One of the most difficult explanations to counter in churchly circles is that of “God’s will,” a.k.a., for dating/marriage purposes, “God’s perfect timing.” See, if God is all-knowing and all-powerful while you’re just a broken, measly human with sinfully compromised reasoning capabilities, then pretty much no explanations, short of outright contradicting Scripture, can disprove “God’s will.”
But is God’s perfect timing just fancy hamster food? In a recent Boundless article, Candice Watters answers a reader who sounds like a typical Christian beta girl. Reader writes:
I’ve never had a boyfriend. To love a man with the love God has given me for others is one thing I desire above all else. But I’ve yet remained “invisible.” Is something wrong with me? Every person I know tells me “Oh, you’re the sweetest person I know,” “You’re so loving,” and so forth. From others’ compliments I don’t think I’m hard to get along with, and I think I’m average looking.
I try to get myself involved with different social circles and activities, but I’m invisible. And the guy friends that I’ve thought, Maybe there is something here, end up dating other girls. I’m happy for them, but it makes me wonder what’s wrong with me? What is your suggestion for shaking this feeling of “something-must-be-wrong-with-me” syndrome that I seem to be struggling with?
Now, if Watters were a member of the manosphere, she would probably first congratulate the girl on keeping her virtue intact because everyone knows that even a pretty ugly girl can go out and extract sex from some random dude, so isn’t it a miraculous accomplishment that this girl hasn’t turned into the vilest of slutty slut sluts yet, not that anyone believes truly virtuous girls actually exist. Then Watters would probably tell Reader to lower her expectations, not to get promoted at work, and become wildly sexually attracted to someone she’s not that attracted to, because 30 is on the horizon and the mewls of the cats are getting louder. Tough love, you hear.
But that’s not, of course, what Watters does. Instead, Watters launches her own story of how it was not her chubbiness during her 20s that kept her from finding her husband — it was actually God’s will. Watters says:
Boy, can I relate to your question! I was sure something was wrong with me. Being overweight in college and for most of my 20s, I was certain that if only I could lose 30 pounds, I’d have a boyfriend. That feeling was intensified by all the “you’re such a great gal; some guy is going to be very lucky to get you,” comments I heard from older, married Christian men. I could almost hear the subtext I assumed went with their complements: “You’re a great gal, though a bit on the chubby side, but you sure are nice and have a pretty face.”
Ugh. The longer I went with failed dieting attempts, the more frustrated and lonely I grew. If all that was keeping me from a good man and a godly marriage was a smaller dress size and if I lacked the self-control to lose weight, then it was my own fault for being single for so long.
Thankfully, there was a lot about that “what’s wrong with me?” way of thinking that wasn’t true. Yes, I was overweight. And I suspect there were guys who may have found me attractive and asked me out if I’d been thinner. Maybe. But even more important in my getting married was God’s timing.
So Watters admits that her weight was likely the reason that men weren’t finding her attractive, but she refuses to accept that that ultimately had anything to do with her finding a boyfriend and getting married.
She then goes on to talk about how each person is God’s special creation, which is par for the course for this sort of advice, but she then discusses how we all have a role to play in getting married. Among the resonsibilities are “striving for sexual purity; being a good steward of your time, talents, and treasure, as well as of your opportunities and your fertility; seeking out and actively participating in Christian community; and waiting to date someone who is spiritually mature (being equally yoked). In short, you’re called to discipleship (2 Peter 3:18).” But…losing weight isn’t a part of that, when every woman knows deep down inside that thin women are more attractive to men?
Watters then issues her St. Crispin’s Day speech:
Do you think you’re too fat? Too thin? Too tall? Too short? Too shy? Too outgoing? Too ugly? Too pretty? Too blonde? Too old? Too spiritual? Too something? Or maybe you think you’re not enough. Not funny enough. Not thin enough. Not smart enough. Not spiritual enough. Whatever it is that you think you’ve identified about yourself that’s keeping you single, it’s not the whole picture. There may be some areas where you need to mature, and if you’re persisting in sin, then certainly you must repent and turn away. But it’s possible that it’s simply not time yet. This became clear to me when Steve started dating me before I started shrinking. I talked before about finally losing weight. And though I’m glad for that, I’m equally glad that our relationship took off while I still had weight to lose. Turns out there wasn’t anything wrong with me. It’s simply that before Steve, it was the wrong time.
It’s hard for me to make this kind of thinking jive with reality. If there is no such thing as a soulmate, and you could conceivably have a decent marriage with any number of men, then how is something the “wrong time”? Is is not possible that Watters could have found someone else to marry had she been thinner younger? And that they could have had as good a marriage as Watters currently has with her husband? Is it truly “not time yet” that keeps people from marrying? This all comes off as pretty ironic, given Boundless’s consistent drum-beating that men have to get off the Xbox and hurry up and march down the aisle with one of the nice, available single Christian women in their congregations.
I mean, I believe in “God’s timing,” but I also think that God’s timing is often used as hamster food. If no one is attracted to you, then you’re probably doing something wrong. This goes for both men and women. I mean, MAYBE in your case it’s God’s supernatural forces preventing anyone from being attracted to you until it’s “the right time,” but given that there are specific attraction factors for each sex, that tend to work regardless of someone’s character (the proof’s in the unmarried pregnant pastor’s daughters), it’s hard to believe that God’s timing is usually REALLY the reason nobody wants to date you.
But you can’t really bring this up to someone who believes in God’s timing, right? Because if you say, “Well, it’s probably God’s timing that you can’t lose those 20 pounds,” you’re not going to have any more friends, AND you’re going to lose because the rebuttal to that is just, “Well, MY GOD is bigger than 20 pounds.” And that settles that. It’s not your fault. It’s all in God’s hands.