get through. I mean, what did single women do when there weren’t books/blogs/magazines on their situation? They struggled for wholeness in their Savior. Some people made it. Some didn’t.

  3. Eugene Potts says:

    As a single male 35 years of age, I struggle with the tone that I hear a lot of Christian woman take. As a man there is only so much blame that men can take before becoming deaf to the tone and in doing so deaf to the message. It is hard to read post after post in Christian publications that blame men for not being men. Your husband Michael is a beam of light for us men who are looking for an example of a Godly man who is living life trying to serve in this world. Woman if you want a man to lead give him the chance to lead and do not undercut his leadership ability. You cannot change a man unless he wants change so pray for him if you feel he needs change do not harass him that will not change him at all. I know this is long for a reply but I had to get it off my chest. By the way when is your husband going to get a blog?
    Love reading this blog it gives hope even to the men that read it
    Eugene Potts

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Eugene! Thank you, thank you for sharing. You are not alone. I’m doing my best to help change the discussion from us-them to we…how can we, together as sisters and brothers, fight this singleness epidemic? I love that you shared that a woman cannot change a man-that most certainly deserves an “AMEN” because how often we try!

      Re: Michael’s blog. He’s considering starting a video blog with short videos, specifically focused on men. He doesn’t love writing, but he’s a great speaker, so thinking about that avenue. . . we will see!

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  4. Emily says:

    I really don’t feel that you owe us an apology. It’s uncomfortable when light is shed on our sin, which is exactly what your post did. You honestly presented the facts based on surveys of many men about why they didn’t call women back; it’s not like you made it all up. I think often our first reaction as women is to pass the buck onto someone else, and we definitely need to look in the mirror once in awhile! Most women in the media are to happy to capitalize on our pride and tell us what we want to hear, that it’s not our fault and there’s no good men out there, when it’s not the truth. Even young married women like myself have room to grow and improve, and if we can’t take some correction and truth when it’s kindly and honestly presented, then the fault is ours.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Emily! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your comment. Exactly-I didn’t make it all up! It was based on a 10-year research project and in light of my blogs purpose to share the truth, I thought it was important. I’m in the young, married category and YES! I have more to work on, grow in, surrender than I ever did before…Michael is sometimes a mirror for my sin.

  5. karen says:

    I think both Trish and Emily made great statements-I also don’t think you were criticizing women and saying it was their fault- I do think you were posting out of love for us single women. They were good suggestions and they were things that we can change – after all, all we can do is change ourselves, and listen and talk to our Father and give our desires back to him for comfort. I tried to post a comment several times to the 10 things blog- but I just couldnt. too many things were triggered in me by the comments left by the others. Women, including myself, who have been harmed in any way by men or any aspect of relationships with them, have naturally developed ways to ‘protect’ ourselves. Usually those ways are actually sinful ways. It is sinful to blame men in general, put armor around our hearts, hide our hearts, be bitter,angry, unforgiving. it is also natural and seemingly wise, but it closes our hearts to what is what we can do- and who is possibly out there who does not intend to ‘break’ our hearts. I believe God wants us to look to him, find his way, and learn how to be discerning,wise,open,healed.
    There will be many of us who will remain single- and due to our culture and the evil one we have a lot that will keep us single. Men are to blame for their faults- and are responsible to change also- and many arent taking that challenge, leaving many women to remain single. Our church culture should be helpful and supportive of all types of singles as the desires of our hearts are being delayed or we may never have them- there will be many more singles and other people that need to know how to BE HOLY as God is holy, as our culture deteriorates. Thank you Ruthie, and Michael for what you are doing- I think you are promoting Holiness in our times.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Wow, Karen. Thank you for your thoughts. This singleness epidemic is one of the greatest tragedies of our culture today. Michael and I seek to add an element of humility, boldness, grace, and truth to the conversation in hopes to spur both men and women on. Thank you for your encouragement. It means a lot!

  6. Micaela says:

    Ruthie, you handled the criticism with admirable humility. I read that post and yours last week, and appreciate that you are both effectively ‘right’.

    It isn’t hard to create a stir on the internet these days. It’s often a case that no one is right and wrong, but bloggers are making objective points that are applicable to some people but not all people. You can’t win them all, right?

    Thank you for writing! I appreciate you and your words immensely.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Micaela! Thank you…it’s hard not to be defensive.

      It’s TOO easy to create a stir on the internet, but in a way, good for developing our platform as writers. I think my post, Stop Blaming Men for Your Singleness, will come out on Her.meneutics next week! I can already feel the heat;)

  7. Joanna says:

    Hey Ruthie,

    I couldn’t agree more with some of these posts. I actually just read an article on how when sometimes a woman does something like talk about how she wishes men would improve it’s lauded, but when a man tries to kindly point out what a woman can do in order to help her improve it’s regarded as sexist. I don’t think it’s right when this happens, and I don’t think it’s helpful at all when we ladies take offense where genuine help is meant; not for us, nor for the person trying to help us. I really do appreciate it when someone tries to gently point out blind spots that I have, that’s what community is all about…us helping each other out when we can’t help ourselves. Thank you for trying to help us single ladies who are looking to find the right guy but feel a little lost. I really appreciate read your blog, keep up the good work

  8. emily says:

    when i first saw the response, i was like -what on earth did this girl post – but when i read your article, and then read like 80% of your blog – i really didn’t see it as offensive, whatsoever. i almost think the article (that i did love, and i love author) – may have been more focused on the convo she’s had with friends, and it’s was just a timing thing that she read yours..

    this is scattered, but i am super impressed with your grace and humility in handling this – because it was a little drawn out of proportions (in my opinion) -however, i am glad it happened, b/c i have loved reading your blog & love your perspective and writings.

  9. Mickey says:

    “In response to the war on men, I think that the writer has made it seem like all women today are a bunch of angry, heel stomping feminists who are out to emasculate all the men out there. ”

    Unfortunately, there are too many women who feel that way. And, it is that mindset that have turned off guys from the idea of dating and marriage. I know I have.

    Thus, if that many women see men as nothing but worthless and the enemy then what’s the point?

    The so-called battle of the sexes has simply become “THEM” vs. “US.”

    So. I walk alone.

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