Whatever else He has in store for you could be a lot of waiting.

15 Nov

In his post “Boundless Is Their Foolishness,” Dalrock calls out women who treat every goal in their lives like a job – except getting married.  He writes:

When it comes to her real priorities in life, she is all about the plan.  But when it comes down to becoming a wife and mother, she is sitting around waiting for God to deliver a beta provider.  This seems to fit both with the general advice Haley relays from the church, as well as what I hear many Christians discussing.  If I’m understanding the general Christian message to young women correctly, it is:

Don’t worry, God will guide your heart.

A recent Boundless post encapsulates this exact attitude.  In “A Moment of Reflection,” blogger Emma just passed the six-month mark in her ChristianCafe.com membership and has Learned Things.  She says:

The most surprising thing I’ve learned is how I really feel about marriage. Before I started on this journey, I wanted to get married. But I don’t think I realized how much I actually desired it. In a strange way, it was difficult to admit that I want marriage. (Kind of silly, huh?) On the other hand, it was freeing. Going to Jesus, being honest about those desires and laying them before Him continues to be an exercise in faith. I have also been convicted about the fantasy I’ve built up about how meeting my future spouse is going to happen. The picture I’ve had in my head about how my life would turn out has differed vastly from how it’s actually happened. While I’ve had to work on accepting what God is doing with my life in general, the area of dating and marriage is one place where I’ve held on to my own plan tightly. Slowly I’ve become aware of the need to relinquish control.

So that’s where things stand now. I know that there are many more lessons to be learned. And while the journey has been unexpected, I know that I’m right where the Lord wants me to be. I’m looking forward to whatever else He has in store for me.

I think the whole idea behind this way of thinking is that women are too invested in finding a spouse “their way.”  By being too invested in “their way,” they are not open to other (read: GOD’S) ways.  This is unbiblical because it demonstrates closed-mindedness and lack of faith (remember, God is so great that He can accomplish anything He wants however and whenever He wants! so it’s really not up to you and you should therefore stop trying to make it up to you! Let go and let God!), so women must give up “their way” and only be open to “God’s way.”  And however things happen must be “God’s way,” so there’s really no effective way of dissuading a woman from her current method of husband-hunting so long as she’s convinced she is doing it “God’s way.”

Also, I think the other, not-really-acknowledged part of it is that for all the admonishments for young, Christian women to look forward to the day God brings them to the special man God has picked out Just For Them, a lot of young, Christian women just don’t possess the suite of wifely skills that would increase their marital prospects.  Sure, there are hyper-organized young women whose idea of heaven is The Container Store, but there are just as many, if not more, slobby girls out there whose rooms look like hurricanes blew through them.  A lot of girls don’t know the basics of cooking.  A lot of girls don’t clean…much.  They don’t iron, they don’t decorate, they don’t know how to look for bargains or budget, they don’t know how to dress themselves with both dignity and style.  Some of these skills come with time and experience, but a lot of girls can only offer their youth and their love for Jesus.  That’s just not enough when it comes to marriage, but so much churchly advice does these girls wrong by teaching them that Mr. Right will be identifiable by his love for her good heart alone and that he will arrive in God’s Perfect Timing.  So just keep on being frumpy and praying, because God can see your beautiful heart even if those sin-blinded men out there who are probably addicted to porn and as a result can’t see your true beauty can’t.  Is this really the best way to offer hope to unmarried women?

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18 Responses to “Whatever else He has in store for you could be a lot of waiting.”

  1. VFD November 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    “….a lot of young, Christian women just don’t possess the suite of wifely skills that would increase their marital prospects.”

    Indeed. The basics of running a household… high on my list, as well as someone whom I can see sticking by me during the inevitable hard times that come in a marriage. No it’s not pretty, but that’s real life.

    The prevailing tenor of much of the evangelical marriage industry is that marriage is a big part of a modern independent christian woman’s self actualization rather than something entered into humbly before God.

  2. y81 November 15, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    I don’t agree with most of this. How would a man evaluate most housewifely skills, short of living with the woman in question? The couple will have to work that out after they get married, as newlyweds have been doing for centuries. I really don’t know anyone whose marriage broke up over those issues anyway.

    But getting married does require work, just like getting into a decent college, finding a job, or making a sale. To summarize:
    1. Constant networking and exposure to men of your class and age is essential.
    2. When you meet one, look him in the eyes and make him believe he’s the most important person in the world to you. Of course, this will be esier if it’s true.
    3. If he is ready to get married, he will marry you. (If he isn’t, move on.)

  3. Jennifer November 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    I think you’ve got Boundless’s motives here wrong, Haley. We DO need to put things in God’s hands, and many women worry over nothing. Be prepared? Of course. And I have seen people go to the other extreme, the one you mention; it generally involves families where the parents rule supreme and keep the girls at home being mini-moms until they decide who the Prince Charming for their little darlings is (ironically, they tend to obsess over women being ready to marry more than anyone else, because they often consider it a woman’s main role in life). But I think the Boundless article is particularly addressing women who try to do everything they can to push marriage into existence, EXCEPT consult God. Even Dalrock’s post addresses a somewhat different issue, that women now consider marriage as less important than anything else in life.

