Quoting Quiverfull: To That Girl Who Just Broke Off Her Courtship

Quoting Quiverfull: To That Girl Who Just Broke Off Her Courtship March 18, 2014

by Vaughn Ohlman from True Love Doesn’t Wait

Trigger warning: Hard core patriarchal views that may make your nauseous!

[The following post is purely fictional. No reference to any specific living person should be implied.]

Ok, so you broke it off with what’s-his-name. That guy that, a few days or weeks ago you plastered all over your Facebook wall and spent dizzying hours telling your girlfriends about. We all understand why you did it. The guy turned out to be a jerk. From so far away we can’t tell exactly what kind of jerk, and you have very properly not cared to share that all over your Facebook page, but a jerk of some sort. There are so many types of jerks, but  he was one of them.

Perhaps he was too prideful. It certainly is a common trait amongst young men. I believe the term is ‘sophomoric’. They are young and full of energy, just starting out, and want to take the world by the horns. The temptation is for them  to think that they are the best thing since sliced bread. Braver than Daniel, a better exegete than William Einwechter[1], (and better looking than that other guy you were kind of hoping would want to court you.)

And, let’s not forget, you were looking for a ‘Godly’ man. You were looking for a general, not a private. Perhaps the young man felt rather uncomfortable sharing with you all of his doubts and fears and failings. Perhaps he was a bit too eager to share all of his hopes and dreams and confidences and boasts and goals…

Or maybe he was a different kind of jerk. Perhaps he was too, ummm, well, perhaps nice Christian girls don’t talk about what he was too  much of.  How can we talk about this? Perhaps he managed to show you that he was a bit too eager for the marriage bed? Can I say that? Or perhaps he made a mistake and admitted, or revealed, that he was not the pristine pure virgin that you thought  he was? Either physically or in his thought life?

That is a shame. I mean, I suppose you aren’t allowed to admit it, or talk about it, but you were probably looking forward to a young man that was eager for your marriage bed, no? [2] One that would eagerly do his best to ‘be fruitful and multiply’?[3] And now, of course, your having rejected him, he will struggle even more.[4] Wow, what a shame.

Maybe the problem was he just wasn’t enough of a spiritual leader.[5]

It  is a kind of difficult thing for a young man to develop, you must admit. Most of our churches kind of insist that it is really only the man who, after long years of leading his family in daily worship, and then shows himself able to handle the occasional fill in preaching, or Bible class, will be admitted to the ranks of spiritual leader, deacon, elder, that kind of thing.[6]

I imagine that he was almost certainly lazy.[7] It has been my experience that pretty much every young man is like that! Give them an inch of spare time and they will occupy it with an hour of Xbox, or facebook, or the latest G.A. Henty novel (that last one you might almost consider appropriate). Certainly few of our young men are eager to clean their rooms (did you ever even get to see his room? That was a tactical mistake on his part, unless he let his mother and/or sisters help him clean it up. For about a week.) Most of them are eager for some sort of paying job, but they might not have been so astute with what they did with the money they earned, and certainly they felt they earned their ‘down time’ when they got home after a long day’s work.

Well, I don’t know which of these character flaws your young man had. Or perhaps it was even something else. But I do know I feel sorry for you, I really do. It must have been hard. We all know what you were looking forward to. We saw all of your eager, excited Facebook posts. We saw his, too, the ones where he posted a picture of you two together, and then Facebooked on each event he took ‘his girl’ to. It must have been very hard to break it off.

You have been trained to want to be a wife.[7b] To serve as a helpmeet for some man. The idea was exciting at first, but perhaps the older you got, the scarier it became as the reality of it really set in. And, of course, once you found out what this young man was like, it got scarier, to the point where you broke off your courtship. But, still, you were looking forward to it, no? The idea of being a wife?

And having your own  house.[8] We are sure you were looking forward to that! Choosing your own dishes, furniture, getting to arrange everything just the way you wanted. And having it all nice and clean, and a dinner all on the table, when your dream husband came home? Too bad this boy wasn’t him.

