Critique of Matt Chandler Sermon ‘Compromising a Godly Spouse Just to Get Married Yields ‘Heartbreak”
(I have edited this post to address comments left to me by a woman calling herself Sarah at CallieAnna.com – that update is towards the bottom of this page)
I would encourage anyone out there to take any dating or relationship advice from complementarian Matt Chandler with a huge, huge grain of salt, as I’ve written of here:
Chandler is head pastor at a church where he (and a few of his elders at his church) was going to discipline a woman for annulling her marriage to her husband for being a pedophile.
Off-site information on that:
I am personally not going to take dating or marital advice from some dude who thinks a woman should stay married to a pervert. -Which is what Chandler did.
About the only positive thing I can say about Chandler’s commentary about singleness, when he addresses the issue, is that he is supportive of (Christian) single women who desire marriage – he does acknowledge that too often Christians downplay this desire, or shame women for having it, or feed them platitudes (as if feeding a woman a platitude on this issue is going to help them – it is not).
Having said that, let’s take a look at this page from The Christian Post (I have more commentary below this long excerpt):
(Link): Matt Chandler: Compromising a Godly Spouse Just to Get Married Yields ‘Heartbreak’ Feb 13, 2017 by W Showalter
Pastor Matt Chandler has some advice for young Christian singles on Valentine’s Day: Compromising a devout Christian spouse just for the sake of getting married will almost always result in more heartbreak.
But in truth, he continued, “what they’re saying is this guy comes to church a couple of times a month, but outside of attending a service, he doesn’t have a real seriousness about growing in his understanding of the Lord, growing in his understanding of the Bible, being a prayerful person, no vivication or mortification that can be spotted, and no one who really knows them enough to speak to the growth in their character.”
The problem is compounded by the issue of loneliness where it’s tempting to compromise and just get married, Chandler adds. Yet such a move can worsen the loneliness if the spouses are not on the same page spiritually.
“Unfortunately, a lot of godly women get to a place where they are tired of the ‘weirdness’ of Christian dating and the apathy from Christian men to actually pursue them. And it has led them to marry — I won’t even go as far as to say ‘lost guys’ — but what I will just call ‘neat Christian boys’ who go to church a couple of times a month and own a Bible,” Chandler said.
…Yet, it’s a grave mistake, he emphasizes, for pastors and Christian leaders to convey the message to struggling Christian singles, particularly women, to “find your contentment in Christ. Isn’t Christ enough for you?” because it amounts to throwing cold water on the desire for marriage.
This commentary above seems very similar to something I read by Chandler months ago, which makes me wonder if the above was a re-hash. Regardless.
There isn’t much new I can add to anything here, as I’ve beaten these topics to death a million times on this blog in the last few years.
The sad reality of the situation is if you are a “godly Christian” woman who desires marriage, you will HAVE TO put aside a desire or belief in “equally yoked” to get married to a “godly Christian man” if you want to be married, because no such creature exists –
Or on the off chance there is such a creature, if he does exist, he’s not in your city, he’s already married to someone else, or, he’s 456 pounds, dumb as a box of rocks, is balding, missing most of his teeth and feels entitled to a 24 year old Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model (not the kind of guy you’d want to date or marry anyway).
Non-Christian men are not all pigs or horrible people.
(But nor am I saying all are great, trust-worthy guys, either. You must judge each guy on his own merits).
If you reject “equally yoked” and consider dating decent Non-Christian guys you widen your pool of dating prospects.
Trusting in Jesus or the Holy Spirit to send you a “Christian Mr. Right” is NOT going to work.
Nor will having faith, waiting, attending singles mixers at the local church.
I’m in my mid-40s, tried all that Christian stuff to get a spouse, and I am STILL single to this day. I’m far from alone in this, as there are women my age and older, who were Christian, who tried all the usual Christian advice, yet are still single.
I know if you are 15 or 20 years old and reading this, you are going to secretly think, “It didn’t work for YOU, but I just know the Lord will honor MY faith, and he’ll send me my spouse!,” but it won’t work for you. Don’t kid yourself. (I used to think like that too in my younger days.)
