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Do Spiritual Women Hold Men to an Impossible Standard?

July 1, 2016

Are single Christian females 
expecting too much of men?
Men speak out about
the disadvantages of having
a spiritual seeker as a partner. 

by A.K. Kiesling   (a woman) 

Just as women have their hot-button issues with single men, so too have men with women--namely that Christian women... "expect too much" of men and have ridiculously high standards, spiritually speaking.

As one man lamented in response to my online survey, "Lower your standards. I'm not the Apostle Paul! If I don't look like an evangelical, smell like an evangelical, have unattainable character and charisma, spend all my free time at church, have all my issues settled, have all my prayers answered, know Scripture inside out, love children ... good grief!" 

I could picture him throwing up his hands in defeat....

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"Christian women are just plain too picky, especially about finding a man who's spiritual enough," said another man. "If they find themselves being pursued by a guy they genuinely think is a believer, whom they find reasonably attractive, and who they think would make a decent husband, they should just marry him. Instead, all the women ... seem to be holding out for some super-spiritual guy who wants to be an overseas missionary in a Third World country, and whom they feel some kind of amazing 'click' or 'chemistry' with."

In defense of the single Christian women I know, most have very realistic spiritual expectations of the men they date and hope to marry.  Yes, they long to find someone who shares their faith, but they know that men are humans too--fallible creatures who mess up sometimes and need grace as much as we do. 

If anything, the women I know err on the side of giving too much latitude to men, sometimes blurring the lines between someone who "believes in God" and a real believer. But that's not what showed up in the responses from men who took my survey. Quite a few vented their frustration about too-high standards.

"Christian women have been fed a lot of misinformation about what actual men are like," writes one disgruntled man. "Reality check: there are no white knights or heroes out there. We can't rescue you, sorry. And the 'Jesus is my boyfriend' thing is a little weird. I am not saying you should lower your expectations. Rather, you need to readjust them. Just as many men need to realize that actual women are not like the airbrushed porn stars of their fantasies. I find that I enjoy the company of non-Christian women far more than that of most Christian women. I just don't think they have bought into the popular tripe about what a man is supposed to be. Real men are rough around the edges."


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Just what does the book Wild at Heart (by John Eldredge) say about men? The book's marketing description on reads: God designed men to be dangerous, says John Eldredge. Simply look at the dreams and desires written in the heart of every boy: To be a hero, to be a warrior, to live a life of adventure and risk. Sadly, most men abandon those dreams and desires--aided by a Christianity that feels like nothing more than pressure to be a "nice guy." It is no wonder that many men avoid church, and those who go are often passive and bored to death.... Eldredge gives women a look inside the true heart of a man and gives men permission to be what God designed them to be--dangerous, passionate, alive, and free. 

Perhaps it's the "dangerous, passionate, alive, and free" label that seems like too tall an order for the average Christian male to fill, especially when they feel as if women expect (read: demand) this from them. In reading through the responses of men, I heard plenty of passion and expectations, but also world-weariness. Some seemed even more jaded than women on the state of single Christian America.

"Christians put unrealistic expectations on each other," said one man in his early thirties who answered that he would like to be married someday if he meets the right person. "There seems to be this feeling that because you are a Christian you must be perfect or more normal than others. Fact is we are all human and imperfect so we need to accept that fact or else we will always be frustrated at being disappointed in our significant other."

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Unrealistic expectations--and modern singles' propensity to have a checklist of requirements in their ideal mate--actually work against true love. If it looks like love, acts like love, and has the staying power of love, then it's probably the real deal. 

"The dating scene is OK as far as it goes," writes another man in my survey. "It's the progressing-to-marriage scene that's a problem. I wish women didn't feel they need a light shining down from heaven on a man and a voice booming 'he's the one' in order to make a decision. My last girlfriend wouldn't marry me because she wasn't getting a clear signal from God that I was 'the one.' It was incredibly frustrating and her breaking up with me broke my heart." 

Somewhere out there, I can't help but think there's a young woman who realized too late that true love was standing right in front of her, but she let it slip away.

Women who strike a gracious balance between accepting men as they are--admittedly rough around the edges--yet gently prod them to be their best self might find a true knight after all, or at least a knight-in-the-making. We all would do well to learn this lesson about looking for the best in the man or woman right in front of us....