And having children, no?[9] I’m sure you were worried about pregnancy and childbirth, but I’m certain you were looking forward to having children, breastfeeding, showing off your latest newborn to all the women in church.

I have a thought for you. It may or may not be something you’ve thought about, but I would like to encourage you to think about it for a minute. Two thoughts, really.

First of all, I would ask you to consider whether you are all so perfect yourself. He probably didn’t notice, being sooo busy being attracted to you, but maybe you, too, had one or two little flaws. When you have those arguments (OK, ‘discussions’) with your mother, are you sure you are always the one who is right? That she never is actually pointing out an actual flaw in your character?[10]

No, well, probably not. But if not that makes my next point all that much stronger. Have you considered that, just maybe, God didn’t want you to marry the perfect man? That perhaps a man who was less  Godly than you thought he should be, more tempted by fornication, more prone to laziness, and all of those things that, we all agree, were legitimate problems in that boy who was courting you, that perhaps it was a man like that, perhaps even that man, who God wanted you to marry?

Have you meditated on what God meant when he said that it was not good for man to be alone? [11] That perhaps all of those problems that you saw in your young man were, actually, while fully the result of sin, still issues that were part of why God designed you for him?[12] That perhaps your very perfection would be ways in which you would be helpful to your new husband?[13] That by sharing his bed you might help him with his tendency toward fornication? [14] That by being, and reminding him of, his new responsibilities you might help counteract some of his laziness? [15]

Indeed,  have you considered that when God said it was not good for man to be alone, when He said that He had created ‘male and female’ in His image, when He said that Christ’s death on the cross and His resulting marriage to the church He had bought and paid for was a reason for men to get married[16]… have you considered that all of these things might imply that man is made better by marriage? Sanctified by marriage?

Do you remember that I Peter 3 says that a believing wife might manage to bring to Christ her unbelieving husband by her chaste conduct and obedience?[17] Do you remember that Paul says that the unbelieving husband and his children are both sanctified by their believing wife? [18]

Have you considered that, like Esther, you might even have been put on Earth, put in the courtship you were in, for ‘Such a time as this’?[19] Or, in this situation, for ‘such a man as this’? If Esther was able to serve God as one of the women in the harem of a pagan king, are you really sure that it would have been impossible for you to serve God in the marriage that you just refused?

If you dare, look around you. See how many other girls are sitting there in the pews with you. Unmarried girls. Older girls.[20] Are you very, very sure that God wanted you to join their ranks? Instead of the ranks of, well, pretty much every Godly woman in Scripture? Eve, Rebecca, Rachel (and Leah!), Rahab… even Tamar, the one who had two unGodly husbands, so unGodly God killed both of them, even she ended up in the very line of Christ.[21]

It might, it just might, not be too late. The appropriate amount of tears and contrition might do the trick. Or maybe you could send Daddy over. Or maybe just answer the phone the next time he calls the way he’s been doing, several times a day and say, “Hey, I’m sorry, I was a jerk.”. Maybe. Just maybe. Think about it.

Your Brother in Christ,

Vaughn Ohlman

Note: Due to some odd, old fashioned, theological beliefs I have, I don’t really think it is my job to give young girls advice on the internet. I know everyone is doing it, nowadays, but still. So this letter is really written as a father, to fathers. Fathers of daughters. Hoping that what we write here will give them pause for reflection, and perhaps help them as they encourage their own daughters.

As well, this post is a call to reflection. It is meant to remind us that our goal should be to get our young people married, not to protect ourselves (and them) from a ‘less than perfect’ match. No one should take this post as some kind of call for every girl to be given in marriage to the first guy who asks. But at the same time it must remembered that maybe she should be given to that first guy who asked.

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 and Spiritual Abuse 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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  • JeanPing

    WOW. That is IMPRESSIVELY horrifying for so many reasons. Also it sounds like the theoretical guy is not mature enough to be getting married.

