By now, many people have seen the article by Lori Alexander of The Transformed Wife entitled “Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins With No Tattoos.” I hope that if you’ve read that article, you’ve also read the rebuttal by Phylicia Masonheimer, which I can’t link here because it seems the webpage isn’t working. But do google it when it’s working because it’s worth a read.
In the backlash of women reminding each other that God loves them no matter their financial status or freaking out that this is why we need feminism, I have another perspective I’d like to offer.
Everybody prefers sinless people and perfect love.
Sin destroys everything it touches. “The wages of sin is death,” the apostle Paul writes and he is absolutely right. From the Fall of Man in the garden to mere hours ago in our living rooms, we see the damage sin can do. Sin steals our joy, it destroys our relationships, it ruins our peace, and most terrifyingly of all, it separates us from God. Sin is so engrained in our nature that if we are left to our own devises, we will die and be damned eternally.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the blood of Jesus washes every sin. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” Sin was going to crush us, but Jesus saved us!
We know we need a Saviour and in our sin-blinded confusion, we look to other saviours than Christ. These lower-case s saviours can’t actually save us from anything. They just numb the pain for a little while, but keep us chained to our sins like an addict, scraping the bottom of the barrel for whatever we can get our hands on. We all fantasise about the perfect partner. The dream guy or girl who is going to make us better people or solve all our problems. We want to be adored by this cardboard cutout of our imaginations, to be pursued by them, to be sure that they’re going to love us and stay with us no matter what. But because of sin, that person doesn’t exist on earth. We all fail. We all come into relationships with baggage of some kind or another and with broken pasts that we’d rather not think about. When we expect to have a perfect spouse, when we expect the love we receive from others to be absolutely pure, we’re just deceiving ourselves. A debt-free virgin with clear skin isn’t going to make your life or marriage perfect or more holy. Even if she seems perfect, gentlemen, she is going to disappoint you. But once again, I have good news.
Jesus, as the only sinless man, will always love you perfectly. Your brokenness and your shame is nothing compared to the healing, redemption, and victory that is found in Him. Even on your most perfect day, He is more perfect and you can trust that He is going to fulfil your life in a way that no human being could.
I think what truly bothered me about that article was how defeated it made me feel. Sin has done a number on my life, as it does with us all. One need only look at the toddler strapped to my side to know that I am not a virgin. If you look into my bank account, you’ll see that while I am fairly wise with my money, I do have some student debt. And incidentally (although I still fail to see her justification for the hatred of tattoos), I have my theme verse as a tattoo on my forearm. If these Christian men the Transformed Wife talks about have relegated tattooed, student-loan-paying, non-virgins to their “do not want” pile, I’m sure that divorced women also fall into their collection of scarlet letter wearing rejects.
But the sins of the past do not define me. The wreckage of my pervious marriage does not define me, although it made me not a virgin. The fact that I was grasping after the idol of self and performance does not define me, although it left me with student debt. The tattoo is a physical marker, but not the definition of my soul. The only thing that defines me is Christ. My identity is this: I am a sinner. I was destined for damnation. Jesus saved me.
If you, like me, are an in debt non-virgin with tattoos, I hope you take heart in the knowledge that the gospel is for you. Jesus’s love is for YOU. If you have repented of your sins and you’re living a life for Christ, you do not have to feel ashamed. Do not be distracted and discouraged by false doctrine that makes you feel as if you are a second class citizen of Heaven. God’s Kingdom isn’t a caste system. No matter our pasts, we have all been adopted as sons and daughters of the King.
If you, Christian man, are looking specifically for a virgin woman with no debt and no tattoos, that’s on you. But I would encourage you to look instead for a woman who loves the Lord with all her heart. I’ve joked since I was a kid that I wanted to find a handsome, funny, godly man who loves to sing and enjoys the theatre. And since that encompasses most of my interests, I’m still holding out hope that this mysteriously good looking, absolutely hilarious, Jesus loving thespian is out there. But I honestly wouldn’t care if he couldn’t sing a lick as long as he has his heart fixed on Christ and is determined to love like Jesus. That’s what matters. Remember what the God said to Samuel… “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”