March 19, 2015

Bachelor Disaster

Gary Thomas — 

Bachelor Disaster final

It was almost as painful as watching a man slowly bleed to death; instead, I was watching a marriage die before it had even begun.

The Bachelor wanted to be known as a good guy. He was in a ridiculous and silly situation (trying to artificially choose a wife while simultaneously dating 25) but even so, he couldn’t have made it worse.

When he was finally down to the final two women, the guy couldn’t make up his mind. He kept worrying about whether the one he was rejecting would be better for him than the one he was choosing. He feared he might be making a mistake, he actually called it “the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.”

Every syllable of those pathetic, self-absorbed sentences were caught on tape and were daggers to the joy of his future marriage (assuming the marriage actually happens). His “fiancé” said she decided not to watch the painful ordeal, but if the bachelor thinks she never will, or that she’ll never hear about it, he’s delusional. Besides, she already did hear about it. The host brought it up! And the future bride’s refusal to hear it firsthand testifies to the hurt already inflicted by a complete misunderstanding of love, marriage, and marital unity/intimacy.

Men, if you want a satisfying marriage, you have to be all-in focused on one woman. You have to prize her above all women. You have to make her believe there is no other woman you could possibly be drawn to in comparison.

You can’t cleave if you don’t first leave (Gen. 2:24). “Leave” doesn’t just mean your parents—it means every other human affection.  The best marriages are “all in.” They are built and sustained by the attitude, “I will offend everyone else, if I have to, in order to affirm, value, and cherish you.”

If you’re not ready to make that commitment to a woman, you’re not ready to be married. It is pitiful for any husband to let any woman besides his wife think that he’s “on the market” or may soon be. No other woman should ever think I am ever going to be anyone’s but Lisa’s.

To share something “special”—emotional or physical—with anyone other than your spouse is to subtract from your marriage. It’s to kill it with a thousand small cuts. It will slowly bleed your marriage to death.

Marriage is nurtured by its exclusivity and it is assaulted by the Bachelor’s disastrous mindset, whether you adopt that mindset as a single man or as a husband married for ten or twenty years.

Men, you can’t cleave if you don’t leave—everything, and everyone. True “cleaving”—a sense of oneness, a solid, impenetrable unity—is so fulfilling. Without it, you get all the responsibility and limitations of marriage without the soul fulfillment. That’s as frustrating a trade as you’ll ever make. You can only live with that for so long without wanting the “escape” of divorce.

All in, or not in. Those are really the only two choices a man should focus on when choosing a mate. If a woman thinks the man isn’t there, she’s being equally foolish tying her life to half of his heart and half of his mind.

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8 responses to Bachelor Disaster

  1. “pathetic, self-absorbed sentences” > tyour words are quite strong. We all have our own faith journey, i think Chris was just being honest. He saw the beauty and purity in Becca but she was not ready for marriage.

    And, being in The Bachelor is not the way to find a marital partner. It’s a game, it’s entertainment, and everybody knows it. Finding love will be a bonus, no matter how short or long it will last.

  2. I know the primary focus of this piece is on holding your wife above all others–as it should be in marriage–and the damage a man can do to his wife when he makes bad choices about connecting emotionally with another woman. While you speak about the damage to the wife’s self esteem, etc, pease don’t forget about the unintended consequences of that type of attention on the “other woman” who is receiving the misplaced emotional connection. Her self esteem could also take a hit when sorting out the confusion of what is coming her way spiritually and emotionally. She is often the one left out of the equation of support. We are all human and we all need to be part of a community of support.

  3. This is so true. In my first marriage I fell in line behind drinking, darts, work, and thing else he wanted to do. I am now so thankful to my second husband as I am first in his eyes. He is always there for me. Not that we haven’t had ups and downs but I know we are both all in!

  4. I do share and vote for the 2 lines that Sarah has so eloquently … nailed it!
    I am such a woman… just found out that my husband is onto another affair.. we are separated but he is in ‘dating’ mode. I am wife #4, we separated on his affair and now another in just 3yrs… It is absolutely true, that if I ever felt threatened by ‘other women’ in is his life.. it was my fault even though he has a history of affairs.. I turned into a ‘crazy wife’ bcse I knew others were more important than me and to that he justified the affiar as ‘retaliation’ to my craziness. Unfortunately, he still doesnt ‘get it’, that yes albeit separated, we are married and he is in/doing/ another affair.

  5. Thanks for reminding us of this high standard, Gary. A man with a wandering eye does almost unimaginable damage to a woman’s self esteem and security. And this type of man is also likely to blame *her* for being jealous and/or “needy.”

    The only true healing for these deep and painful wounds is found in Jesus, whose heart is only and ever drawn to me, jealous for me, captivated by me. What joy to bask in His love and acceptance, the True Lover of My Soul!

    Jesus, give men hearts that are drawn to their wives. Give women the tenderness to woo them and the desire to meet their passionate needs. Heal the wounds of insecurity and allow both men and women to understand the gift of their exclusive love for each other.

    • I vote we make these two lines part of the official post: “A man with a wandering eye does almost unimaginable damage to a woman’s self esteem and security. And this type of man is also likely to blame *her* for being jealous and/or “needy.”

      And for wives suffering with that, you offer exactly the right prescription. Thanks for sharing Sarah.

  6. Thanks Gary for this word. I pray for forgiveness for the times I have failed like the bachelor! I am missing the soul fulfillment marriage should provide as a consequence. Jesus heal me. Heal our marriage!

    • James, you’re on the right road, spiritually speaking, when you recognize you’re missing fulfillment first and foremost because of your lack of exclusive focus, instead of blaming your wife for something she lacks. God builds great things on the foundation of humility. Praying for you.