  • Joy


  • By all means, just marry the first guy who asks you, and start having babies right away, even though you know your church won’t let you divorce him even if he turns out to be a drunken abuser who can’t hold a job. Because otherwise you might be all of 22 years old and not married or something awful like that.

  • KarenH

    Girls: God’s Party Favor.

  • persephone

    I find it despairingly sad that Vaughn still, over two decades later, is not over getting turned down by his dream girl. Monomania.

  • lodrelhai

    I suppose I should be reading the intro-quote also on the front page before clicking the article link. I usually skip it because it is just the first sentence or two of the actual article, and I read most articles here. Usually stuff from the patriarchy promoters is under the Quoting Quiverfull title. So I was very surprised – not to mention disturbed – to click on a non-QQ article and find it was a repost of something from Vaughn Ohlman.

  • Astrin Ymris

    That was my reaction, too.

  • Nea

    Shorter post: “Damnit, girl, how am I supposed to sell you into teen sex slavery when you think you get to have rights, an opinion, your own life, and happiness?”

  • tulips

    Unfortunate for his eventual wife. Debbie Pearl 2.0.

  • tulips

    *Thinks of all the young men just waiting and hoping to be ~settled for~*. Fingers crossed! I’m not someone you love, desire, respect, or even like necessarily. Certainly that is a bridge too far. I’m a means to an end. Anyone would do, really.
    Somehow this isn’t offensive to all men everywhere?

  • Em

    But we’re all so looking forward to…….breastfeeding? Yes, all women sit dreaming of the day they get to breastfeed. Because It isn’t difficult or painful at all.

  • Nightshade

    Better to be alone than wish you were. Been there, done that-both ways-and absolutely believe it. Marriage is, or should be, more than a warm body of the opposite sex in the house for screwing whenever the man feels like it.

  • tulips

    I wonder what his answer is for women who have taken his advice and made deliberately irrational decisions whilst employing the very sort of magical thinking he is advocating for with the entirely predictable result of living in poverty with someone she doesn’t love, desire, or respect whose best and only hope is that the Deity who has greeted her concerns with silence thus far will kill her husband so she can have a fate that doesn’t appear to be worse than death?

  • SAO

    V.O. shows, once again, his deep disdain for the opinions, thoughts, and decisions of women and girls. If you think God gave you a brain as some kind of a joke and you aren’t supposed to use it, follow his advice.

  • tulips

    Not at all! You will find yourself in frequent need of using it to rationalize and spin! The creative juices will be flowing 24/7 🙂

  • And the increase in breast size during and just after pregnancy isn’t at all uncomfortable or a nuisance! And childbirth is really no more painful than being a bit constipated!

    Mansplaining makes me so damn angry sometimes.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    I was a bit surprised by that as well. Not ‘disturbed;, and I didn’t notice it till you pointed it out. Maybe it was just an editor’s error.

  • tulips

    Yes, and of course it is simultaneously true that you are shallow and vain for caring about what childbearing will (not might) do to your body ~and~ it’s your fault for letting yourself go when he doesn’t like the way you look after serial pregnancy.

  • tulips


  • Nightshade

    But a man who is just looking for a random female body to use as he wishes for the rest of their lives isn’t shallow. Nope, not at all.

  • tulips

    All roads lead to polygamy. It’s in the mail.

  • tulips

    …and FOOD, and shelter! And medical care! And standards or preferences at all! Will the demands never cease?!

  • Mel

    Everyone waits to hear “I guess I could do worse”….

  • Edie Moore McGee

    Translation: If you don’t marry the first man who asks, you may never get another chance. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
    Hey girl: Go to college and get a degree like I did. In fact, it was my dad’s idea! In second grade, he sat me down and told me that getting a good education was one of the keys to a good life, and he expected me to want to go and to earn a big fat scholarship to get there. Daddy was a Godly Christian man, and he was right on.

  • tulips

    Or in accordance with his particular rhetoric, the first ~boy~ who asks. You may find yourself all of 22 and not a pregnancy in sight!

