Another Christianity Today Magazine Editorial Expects Single Women To Meet the Needs of Married Women – Christians Never Ask the Reverse

Another Christianity Today Magazine Editorial (2019) Expects Single Women To Meet the Needs of Married Women – Christians Never Ask the Reverse

I am a never-married woman who is over the age of 45, and I am childless. I had wanted to be married but never found the right guy, so I remain single.

I was a very devout Christian for many years, until a few years ago.

I did a blog post about (Link): another editorial on Christianity Today’s site, where a married woman with small children wrote a long piece extolling the virtues of single, childless women:
but only in the context of how she found single, childless women useful to her because they could provide her with free babysitting services that she could not obtain from her biological family, who lived 1,000 miles away.

Here again, in April 2019, is another editorial in the same vein: a piece that extols the wonders and virtues of how single, childless women can or should meet the needs of married women, especially married ones who have children and need free babysitting services and emotional support.

Now, if you’re the sort of single, childless woman who sincerely enjoys babysitting married women’s children, that is fine by me. But I am not one of them.

I’m not opposed to single, childless women caring for, or taking an interest in, other people’s children, if they so desire.

I am opposed to this when this is one of the only options presented to Christian women, however.

I am opposed when there is this assumption in place that all single, childless women ‘want’ to do this or ‘should’ be doing this.

How horrible, wrong, and obnoxious it is that I never, ever see Christians, or Christian publications, encouraging the church, or married couples, to meet the needs of single, childless adults, or they only mention this in very brief passing in their essays and then spend 20 paragraphs advising singles to meet the needs of marrieds.

There are one or two good points in this editorial that I agree with and will discuss (as well as pointing out what I find so grievous about this) below these excerpts, but first, here are a the excerpts:

(Link): How Single Women Help New Moms Make It Through by Courtney Ellis

Some excerpts (the ones I found pertinent and will be commenting upon below – only quoting from their page here so I can comment on this):

….Bridging this single-married divide is particularly important for women.

Although married women are called (rightly) to extend friendship to their single counterparts, there’s another ministry that often goes unnoticed: the outreach that single women extend to young mothers, in particular.

…Hannah Wong, visiting lecturer at Baylor University, sees potential for profound encouragement in being “the person who says [to a young mom], ‘I see you!’ and more than that, ‘I’m paying attention!’”

… Latresia Peak, a single social worker in Kannapolis, North Carolina, sees the important role that singles have in reminding their friends of who they are, especially after major life transitions.

“My friends get married, or they’ll have a baby, and that thing becomes what consumes them,” says Peak. “I have a passion for people going through hard times, and a young mother may need a reminder that she needs to meet her own needs.”

According to single Bekah Mason, director of women’s ministries at Sojourn Community Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, many new moms experience difficulty in maintaining friendships.

… During the first seasons of a child’s life, new parents often struggle to stay connected to church community and other social circles, which leads to isolation and greater risks for depression and anxiety.

“Stay-at-home moms can have loneliness compounded by feeling ‘trapped’ in their homes during the day,” notes Mason. “Simply being together with them in their home is a help in healing isolation.”

The care singles offer marrieds is an act of love and service, not simply an outpouring of extra time.

“While it gets frustrating when people just assume that single people have all sorts of free time to be used,” says Mason, “what is true is that our time tends to be more flexible because there’s only one schedule to consider. Flexible time was hands down the most valuable gift I gave to married women, but especially moms.”

…While childless single women have distinct gifts to offer moms, they also share a particular bond with childless married women.

“I have seen God work in some very particular ways in my relationships with married women who are struggling with infertility,” says Jenilyn Swett, director of adult ministries at Restoration Community Church in St. Louis, Missouri. …

“One of the most unique gifts that single women can offer to married women—especially moms,” notes Swett, “is to remind and encourage them of the key thing we have in common: Our primary identity is as an adopted daughter of God. Being a wife or mom is not the primary identity.”
—- end —

My thoughts about that editorial are as follows:

Schedules

Are single women’s schedules really more flexible, as this editorial suggested?