I used to be so trusting in God and his provision, and all those Bible verses that talk about God meeting your needs and desires and such – but it’s all a bunch of baloney.
BAR TOO HIGH
What Chandler was saying above is even MORE limiting for women, because he’s raising the bar so high, no woman will ever marry, even if she does meet a half-way decent single Christian guy.
Chandler is saying it’s NOT ENOUGH for the guy to be Christian and to attend church once every so often, but a woman must only consider marrying a guy who is ‘on fire’ for Jesus.
Chandler is apparently one of those guys who thinks women must hold out for the male version of Mother Teresa.
I kind of addressed that issue in an older post here:
Unfortunately, most often, most women take the faith far more serious than do most men. Girls mature at a faster rate than boys, generally.
You, as a woman, are never, ever going to meet a single guy who is your equal or greater at your spiritual walk. Chandler is setting you up to fail before you even begin.
Are you going to believe Chandler, who is a man and who has been married for years, or a woman such as me who is actually living this stuff out?
All Chandler can do is offer up a few Bible passages via his faulty, imperfect interpretation, when what I am telling you is based on real lived experience. My lived experience trumps Chandler’s biblical interpretations.
If you rely on Chandler-like advice, you will find yourself single later in life, mark my words.
Guys such as Chandler also continue to over-look the demographics issue: single women out-number single males in conservative religious groups, which means there are not enough “godly Bible thumpers” out there for every chick who wants marriage to a Christian dude, see these pages:
(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)
(Link): How the Dating Scene Became Stacked Against Women – via CT, by Gina Dalfonzo
If you are an un-married single Christian woman, and you want to be married, trusting and praying to God for a suitable Christian match, and one who is a “godly” guy, is NOT going to work. Following the “equally yoked” teaching is going to keep you single much longer than you want.
Chandler says that a Christian woman marrying a “lukewarm” Christian man or a Non-Christian can “end in heartbreak.”
If you marry a “great, godly Christian man” that can end in heartbreak, too – check all the examples in this post of godly Christian men that Chandler would have you marry, Christian men who turned out to be abusers, child rapists, and so on:
But, I’ve read numerous online stories by Christian women who divorced their first husband, who was a Christian, because their first spouse was a cheater or abusive, and their second husband was an atheist, and these women said their atheist husband treated them much kinder than their former Christian husband!
You take risks in life, that’s how it works. If you choose to date or marry a Non-Christian guy, you may or may not be hurt and disappointed in or by him, but the SAME is true of self-professing Christian men!
The bottom line is, if you want marriage, you need to look past the guy’s religious beliefs (well for the most part – if a guy says he’s a fan of ISIS, an Islamic group that thinks it’s acceptable to rape and beat girls and women, run in the opposite direction).
But in general, the guy’s religious views don’t really matter, so long as you get along with the guy, you enjoy each other’s company, and he treats you well.
If you listen to the Matt Chandlers of the world, you’re more than likely going to end up or stay single.
I’m not saying that following my advice or someone else’s will guarantee you a marriage, either, but I think with my approach, your chances may at least increase.
If you’re holding out for “Mr. Baptist / Protestant Evangelical Christian” guy to marry, you will stay single ’til the day you die.
August 2018 Edit / Update
Re: Long comment left on my blog by Sarah at CallieAnna.com (first part of her e-mail is “ssturgillrd”) .
She left her comment on August 25, 2018, but I did not log in to this blog until August 29th.
(Sarah apparently did not bother to read my other blog posts, or even the one above because she did not address many of my counter-points or other topics.
For example, after skimming her post a second time, I don’t see her address the gender imbalance situation: single women out-number single men in the faith. You cannot marry what does not exist.)
As you can see on my (Link): Policy on Dissent page, I usually do not permit dissenting views on my blog, so I moved Sarah’s post to the Trash.
I only skimmed Sarah’s post before determining it was a negative comment, so I did not read it word for word.
Perhaps I should temporarily “Okay” her remark to appear, reply to it, and then block her? (Hmm, something to consider. Anyway.)
