Here, I will tackle the courting/looking for a husband part of my earlier list of griefs. For a good, long, fat list as to why I believe courting doesn’t work, check out this article. The author does a really excellent job of showing the flaws of courtship and why I refused, even before reading his article. He’s right.
The other parts start now, with a simple statement: My worth is not found in a husband; my worth is found in the Lord.
I am not less of a woman without a boyfriend, contrary to what some of the older crowd in our church believe. And the problem with them all encouraging us to find boyfriends/fiancés/husbands is that it makes us feel as though there must be something wrong with us if we don’t. Especially after statements from loving relatives and friends talking about how beautiful and kind we are and how guys must just be dying to date us.
Still here. Still single. Probably for a while yet. Phoebe covered this on her blog twice, here and here, but I thought I’d take a stab at my own views about the problems with it in the church. By placing so much emphasis on teaching women to be wives, we ignore one basic fact: they won’t all become wives. We have a few ladies at our church who are beautiful, smart, fun, Godly women that would make fabulous wives and moms. But they aren’t. Instead, as Bro. Matt lovingly began teaching upon noticing this discrepancy in the church world, we are to be good Christians, good people, and learn to live.
Sound the alarms, these girls don’t want husbands!
You see, the problem is that most of us do. Some now, some later, but most of us have expressed a desire to one day be married and have children. There’s just not a lot of prospects now, and we’ve decided to work on our own lives first. I can’t be a good wife if I can’t take care of myself. And if I were ever widowed, I would need to be able to take care of myself again, possibly with children.
By constantly nagging us about boyfriends and husbands, it leaves us with a sense of worthlessness. I’m 23, I’ve had one boyfriend, and normally, that would be okay. But because of the nagging, we start thinking it’s not.
I have a friend with a laundry list of problems. Bi-polar, ADHD, Anxiety, some learning difficulties, and she’s not…. please don’t misunderstand me and think me completely shallow, but she’s not exactly what you’d consider a beauty. She has had around 8 boyfriends. While she was bemoaning her single hood, listing this laundry list of health problems, I stopped her.
“I don’t have any of those problems, and I’m still single,” I reminded her.
“Oh. Yeah. What’s wrong with you?” she retorted before walking to her next class. She was joking, and it was hysterically funny. However, in this context, it shows why I’m having a problem.
As Bro. Matt has pointed out recently, he has a lot of girls who would make great Godly wives, and no men. Well, a couple, but that’s not gonna work out. And that’s a post for later. And Matt doesn’t understand why. He doesn’t understand why he has so many wonderful young women, and none of them can find a guy. So all these old people and family members pestering us to find spouses is only aggravating the fact that many of us have come to feel like there must be something wrong with us.
Quite simply, there just aren’t many Christian guys to make any potential matches. And even if there were, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with us, or that we should be out looking for matches. Paul encourages single hood, maybe he could come around and bonk a couple people on the head for us.
Most Christian circles also marry young. I’m against this for a number of reasons. One, the person you are at 18 is not anywhere near who you are at 21. And the same for between 21 & 23. You grow. You change. Also, men mature more slowly than women. So having a 20-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman get married, is just stupid. My friends got married at 20&21. But they were at the same maturity level, and they were ready. They’re exceptions, and they were both prepared.
Here’s the normal situation though. A girl at our church recently got married at… I believe she’s 19. She is soooooooooooo immature. She was a very sheltered missionary kid growing up, and has only been in the real world for about 2 years. Her husband was in Christian schools growing up, left, and came back. Now he’s very consistent and growing, and they got married about a year after they met when he came back. Now, she thinks she’s superior or knows things we don’t because she’s married. And she doesn’t have a clue about life. Likewise, two other friends married at similar ages a few years ago and spent the first two years of their marriage screaming at each other. Immature.
Now can it work. Of course. But people need to understand that our grandparents were a heck of a lot more mature at 18 than we are. They grew up in war times, with depressions and work that most kids today couldn’t dream of.
Phoebe’s mom got married at 19, I believe. They made it work. But as Phoebe has mentioned, she feels she has failed her daughters because they aren’t married at the age she was. I am lucky enough to escape the family pressure about this age. My mom married when she was 29 and my dad was 27. Yep. She was just short of 31 when she had me. So, I don’t have any pressure there. But many do. And they don’t need the old bitties in church adding to this anxiety.
So do I have this anxiety about getting married? Heck yes! Should I? Absolutely not! I am just discovering who I am as a person. I have just learned to stop liking things or doing things because everyone else did, and doing things because I want to and I like them. For instance, I’ve been cleaning out my closet because for some reason I decided I liked prairie skirts in high school. Did I? No. But everyone else did and was wearing them, so I did too. This might also explain why I was so self-conscious through high school… I’ve always said I didn’t want to get married until I was around 24-26. My mom agrees that it’s about the perfect age. If I’ve just learned to be who I am, and am still learning to stand on that and stop apologizing and feeling self-conscious about it, then how am I supposed to be a strong helpmeet for a husband?
So here’s my summary.
- Teach girls to be themselves, to take care of themselves, and to stop apologizing for doing so.
- Encourage girls to get an education, to work, and to do what they love. There is strength in knowing you can stand by yourself.
- Stop asking girls about boyfriends. They don’t need one, and they shouldn’t be looking until they can stand by themselves in Christ.
- Encourage girls and women to grow spiritually, mentally, and physically. Women should go to college to learn and grow and be self-sufficient, not just to get their Mrs. They should learn to be themselves before trying to be something for someone else. And they should be strong enough to have adventures and take care of things.
If someone comes along, great. Until then, they’re fine. I’m fine.
In fact, I’m learning to live.