What of women who hold 8 to 5, Monday through Friday careers, or even part time jobs?

Does anyone reading this really think or expect a working, single, childless woman to sacrifice her evenings or weekends to act as maid or free babysitter to a married woman?

Most of these working women will either just want to kick back and relax at home in their free time, or may use that free time to go on dates to meet a man, so you know, they can marry and maybe have children of their own. Dating takes a lot of time.

Friendships, Loneliness

This essay from ‘Christianity Today’ makes it sound as though the difficulty of making friends is somehow “more difficult” for married mothers, or that they are ‘more’ lonely than are single, childless women.

I disagree.

When one gets past the age of 25 or so, it becomes difficult for anyone and everyone to make new friends, whether they are a mother or not, single or not.

My mother was actually my best friend. Then she died a few years ago, leaving me friendless.

I’ve tried stepping out on my own to local churches to make new friends, but I’ve not had success making friends at churches.

The folks I do meet at the churches I’ve been to end up being judgmental or too “preachy,” when all I need is an empathetic ear, or just someone to shoot the breeze with.

I don’t need or want a Christian woman friend who gives me Bible lessons, or who shames and judges me when or if I open up to her and confide in her that I’m having a tough time with whatever problem in life.

When I was a kid growing up, I was painfully shy, and my father’s job caused us to move frequently, so I didn’t make many friends my age (but part of me didn’t like most kids my age, as I explain elsewhere on this page – I preferred the company of adults).

Regardless, I never had an easy time making friends.

I have several posts on this blog with links to articles where women of all ages, marital situations, and life stages discuss how difficult it is to make new friends, and not all of these women are married with kids.

Some of these women who say they are friendless and would like to make friends are 50 years old, married, and their kids moved out of their homes years ago, and they don’t have a husband who is interested in meeting their emotional needs.

The difficulty of making friends impacts both men and women of all ages and marital statues: it’s not something that impacts married mothers with young children more-so than other demographics.

Examples of what I mean:

(Link): Lonely, Divorced, 61 Year Old Woman Wonders How to Make Friends (letter to Ask Amy)

(Link): Why is it So Hard For Women to Make New Friends? by G. Kovanis

(Link): How Sorry Do We Feel for the Lonesome Single Bachelors of New York? by T. Moore (never married men in their 40s talk about being tired of being single)

(Link): Woman Says She is Lonely in Marriage to Husband Who Ignores Her in Favor of His Job, Watching TV, etc.

Not All Single Women Like Babies and Children Or Want To Be Around Them

Let me educate you mothers out there, mothers with kids under the age of 18:
Some women, such as myself, do not like or feel comfortable around babies, toddlers, or children of any age.

I don’t even like most teens, because most of them are arrogant, disrespectful snot balls.

When I myself was a child, I preferred the company of adults.

I didn’t like kids my own age when I was a kid. When I was a child, I considered other children loud, obnoxious, unruly, and stupid. (I still feel that way.)

So no, I have no interest in serving anyone in a child-related capacity.

I resent churches who always assume I would love, love, loooove to volunteer in the child nursery at the church – just because I am a woman.

I don’t find babies cute and adorable.

I don’t want to hold your baby or cuddle it or listen to you brag about it for hours.

I sure as hey don’t want to change dirty diapers or attempt to hold a Bible study class for a group of toddlers.

It’s Sexist To Promote the View that Women Are Only Good For Child-Related Tasks

Is “the outreach that single women extend to young mothers” really “unnoticed,” as the author was saying, or is it more accurate to say that when single women do free labor on behalf of the church or on behalf of married couples, that it is often unappreciated and taken for granted?

Believe you me, as a never-married, childless woman, I repeatedly heard from Christian sources as I was growing up, and into my 20s and beyond, that one of my only purposes in life, until I marry and crank out a kid of my own (which never happened), is for me to provide free janitorial services to a church, or, act as a help-meet for a married couple.

This message does not go un-noticed by single women. We are exposed to it constantly in Christian circles. And it really grates.

