Quoting Quiverfull: Happy Valentines Day?

by Anna Sophia & Elizabeth Botkin from Visionary Daughters -February 13, 2013

Valentine’s Day may be a happy time for couples, but it’s often a painful reminder for single Christian women of what they’re still praying for, hoping for, and – sigh – waiting for. Many of us don’t have a valentine this year because we’ve been holding out for someone special. We have high standards, and we’ve stuck to them, and now we’re having to eat the fruits of this resolve (instead of Godiva chocolates).

High standards and faithful perseverance are noble things. But sometimes we need to re-examine the honesty of our standards, and the whole spirit in which we devise them. Some of us, whether we know it or not, have made lists of suitor-requirements that look like this:

Dear God,

I have been very good this year, and I would really like it if you would bring me a husband who:

Is working to become just like Christ
Will love me just the way I am
Speaks several languages and plays several instruments
Will look past my inadequacies to see only my inner qualities
Is handsome
Will not be so carnally minded that he will care about the way I look
Isn’t interested in money
Can support me in the style I would like to be accustomed to
Is completely sold out for God
Will let me be myself

I know these are very righteous things to desire, and I have been patiently waiting and have not compromised my standards, so can you please reward my faithfulness now? Thank you.
Love, Janey

It’s good to develop noble standards for the kind of man we want to marry, but simply having a preference for good men doesn’t make us worthy of them. We often have lofty demands for suitors (well, not that lofty – just that they have Jim Elliot’s heart, C. S. Lewis’s mind, William Wallace’s courage, Clark Gable’s face, Cary Grant’s clothes, Josh Groban’s voice…), but we want them to love us just the way we are. So the men we want to marry often don’t really exist – and if they did… well… why would they want to marry us?

Janey apparently hopes that her paragon of glowing character and accomplishments won’t mind that she is (apparently) shallow and materialistic, has qualities buried so deep there’s no danger of anyone ever finding them, is not-quite-sold-out for Christ herself… and is not interested in changing. But then, we don’t really want what we deserve, do we?

So, we make our wish lists and pray that we get Missionary Martyr Malibu Ken for Christmas. But what will we have to offer him? How are we preparing to be what he might need in a wife? How long are our lists of standards and requirements for ourselves?

Our aspirations to be married to fine husbands are good; but then, that’s an aspiration that the Cinderellas and the ugly stepsisters of the world have always had in common. We need to step outside of our imaginary roles as the heroines of our own personal fairy tales, and ask ourselves: Which one am I? Why would the prince choose me?

The bad news is, none of us are naturally likeable, desirable, or eligible. Because of sin, we all start out as ugly stepsisters, and we don’t automatically become Cinderella upon reaching marriageable age. The good news is, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Pet. 2:24) And the rest of the good news is, if you find yourself Valentine-less this Valentine’s Day, that means the Lord is giving you more time to die to sin and live to righteousness, more time to make yourself ready, more time to become a better gift.

Ladies, let’s decide to do our (future) husbands good on this day (Prov. 31:12), instead of moping about the good they’re not here to do for us. On a day when women all over the world will be thinking about what they want to get from a man, let’s think instead about we’re preparing to give to one.

(With excerpts from It’s (Not That) Complicated)

Comments open below

Happy Valentines Day!

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • At the core, I actually think much of this is decent advice, and I’ll seldom say that about anything Quiverfull. Don’t be materialistic or outright greedy, don’t set your standards so impossibly high that perfectly good *real* guys won’t measure up, be willing to work on yourself. Of course they then have to put in a lot of stuff about how a young single woman doesn’t just possibly have some bad thought habits she should work on, but is a terrible person who only Jesus can make less terrible.

  • Aren’t they still single?

  • Similar advice from Dan Savage ten years ago.

  • chervil

    “On a day when women all over the world will be thinking about what they want to get from a man”

    This is literally what my husband just IMd to me re Valentine’s Day:

    “I used to celebrate it until someone convinced me it’s just a capitalist tool consumerist Hallmark ‘holiday'”. Who would that someone be? Me. His wife, who is supposedly so greedy and self centered, she is always wondering what shining prize she can wring out of her poor beleaguered husband. Not that I would begrudge anyone Valentine’s Day, that’s just so me.

    But yeah, it always comes down to this. Their complete and utter misconception about what the rest of the world is thinking and how they think they are just soaring above it all. Do they really sit around all day like they’re in high school, wondering what other people think , but never asking? In all the articles that get posted here, it gives the impression that they spend their days like teenagers consumed not with their own lives, but with how they think they’re super superior compared to the rest of the world. For people who supposedly believe in modesty, they are extraordinarily self congratulatory. “Those women think we have TOO MANY CHILDREN. They think we’re stupid. They HATE children. Those women dress their daughters like hookers, are self centered, greedy, hate families” the list goes on and on. It seems that they can’t feel validated or even alive unless they’re comparing themselves to the straw women they’ve built up in their heads. Honestly, it seems they spend way too much time comparing themselves to people like me, people who, if I didn’t stumble onto this site, wouldn’t even know they existed. They’re invisible people angrily fighting with an imaginary enemy. They were promised that they would be uplifted and they’re not, they’re regular just like everyone else, practically no one knows about them. Which I think is what bothers them more than anything.

  • Sarah

    Since they’re kinda-sorta “married” to their father until they get married for real, maybe it should be *his* job to give them Godiva chocolates.

