Not All Men Are Bullets

A phone call is jarring when in it, your friend divulges the discovery she made of her husband’s infidelity. Of her boyfriend’s big lie. Of her crush’s double life. Or of his wife.

Whatever the breach of trust, the result – at first, at least – is devastating. One person’s choice pulls the path out from under somebody else, somebody who didn’t sign up for this. Somebody who promised to be true to him even in the bad times after he promised infidelity would never be the source of the bad times.

Until it was.

“Until death,” as it turns out, is too often actually “until I change my mind,” fidelity too often only upheld when not inconvenient—too often breached, too treated as impossible. A woman picks a man as husband and intertwines her world with his, but has to peg him, when he leaves her, as a bullet.

You really dodged a bullet, her friends say.

I have said it too much. I have received too many jarring phone calls.

This isn’t a blame game. Relationships are systemic, and most marriages that end probably shouldn’t have started. But I have met enough young women who are so disheartened by the actions of the young men they thought would walk life beside them that I am compelled to share this with all males on all females’ behalf:

Some of us are giving up on you.

This doesn’t mean good single men will be single forever. It means women need good single men now more than ever. We need you to step up and stand out. We need you to teach your brothers (biological or otherwise) how to make good choices, to teach them to treat women first as sisters.

We need our male friends and our brothers and our dads to do what they say they are going to do (and ladies, we need to do that, too). We need to meet men who use forethought before they pursue us, who pursue God before they pursue us. We need men whose choices inspire us to say “they do exist” (and not “is this some kind of a joke?”).

We need to know that men exist who want to love a woman like Christ loves the church, who know love is a choice. We need to know that not all men are bullets. I know that I know that you aren’t, but I also know a lot of ladies who need good men to prove it.

A version of this post originally appeared on arleenspenceley.com.

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arleen fall 2013Arleen Spenceley is author of forthcoming book Chastity is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, to be released by Ave Maria Press in Fall 2014. She works as a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in counseling, both from the University of South Florida. She blogs at arleenspenceley.com and tweets @ArleenSpenceley. Click here to like her on Facebook.

16 Comments

  1. What about men, who have existed, & their stories. For if you believe in them, I have a story to tell.

    By Don Hudzinski | 3 years ago Reply
    • Do tell!

      By Arleen Spenceley (@ArleenSpenceley) | 3 years ago Reply
  2. Men, including good ones, are getting disheartened by women getting disheartened! Solid piece, mercifully-brief *given the topic* (not your writing skills! – which are fine! – just so we’re clear…); of course more could be said, but saying more can lead to saying too much. Being siblings first trumps the dangers of the secularizied version; “lets be friends”, friend-zoning, and all the variables.

    By Noé | 3 years ago Reply
    • Thank you! Agreed.

      By Arleen Spenceley (@ArleenSpenceley) | 3 years ago Reply
  3. I’m inspired!

    By Ben | 3 years ago Reply
    • I’m excited that you’re inspired, Ben!

      By Arleen Spenceley (@ArleenSpenceley) | 3 years ago Reply
  4. Nice article Arleen. Though this is true, I am afraid that this applies more to men dodging a bullet than women, these days. My experience in Canada and in Asia (coming from Asian country as an immigrant) shows that uber-cool and modern women have no interest in men who are down-to-earth and willing to have a humble settled life. They are quick to look for greener pastures and have a complete business take on choosing a partner (changing when returns are not optimized). As a result, my friends from Canada, who are not willing to try first and then decide culture and who would make very good husbands, are left wanting in search of a good and faithful woman who is faithful to God first and to him as a result. I particularly empathize with them when the culture in North America is fast becoming into such a dreadful reality, as in south asian countries, young men atleast have their parents arranging them to meet brides and have no concern of not getting a chance to meet a bride (more population also helps)
    I will hence trace this problem, equally to men and women’s side, due to a lack in faith in GOD and hence pray earnestly for those who are looking for their soul mates.
    Mother Mary, Pray for US

    By Jerry | 3 years ago Reply
  5. “Some of us are giving up on you.”

    If people are truly “giving up” as you say, this demonstrates more of a lack of trust in God on their part than a failing of anybody outside of themselves.

    “To achieve true interior freedom we must train ourselves to accept, peacefully and willingly, plenty of things that seem to contradict our freedom. This means consenting to our personal limitations, our weaknesses, our powerlessness, this or that situation that life imposes on us, and so on. We find it difficult to do this, because we feel a natural revulsion for situations we cannot control. But the fact is that the situations that really make us grow are precisely those we do not control.”
    -Father Jacques Philippe

    Giving up is only missing an opportunity for growth. This cannot be blamed on anyone but the individual.

