Boundless Asks: Is Boundless Biased Against Single Women?

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After skimming over various articles at Boundless, especially the ones about single Christian females who are over the age of 25, yes, I’d say they’re biased. I try to avoid their site.

Here is a link to a page at their blog:

Is Boundless Biased Against Single Women? by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

Here are some excerpts from that page at Boundless:

I’d like to ask the opposite. Is Boundless too hard on single women?

Some examples:

  • Women are encouraged to at times downplay their career success, academic achievements and financial gains in order to make themselves more available and attractive to men.
  • In a similar vein, women are encouraged to consider turning down job promotions, further education, home-buying opportunities and relocations if they might jeopardize a relationship opportunity. And beyond marriage, they are challenged to consider embracing traditional family roles such as staying home with their children.
  • Women are encouraged to maintain their physical appearances — through exercise, healthy eating, stylish dressing and make-up — to attract the opposite sex.
  • Women are challenged to respond to all men (even those who seem inferior) with humility, grace and gratefulness. In addition, they are encouraged to not consider the current condition of the man but rather his potential — trying to look ahead to what he might be one day.
  • Though it is acknowledged that women hold less control in marriage-making than men do, they are confronted with statistics about infertility and the detriments of late marriage, making it seem at times as if they have “missed the boat.”

Now for the fun part; here are some of the replies I related to or agreed with:

10. Maria said the following at 5:04 PM on May 5:

As a single woman I often do not feel very encouraged or supported by some of the themes/language/thoughts put out by Boundless.

In a perfect world I wanted to and would have been married by 23 and had 3 children by 30. I am now 34 and I have never been in a relationship, never had a boyfriend, never dated etc (you get the picture). So if I were to follow the Boundless view, I would either have not gone to college or had I gone not studied anything that would have led to a “non” flexible career.

Which means instead of using the intelligence and skills God gave me, I would have done what? Worked at the local grocery store all my life waiting and waiting for Mr. Right to come along?

I dislike the implication that I am supposed to feel bad about the degrees I do have and the promotions at work I have received. And I suppose the fact that I am hoping to go back to school next year to get a JD degree would also mark me as one of “those” women. When nothing would be further from the truth.

Have I turned down guys? Nope; none have ever asked me out/pursued me. Zilch, Nada…

Do I want to be a SAHM? (Stay at home mom) Oh dear heavens no!! Do I want to be married and have a family? Yes I do! Do I want to have a career? Absolutely! Am I willing and OK with having a much much slower career path/growth as a parent than I would as a single woman? Absolutely!

But when I read posts by some of the boundless writers that seem to condemn/chastise women who work, pursue careers and educational opportunities, buy houses or those that are married and put their kids in day care etc it is so very discouraging. If someone wants to be a SAHM I support them whole heartedly but I know it is not a good choice for me (mentally and physically) even if I married a very wealthy man.

Things I do agree with:
1. Keeping ourselves in shape – it has encouraged me to keep working out and pay attention to my fitness. I recently tried a new hair cut that is so far getting rave reviews.
2. Keeping and Maintaining my purity – even when the world thinks a 34 year old virgin is strange
3. Giving all guys a chance and looking at their potential (Of course it would be nice if they could look at us and see our potential too esp in the looks area)

I agreed with parts of post #15 by EKB, and I’ll only be pasting in those parts I agree with or relate to;

15. EKB said the following at 6:35 PM on May 5:

…I do think there are some women’s issues that could be handled better.

1. I think there is too much emphasis on physical appearance for women.

We live in a culture that idolizes physical beauty probably much more than in Biblical times, but the New Testament still places most of the emphasis on women cultivating inner beauty and speaks very strongly against vanity.

I think the vast majority of women reading Boundless already put too much time and unhealthy worry into how they look; the last thing they need is a Christian source telling them that looking prettier or thinner is the way to dating success.

I do realize that there are some women who need the message to take more care in their health and appearance, but I honestly think thats an extreme minority.

I think the beauty emphasis for women (i.e. the infamous hair length debacle) at best takes away time from more spiritually profitable discussions and at worst contributes to misplaced priorities for men and women.

2. Regarding career issues, I think Boundless has at times been too quick to criticize women’s professional ambitions.

I think there is a lot more room for exploration of how women can stay on track in their careers through flexible schedules, working from home, and so on.

I think the info on the value of stay-at-home moms is great and important, but I don’t think it has to be a black and white issue of either working 80 hours a week or quitting your job entirely at age 25 and never re-entering the workforce.

It seems like recent articles/posts in this area have been much more balanced, though.

19. Sami said the following at 7:58 PM on May 5:

Yes, absolutely! It’s one of the reasons I rarely visit Boundless now. I felt that a lot of the early Boundless articles focused on building a relationship with God and navigating issues in life that we all face, growing spiritually, regardless of your “marriage” potential. I liked that.

Now, it’s gotten to the point where the vast majority of the articles on here, specifically those addressing women, revolve around finding a man and being the best wife you can be.