Please, churches and Christians, stop pushing this narrative that one way single, childless women can or should serve, or be viewed as valuable to others or to the church community, is to clean up other people’s children, keep the kids occupied while mommy can get a nap, and so on.

Some of us unmarried, childless women do not want children of our own, let alone take care of someone else’s kids.

I also find this a variation of a sexist gender stereotype that Christians keep promoting, especially (Link): Christian gender complementarians:
-That women are to be valued only for their sexuality, physical looks, and yes, for child-rearing capabilities.
-That God’s only purpose, or (Link): most high calling, for all women is to act as baby makers, babysitters, or any thing considered maternal or nurturing.

When is the last time any one has seen a Christian man or woman advise unmarried and childless men to seek out the married men in their community to baby-sit their children for them, so that the married husband can take a nap? Never.

This sort of advice is always given to women. It’s sexist.

It presents a very narrow view of what women can do, it assumes what women “should” do (I’m an adult; allow me to decide for myself what I should be doing), and incorrectly assumes all women enjoy maternal-type activity or want to spend their time on these kid-related activities.

The same pressure is never applied to men.

To this day, I’ve never seen an editorial at ‘Christianity Today,’ or in other Christian magazines, directed at single men suggesting that they, the men, should be helping the married fathers (or married mothers) among them by boosting their egos, building them up, providing them emotional support, and by baby-sitting their children.

A Woman’s Identity

It is true, as the editorial points out, that a lot of married- with- children women lose their identity in marriage and parenting. These women cease to view themselves as individuals but see themselves as only “wife” and “mother.”

But this is partly because these women hold an overly romantic view of both: they think they will get Prince Charming, and that he and children they have will give them unconditional love and add meaning and purpose to their life.

As a never married, childless woman, I get bored to tears being around women who are incapable or unwilling to get out of Mommy Land and discuss non-marital, non-parenting issues.

Most of the ones I’ve run into only want to talk about their husbands or kids. I’d rather discuss movies, books, politics, and current events.

In their book “Singled Out,” Christian authors Field and Colon report on the anti-singles-bias we single and childless ladies run into from married- with- children women, especially in Christian contexts:

In their book, the authors include anecdotes from single, childless women who say when they attend church social functions and attempt small talk with married mothers, that the moment the married mothers find out that they are single and childless, they want nothing to do with them, brush past them to find another married mother to talk to.

I’ve experienced a bit of that myself.

There are married mothers who act as though never married and childless women over the age of 25 are (Link): aliens, losers, or weirdos from another planet who they have nothing in common with and whom they can never relate to.

Many Christian married mothers think we single and childless women of any age are weird and that they  can never have anything in common with a “non-Mom” or a “non-Wife”.

Furthermore, due to the “Billy Graham Rule” (now known as the “Mike Pence Rule”) married women are taught by their preachers that single women are Jezebel temptresses who are seeking to commit adultery with their husbands, and the husbands are taught to view single women as nothing but sex objects, so married couples tend to avoid single women.

Christians Themselves Encourage Women To Ditch Finding Identity in Jesus for Identity in a Husband and in Parenting

Secondly, many Christian churches subscribe to a (Link): flawed gender theology referred to as “gender complementarianism,” a theology which encourages, enables, and defends sexism against women.

Christians who promote gender complementarianism often extol marriage and motherhood to the point they ignore or insult any woman who is not married and who is without children. (I have several posts on my blog about that very topic.)

Many churches teach or imply that adulthood cannot or does not begin until a person marries, has sex, and then has children.

Even though I am over 45 years of age, a lot of Christians out there would regard me as being stalled in adolescence.

I would not be considered by many Christians to be a full-fledged adult, even at my age, all merely because I have never married or had a kid.

Christians themselves, especially complementarians, play a role in why so many women judge themselves and their identity by their marital status.

We women are taught by Christian books, pastors, and blog posts that our only value is within getting married and having children. We women are NOT taught that our value resides in Jesus Christ.

Temporary

Nor do complementarians, or Christians generally, ever mention and remind their audiences that motherhood and marriage are (Link): temporary states.

Even should you marry and have children, your husband will die one day, probably before you.

