“I really want to get married.” The words aren’t uttered loudly in many church circles. They are hushed and spoken only between close friends.
The stigmatism that faces single Christian women from both peers and from within is painful. However, author and co-founder of Boundless Candice Watters has the remedy. In her new book, Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help It Happen, she explores the steps a woman can take to inch closer towards the aisle.
Why are Christian women today ashamed to admit that they want to get married?
It’s a combination of things. For me, a lot of it stemmed from embarrassment that it hadn’t happened. I was wondering if there was something wrong with me, because I hadn’t had any dates to speak of. I had enough friends getting married that I thought, ‘It’s happening to everyone else but me.’
For other women, it may be a bit of that feminist mindset that you’re not supposed to want that. It’s supposed to be just one of many goals that you can get if you want. [Those women] tend to speak more of things that they have in their control, which is their job or their homes or things that they can acquire all by themselves. Marriage is one of those rare things that really does take two people. It’s not something you can make happen all alone.
We all know so many single Christian women. Where are the men?
There’s this idea that the women outnumber the men. Ironically, according to the Census Bureau, there are more Christian single men who are marriage-minded than there are Christian single women. The challenge is how to find them. A study by the Barna Group shows that they’re not in the pews. They’re not in churches the way Christian single women are.
You mention that the church plays a role in being a woman’s network to find all these Christian men. How so? What is the church doing right or wrong?
What would help is if the church and the pastors would speak a unique message to never-married singles to say, “Most of you biblically really are called to marriage. We have a role as a body of believers to come around you and help you get there.”
One of the main ways the church can help do that is to hold the single men accountable, to not allow them to be perpetually dating, going through everyone in the singles group and never making a commitment.
There really does need to be a mentoring going on with the older married men saying to the younger men, “Unless you have a God-given calling to lifelong celibacy (which includes not dating), you have an obligation to start looking for a wife. We want to help you become the kind of man who can be a good husband.”
What kind of traits should women be looking for in a husband?
- Would he be a good provider? Does he have the capability, especially if I was going to stay home to raise the kids? Is he the kind of guy who can hold down a job?
- Is he committed in church? Is he a member? Is he actively involved? Does he spend time daily in the Word, growing in his faith?
- Is he a loyal friend?
- Is he faithful with his finances? Does he pay his bills on time? Does he carry a lot of credit card debt?
These are very practical questions you can ask of someone fairly early on in a relationship in a non-threatening way and really get a picture of his character.
Why should singles avoid looking for a soul mate?
The biggest danger of “soul mate-ism” is the idea that: “There’s one person out there for me, and if I can find this one person, then I’m guaranteed a happy marriage.” Marriage is hard. Scripture is very clear.
It isn’t wrong to marry, even if you have never been married before. But those who marry will have a lot of trouble, and I want to protect you from that. – 1 Corinthians 7:28 (CEV)
Everyone in marriage will experience difficulty, because you’re uniting two sinners. We’re redeemed, but we still sin.
Far better to go into it thinking, ‘I have found the best possible mate that I can find given where I live, who I know and what I bring to the relationship. We’re both going into this knowing that we’re committed for life, that we’re both fallen and redeemed, and that at the foot at the Cross, we can make this work.’
So lastly, what encouragement do you have for women who have never been kissed, never had a date and are growing weary of waiting?
That was me. I’d never had a boyfriend until I met Steve [my husband]. I had no passion in my life. The longer I waited, the more terrified I was that it would never happen.
Take a deep breath. Your purity is beautiful. It’s a gift. I look back now and I think that God protected me from so much by just not letting me have a date. Even though it was so painful at the time to not have a date when everybody else did, I’m so thankful that I didn’t come into my marriage with any relational baggage.
Start to pray boldly, passionately and intensely for the men who you know in your church or work. Pray that they will start to have God’s perspective and vision for marriage for their own lives. Even if one of them doesn’t end up being your spouse, you’re praying in a way that will bless all of your sisters in Christ.
And then pray that God would bring a husband into your life. You can pray boldly, because you’re really asking God to give you what He wants you to have.