And yes, it mystifies me sometimes how easily women are asked to sacrifice their God-given gifts, talents and aspirations for the ‘higher goal’ of being a wife and mother, as if God only placed these unique gifts within us to use as a means of supporting ourselves and maturing, biding our time until our Christian Prince Charming appears, at which point we happily abandon most, if not all, of our hard-won successes and assume our natural position as housewife and eventual mother.

Do we ever stop and consider that maybe, just maybe, God has other plans? That at least SOME women can better serve God by actively using THEIR gifts, while their husbands take care of the kids, or (I know! Heresy!) actually marry and have no children?

And isn’t there something just a little off with making marriage the end-goal of every woman’s life? Surely it will be a part of (most) men and women’s lives, but must we always be so dramatically exclusive?

I mean, the way Boundless reads sometimes, you would think that marriage is God’s #1 goal for everyone; knowing him, serving him and worshipping him seem to fall sadly far behind.

Just my thoughts. You asked 🙂
Fire away.

30. Alexandra said the following at 10:29 PM on May 5:

Please, please stop telling me to get married. I want to get married. I’m 30 years old. I smile, flirt, have a great body and nice hair, have a family-friendly job (I’m a schoolteacher) exercise, encourage, and am as agreeable as I know how to be. I get asked out, and I go out. I give guys a chance. They give me a chance. I don’t kiss anybody, and I’m always home by 11:00.

It just hasn’t happened yet. He hasn’t come along. I figure as long as I keep being faithful in putting myself out there, God will send him to pursue me one of these days. Most of the time, I’m calm and patient about it.

UNTIL I READ BOUNDLESS COLUMNS that remind me that my dreams of having babies are doomed unless I get married five years ago.

Do you know how many times I’ve wound up weeping over Boundless columns, panic stricken–oh no oh no oh no I might as well buy five cats and stop paying attention to my roots because it’s hopeless, hopeless, hopeless. . .I guess Jesus will be my boyfriend. . .sigh. . .cry. . .tear.

Stop it! Stop it Boundless! Stop yelling at us over 25-year-old single girls for not being married!

We’re not mad at men and we’re not mad at God and we’re not too stuck in our ways and we’re not catladies in training! Please stop! We’re just waiting on the Lord!

It’s hard enough without being reminded of the pressure. . .AAAAARGH!!!

43. Renee41 said the following at 8:07 AM on May 6:

As a never-married 41 yr old, I think that Boundless can be VERY discouraging at times.

I am glad that Boundless encourages young women to be intentional but even for young women who are intentional, marriage may not happen because of God’s timing and God’s will. Just because you don’t get married in your 20’s doesn’t mean that you have necessarily done anything wrong.

Even if you did do something to prevent marriage in your 20’s, God can still provide a spouse for you later in life. Our primary focus should be God and being obedient to Him.

If we are doing that, then in His timing and His way, He will provide us a spouse if He so chooses.

We should still be active and intentional but I don’t think we should spend all of our time beating ourselves up about this. Turn the focus off of ourselves and onto God.

46. Ashley said the following at 9:05 AM on May 6:

I think it’s cute that in the “Is boundless Biased against men?” Thread there are all manner of women trying to grapple with how we can better support men…

But in this thread there a handful of guys showing up to laugh at the absurdity of the idea that women could even feel slighted.

Just an observation.

That aside, I think that the idea that Suzanne presents in her controversial point #1 is more often broached by those replying here on the blog than in articles themselves.

I, personally, don’t feel that that is a principle that boundless encourages, but it is a question I wrestled with as a single woman because so very many men are afraid of educated women.

I would say that boundless isn’t biased against women, so much as it just doesn’t have as much to offer for them by way of advice in how to move ahead and lead a happy, fulfilled Christian life.

Which isn’t to say that those articles aren’t here: Suzanne has been endlessly helpful with her articles walking through courtship, and Christina Holder’s series on dealing with depression has been top-notch, but I find that I’m more likely to find articles that really push me to excel as a woman somewhere like

I feel like instead of offering something new or innovative to single women, boundless often retreads ground that has been covered again and again. “Wait. waitwaitwaitwaitwait.” Still waiting? “Wait.”

I think that can be a frustrating message to women that are working hard to fill their “meanwhile time” with those things that are encouraged — and still fail to find an acceptable mate, not because of pickiness but because of non-pursuit. I think that’s something that a lot of people overlook.

Sometimes protracted singleness is women litterally is not their fault. They’re active, they’re going places, they’re waiting on the Lord, but they’re not being approached and they don’t know why.

52. Nicole said the following at 11:23 AM on May 6:

I’m a single woman, and I do have to say that sometimes I can find some posts on here frustrating.

I love boundless, come here every day, comment frequently, listen to the podcasts, etc., but there are just a few things that I don’t enjoy.

For example, engagement stories. I know the intent is to be encouraging, but as a single woman, the whole “don’t worry, you’ll find someone someday like we did” message ends up being more depressing than helpful. It’s a constant reminder that one more person besides me has found someone.