  4. David November 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    y81’s advice is absolutely right.

    I date a lot of high school/college aged evangelical girls right now, and the one thing that stands out for me is how unapproachable they are. This isn’t an issue for extroverted guys like myself, but for every guy like me, there are 5 who approach far less often, or not at all.

    I found when I was first learning game, that a girls smile and/or touch would go a long way. Even now, I find myself being drawn to the warm, inviting girls simply because they are so much easier to approach.

    At the 18-24 service I attend, there are about 3 girls for every guy. God may have a plan for all of them, but for about 1/3 of the girls, it will have a heavy emphasis on cats. The girl who puts herself out there, meets lots of guys and reciprocates their attentions is miles ahead of the competition and will have a a far easier time finding a suitable mate.

  5. Jennifer November 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    Those girls’ future will only have cats IF they don’t branch out..

  6. Purple Tortoise November 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Haley,

    I think you’ve misunderstood the Boundless article. I think the choice is not between women doing it “their way” or passively waiting for God to do it “His way”. Instead, the choice is between women having rigid, numerous, and over-romanticized expectations of “the One” or being flexible and realistic about finding a husband of equivalent market value. I think it is a step in the right direction that she is repenting of the fantasy she’s built up about how meeting her future spouse is going to happen.

  7. John November 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    I’ve got to agree with Jennifer on this one. I actually thought that article on Boundless was a pretty good one, all things considered. It sounded to me like Emma wasn’t saying that she should give up efforts to make herself marriageable material, but that she should surrender the immature fantasy that the man of her dreams is just going to waltz in and sweep her off her feet like a $3 romance novel protagonist. God is capable of using online dating (as well as any number of other methods) to bring people together as husband and wife, but we’re still responsible for our part of the program. One has to find a balance point between the irresponsible extreme of doing nothing and expecting God to serve up a mate on a silver platter, and the reckless extreme of kicking God out of the equation. Maturity would be best served by following God’s direction and seeking to improve oneself constantly so that we can be the best mate we can when we finally do meet our significant other… be that through a dating site or otherwise.

  8. Marvin the Martian November 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    If The Container Store is heaven, then sure the Pottery Barn must be hell. Actually, I think it’s Pier One. Who actually buys all that African junk?

    From watching other people, I think that skills don’t really matter in finding a mate. What matters is being able to build a full, satisfying life by yourself, and letting God’s love flow through you into the world through the things you do. When you do that, you attract one or more like-minded mates. But if you’re focused on either waiting for Mr. Right, or preparing yourself and your skills for Mr. Right, or actively looking for Mr. Right, you in fact are driving him away, much as clumsy hunters frighten away game as they stumble through the forest. Think of it as a bank loan. If you do not need a loan, the bank wants to give you money. If you need a loan, the bank will shun you. Ergo, build up your emotional and spiritual capital so that you do not need Mr. Right, and that is when he will show up. I’ve seen this over and over, enough to believe in it. And it happened to me, which sealed my belief that it works. If that’s the same as surrendering to “God’s way,” then so be it. But I choose to think of it as merely building a life that does not need or seek a mate, and that’s the best way to attract one. Paradoxically.

  9. deti November 16, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    Right on on this one, Haley. Women need to acknowledge their own agency and actively look for a husband if they want one. And women need to, for lack of a better phrase, “Woman up”. Women need to prove themselves worthy first of investment, and then of commitment. She needs to demonstrate why a man should invest his time, resources and money in her. She needs to demonstrate why a man should commit himself and his life to supporting her. She needs to show him what, besides her body, she has to offer him as a lifetime companion.

    Too many women, including Christian women, seem to believe that all they have to do is show up with functioning genitalia to prove themselves worthy of investment. That won’t suffice anymore.

  10. JG November 16, 2011 at 4:51 am #

    Good writeup Haley. Many Christians have their own brand of ’emotional relationship fantasy porn’ and this column is an example of it (I am not commenting here on Boundless, only on my experience). I (I’m a guy) heard crap like this growing up from women in my church and it was total garbage. Nobody’s lives turned out like the Christian Harlequin Romance author wannabes said it would. Not one single person. Some, well into middle age, are still waiting for “God’s time”. And some, unfortunately, will probably be waiting for “God’s time” when their lives end.

    Crap like this is why so many are abandoning mainstream Christianity. I pity the poor people who have believed lies and fantasies like this casually tossed out as ‘truth’ by these sincere-but-clueless people. Most unfortunate is that many will blame God when religion, not He, failed them.

    I think that there is an inverse correlation between the perceived credibility of these crazy Christian relationship fantasies and the appearance of wrinkle lines and declining prospects for marriage and motherhood. I like to think of such fantasies as the Christian version of the feminist line of thought that “you can have it all”.

  11. mrhopefulromantic November 16, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Coming from the male perspective, I’m not sure what the best way to find a spouse is.

    Putting it in God’s hands seems like the best recourse. I can’t directly control when I’ll find my spouse, so I shouldn’t worry about it. God can handle that. Instead, I’ll focus on becoming a better man so that when that right moment comes, I can woo the woman of my dreams all the more easily, because I’ll have invested time into self-improvement and gentlemanly refinement.

