Wednesday, January 27, 2016

31 Days: Should We All Be Married?

I can almost hear the rumbles already, and I started writing this weeks before anyone is reading it. “So are you implying that God’s perfect plan is marriage and anyone single is less than the woman He intended them to be?”

I’ve dodged this post for days; worked on every other post but this one. I’ve had arguments about this thing and this, right here, was one of the reasons I rebelled when God came tapping on my shoulder to write about the subject of women. This feels like a hurtful subject, and I don’t like hurting anybody. It would be easier to tiptoe around the thing, to give vague answers and explanations and leave it all in the grey but I can’t do that. So, now that I’ve made everyone tense up and prepare for battle with all my disclaimers, here’s the truth: I cannot find in the Bible any support for the idea that women should seek anything except marriage. God made woman specifically to be a wife; that’s what woman was created for. He could have created Eve to just be Adam’s friend but He didn’t.

I know there will always be single women. It’s a proven fact there are more men on this earth than women, so just for that reason alone there will always be some unmarried ladies; it is not a sin. But, I don’t think the large number of single women these days is due to the eligible men deficit being that high. I think it is primarily because our society has completely switched the role of women from “created for man” to “created for themselves” and the church has fallen into their footsteps. Marriage is looked at as this necessary evil that we all want, yes…..eventually. But to be married at 21 is to have missed out on the best years of your life!

I’m throwing my hand up here and saying, “Hold on just a minute. Let me finish!”

I know what my single woman audience (if I have one) is saying, “So what do we do? Start asking men? Sit on our chairs waiting for Prince Charming to appear? Take the man on the street because he’ll have us??”

I’m not advocating that you do anything ridiculous, no. What I am suggesting is that you have a good long talk with the Lord and find out a couple of things about yourself. 1) Do you want to be married? 2) Do you act like you want to be married? I know, I know, that’s called Hard Up and people who are Hard Up are looked at as the lowest of low but this isn’t between you and the world, this is between you and the Lord. Are you open to being married?

See, here’s my little theory. I think, as a society we have taught women to believe they don’t need the men. Women can be whoever and whatever, however they want to and marriage is down there somewhere on the list of things we’ll do someday after we’ve done all the exciting things to prove who we really are. 

To complicate matters, once a woman reaches age 21, they’re expected to support themselves. What’s a woman to do, after all? We’ve essentially forced single women to ‘man up’ and earn a living and they sure aren’t going to be able to support themselves forever on Missionary and School Teaching wages, so what do they do? Start looking for better paying jobs. Who can blame them? 

Then the single men come along, and what do they see? They see women who are independent, settled into their well paying jobs, on the road to success…why would they bother to ask for their friendship when all the vibes these women are sending out are “I’m perfectly fine on my own.” “I don’t need a man.” “I have a career to pursue.”
That’s why I’m suggesting you sit down with the Lord and ask yourself and Him some honest questions.

Does that mean Prince Charming will magically show up by your side tomorrow? I doubt it. But it might mean that your heart will end up being a little softer, a little more open, a little more accepting of what God has called us women to be. 

This is my own opinion here: If you do find yourself in the position of single woman, I think it is important that you do the kinds of things God created you for. He created women for relationships; to nurture, to love, to care for, to feel. If you are a single woman, find something to do that allows you to fulfill the God given role He created you for. Don’t try to be a man; be a woman!

I know you think I don’t understand what it’s like to be a single woman and you’re right, I’ve never been in your shoes. I realize you have to take care of yourselves; pay the bills, get the car fixed, worry about the future. I’d love to see a world where parents or siblings or the church supported their single women so they could be free to do the kind of things God created them for rather than forcing them to support themselves. Can you imagine how that would change the world?! It doesn’t seem fair to me that a widow is surrounded with support just because she had a husband but a single woman is expected to care for herself. So you see, I am not against you - I am really for you! :)

But do check your hearts. Do consider the vibes you are sending and do have that honest conversation with the Lord.

Thank you for listening…now it’s your turn…


Anonymous said...

Thank you for looking at things honestly. I think this is something we need to hear. Too often single women are shamed for wanting marriage.

Joy said...

I agree. I had a similar conversation with my husband recently. Why should young women work outside the home, creating a spirit of independence, when God's Word clearly says that a women's place is to be a "keeper at home?" a Godly young man will see that and desire her, and on the other hand, like you said, when a girl is independent, he will likely feel unwanted, uneeded. Let us teach the younger single women God's perfect way! I was in their shoes for years, and I can understand how they feel, but by God's grace I waited, and now am married to a wonderful man who loves God. There are many oppurtunities for service for single young women, visiting nursing homes and singing, babysitting, helping widows, perfecting homemaking skills, etc.

Anonymous said...

I've often wondered, too, about the widow/never0married comparison. Widows need to be visited, helped, etc., because of that-which-is-no-longer. Single-never-married women, meanwhile, are expected to be independent, in spite of what-could-have-been. But then, widows sometimes have young children and they really have their hands full. Sometimes, though, they have adult children who can help them. Who takes care of single women when they are aged?

