by Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide
All quotes from the book are in blue text.
Welcome to the final post in a long, yet mindless chapter on waiting.
Ms. Mally decides to list some common fears that unmarried women have.
“There are two factors that will govern our decision-making: fear and faith. Young ladies commonly struggle with many fears, especially in the area of marriage:
- What if I never get married?
- What if I have to wait until I’m thirty?
- How will I know God’s will?
- What if everyone thinks I’m unpopular because I don’t have a boyfriend?
- How will I know when I meet the right person?
- How will I know it is the right time?
- What if I don’t like the person God picks for me?”
Let’s look at each worry in order:
- I think many people – male and female – worry about if they will ever get married. Truthfully, the odds are in favor of getting married. Roughly 85% of people in the USA will have been married at least once by age 40.
- A more important question is if marriage is the only way to have a fulfilling and successful life. I think a marriage can be part of a successful life, but I certainly had many positive experiences that made a large difference in the world before I got married.
- I married for the first time at age 29 – and that’s hardly an unusual experience for Americans. What did I do between when I finished high school and got married? First, I attended college while working part-time during the school year and full-time as a cashier at a grocery store. I earned a science degree with a teaching certificate. I also interned at a research department for a global company. was a camp counselor for high-risk kids and preteens, and tutored adults for the GED. After I got my teacher’s license, I taught in urban alternative education high schools for 5 years before getting married.
- Using your late teens and early twenties to get advanced training for a career is a good investment even if your long-term goal is to stay at home with a large family. Vocational or academic training at the postsecondary level hones memory, organizational and people skills. All of those “soft” skills will be useful as a SAHM. As importantly, you can contribute positively to your family and community more effectively when you have marketable skills.
- I know personally that I certainly helped more people in a Christ-like manner when I had the training to teach science and the life-experience to help students navigate the social services they needed for themselves and their families than I ever could have if I stayed at home without education until I married.
- I’m sorry, but I don’t have a magic trick to figure out if you’re following God’s will. I will say that I don’t think the process is terribly complicated and should never require denying your gifts and talents because “God wants women to be wives and mothers only.”
- If your motivation for dating includes “I want to be popular”, you need to get your life priorities in order. It’s not ok to use another person so that you can be more popular.
- There’s not so much a “right time” to date or marry as a “wrong time”. Don’t start dating to avoid a major problem in your life. Don’t make decisions about marrying someone in times of stress. Those are “wrong” times.
- For me, knowing that I wanted to spend my life with my husband was a process. I needed time to get to know my husband well enough to realize how much I liked the idea of spending our lives together. There wasn’t a magic moment when I fell in love with him; instead, I grew to love him more and more as we spent more time together as a couple.
That last worry is the best example of how parent-led courtship is a cover for arranged marriages. That worry doesn’t exist in dating; couples that dislike each other break up. I worried that I might not find someone to marry – but I never worried that my father would marry me off to someone I didn’t like in the name of God. That’s what’s happening in CP/QF families that court and the best proof is that there hasn’t been a massive uproar about this book.
” I have occasionally heard young ladies say something like this: ‘I wish I was a guy. They get to make all the decisions. They can just go and choose a wife. I mean, here is one of the biggest decisions in my life, and I can’t do a thing about it! I just have to wait for someone to come to me!’ “(pg. 117)
- Kudos for removing the cult blinders a bit. Young women are screwed in this system. Not only are women denigrated for having the audacity to attempt to attract men, the over reliance on fathers and brothers prevents women from getting a realistic understanding of the number and quality of men interested in them romantically. Dating can be rough, but both genders in that system tend to have a solid understanding of what type of person they can attract.
- The system can make women think that they have more suitors available than really exist. Nearly every big name QF family has at least one unmarried daughter over the age of 24. For some of those women, they clearly expected to have mobs of young men waiting to sweep them off their feet – except the mob never appeared.
- The system can also cause women to underestimate the number of men interested in them. Sarah Mally has recounted when a few guys reached out because they were interested in courting her. How many guys reached out to her dad first and got rejected? Zero? Two? Ten? The total number would be important for Sarah to know to judge if waiting at home for a suitable husband to appear is working or not.
“But think about that statement. Would you really want to make the decision yourself? Imagine the mess we could so easily get ourselves into. Aren’t you grateful that we can let God handle it? Yes, we can pray, we can prepare, we can get to know people, we can be aware of those whom the Lord brings into our lives, we can discern Godly young men, but we can’t “cause” anything to happen. In fact, if we date, we have no guarantee that we will ever get married. However, I think of it this way: by putting ourselves in a situation where we are powerless and unable to bring it about ourselves, we have no other good option but to trust in the Lord.” (pg. 118)
- That’s not actually rebutting the idea that women should be actively involved in finding a spouse.
- Yes, most women would want to be actively involved in dating – including the person who complained to Sarah.
- Yes, women can get into a mess – but so could all of the men who are looking for those silent SAHDs so that’s not a valid reason for excluding women from actively seeking a spouse.
- Neither men nor women are guaranteed a spouse through dating or courtship so I have no idea why she added that excuse to this argument.
- If the only way you can trust in the Lord is by being absolutely powerless, you don’t have much trust in the Lord. That’s the same lack of logic that drives me insane about people who compulsively try to prove that the Bible is true; if you believe in facts, you don’t have faith.
Personally, my parents would never have left us unattended with fireworks and a lighter or match. That’s some shitty bad parenting if your kids are too young or too impulsive to be safe. Also, we would have understood that if the entire bag goes up in smoke that there are no fireworks left.
The next chapter lets us understand how helpful parents can be. Goody-goody gumdrops! This should be a hoot.
Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide She is also an very valuable source of scientific information for us here at NLQ. Mel is also blessed with the ability to look at the issues of Quiverfull with a rational mind and break them down to their most basic of elements.
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