Here, I am only addressing one or two of the remarks by her that I happened to see.
Sarah said she’s been married for “five years and it absolutely matters who you marry.”
Yes, I’ve never said it does not matter who one marries.
What I have said repeatedly, with (Link): examples on this page, is that the Equally Yoked Christian rule is problematic for several reasons, one of which being that a man professing faith in Christ, and even attending church weekly (or engaging in other pious, Christian-approved behavior) does not make him a “good man” (nor does it necessarily make that man “marriage material”).
I have coached any single women reading this blog – especially Christian singles who were also indoctrinated into youth to accept “Equally Yoked” – to consider a man’s behavior.
Just because a man says he’s good and godly or “accept Jesus as his Savior” does not mean that he is.
Even Christian men, ones who work in churches, (again, see the (Link): examples here) commit adultery, fondle children, view porn, and rape children.
My contention is that it is better for a single woman to marry a kind-hearted, compassionate, law-abiding Non-Christian man than for a single woman to marry a man who professes Christ but who is also into adultery, using prostitutes, is a wife abuser, etc.
Sarah also, quite ridiculously, told me I have turned marriage into an idol – which is quite incorrect.
Repeatedly on my blog, even on the blog’s main heading, I state that the (Link): Christian church (not me!) has turned Marriage (and the Nuclear Family) into idols, to the point that anyone who is never married, divorced, widowed, childfree, or childless is often over-looked in church settings.
Sarah tells me in her post,
“Love does not conquer all and does not bind marriages the way the world would have you think.”
No where have I ever written on this blog “love conquers all.” Don’t put words into my mouth. You have created a straw-man argument.
Many singles avoid churches because churches are far too enamored of marriage, more so than the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible is, so that single adults feel marginalized by churches.
However, on my blog, I do not shame any single adults who would like to marry.
No where does the Bible say that a single adult wanting to marry is in sin, or that simply wanting something (such as marriage) is automatically idolatry, but many Christians – including Sarah – depict any adult wanting something, whether it is marriage or what have you – as being sin.
I have blogged about such topics before on my blog such as-
(Link): Desire for Marriage is Idolatry?
What I do here on my blog is get practical and pragmatic: most of the Christian advice on dating and marriage I’ve ever read is not realistic.
Christian marriage advice (as in, how to attract a partner) does not work in real life.
The “Equally Yoked” rule is one large impediment in keeping Christian single women single, a topic I’ve blogged on frequently in the last five or more years on this blog.
For one thing, single (evangelical / Protestant) Christian women greatly out-numbered their male counter-parts, which means, mathematically, it’s (Link): impossible for Christian single women to marry if they stick to marrying ONLY other Christians (especially only other evangelicals / Protestants).
I actually have a few posts on my blog about people who (Link): rejected Christianity and then got married, and their marriages worked out fine.
I also have posts on my blog about Christian married couples where one partner, years into the marriage, becomes an atheist, and (Link): the marriage survives.
I don’t need or want some married heifer, who’s been married for five years, to come on to my blog and sanctimoniously lecture me about how I should approach marriage or think about singleness, or to tell me (incorrectly) that I have turned marriage into Idolatry. Such married people privilege.
For more on that subject: (Link): Married People Privilege.
Hey Sarah, when (Link): your husband dies next year from a heart attack, or from getting hit by a truck, or he (Link): dumps you when he has an affair with another woman, or he (Link): develops dementia, and you find yourself lonely for companionship, or unable to find another suitable partner, and so you remain single for the next ten or more years, then get back to me on this.
Until then, kindly keep your negative, hideous opinions to yourself. Thanks.
(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): The Selfish, Lazy Husband Who Kept Blowing Off His Stressed Wife to Go on World War 2 Reenactments – Male Entitlement in Relationships: Why Women Divorce Men – and Churches and Culture Support This Male Entitlement
(Link): Christian Single Women: Another Example of Why You Should Abandon the “Be Equally Yoked” Teaching: 21-Y-O Christianity Student, Children’s Minister Charged With Murdering Fiancée He Was to Wed in August; Made It Look Like Suicide