A post on Reddit little over a year ago was a painful example of how young men in the church and Christian communities nowadays, are suffering because there is no adequate mentorship. In the post a young man (probably still more of a teenager) was asking for prayer, since he had asked a girl (he had met her at a camp or something) to be his girlfriend. She had responded that she wanted to think about it (yes, that dreaded female escape route).
He was asking for the fellow members on that particular forum to pray that she would make up her mind and say yes. In his mind she was the one the Lord had set aside for him.
Like many before him, this young man was exhibiting all the signs of a serious case of Oneitis. Many men reading this will, with a shameful smile on their face, nod knowingly and remember themselves as boys in that same situation. In some cases it takes years to overcome the debilitating effects of this mental state.
Oneitis, the bane of the (young) man’s mind.
The fact that this young Christian man was asking for prayer support for this reasons, says something about the state of our Christian communities and churches. For men, but in particular our young men, they are dangerous places, without teachers, mentors or tribes. A man often stands alone and vulnerable.
What is Oneitis?
Oneitis is the singular fixation of a man on a woman, who has more of the traits that particular man finds attractive at that time, then all other women around him. Without realizing it, his actions are tantamount to him worshipping her (literally).
As women need to look up to their male partner, this behavior automatically disqualifies the man in the eyes of this woman as a possible mate. This rejection triggers a man is this state of mind, to worship her even harder, with more of the same result. In this way a vicious behavioral cycle is created which can potentially ruin a man.
The sad reality is that falling prey to Oneitis once, will not inoculate against its effects in any way if the underlying psychological weaknesses in the man’s mind are not resolved. Many men have for this reason, fallen to this mental disease multiple times.
Oneitis is thus a state of mind which manipulates the perception of a man towards a single woman, convincing him that she is worthy to be worshipped, even after she starts to reject him (primarily) because of it.
What causes Oneitis?
Oneitis is caused by fear. Plain and simple. The fear of not coming across another woman as perfect, beautiful, attractive ever again. This fear leads to the man trying to lock this particular woman down no matter what.
This fear finds its origin in the low self-esteem the man harbors of himself (his conviction of being of low value). He feels that given his inadequacies he needs to make sure that he binds this woman to himself, to make sure he does not end up all alone.
The question we as men need to ask is; where does this fear many men harbor come from? Sadly enough for most of us who are infected by this fear, it started during our upbringing. Often the family or the lack of family, we grew up in planted the seeds for this fear. Boys growing up in a family were the father neglects his duties as the leader or in a house with only an adult female to raise them, are prime candidates to be infected by this type of fear.
This is amplified by the low quality/ weak church communities we are raised in. Without strong male role models and mentors, those compromised family structure effects, just get amplified or do not get challenged. They might even get reinforced to be honest.
Another source of fear is the programming the media is allowed to be doing to our children. By underestimating our advisory and the lengths it is willing to go to harm us from a young age, we are opening ourselves up to attack. The media is used to reinforce this fear men ‘should’ have to miss out on that ‘perfect’ woman he comes across. How many times have you seen the scene play out in a movie were the male protagonist is urged by a ‘good friend’ to ‘go after her!’?
The Biblical perspective on Oneitis
As Oneitis is rooted in fear, this is in direct opposition to Gods will for us as humans, as men. By providing us with the Gospel and sending us His Holy Spirit, God has given us the means to abolish fear from our lives. In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul explains that by receiving and accepting the Holy Spirit we have gained the right to say ‘Abba, Father’. Fear therefor has no place in our hearts.
Rom 8: 15
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (KJV)
Apart from standing in opposition to His will for us (a live without fear), Oneitis is also blasphemous as it goes against the fact that the Lord is omnipotent. He is always able to provide you with a mate, even if He needs to make one for you out of one of your ribs.
So what to do about Oneitis?
In case you are already afflicted by Oneitis, it is key that you understand that this state of mind in in violation of the will of God. This realization provides the foundation for the actionable steps you will take to alter you state of mind to a healthy one.
The first thing you do if you are afflicted by Oneitis is asking God for forgiveness, as you entertained the thought that He was not able to provide you with a suitable mate, if a woman you thought met the criteria rejected you.
Secondly you will start to enlarge your social circle immediately. Oneitis is a sure sign that number of people you know (especially the number of women you know) and interact with, is much too low. The moment you broaden your horizon and realize that there are millions of women on this earth, the vast majority of which you have never met or communicated with, will already ease the feeling of scarcity you are experiencing.
Thirdly you will start or continue building yourself as a man. You leave no dimension of yourself out of this process: mind, body and soul. Expand your knowledge by reading (develop the habit to do this every day), gain control over your body by training and building it (there are many options to start with such as; calisthenics, homework outs or going to the gym), manage the state of your soul by developing a good relationship with the our Lord God and thus (as a side effect ) gain control over your emotions.
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (KJV)
In the next article in this series on Healthy Christian men mental health, we will be focusing on the process and steps which are needed for a man to successfully build himself.
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