Your children, should you have any, may be killed in an auto accident next week. At the very least, your children will eventually move out and get their own homes one day.

So, in a sense, you won’t be a mother any more – or a wife.

If you have no husband or children around the house any more, how will you then define yourself? How will you spend your time?

Churches don’t tackle those issues, nope.

Christians and churches  are too busy propagandizing marriage and parenting and shaming those of us who never marry or have a kid.

Emotional Labor

This essay from ‘Christianity Today’ is asking single women to provide lots of free emotional labor in the form of emotional support and encouragement to married- with- children women. I say no to that, unless this behavior is highly reciprocal.

If I listen to you complain, for hours, over months, about raising children and how stressful and exhausting it is, I expect you to occasionally shelve the “you” talk to listen to ME gripe about MY problems for an equal amount of time.

Otherwise, no go.

(And for further reference, please see this post on my blog:

(Link): Why Women Are Tired: The Price of Unpaid Emotional Labor by C. Hutchison

See also:
(Link): Emotional Labor and Female- On- Female Emotional Exploitation )

I am a former codependent – which means I spent my childhood and most of my adulthood repressing my own needs in order to meet the needs of other people, and nobody ever cared to meet MY needs.

And Christians are great about shaming you for this, if and when you bring it up:
If you mention you’re not getting your needs met, they just criticize you and give you cherry-picked Bible verses to make you feel as though you are being selfish for wanting to get your needs met.

At any rate, I was a codependent for many, many years. This also meant I spent many hours over the course of my life listening to women (and sometimes men) complain, gripe, cry, and blubber on my shoulder about their marriage problems, their health problems, their financial problems, and everything else.

It is absolutely mentally and physically draining to act as another person’s “sounding board” or “rock,” especially if the person is perpetually emotionally needy or a chronic complainer,  and I’ve had many of those type of people in my life.

My experience with doling out emotional support is that the people I am providing it to never repay me, or it’s pretty rare.

When it’s my time to go to them and cry on their shoulder about my problems, they either find excuses to get rid of me as fast as they can, or they scold, judge, or victim-blame me.

If the authors of this piece think I am going to spend my next 40 some odd years on this planet listening to 20- or 30-something married mothers whine, complain, and cry about how they feel so under-valued as mothers, or complain about having to wake up at 1.00 A.M. to feed a crying infant, they can think again.

Complaining About Their Husbands

Perhaps among the worst – and I’ve had a few women friends like this before – are the married women, whether childless or parents, who use me as a sounding board to complain regularly about their husbands.

If there’s one thing a never-married women who desires marriage hates to listen to, it’s a married woman complain about her husband.

These are the married women who complain about things such as their husbands are not romantic enough, or their husbands won’t make eye contact with them, when they, the husbands, are “zoned out” in front of sports television.

Look, lady, I’d love to have a husband who tunes me out during NFL or ESPN, if I could just have a husband at all.

You’re taking for granted and complaining about what I wish I could have but do not have, so no sympathy from me.

And no, I don’t want to listen to weeks, months, or years of you, married lady, (Link): complaining about the dude you chose to marry and refuse to divorce.

If your marriage is that bad, then divorce the man and move on already.

Some single lady out there like me would be glad to snap up your man when you are done with him, have divorced him and moved on, provided he’s not abusive or a total jerk.

Some of The Meanest, Most Selfish Women are Christian Married Mothers

Another thing to consider (and which this editorial from Christianity Today magazine does not) is that married mothers, even self professing Christian ones, are some of THE most hateful, selfish, jerks I’ve ever seen on the internet.

These are the women who act like martyrs about motherhood, they don’t care how Mother’s Day services in churches on Sundays hurts women in attendance who are infertile, have deceased mothers, and so on.

These Christian mothers flat out do not care about any of that, they do not care about the needs or feelings of other people.

These types of Christian mothers feel deeply and grossly entitled to receive the pastor’s praise in church and to get that free carnation flower, feelings of the childless women in attendance who find such observances to be painful, be dammed.