  • “…Sanctified by marriage…”

    That is enough. That alone is evidence that Vaughn is not a Christian. Vaughn’s gospel is not what evangelicals or any large sector of Christianity teaches.
    “Gal 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Copied and pasted right from your site. Changed noting..err,, nothing

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    I thot she was commenting on the fact this wasn’t labeled ‘quoting quiverful’.

  • Nea

    I don’t know… having seen his idea of biblical leadership, I’m pleased at the reminder that at least one got away from him.

  • Nea

    My Dad was also huge on education. He always says that it’s the one thing that will never be taken from you; it cannot be robbed, sold, broken, or left behind. He’s right.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    D’oh! and smacks self in head. Too out of it to realize I didn’t put theQQ

  • Even Vaughn’s go-to verse on marriage, taken literally, does not agree with him. The verse says something like: “If they struggle to contain themselves, let them marry.”

    Not “if someone else struggle to control himself, marry him.”

    So, his advice should actually be, if he follows the letter of that text: “Young women, if you struggle to sexually contain yourself, find someone else who struggle with the same thing to marry – You and him are both told to marry if you struggle. If you don’t struggle to contain yourself, if you find it easy to say no, you do not have to marry. And if you find it very easy to contain yourself when [man A] is near, do not marry [man A].”

    A guy who want to marry simply need to find a woman who cannot contain herself. To say it VO style with genders reversed: “What? You say she cannot cook, isn’t submissive or religious enough or had previous sex partners? The Bible commands you to marry, as all the Biblical patriarchs was. Marriage sanctifies a man, and marriage to a bad woman isn’t half as wrong as singleness. Do you really think God cannot use you if you are married to a whore? He used Hosea!”

  • Nightshade

    Except his definition of struggle would include any thought of a possible spouse, apparently consideration of anyone as a potential partner is defrauding the future spouse unless that is the one you marry.

  • lodrelhai

    Thanks for correcting that!

    And sorry I don’t have anything more constructive to say on the article itself. v_v Though I think the other folks here have it covered.

  • Allison the Great

    Translation: So if you find out that the guy you were dating was an asshole, too bad! Think of HIS feelings. A douche bag he may be, but it’s his feelings that matter, not yours. It’s the guy that matters in this, not you. So take him back and quit being such a bitch! What you want in a man does not matter, what you want NEVER matters, how many times do we have to tell you that? It does not matter if the guy mistreats you, marry him anyway!

