Thursday, January 28, 2016

31 Days: Follow up on "Should We All Be Married?"

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”  
                          -- A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

The “feelings oriented’ part of me would like to run and hide under a rock and shed tears over the fact that the much prayed over and carefully thought out words that I posted yesterday were misunderstood by some. The fact is, though, that without other people’s input I will never learn anything more than I already know, and learning is, after all, what I have been trying to do through this writing project. So, thank you to those who have given their input. Now that I have stirred the hornets nest, let me attempt to clarify some of the Things that seemed Thingish before they got out into the open. (If you haven't read the comments on yesterday's post you might find them interesting.)

My post yesterday was not intended to be a Marriage vs. Singles article but a Today’s Society vs. God’s Plan article. My whole premise for this writing project has been, “What was God’s plan when He created woman and how does that compare with the society we find ourselves in today?” What I have found in my search for what God intended, is that God created Eve for Adam; He created us to be a helpmeet. What I have seen in the society we live in is that women do not need to accept this truth; they can be whoever and whatever they want to be, however they want to.

By saying that, I do not mean that marriage is the only thing a woman can be fulfilled in. But I do believe it is important that we teach our girls what God’s plan was in creating woman, that He made us to be a helpmeet; for relationships - to nurture, to love, to care for, to feel. Why? So that if they do everything just right they will meet Prince Charming and live happily ever after? No. So that whether they end up married or single, they can live happy and fulfilled lives and be soft and open to what the Lord brings their way.

We live in a society that does not encourage women to embrace God’s plan. When I was asked to date at the age of 20, I admit to you that I felt a bit of embarrassment/shame in saying yes. There were more singles around me at that time who were doing notable things with their lives than there were married couples, and at that young age, there was a part of me that felt like I was choosing a lesser path by choosing the one that would lead to marriage. I don’t think I’ve ever admitted that to myself until now. That twisted view of God’s plan for me as a woman has affected my marriage in more ways than I will probably ever realize.

So, again, I think it is so important for us as women to be able to accept and embrace the role that God created us for. It will allow us to be happy, fulfilled women whether we find ourselves in the married or single category.

As far as the idea of our society forcing single women to ‘man up’ and make their own living? I wasn’t saying by that that I think single women should be able to shut down their lives and sit around waiting to get married. I think our society has forced single women into a role God never created them for: being the breadwinner. I know of single women who keep jobs they dislike simply because they are good paying jobs and they need the money to pay bills and take care of themselves. I think it is sad if there are single women who would love to be involved in ministry type of work and they are unable to because the pay would be too small. That’s where I think it would be beautiful to see fathers or the church stepping in and helping single women be able to fulfill that God given desire to love and nurture and care for others, rather than just making money to pay the bills and support themselves down the road.

In closing… I don’t believe there is one perfect way that all of this must look. We live in a fallen world and misunderstanding and judgement flow both ways. Single women and married women’s lives are different and that means we won’t always see things the same. But we were both created by God for a special purpose! Let’s embrace our womanhood and be soft and open to what God has in store for our lives.


Rosina said...

I hear your heart, and it is good. I especially like the idea of caring for single women who would like to be involved in ministry but need emotional and/or financial support. And as you said, a worthy goal for us women is to remain soft and open before the Lord regardless of our circumstances.

Anonymous said...

This is in response to your next-to-last post. I agree with you that in a "perfect world" all women (and men!) would be in a godly marriage.


Aleta said...

I appreciate your willingness to broach this subject! I too, think that our secular culture has influenced our thinking more than we realize. It is important to teach our young girls that they seek first to follow God and be open to his leading, but also that marriage and motherhood are beautiful.

About a year ago, I attended a women's semimar where the main speaker addressed the subject of who we are as women, and for what we were created. I don't remember nearly all of what she said, but the thought that stayed with me was this: As women, we are created to birth life in others. Some of us do it physically as a mother, others do it through mentoring, teaching, etc. Being married or single is not a requirement!

Keep on writing!

Bethany Eicher said...

I really like that thought, Aleta! Thanks for sharing.

Lauren said...

So if the single girls get to be financially supported by their fathers so that they can sing in a ministry or visit widows, can I expect my husband to support me in doing more 'feminine, feeling-type work' like that too, instead of scrubbing floors and wiping counters and training toddlers?? :0 :0
Or are less soft jobs like being a janitor or shuttle driver or accountant just as good for girls, too?

Bethany Eicher said...

I'm not entirely sure whether this comment was intended to be tongue in cheek or completely serious? :) However, it is possible that if I would read my own words they wouldn't seem as clear as I think, so I will try to explain...

First of all, I guess I would call scrubbing floors and wiping counters and training children feminine work- they fall in the category of 'loving and nurturing and caring for'. Second, as a married woman, everything I do is made possible by the fact that I have a husband who supports me. Whether it's scrubbing floors, taking care of children, going shopping, staying in my pjs til noon, taking a nap when I need one, browsing the internet in the middle of the day, visiting the neighbor lady...I do everything I do without needing to make sure there is money to fix the car, buy a house, pay the Dr bill or enough saved up to live on when I'm old and can no longer work. Single women don't have that privilege! Third, what I am suggesting by saying we should give our single women support, is that we should make it possible for them to do things that they feel called to that fulfill their God given call to love, nurture, care for - whether it is being an accountant or janitor or school teacher or missionary or whatever it may be - without the pressure of having to find a job that will for sure pay all the bills, etc.

Does that help to clarify or is it clear as mud now? :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's clear, thank you for answering! I think I read something into your original post that wasn't there -- that we were to support single ladies only in very 'dreamy' activities like singing in a choir. But if they too ought to be supported not only in that, but also in being a janitor and browsing online and so on, that makes sense, I think. I think I was focusing on the specific day-to-day activities you were suggesting, not your general point that women, single or not, maybe shouldn't be breadwinners.

Actually I think I was just missing parts of my single days, and thinking, wait a minute - all those freedoms that I miss, and the unbridled/untested dreaming, PLUS not having to pay the bills? Sounds kinda nice :0