by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin of Visionary Daughters article “Why Am I Not Married?” – July 1, 2010
What is the Solution?
There is no quick fix for a problem that has taken generations of cultural immaturity and compromise to create. For starters, let’s stop looking at external problems and external solutions; we’re not going to fix a maturity crisis by calling in other people to make getting married easy for us.
As we’re sure our readers already understand, God is in complete control of who gets married when. There is nothing people can do to make the right marriages happen before God intends them to, and there is no use crusading or going on witch-hunts when it’s God’s sovereign plan we’re up against. This should be a great relief to us: “Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.” (John Calvin)
But resting in God’s sovereignty doesn’t mean resigning from action, expecting Him to reward our laziness. Whatever He has in store for us, we still bear our responsibility to do our duty – to, in the words of the hymn, trust and obey. He tells us to “be faithful with little” before He will entrust us with much. He also promises, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:9)
We cannot, by good behavior (or bad), will ourselves into the right marriages, or manipulate Him into making them happen faster. However, there is plenty we can and must be doing to make ourselves more ready and worthy for marriage. We would like to offer four suggestions:
Correct your thinking
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh; our attitudes betray themselves in our actions.
There are several damaging streams of thought polluting our perceptions and eventually our actions. We need to sort through and evaluate all of our presuppositions about marriage, and correct the false ones. A few examples:
- The idea that we are entitled to marriage – wrong.
- The idea that every marriage-eager person over age 20 is ready – wrong.
- The idea that we can blame “the problem” on a system or a demographic – wrong.
- The idea that things need to be “fair” and leveled – wrong.
- The idea that getting married should be easy – wrong.
- The idea that life won’t start until marriage – wrong.
Each of these ideas has dangerous implications – try carrying out any of them to their logical conclusions, and you end up with…well… the No Girl Left Behind website.
Become a girl that a godly man will want to marry.
The bad news is, none of us is naturally likeable, desirable or eligible. Because of sin, we all start out as ugly stepsisters; and we don’t naturally become Cinderella upon turning 18. Put yourself in a young man’s shoes, and ask yourself what he might want and need. You might be surprised by how you measure up. If all the good young men you know aren’t interested in you, who are you going to blame?
View your single years as a time to prepare, not wait.
The good news is, most of us were given several single years to prepare and become truly eligible. As long as we don’t spend those years feeling like we’ve arrived, and like there’s something wrong with all the guys that haven’t noticed us yet, becoming more bitter with every wasted year, there’s a lot of progress that can be made, and much that could be accomplished. Make the most of your time!
Some of the girls most frantic to get married admit to us that they’re listless and unengaged at home, and that their relationships with their siblings are a mess. They don’t know it, but what they’re desperate for is a new home to be bored in, a new relationship to neglect, a new person to be crabby to, new circumstances to complain about, and a new life to make the least of.
Girls, if we’re failing where we are now, our propensity for failure will follow us wherever we go. Our bad character, bad attitudes and bad habits will blight our future lives as much as they are our current ones. Ask yourself: How well are you doing with the life you’re in the middle of right now? How well are you doing with the relationships God has put into your family right now? How well are you using your time? How well are you fighting the fight of faith?
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the last is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10)
God is in control of your future, and His plan is being worked out day by day. The marriages that He has ordained to happen right now are happening, despite the fears of a “marriage crisis.”
In reality, dying an old maid is not the fate most to be feared. The consequences of acting in panic, desperation and fear, or of being poisoned by bitterness, can much more effectively ruin a woman’s life. We have seen this marriage-panic drive young women to destroy their most important relationships, marry recklessly, launch accusation-campaigns and witch-hunts that destroy communities and split churches, devastate their families, create miserable homes for their future children, and poison everyone they know.
Let’s look at the big picture again. Our chief end is not marriage. If attracting a nice Christian guy is the motivating force of your life, you might need to seriously examine the integrity of your faith. If the nonappearance of Prince Charming is making you question God, you may be facing a more serious fate than dying an old maid. Being in this for the husband is just riding to hell in a hopechest.
People sometimes ask why we, at the ages of 22 and 24, are not yet married. The only answer we can give is that God has not ordained for us to be married yet, and that is, like all His other works, “very good”; we are enjoying the extra time to labor with our family, to prepare ourselves more fully, and to “occupy until ‘he’ comes.” As much as we pray for godly marriages, there is much to rejoice about in the calling of visionary daughterhood.
So smile at the future. Think about something other than marriage. And don’t forget to write to your congressman.
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