    I can’t believe what a misogynist this guy is.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    This post has bothered me all day, and now I understand why. Last week, my 19-year-old niece broke an engagement — she was to be married May 24 — and Von’s “advice” is deeply offensive in light of what I know or think I might know. It also flies in the face of my own experience with marriage.
    We were very surprised when our niece — my sister’s daughter — became engaged at age 17. We’ve had several early marriages in my family and most have worked out, but still …. She is an excellent student and very bright, and I felt like she was foreclosing herself opportunities. And honestly, this was a high school sweetheart going into the military as an enlisted guy. Yet I supported her and was happy for her. It’s her life, after all. She’s a mature young woman and a fervent Christian of the Southern Baptist variety. I gladly gave permission for my own daughter to be a bridesmaid, and a couple of weeks ago, paid for the dress, which I now get to sell on eBay. (It’s not a dress my girl would have chosen for herself.) When my sister called, I was saddened and surprised. My sister didn’t tell me why, and frankly, it’s none of my business, but she did tell me it had been my niece’s decision. I don’t think it was cold feet. I think she learned, or at least realized, something.
    I told my sister, who apologized about nagging me to get the dress fitted, that my being out $100 for a dress was nothing compared with her dear child enduring an unhappy marriage and/or divorce. And I meant that with all my heart. Money can be replaced; years of your life lost from a bad decision, not so much. My sister agreed, and she’s out a lot more money than I am. It was clear to me that she and my brother-in-law were 100% behind their daughter.
    Von’s words thus stung because I know this young woman to be thoughtful, compassionate, sober, disciplined, and Godly. She was smart enough to realize there was something wrong, and brave enough to do something about it. She’ll meet someone more suitable. I believe it because it happened to me.
    When I was in my late teens, early 20’s, I was caught up in the evangelical movement, charismatic variety, and rubbing shoulders with some Gothardites as well. I was ready to get married, too, and set up my own home and start making babies. I was a student at a Baptist college, but was willing to throw it all away for the knight on the white horse. The knight didn’t come along and I graduated. Then, I got a masters. Still no knight. I moved to DC to work. Still no knight. I dated some. No knight. I met a Christian guy when I was 25 and was sure he was the one. He wasn’t. Met another Christian guy when I was 29. Wasn’t my knight. And so on. But I also learned to have fun along the way. Worked on a presidential campaign and inauguration. Volunteered a lot. Got to travel to much of the world through work.
    Finally, at 37, I realized I needed to make more money and my jobs at the time weren’t cutting it. So, I went to law school at night, and while I was there, I met my knight. He wasn’t perfect — still isn’t — but he’s a nice Christian guy who wanted a family. After getting married, I found out I couldn’t have kids. That was probably the case when I was young, too. Just imagine what life would have been like for Mr. Future Quiverfull with the infertile wife. Would he have found an excuse to kick me to the curb? We adopted. We only have one child, but she’s a gem, a gift from God as far as we’re concerned. And life is GOOD!
    When I look back, I see God’s hand in the whole thing. I may have wanted to marry at 19 or 20, but He had other plans. One thing that makes me very grateful about my own dad, who was a gem, too, is that he NEVER hassled me about my single state. He encouraged me to do my very best in school, to get a BA, then an MA. He may have secretly been hoping for an Mrs. degree as well, but he never let on. Daddy was all in favor of law school, too, and — I am crying as I type this because I miss him so much — I have never in my life seen a man so delighted and proud at a law school graduation as my dad was of me. And I am grateful that God let him live long enough to walk me down the aisle at age 77 and meet his granddaughter at age 80. I wish all Christian young women had dads as loving and patient as mine.

  • Allison the Great

    Yeah she dodged a dysfunctional, controlling bullet.

  • Allison the Great

    Yeah, those poor, poor women who don’t get married until *GASP* 30! What were they thinking when they decided to wait, learn to take care of themselves and figure themselves out enough to know what they want in a man?

  • $190147

    Yeah, he wanted to get into a threesome with Monomania and her twin sister, Psychodrama (“or you’ll wait a long time for the ring”) but both of them said no, to his eternal chagrin.

  • persephone


  • Christie

    This makes me angry. I broke off an engagement (mutual really) when the man I thought I was meant for decided to be an idiot and go off the deep end. It is very painful to do so even when you are certain it is the right thing to do. Nine months later I met a wonderful man who he and I (though not perfect) fit together in a partnership like we were meant to be. Eleven years later we have four little ones and are still a fabulous team.

    Who is this man that inserts himself in such a delicate situation? Who is he that think he can tell this young lady how she should live her life? Perhaps the young man and the young woman simply were not meat to be. Perhaps the young man was not simply less than perfect but downright foolish and the young lady seeing this did not want to permanently tie herself to him. Even if it is completely as he says, who is he to tell her how to live her life?

  • Sharla Hulsey

    Yep, and the very IDEA that this man could presume to give your, or my, father advice about how to talk to a daughter. My dad sent me to college, too, and very proudly (and tearfully) put my new robe on me at my ordination service.

    Many years before that, when I broke up with a fellow who was…well… as this creepo puts it, “a little too eager for the marriage bed,” and the fellow’s behavior after that went right up to the edge of stalking, my dad wouldn’t have DREAMED of writing such a stomach-churning bit of advice claiming I was the one in the wrong. No, he just made his presence very clear at times when the ex was acting in ways that scared me, and scary stalky ex backed WAY off.

    I’m sure glad I got my dad as a dad and not this Vaughn character.