    By Fred | 3 years ago Reply
    • Re: “If people are truly “giving up” as you say, this demonstrates more of a lack of trust in God on their part than a failing of anybody outside of themselves,” — perhaps.

      But perhaps we demonstrate lack of trust in God when we settle for men who aren’t being who women need them to be, or when we lower our standards so we don’t have to wait as long to date one. I don’t think a woman is obligated in dating to not give up on a guy who isn’t treating her as she ought to be treated.

      By Arleen Spenceley (@ArleenSpenceley) | 3 years ago Reply
  6. Absolutely terrible article. At no point do you make any accurate arguements. You constantly complain about a certain type of guy. If it’s that big of a deal move on and find someone you enjoy. Stop complaining to the world,honestly there are many more important issues than you’re lack of a man in your life.

    By John | 3 years ago Reply
  7. 1) I have very little sympathy for women who say there are no good men out there, but don’t give me a chance when I offer myself. If you give up on me because of how some other man has treated you, then there is nothing I can do for you.

    2) “I see you as a sister” and “I see you as a possible future wife” are mutually exclusive. If a woman says, “I see you as a brother” this is taken as a way of blocking romantic possibilities.

    3) So, how do you deal with the problem of bad men? Most men make it obvious what kind of man they are. Learn to look for the signs. Does he take his relationship with Jesus and Mary seriously? Does he give of himself to others and expect nothing in return? Does he treat you and others with respect? Does he listen? Does he keep his commitments in small ways (showing up on time and not cancelling)? Don’t put up with the bad men and encourage the good men. You will find that the good men stick around and the bad men leave. You may even encourage some bad men to become good.

    By Matthew | 3 years ago Reply
    • Your first point shines a spotlight on mine. What I wrote expresses that some women have been so disrespected, their trust so violated, their love so rejected that they ARE giving up on men. What I wrote does not condemn all men, but requests that men like you (I assume), who would never treat a woman like those women have been treated, show yourselves. Be available. Speak up when other men do the things that dishearten women. Prove to the women who are giving up that there is a reason not to (because there is!).

      By Arleen Spenceley (@ArleenSpenceley) | 3 years ago Reply
  8. I am surprised by the bitter tone of this article; I don’t believe you speak “on all females behalf” at all. Why would a man be motivated to better himself after being told he’s been given up on? All humans, especially men, respond much better to positive encouragement than to bitter, blaming despondence. I am comparing your article to this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q9SkOPHwRE) that thanks and praising men for the good that they currently do and the ways that they seek to better themselves.

    By Maria | 3 years ago Reply
    • There is, indeed, a time to say thanks to men who are examples of what a man ought to be. Why isn’t there also a time to call out the men who aren’t?

      To borrow and tweak a response I wrote to another comment above, “what I wrote expresses that some women have been so disrespected, their trust so violated, their love so rejected that they ARE giving up on men. What I wrote does not condemn all men, but requests that men who would never treat a woman like those women have been treated show themselves. Be available. Speak up when other men do the things that dishearten women. Prove to the women who are giving up that there is a reason not to (because there is!).”

      By Arleen Spenceley (@ArleenSpenceley) | 3 years ago Reply
  9. There is, indeed, a time to say thanks to men who are examples of what a man ought to be. Why isn’t there also a time to call out the men who aren’t?

    To borrow and tweak a response I wrote to another comment above, “what I wrote expresses that some women have been so disrespected, their trust so violated, their love so rejected that they ARE giving up on men. What I wrote does not condemn all men, but requests that men who would never treat a woman like those women have been treated show themselves. Be available. Speak up when other men do the things that dishearten women. Prove to the women who are giving up that there is a reason not to (because there is!).”

    By Arleen Spenceley (@ArleenSpenceley) | 3 years ago Reply
  10. This website is so disgustingly female-centric and anti-male it boggles the mind. Dishearteningly this is true of most pop Catholic dating-related websites, services, books, lecturers, etc. These people really believe women never fell from grace, that men are the source of all evil, that women never do wrong, that women are the point of the whole of human life and that we men simply exist as stepping stools for them to walk on. I would never advise any man or boy to come to a website like this or e5 or Six Stone Jars or to read or listen to any of Christopher West’s books or tapes. If you meet anyone who takes these websites seriously, RUN, especially if you’re a man. The myopic and anti-male thread that runs through so much popular Catholic culture is truly astonishing and disheartening. God help you people.

    By David | 3 years ago Reply

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