Typical Conservative Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough (or at all), Mr. Right will magically appear
As I was saying in my last post:
What follows is a response to [Christian author] Regneus’ advice that Christian couples should marry by age 23.
I didn’t get my first boyfriend until age 27 or 28, so how does telling a woman to marry by 23 years of age really help?
Usually, most conservative Christians operate under the fallacy that if you pray long and hard enough and have enough faith, God will send you a spouse, and at that, by the time you are somewhere between 25 – 35 years old. That does not work. Plenty of single Christian women who prayed and waited remain never-married well over the age of 35 years of age, including me.
There’s another version of that thinking, though. Instead of the old “pray, wait, and have faith” fairy tale, many conservative Christians -mostly married, I note without irony or surprise- continue to act like marrying is simply a matter of your will, that if you want marriage badly enough, “Mr. Right” will magically pop up on your front door step out of the blue.
That is not how it works.
I also think it would be pretty cool to be Queen over ancient Egypt and get to wear those awesome black wigs, big gold necklaces, and nifty ancient Egyptian clothes and cat-eye make-up, but I doubt that will happen either.
However, if we apply standard conservative Christian thinking about marriage to other situations: because I want to be Queen of Ancient Egypt badly enough, I should magically wake up tomorrow on a litter filled with fluffy, luxurious pillows, being carried by six, muscular Egyptian slaves, and wearing one of those cool headdresses with a gold snake on top.
How many of you think that is going to happen? Me neither.
If you are a Christian woman looking for a Christian spouse and for true love – getting married is not simple or easy at all.
On the one hand, I do believe that evangelical / conservative Christian culture has really screwed up on dating, love, romance, and marriage. They have taken something that should be simple -two people, one man, one a woman, meet over a cup of coffee, or for dinner, to chat and get to know one another, which may lead to a romantic relationship- into something far more complicated, sinister, or they have un-necessarily attributed sexual overtones to every male-female interaction.
As I noted in an older post, a lot of dating advice aimed at Christians – and at Christian adults, not just Christian teens – basically winds up telling Christian men to stay away from Christian women.
I read in one book where the Christian authors reviewed dating advice books for Christians, and in one such book, one married Chr. (Christian) man advised his male Chr. readers to not so much as go for a cup of coffee with an unmarried Chr. woman, because it might lead to too much emotional intimacy or to sex. (Aside from that book, I’ve seen examples of that kind of thinking on Chr. blogs and in TV sermons about dating, marriage, gender relations, and relationships.)
As internet lingo goes: FFS! (ie, “For F-ck’s Sake,” or, if you’re more comfortable, “For Fudge’s Sake.”) How ridiculous most Chrs. are when it comes to attitudes and advice about dating, marriage, sex, etc.
If you want to know why Chrs aren’t marrying or dating, I suspect it’s due in part to this counter-productive, counter-intuitive “Christian” advice for both genders to stay away from each other.
While I’m not exactly advocating for fornication here, let me tell you based on all the hundreds of testimonies of sexually fallen Chr. men and women I’ve heard on Chr. TV programming over the years: they get over it, get past it, and end up getting married to a decent Chr person later, even in spite of all the fornicatin’. Apparently, there is no real fall-out to being sexually active outside of marriage.
So, if a Chr man and woman meet for coffee and the ludicrous scenario does pan out where they wind up having sex atop a table at Starbucks (?!?!? who knew drinking coffee was so slutty?), so what?
Other than being banned from Starbucks for life, and possibly cited by the police for indecent exposure in public, and barring catching a STD from each other, near as I can tell, there aren’t a lot of bad consequences if two adults have sex outside of marriage.
Anyway, I am troubled and annoyed at how often this false assumption shows up in Chr. articles, blogs, or books about relationships, dating, and marriage, which is: ‘if you want to get married, it will happen.’
That is a pile of crap. Many, many Chr. women are in the same position as I am: prayed, waited, had faith, wanted to get married but we are over 35, 40 years old, and Mr. Right never entered the picture.
Simply wanting marriage will not make it happen – neither will having faith, praying to God and making a request for it, “serving the Lord,” waiting patiently, being content, being pretty, being thin, joining dating sites, or having long hair.
There is no simple recipe, there is no formula, that guarantees anyone and everyone who wants one, a spouse.
Getting a spouse is not like getting a pizza: you cannot pick up the phone and call a store and order a ready-made spouse of your specifications: “Yes, I’ll take a 6 foot 4, blue-eyed brunette, please.”
Yet, most (already-married) Christians continue to behave as though a single woman getting a husband is as simple as getting toothpaste if you run out. Need more toothpaste? Then run down to Wal-Mart and buy a tube of toothpaste. They apply this same thinking to getting a spouse: just wish for one bad enough, and one will surely appear. That is the world of fairy tales, not reality.
(Link): Women: Stop Asking Pat Robertson For Romantic Relationship Advice – Whether You Are Divorced or Single – Pat Robertson Replies to Letter from Four Time Divorced Woman Who Wants to Know If God Will Send Her a Non-Abusive Husband
(Link): What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis (from TIME) (ie, Why Are Conservative Religious Women Not Marrying Even Though They Want to Be Married. Hint: It’s a Demographics Issue)