We do ourselves a favor--and open ourselves up to the possibility of true love--when we drop our defenses, shred our checklist, and start seeing people as God does, with all the potential they possess.

A.J. Kiesling is the author of  Where Have All the Good Men Gone? (Harvest House) and the novel Skizzer (Revell).  A religion writer for Publishers Weekly, she has written more than a dozen books.  You can reach her at

First Comment from Tony B:

This article and all the comments I've read ring "protestant outlook" loud and clear.  None of them has any concept of true Christianity nor of true Christian women or men.

There are very good reasons that God put the man as the head of the home.  Today neither the husband nor the wife, in most cases in the western world, have a clue as to what these reasons are although the men seem to at least sense them while the women do not at all in most cases.

A godly woman knows that her castle is the home and she knows what goes with it: the providing of the immediate family needs, the nurturing of the children and OF BEING THE BEST POSSIBLE HELPMATE TO THE HUSBAND, who is the one, in normality, who must face the world for necessary means to physical, material and edified life.  

In this day in the U.S. I believe I have never met more than a handful of women whose first priority after marriage is to back her husband.  Instead there is an almost universal drive to FORCE-CHANGE him into what SHE WANTS him to be, what HE wants to be notwithstanding. Only her material desires are to be satisfied.  This same reasoning persists throughout the marriage as proven by the simple FACT that in almost ever case it is the wife who initiates the divorce.  Her selfishness NEVER abates.  

To her defense, she has been brainwashed with the "princess" syndrome from day one, often at home, always in school and forever by television and trashy books and magazines, etc.

Too often, in the same series as the creation of the princess, the husband has been "feminized" to the point of not having the ability to fulfill his role either.  Still, the husband is almost always the material loser, even losing his children, while the woman is universally granted the win, whether or not she deserves it.

Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "Do Spiritual Women Hold Men to an Impossible Standard? "

Ken Adachi said (July 7, 2016):

Tony's reply is dead on target (especially about women initiating divorce 99,9% of the time and taking the kids out of the father's life, which wrecks both the father and the kids on multiple levels).

I had the same reaction when reading the article. The perspective given is that of someone immersed in Christian fundamentalist Protestant sects of the evangelical variety and not that of "Christians" as a group. Traditional Protestants sects like Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, etc. to not think or act along these lines. Nor do Catholics, who make up the largest population of "Christians" in the world.

Your modern day televangelists is an outgrowth of the tent revivalism of the 1930s with people like Amy McPherson. Dispensationalists, Holy Rollers, "non-denominational" etc., etc., are a small segment of Protestant Christianity who act like no other "Christians" exists on the planet other then themselves. When it comes to television, radio or internet promotion, they are the most visible and vocal, but hardly a majority.

Matt said (July 4, 2016):

My experience of Christian women, is that they are off-put by men who are intellectual, and that know theology, church-history, etc, well. Christian "spirituality" has a lot to do with "Love the Lord thy God with all thy mind". This is something a lot of Christian women seem to have a problem with.

Walter said (July 2, 2016):

Christ also told Nicodemus in the gospel of John:

3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born from above, he cannot SEE the Kingdom of God.
3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water (human) and then is born (later) from above as his spirit-"Being" (his REAL self which is NOT human), he can NOT enter into the Kingdom of God (Who is a Spirit-"Being").
3:6 That which is born of the flesh is human; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (a spirit-"Being") - (a human+Being).
3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and where it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? (How can I not be human?)
3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a teacher of Israel, and knowest not these things?

If we listen carefully to what the Lord says here we can reverse the fall that occurred in The Garden of Eden, for He has given us the keys to The Kingdom here, which is in perfect harmony with the first commandment, "YOU shall love, honour, cherish & obey the Lord your God (love, good & truth) with ALL your heart, with ALL your mind, with ALL your soul & with ALL your strength & Him ONLY shall you serve & OBEY, forsaking ALL others.

For those interested in learning more about how to reverse "The Fall", reach atonement (at-one-ment) with God, and re-establishing His Heavenly Kingdom on earth today. Then please read and digest the little book referred to in Revelation 10: 2-7, for the sake of World Peace, not War... Armageddon and then The Reaping.