I don't have any easy answers on exactly how I think things should be.


Bethany Eicher said...

Absolutely agree. Thanks for commenting :)

Bethany Eicher said...

Yes! I think we've got a lot of re-teaching to do....

Bethany Eicher said...

There's a man at my house who is promising to support any single daughters of his as long as he is alive :) I really think this is a gaping hole in our "women under authority" belief system...

LaRonda Schrock said...


See I Corinthians 7:6-8 as a rebuttal to the basic premise of this well written piece. :) Actually, read the whole chapter. From the word of God, I take that it is ok to be either married or single. :)

Notable single humans: Amy Carmichael, Gladys Aylward, Paul, Mother Teresa, Jesus

I felt very prickly reading this, I think because I felt like you were offering a pat solution to something that is often a source of deep pain for a single woman. This pain, simply defined, is: misunderstanding and judgement from people whose experiences are different from theirs. This may astonish you, but many single women I know admit freely to their desire to get married. But they know that their utmost goal in life is not marriage, but the glory of God. Please don't tell them that the ministries and jobs they fill their days with are not as important as your job as a wife and mother. What good are we to the kingdom of God if we quit on life and sit at home waiting for marriage? Are there guys out there who REALLY want this??

I figure I'm exhibit A for How Not to Get Married. God has been working on my heart, and I appreciate the truth you reminded us of in this post. Just wanted you to hear it from the other side! :)

In conclusion:
I Corinthians 7:17

Check my blog in a day or two for an article on child training
Just kidding. I'm sorry.

Bethany Eicher said...

Thanks for sticking your neck out, LaRonda, and sharing your side with me. Rather than going on and on in the comments, I think I'll do a follow up post.

I would love to read your article on child training! After all, if a single man like Paul can expound on marriage... Just kidding. I forgive you. :)

Anonymous said...

I think LaRonda has put into words my thoughts exactly!
Although I have been happily married for almost 40 years, I would say my single friends have no less of a noble calling.
Mary Yoder

Rachel said...

I guess I'm curious what sorts of things single women would do if they were free to do "the kind of things God created them for."

One thing I'm learning as I grow older is that, if I allow them, all the experiences in my life prepare me and grow me for the next step. So as a single woman, I believe that my different work experiences and the struggle to make a living will provide me with abilities to be a better wife and mother. Similarly, I believe post-secondary education has the power to develop my gifts and abilities which could then someday be translated into wife and mother gifts and abilities. No experience can be a waste if I seek through all of life to grow as a daughter of God. So even if I am never a wife and mother, I will be a better woman because of the living I am doing now.

Thank you for the reminder to remain soft and open.

Bethany Eicher said...

This is so very well said that I think I could just use it for my follow up post! It is possibly more an attitude one has rather than doing a certain job that fulfills the "kind of things God created woman for". Your response exudes that attitude...

Thank you for your comment!

Ann said...

Amen to what Rachel said!

The thing is that marriage is about relationship. As much as we single women long for a wonderful relationship with a man, we are afraid and sometimes reactionary, because of what we've seen and experienced. If our fathers didn't know how to love us well, we can easily go through life protecting ourselves from men. Also many of us, I suspect, would rather not be married than to have a marriage like our parents. I think addressing that fear and helping young people know that good relationships are possible, is where we need to start with this problem. And I agree that it is a problem.

No one needs to be bound by their past. If we need healing we need to seek God for it so we can live in freedom. Then we'll be able to live well, and enjoy great relationships, whether married or single.

Bethany Eicher said...

This is so true and very well said. Thank you for joining in!

LaRonda Schrock said...

I'm looking forward to the follow up post. :)
(I realize that my comment may have come across as snarky and way less humorous than I intended, and if I hurt you by it, I'm sorry.I trust your heart, dear lady, and know that your intentions are sincere. And you are totally welcome to your view point.)

But I'd also like to hear, as Rachel put it, "what sorts of things single women would do if they were free to do 'the kind of things God created them for.'"

And I would welcome a good discussion on whether our elevation of marriage is cultural or biblical.

(This feels like it may be better suited to an after-church, pew side discussion, ;) instead of blog comments!)

Bethany Eicher said...

To be honest, LaRonda, I really expected more comments along the lines of yours, I've been in these discussions more than once! :) I did feel bad that my intentions came across so poorly and for that reason I'm glad you commented. I don't enjoy conflicts, so for that reason I wasn't glad but it's all good, really. :)

The only problem with an after church, pew-side discussion is I would probably sit there with nothing to say! ;) Email discussion possibly?

LaRonda Schrock said...

Sure! I'd welcome an email discussion, because I think you have more things to say that I probably need to hear. ;)

Schrock said...

And a few more thoughts...