    But that’s not really all that actionable, and there still is a lot of waiting involved. Good thing patience is a virtue.

  12. anonymous x November 16, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    The Lord helps those who help themselves in courting, no different from everywhere else in life. Prayer to God may have results only if one puts oneself into position for the opportunity to receive the results. If I stay home, I can pray all I want, but it’s clear I’m not giving anyone the opportunity to meet me. If I attend some event, but remain a wallflower too shy to make contact with someone I like, again it’s clear I’m not giving anyone the opportunity to meet me. If I’m not giving anyone the opportunity to meet me, I’m not helping the Lord to put someone in my path. See how that works?

    Pray all you want, sure. But there is no substitute for doing the hard work on yourself. For young women, that’s acquiring whatever homemaking and household management skills she lacks and putting this together with a feminine demeanor that works with her personality. If she’s shy, she needs to work on her social skills. And remembering that even if she has her act together, she still can’t sit around at home, attend services, be a wallflower and expect Princely Godly Man to march into her life. She’s gotta get out there, get interested in men, go where they are (within reasonable limits of course), etc. Praying that such activity and social interaction will lead her to that guy is a legitimate prayer if she is putting her own actions into it because for many women, it will only be by putting herself into the effort that she will give the Lord opportunities to put someone in front of her. Given that many Christian venues find women outnumbering men, such women may have to think outside the box around where to find suitable men, that’s a discussion for another forum/thread.

  13. Jennifer November 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    Thank you John. I think a Harlequin-like Christian fantasy is exactly what the Boundless author is trying to AVOID here..

  14. Mark Slater November 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    “Duty is ours, results belong to God” — John Quincy Adams
    “Duty, then, is the most sublime word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less.” — Robert E. Lee

    Men, do you want to love a woman? Ladies, do you want to be a good man’s wife? It is, then, your DUTY to do all you can, ALWAYS seeking the Lord’s blessing and guidance, to bring this about.

    I tend to agree with Aunt Haley regarding Boundless and other singles-oriented material. For me, I think it might be helpful, rather than focus on these singles sites, to read testimonies of *happily* married couples. Find out what THEY did right, how they met and courted, how the successful men pursued and captured their beloved, how the ladies made themselves available for their men.

    For all the loneliness that we may be enduring at this juncture, men and women still DO fall in love and get married. Find out how.

  15. Ceer November 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    I find that today’s women focus on the one that God will provide for them…what that means in context, is that they don’t have to learn how to talk to men. They feel that the sexualization of dating makes them slutty any time they flirt with a guy who might be the one. That could be bad. God can send a man for a woman, but she’s fully capable of rejecting that. She may not even know it.

    Women don’t know how to talk to guys…don’t know how to relate to guys…and end up rejecting loads of good guys. Of course, rules never apply to the alphas. Which end up bagging the Christian girls…who cry about how there are no good men.

    There are plenty of good men, you just need eyes to see.

  16. laceagate November 18, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    Haley,

    I think you’ve misunderstood the Boundless article. I think the choice is not between women doing it “their way” or passively waiting for God to do it “His way”. Instead, the choice is between women having rigid, numerous, and over-romanticized expectations of “the One” or being flexible and realistic about finding a husband of equivalent market value. I think it is a step in the right direction that she is repenting of the fantasy she’s built up about how meeting her future spouse is going to happen.

    But that’s exactly the point– because of this idea that by waiting, something magical will happen and you’ll end up with the man of your dreams, we have women build up the over-romanticized expectations of “The One.” It is because of the modern Christian-Western idea that by waiting for God to send your spouse to you, women have these ideals.

    It is doubtful that women are truly repenting the fantasy they have about meeting their future spouse because since God will send their spouse to them, and they are going to let go of the “control” they have, they will get the guy they’ve always wanted– after all, isn’t that what God is going to do? Give them what they want? That is the line of thinking.

    In addition, what are these women doing to help their prospects? It is silly to believe that God is going to send you your spouse if you are not willing to commingle with others in activities where there are plenty of single Christians. It’s also a good way to assess the availability of people who are single and to make observations of how newly-coupled individuals interact.

    I have also noticed that a lot of the women who believe in the “waiting for my spouse” idea are also the ones who adhere to the infamous Checklist. They end up spurning quality potential mates because they do believe they can “do better,” in spite of the fact that they believe God is supposed to send them their spouse.

  17. Badger November 20, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    The church does itself a massive disservice both to its followers and to the critics (the loud-proud atheist community) by allowing this “God as Santa Claus” idea to propagate. I think it was Suzanne Gosslin who was quoted by Haley as saying that the Holy Spirit whispered in her ear that the man she was dating was sufficient for husbandry, or words to that effect.

    It seems like a pretty simple mapping – where a secular girl would say “I didn’t feel a ssssshhpark,” a Boundless girl would say “God doesn’t want me to date this guy.”

  18. Jennifer November 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    Lace, no one said anything about not mingling with other Christians or doing nothing to work towards being marriagable. The motive is to get God involved as the blessed Controller, not Santa Clause.

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