The Way home or face The Fire by JAH found as a free download at

WD said (July 2, 2016):

After my divorce, I sought to teach ESL overseas with a Christian group, and we were encouraged to confess our sins to each other in the group. While two of the young women admitted possible sex sins, the fact that I admitted a moral failing as a divorced man was more than they could handle. They told not only the administrator but the entire group and made me a pariah for the rest of the trip

Anon said (July 2, 2016):

It's ironic, and she's clearly unaware of it, but Jennifer's comment illustrates the point of the writer of the article. Church women look down on men as worldly, whilst denying how worldly they themselves have become. And the idea that a man is a "feminist" if he expects his wife to pull her weight is the attitude of entitlement princesses everywhere. Jennifer is herself a feminist, though in traditional churchian garb...

Jennifer said (July 1, 2016):

Materialism, Feminism, Worldly Ways, Fornication have infiltrated Christianity and instead of self examination the meme is that women have become too Spiritual-maybe men have become too Worldly?

Women sink or swing via their husbands, therefore, the most crucial decision a woman can make is finding a husband she can respect. Also, I find that if a man is a feminist or not, it is generally determined by a his income. If a man makes a significant income -such that he can afford to support his wife then he is Not a feminist. Of course, there are always exceptions as I have met billionaires that still demand their wife work.

Anon said (July 1, 2016):

The qualities of "being too demanding and having over-inflated expectations" are hardly particular to Christian women. In regard to women, Christian or otherwise, I find that they tend to be little concerned with how well their man lives up to the ideals of Jesus while experiencing something akin to perpetual disappointment because he does not live up to the idol of James Bond i.e. perfection in the worldly sense.

I've met many non-christian women who've
considered themselves to be HIGHLY spiritual persons and while I do not wish do decry every spiritual nuance that does not fall poignantly within bounds of christianity, I have found these women to be some of the WORST females to be around. Utterly exhausting, fabulously unreasonable and self deceiving are some terms that come to mind as well as a phrase I read in the bible recently (the precise wording and location escapes me at the moment, but it was in Judges 19 or 20, I believe) about how the "sons of belial", were so prone to their lower, bestial nature that one "could not even speak to one of them." Of course, today, most of us would consider such a statement to be racist, sexist or bigoted regardless of whether or not it happens to be true.

Such is how it goes with the above described type of woman. I have been end-less-ly chewed out for having the audacity to say anything at all that did not conform to such a woman's preconceived notions of truth which amounted primarily to whatever one of these women wanted to be true at any given time. The quote by Naomi Ragen is typical of these femi-nazis. They routinely claim to be fighting for equality while espousing a belief in female superiority by way of some inherent, unalterable moral virtue.

RL said (July 1, 2016):

Women are more spiritual than men? If that was the case it would be heaven on earth. Just because you helped destroy manhood and Christian patriarchy with free sex, practice yoga and believe what ever society tells you doesn't make you more spiritual.

JJ said (July 1, 2016):

Hello Henry,
Women who are seeking Christian men simply transfer their unreasonable expectations from the secular world to the spiritual. The line about a woman expecting a man to be a third world missionary AND a homebody etc etc. while she's still "searching" and depending on him and not HIM for guidance said it pretty well.
Been there, done that.

Dan A said (July 1, 2016):

My last girlfriend is an Atheist. So she did not have any spiritual expectations of me. Which is why I think this girlfriend was so enjoyable. I gave here all of my male characteristics, including my strength and energy. And that was reciprocated.

B said (July 1, 2016):

Evangelical Christians are anything but spiritual! and it produces very mean and judgmental people. They simply run a behavior modification and religious mind control cult. (Ever heard of the Scribes and Pharisees?) Evangelicals should close the bible. They don’t have the slightest clue what they are reading. I know….I lived around these people for many years, heard way too many of their pointless sermons and was born into the system with parents who were leaders.

It looks good on the outside, but when you sign up….watch out. They own you, and the path does not lead to heaven…it leads to hell. Since Billy Graham and Oral Robert’s are the present day role models for good Christian behavior, that should tell people the system doesn’t work! The sheeple refuse to wake up. Yeshua didn’t start Christianity (nor the Trinity doctrine!!)…..false shepherds, Constantine and pagan Rome did. Yeshua taught the secrets and mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven and those on the outside could not hear or see. The keys are not given to professional Popes, priests and pastors, or religious mind control cults.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at