Truly soft hearts before God are important for all of us...and yes, woman was created to nurture, love and care for others.
But I suppose there's no getting around it, this is just a hard subject for some. I suppose too, that not everybody fits into the same mold. Things may look a bit different from my vantage point.
I'm just curious, what is our word for those who may have grown up dreaming of marriage and mothering... living with that God-given longing, but not seeing it come to pass?
It's just not an easy road, but Jesus walks beside us and brightens the journey!
And I suppose that even now good things are happening, God is working, and He will receive glory and honor as we trust Him and yield our lives to Him

Anonymous said...

In response to Joy: The Bible talks about married women being keepers at home (teach young women to love their husbands, children, be keepers at home...I'm inclined to think this is talking about married women since they are the ones with husbands and children.) It does not talk about single women being keepers at fact Paul talks about them having a different calling entirely. He is not specific what that work of the Lord is that single people should do (so why should we?) It could be anything from getting a college degree to teach in a public school to helping a needy family to working in the red light district. Those are the kinds of things married women can't do. If we say single women should stay home, aren't we subjecting them to the very distractions Paul says keep married women from the work of the Lord? (minus the husband) Why put single women in a box and say their work (and call it the Lords work) should be visiting the widows and elderly etc etc. These are things everyone is called to do whether single or married. Think about single women like Silvia Tarneceriu...she traveled around telling her story and encouraging people...was involved in Bible smuggling and aid distribution...and working with orphans... Writing books etc etc. It seems almost laughable to think of setting her down and telling her that as a single she should have been at home perfecting her homemaking skills and that God's perfect will was for her to have stayed home. Even more, it seems almost "blasphemous"....when I think of people who might not have come to know the Lord or wouldn't have been strengthened in their faith had she simply stayed at home. I get the heart of your post,'re calling single women to have soft hearts as should any woman whether single or married. Thanks for the reminder. However, if anything, I think we should be calling out the strength in single women and blessing their callings outside the home (some might be called to be at home too and thats fine). I think it takes more courage for guys to ask single women who are well established. I'm not sure single men in our culture not know what to do with women who arent the typical homemaker? And is it a sign of insecurity that they have to feel needed before they ask a girl? (I do get the point that men were made to protect and provide) These are things I've chewed over and I'm posting only to give yet another perspective. With various perspectives perhaps we get a more perfect picture of the whole.

Bethany Eicher said...

I actually agree with you completely, Anonymous, which goes to show how poorly I explained my point! I don't think God ever intended for women to be the breadwinner. Silvia Tarneceriu did not spend her life getting a job and working to pay her bills and buy a house and saving up for old age. I would love to see us enabling single women to pursue the kind of life she lived! That was my point precisely :)

Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Silvia did actually own a home ;) Most of my comments were in response to Joy. I react to people who offer the stereotypical narrow range of jobs single people should be doing. I like your follow-up to this post.

Sierra M said...

Well Bethany, I have a lot to say on this... But I will refrain. :) I will say that telling women to stay home so that men feel comfortable asking them to be their partners is umm, not really Biblical at all. To be honest, if a man wouldn't ask me to be with him because I had skills and independence and other qualities that make him uncomfortable or feel inadequate, then I don't actually want him to begin with. If men are supposed to be strong and courageous, then a strong woman shouldn't scare them. In fact, I would think some men need strong women. There are many callings a couple may have and some times those callings need a strong and somewhat independent woman to assist her husband.

Second comment would be: Paul specifically says that he thinks it's better if men don't marry and follow the calling of the lord. If it's better for men not to so they can devote themselves to the Lord, where does that leave women? Not to mention, If everyone was supposed to be married then God would make equal ratios ;) I'm just saying that while I agree that women shouldn't strive to fight me their entire life... That I don't feel the Bible ever really seems to call women to marriage or the home until they're married. Women throughout the new testiment did things like follow Jesus (literally), were saleswomen of cloth and other goods, and did all kinds of things. In fact, mary and Martha were good examples... Jesus actually spoke against being so worried about the house, food and those matters. While that is probably taking it out of context, Jesus never seems to have spoken much one what single women would do because culturally, there weren't really any. They were forced to marry based on customs, not necessarily Gods commands.

I agree with the person who said something about a single woman doing the things of the lord. There are women who are able to do jobs that men can't and reach people that men may never be able to. If they were always focused on marriage or taking care of a home, then there would be even more people lost and forsaken so to say.

I think, in some ways, a culture where women are allowed and capable of doing something separately of a man is a win for ministry. There are more people to do the work... The problem is probably more with the fact that women are forced to work jobs instead of do ministry... But then you are saying that working isn't ministry. I think the problem may be more out mindset on what constitutes ministry and also possibly why people work in the first place.... If women are to work until their married doing "the things of the lord", should young men be working just for a paycheck to buy vehicles, toys, take trips, and go hunting or fishing? Maybe another post can be the harsh realities of the divide between expectations of single men and single women.

Of course, you probably know me well enough to know that I may need to have a more open heart in this area... But if that's the case... I reiterate what I said in my first part :)