  • Persephone

    They’re never going to find a guy who measures up to daddy dearest, and no man in his right mind would want to get involved in that psychodrama.

  • Persephone

    They’re mentally married to daddy, so technically, yes. And will always be.

  • Three thoughts here:
    1.) If you’re marrying a guy I’d sincerely hope he wanted to look at you in a “carnally minded” way and noticed how you looked. Otherwise, if you don’t like that, just forget this marriage thing altogether and get a roommate or move in with your brother. For real…
    2.). Reading “none of us are naturally likeable, desirable, or eligible” made me sad. Generally self-esteem is attractive, and when you don’t have any you won’t attract someone who does. Also, if you see only “cultivated” good in yourself, not natural goodness, it will likely look and feel like artifice and fakeness.
    3.). Is there some purity rule against mentioning actual men your age that are attractive? Or do they have to be old, dead, or somehow otherwise not present?

    I can’t picture any girl on a date (even one who’s model pretty, rich, and with a highly cultivated skill set) saying she expects him to be as dashing and skilled as the best entertainers and artists of the last generation, care for her and lots of babies, make all the major decisions on everything, not to physically desire her too much, and not to pay attention to her appearance because she is one of Cinderella’s stepsisters still in training to be better, and ever finding that goes over well. What would any normal guy do with this? Run like hell.

  • Luca

    I think that most of ya’ll who keep commenting bitterly about how these “ass-hole girls are married to their ass-hole father” shit need to STOP shitting right now. I’m tired of it.

    I responded to their latest Valentine’s post via e-mail in this way, because, like someone else said, it’s pretty sound advice excpet… a few words need mentioning in light of it all:

    I just wanted to drop a note to say a few words concerning your Valentines Day post.. It is very good, except that as women, we are naturally desirable to men, regardless of what we do. And as far as what we must be prepared to give to the man in a marriage, well, the fact is that we will have to give everything of ourselves to him. The good wife will naturally spend time conforming to the desires of her husband, and the good husband will spend time conforming to the desires of his wife. But for us, it will seem like we are doing all the giving, and sometimes it will all be so overwhelming we will want to walk away with what little we have left of ourselves and start all over again. But that is what the cross of Christ is all about, isn’t it. Giving everything for love.

  • Kimberly

    It’s so apparent that these girls really aren’t qualified to give love advice based on some of their immature comments. One requirement on the wish list “isn’t interested in money” directly contradicts the next item “Can support me in the style I would like to be accustomed to.” Hard for a guy not interested in money to actually do. That was a rather ridiculous thing for them to have written. Also, being sold out to God and working to become like Christ are processes that many young men only have a slight hold on but will develop as the years go by. And since when was it wrong for a husband to be carnally minded about his wife? Isn’t God the author of beauty? Isn’t natural attraction and desire a gift from God? The whole article lacks recognition of the delight of passion and romance and excitement that is essential for lovers and described in the Song of Solomon. Sounds like a pretty dull marriage. And men don’t usually have the whole package all at once–time matures them. They are going to have many more lonely Valentine’s Days if they don’t accept that fact.

    I really got ticked with the part after the letter, where they begin to tear down the girls reading it by saying that no one is likeable, desirable, or eligible? Huh? There are very many such young women around. And their reasoning fails in stating that Christ died on the cross so that unmarried girls could become better gifts for their husbands. What? These young ladies are very articulate and write very well, but their reasoning is faulty. This is ridiculous stuff that gives young girls a very false view of love, duty, waiting, and really has the potential to do a lot of harm.

  • Chervil

    What’s “bitter” about it? It’s an observation, based both on these girls’ writings and people coming from this lifestyle observing how patriarchy treats daughters. It’s also documented elsewhere, these girls in particular. only one who sounds bitter here is you, with your “I’m tired of it.” statement. . No one owes you their silence.

  • Saraquill

    I’m baffled that these super conservative Protestant sisters would deign to comment at all positively about a holiday in honor of a Catholic saint.

  • Tori

    Valentines day – The day we all celebrate the horrific drawn out death of a Christian man, by virtue of receiving sweets, hallmark cards and flowers. Non receipt of these items is to be resented and dwelt upon, receiving them is considered to be proof of love (because obviously material things prove love).

    Why do Christians go along with this AT ALL? I don’t understand.

  • Kat Walker

    On the surface this is good advice. Don’t have unrealistic expectations and if you want a good relationship that means giving as well as taking. Common sense, right?

    But then you realize that it’s part and parcel of the culture these young ladies are being raised in to not ever have any meaningful relationships with men (as in getting to spend time being friends and relating to them as actual people, not a creepy daddy/god substitute) and to over-idealize marriage in a way that causes them to infantilize themselves. Women in that culture are trained to think of themselves as helpless princesses who should expect “real men” to protect and provide for them because no “real man” would want them if they act “masculine” (i.e. are too independent like those icky feminists). So… why wouldn’t girls like that have such immature fairy tale ideas about relationships?

    It’s just so silly how the Botkin propaganda breeds this mindset, then they turn around and condescendingly lecture other girls about how foolish they are for following it to its logical conclusion. “It’s not that my worldview is fundamentally flawed, it’s just that you’re not good enough AS USUAL, ladies!” Ugh. If you’re pushing 30 and never been on a date, stop acting like you know everything about what makes a healthy marriage PLEASE.