Good girls marry nice guys and other lies

Good girls marry nice guys and other lies April 27, 2024

bride and groom holding hands; picture shows sleeved arms and fingers making contact
Photo by Jeremy Wong Weddings on Unsplash

Myth 1: Good girls marry nice guys

Good girls sometimes marry nice guys, but there are no guarantees. The assumption that being a “goody two shoes” guarantees marriage to a good spouse is just that – an assumption. Unfortunately, many “good” girls thought they were marrying “godly” men, only to end up in abusive relationships. Being a good person or “spiritually mature Christian” does not guarantee that you will have a good marriage – or any marriage at all. God owes you nothing, least of all a life partner. Yes, there are good Christian women out there who “ won the husband lottery”, but many have a different story to tell.

Myth 2: Good girls wait for men to make the first move

Growing up, I was indoctrinated with various notions of what it meant to be a “godly” woman, including the general sentiment that, when it comes to dating, good girls don’t “make the first move”, they should “allow men to do the chasing”, and so on and so forth. In fact, the pastor of a church I once attended said that once you’ve received the “revelation” regarding who your life partner is going to be, you shouldn’t do anything to “engineer” it, so you can truly say it was God who brought you together! (This advice was given to both men and women, by the way. Talk about “over-spiritualization,” but that’s a topic for another discussion).

I have previously written essays on how what is often presented as “biblical” womanhood is not biblical. In the first essay, I addressed the misconceptions related to the idea of the “Proverbs 31 woman”, including the fact that the word “virtuous” used in this passage is actually a mistranslation, and the original word has more to do with valor than chastity. The second essay addresses the misconception of women being created to be men’s helpers. Again, there is a mistranslation – the word translated as “helper” or “helpmeet” does not have the connotation of someone who is weaker or in any way inferior. In fact, it is the same word that is frequently used when the scriptures refer to God as our Helper!

Reexamining biblical womanhood through the story of Ruth

The Proverbs 31 woman did not actually exist, and we have limited information about Eve (Adam’s “helper”), so let’s examine Ruth, who had a whole book in the Bible named after her. She is extolled for her virtue and faithfulness, and for returning to Israel from her native Moab with her mother-in-law, after her husband had died. On getting to Israel, her mother-in-law knew she needed a husband and told her exactly what to do:

One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home[a] for you, where you will be well provided for. Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”

Ruth 3: 1-4 (NIV)


Wow! Really?! How was that even possible or acceptable? But it worked!

 Ruth went after Boaz and got herself a husband. Yet, in the 21st century women are still made to believe that there is something wrong with making the first move. Well, given what Ruth did (way back then), maybe waiting for men to always make the first move is more of a societal expectation than anything else.

The irony is that Ruth is often upheld as a virtuous, godly woman, and one whom Christian women should emulate. In praising her, you don’t generally hear people questioning her approach to getting a husband. In this day and age, what Ruth did would be condemned by the very people who say she is worthy of emulation. My intent is not to criticize or condemn Ruth for her actions, but rather to point out the inconsistencies in teachings that many women (including myself) have been exposed to. Ruth was a great role model in many ways, but her story is evidence that there is nothing wrong with a woman making the first move. If Ruth could do what she did at a time when women had limited rights, it seems ludicrous to tell a woman today that she has to wait for a man to “make the first move.”  This brings me to the next point, what qualifies as a “move,” in the first place?


I was once reprimanded for smiling (too much) at a guy

In my late teens, I was once “reprimanded” for smiling too much at a guy. For context, I barely knew the guy. It was only my second time meeting him, and I had first met him right after a major exam. I’ll call him Mike. (To be honest, I don’t even remember his real name). When I saw Mike the second time, I was so pleased to announce that I had passed the exam- because that had been the major topic of our discussion when we first met. The possibility of any romantic interest didn’t cross my mind. I was smiling because I was bearing good news. Another friend who was with me when I bumped into Mike the second time and didn’t know him, later chided me for smiling that way, because “when you smile at a guy like that, he’ll think you’re interested in him.” (Sigh).

Myth 3: God will bring the “right person” into your life at the right time if you just keep being faithful. You won’t have to do anything.


“Just keep serving the Lord, and marriage will happen when it’s meant to.”

Such words of advice are commonly given to single women by others who mean well.

Some have even been told that the reason they are not married yet is that God is “preparing” them for marriage or “perfecting” them, as if marriage is a reward for being spiritually mature or reserved for those who have been “spiritually perfected.”

Since the story of Ruth referenced above is from the Old Testament, let’s look at examples from the New Testament. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead, were not married, as far as we can tell. If Jesus didn’t find husbands for Mary and Martha who were among his faithful followers when he was physically on earth, why would anyone living in this day and age expect God to miraculously find them a spouse without any effort on their part?

If in the 21st century, when you can fly across the world in a matter of hours, and you have access to social media and the internet, you somehow think God is going to magically find you a spouse because you have been so faithful, please think again. (I know there are people who have stories of spouses literally “dropping into their laps,” but for most people, some effort is required).

Myth 4: “The marriage was God’s will, but the devil was responsible for the divorce”

The decision to get married and who you get married to is your choice to make – not God’s – as many of us were previously indoctrinated to believe.

The irony of attributing the choice to God is that who gets blamed when divorce happens? Typically, it’s either the other spouse or the devil. I realize that some divorces are the result of the actions of abusive spouses, but I don’t believe in blaming God – or the devil for the outcomes of decisions we have made. Life happens. “Happily ever after” may be in heaven, but for now, we have to live with earthly realities and accept responsibility for our choices. And yes, good girls can marry nice guys, but that is not promised.

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