Also, I sometimes get the impression that we’re supposed to wait around patiently for the right man to pursue us, and it can actually be pretty painful to wait day after day, with no sign of any progress from any direction.

I love you, Boundless, and I know what your intention is, but those are a couple things that make me feel really crummy when I come on here.

55. Keith said the following at 12:17 PM on May 6:

Telling people to go get married is like telling people to go get a job; it’s sounds helpful, until you realize that there are almost no jobs or marriage partners available.

It took me 4 months of chasing down every lead for me to get my latest job, and 4 years of chasing women until I got my fiance.

The real question is how you create opportunities for people to get married. Boundless really fails in that area. There are some articles here and there, but there isn’t much practical advise.

I think the best thing you can do is continue to encourage people to fight every day and to never give up. And pray for them too.

74. Becky said the following at 6:45 PM on May 6:

I think that a lot of what Boundless has to offer is good, and needs to be said. I can’t help but feel sometimes that there’s a bias against older single women, though (and by “older”, I mean “all of us older than 25.”)

Yes, in the modern US culture, it’s good that a Biblical view of marriage and family and the roles of men and women are being supported and encouraged.

But I agree wholeheartedly with the other women who have commented on how painful it can be to be constantly reminded that the general evangelical Christian view is to marry young, have children, etc.

Personally, I never wanted to be a career woman.

I purposely chose a major in which I could use my gifts and talents to earn a little extra income while raising the kids I hoped to have.

I never expected to be 29, still single, having not even been asked out on a date since I was 21 and broke off the ungodly relationship that I was in, not even really meeting any guys that are both Christian and single despite multiple efforts at getting involved with both church singles groups and internet dating sites.

And so I work on building my career because I have no other choice at this time.

Does that mean that I’m in the wrong for trying to scrape together a living instead of pursuing relationship opportunities that just aren’t there?(And I’m a musician, so in my case it really is scraping!)

I think Boundless needs to keep doing what you’re doing….I just think that there should also be more of a willingness to acknowledge that for many of us single women, we’re not single by choice, and we’d often reap more encouragement from reminders that God hasn’t totally abandoned us in our deferred hopes, or just because we’re not being pursued doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us, instead of constantly being told that we should have been married by now.

80. Naomi said the following at 11:26 PM on May 6:

I don’t feel supported as a single woman by Boundless. In fact I rarely spend time reading the articles these days because they make me even more emotional about being single and less content with where I am.

I would love marriage and family, however I’ve now decided to focus on my career rather than keep in the ‘holding’ pattern I was in, hoping that marriage and motherhood was what God had called me to and waiting for the relationship that would stay firm.

Now 31, having several failed relationships behind me and with no current decent prospect for marriage I feel I have no other choice than to work at supporting myself well and that means progressing further with my career and returning to higher education.

So, it seems I am going against what boundless encourages. Yes I am using some of the gifts God has given me. But there are others that are being put on the shelf.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to relate to the boundless idealism that I tend to have read here, but it doesn’t seem to be something I can relate to at all currently. Tired of waiting…

88. AH said the following at 9:38 AM on May 7:

I am a 26 year old single woman. I am an avid reader of Boundless and often share articles with my friends. I have a masters degree, work full time, run and teach sunday school at my church, babysit,and am financially secure.

I want more than anything in the world to get married and have children and be a stay at home mom but sometimes I read these articles and think, “what more do you want from me?” I know I should “live like I plan to marry” but I also have no choice but to provide for myself. I don’t think I am doing the kingdom of God any favors if I live in my parent’s basement.

I echo Alexandria #30. I honestly don’t feel that Boundless values me or my contributions as a single woman anymore. I am not angry or upset or bitter but that just how I feel.

I am a honest and loving friend, bless my married friends by providing frequent babysitting for free so they can have time together as a married couple.

And my life HAS to be about more than finding a husband. I don’t know what else I can do, and I am called to be the hands and feet of Jesus where I am. I would like to see more articles about how God values single men and women where they are.

I honestly don’t think I need to read any more about finding a husband. I think and pray about it all the time.

And the biggest thing is I don’t believe God is telling me once I get a certain thing right my husband will magically appear.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with me that I am not married, I think it all has to do with His plan, the specifics of which I am not supposed to know.

92. MaryH said the following at 11:50 AM on May 7:

One area totally unaddressed on Boundless is the growing number of “really older” never-married singles.

I chuckle sadly at the ones who struggle with years of waiting – sadly because most of them are at least 30 years younger than I. My first thought is, “honey, you may have only just begun.”

There is precious little out there for us – and we are eager for encouragement. BTW, I am an active n-m-s 67 yr old woman, who never imagined at 25 that I’d still be hoping and praying for someone to “grow old” with.

Protracted Godly waiting is as precious a gift to give to God as it is to the one He may bring into our lives. Occasionally I am blessed by something I read here, and that keeps me returning.

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