Quoting Quiverfull: Marriage Crisis Part 2?

by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin of Visionary Daughters article “Why Am I Not Married?” – July 1, 2010

Who is to Blame?

The easiest and most common response is to point our fingers – at the young men, for not getting their act together, or for not being proactive about asking; at our fathers, for being too intimidating or too picky; or at leadership, for not doing something.

Whether or not the young men, fathers, and leadership involved have behaved infallibly is not our place to say; we are here to point out that we girls have no business fixating on anyone’s faults but our own. This is partly a point of Christian charity and proper jurisdiction. It’s also a point of having to be honest with ourselves. After all, in any one of our individual cases, the problem just might be: Us.

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?

One of the hallmark verses of waiting daughters is “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is above rubies.” We all love to claim the “above rubies” appellation and the idea that we’re a great prize for a young man to find – but Proverbs 31 places that price tag on a very specific description of a woman, and we all know that it doesn’t describe us. So why do we demand to be treated, and eventually chosen, as though we were that Proverbs 31 woman?

For every girl we know asking why so few young men are “ready,” we know a young man asking where the ready and eligible girls are. Our brothers and their friends have told us that many of the qualities girls have cultivated to make themselves “eligible” are things that won’t come up on young men’s radar screens, and the qualities the young men are most looking for have been neglected.

For example, though many may have mastered skills like sewing and music, they often seem to be living in a hobby world, removed from the concerns of the real world, and lacking a basic understanding of what’s going on. Some may have learned to be “content,” but haven’t learned to be joyful. Some may be sweet girls, but they often communicate stiffness, timidity, aloofness, or coldness in public. Others may be popular and socially active, but haven’t built real relationships with their own family. Some may feel ready to be loved and romanced, but not ready to love sacrificially. Others may be very accomplished in “feminine arts” (cake decorating, flower arranging, scrapbooking), but lacking in practical skills that will recommend them as capable helpers (the kind of skills that would be required to start a business, manage finances, help run a ministry, etc.)

There are many girls who look prepared to be good mothers and good housekeepers, but not to be capable helpmeets. Our brothers and their friends have told us that they’re not looking for mere live-in maids and nannies; they want wives who would be capable of coming alongside them in the rigors of their lives; being engaging, iron-sharpening companions; and assisting them in business, ministry, adventure, risk, conquest, and uncertainty. The young men we know are asking, “Where are those girls?”

Comments open below

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

 

About Suzanne Calulu
  • http://www.defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com Samantha

    “Some may be sweet girls, but they often communicate stiffness, timidity, aloofness, or coldness in public.”
    It seems like this is one of the main goals for the stay-at-home daughter, although wouldn’t they use “reserve, behavioral modesty, biblical separation, and emotional purity” instead?
    “but lacking in practical skills that will recommend them as capable helpers”
    Uhm… don’t you need things like an honest, practical education for these?
    “assisting them in business, ministry, adventure, risk, conquest”
    Those all sound like incredibly masculine endeavors.

    She seems to kinda be undoing a lot of what the sisters talk about in their book and movie.

  • Cathy W

    Some may be sweet girls, but they often communicate stiffness, timidity, aloofness, or coldness in public.

    …because they’ve been told to guard their “emotional purity”, and any expression of any emotion towards a boy counts as a failure there…

  • Guest

    Hmm, is it just me, or does it sound like their brothers and friends are looking for wives that might be a little more egalitarian in their views than what these girls are ready to be? After all, if everything is decided by the man, then there is no responsibility for consequences of bad decisions placed on the girls. To some girls, that may be a relief and they don’t want that responsibility. I’m thinking these brothers and friends are looking at that responsibility and saying they want help shouldering that responsibility.

  • KarenH

    Just a wild stab, but I’m guessing the girls the guys in this article seem to be looking for are….in college, looking for the non-Neanderthals.

  • http://www.concerningpurity.blogspot.com Lynn

    The qualities these men are supposedly looking for can rarely be found in a young girl, especially a sheltered one. Their expectations do not match the system they have created.

  • Nightshade

    I’m all in favor of acknowledging one’s shortcomings and working to fix them, self-improvement and all, but the idea that only perfection is good enough, that all flaws must be eradicated before a young woman is deserving of consideration as a prospective spouse-especially when most of those ‘flaws’ are directly caused by the system in which these girls are raised!-is ridiculous.

  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/ Retha Faurie

    “Whether or not the young men, fathers, and leadership involved have behaved infallibly is not our place to say; we are here to point out that we girls have no business fixating on anyone’s faults but our own. This is partly a point of Christian charity and proper jurisdiction.”

    No, realism mean that you should be willing to blame whoever is at fault, and change what you can. If, for example, the father of a young woman is to blame, the change she should make in herself is to stop listening to his advice. It may even be needed to remove herself from his home. There is no point in blaming anyone except the real guilty party, whatever the issue.

    Another thing, an “iron-sharpening companion”, as they say the men want, is not a patriarchal submissive wife. The two are mutually incompatible.

  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/ Retha Faurie

    What makes it even sillier: Many male headship proponents say men should lead and women submit because the man represents Jesus and the woman the church.

    The gospel message has utterly nothing to do with us doing exactly everything to make ourselves perfect before Jesus could look in our direction, but about Jesus loving sinners regardless of how unlovely their actions are – anyone could come to Him. The mere fact that a man set standards for what kind of woman is good enough for them to marry, prove he do not want to play the Jesus role.

  • http://wideopenground.com Lana

    There is no marriage crisis in the homeschool circles. Nearly every homeschooler I know has gotten married, but not did at 18 like they wanted!

  • validated

    @Lana: exactly my thought as well. Many I know that were homeschooled or went to my christian college were engaged and married between 18-21. And yes, also ticked it took so long.

    Everytime I read something written by these two sisters I just want to bang my head off of my desk. I’d say half of it is the content and the other half is me having flashbacks to talks about “the Proverbs 31 woman” and how we should “have a kind and gentle spirit.” Bleh.

  • Sameera Sheikh

    There’s a movie?!
    Seriously?


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