I’ve done blog posts about them before, such as:

(Link): Your Church’s Mother’s Day Carnation is Not Worth Any Woman’s Broken Heart – A Critique of ‘When Mother’s Day Feels Like a Minefield’ by L. L. Fields

(Link): Mother Entitlement – Selfish, Self-Centered Mothers Complain that They Are Not Getting ENOUGH Mother Worship from Culture, Church, or Family on Mother’s Day and Some Moms Complain About Churches Showing Compassion to Childless Women

(Link): The Entitled, Insensitive Comments Left by Entitled Christian Mothers, and the Men Who Support Them, Under the Post ‘Don’t Ask Moms To Stand In Church This Sunday (Mother’s Day)’

In Conclusion

So, you know, I don’t think ‘Christianity Today’ or other Christian magazines, sites, or churches, need to keep enabling this entitled mentality in Christian married mothers.

Christian married mothers already feel pretty entitled as it is, without coming across these editorials aimed at single women, telling us single women that we should step up and help married mothers, by babysitting for them, or listening to them complain for hours about their parental or marital issues.

After my mother died a bit over ten years ago, nobody helped me with that, even when I went to them asking for support. I got none.

Even the Christian people I went to at that time for emotional support, whether they were men, women, married, divorced, widowed, childless or parents, didn’t care to help me out.

I got insensitively brushed aside, or I was given platitudes, judgment, or “just get over it, already” speeches.

If I can get through the toughest ordeal of my life all alone – the death of my mother – and I did in fact get through it all alone, as I had no choice – then married mothers out there can damn well survive a few years of losing sleep over bottle feedings or early morning diaper changes or feeling unappreciated.

I am tired of Christians, Christian publications, and churches, continually publishing these works asking single women (and they never ask the single men) how they can meet the needs of married women, but they seldom to never advise the married mothers to meet the needs of their single, childless friends.

And we single, childless women also have needs.

The world does not need any more Christian sermons, podcasts, You Tube videos, books, blog posts, or magazine articles recommending that single women try to meet the needs of married mothers.

That’s all we single women ever hear from Christians.

Time to change the tune to “how can married mothers meet the needs of their single, childless friends?”


Related Posts:

(Link): Self-Serving Editorial at CT: Married With Kids Lady Says ‘Why Christians Need to Embrace a Changing Definition of Family’ – But She Wants Free Baby Sitting

(Link):  Christian Blogger About Divorce, Pastor Andrew Webb, Thinks All To Most Mid-Life Never – Married or Single – Again Adults Are Mal-Adjusted, Ugly Losers Who Have Too Much Baggage

(Link): Dear Abby: I’m Sick Of My Friend Always Venting About Her Marriage

(Link): Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother

(Link): Neither Fully Widow Nor Fully Wife – Married People Will Be Single Again (Married people who have spouses with dementia)

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link): Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother

(Link): Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? by Gina Dalfonzo

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link): Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

(Link): Don’t Judge Me, I’m Childless (from Today’s Christian Woman)

(Link): Southern Baptist’s New Sexist “Biblical Woman” Site – Attitudes in Total Face Palm of a Site One Reason Among Many This Unmarried and Childless Woman Is Saying Toodle-Oo to Christianity

(Link): Emotional Labor and Female- On- Female Emotional Exploitation

(Link): Why Women Are Tired: The Price of Unpaid Emotional Labor by C. Hutchison 

(Link):  Women Who Dump Women Friends As Soon As They Get A Spouse or Boyfriend (Letter to Advice Columnist)

(Link): Dear Abby: Teen Gets a Boyfriend, Snubs Her Old Pal 

(Link): Mother Entitlement – Selfish, Self-Centered Mothers Complain that They Are Not Getting ENOUGH Mother Worship from Culture, Church, or Family on Mother’s Day and Some Moms Complain About Churches Showing Compassion to Childless Women

(Link): “I Regret Having Children” – Various Mothers Interviewed (via NY Post)

(Link): Being Childfree, Childless, Infertile, or Dealing With the Death of a Mother on Mother’s Day, An Abusive or Insensitive Mother, Mothers Who Lost Adult Children to Murder or Sickness (links)

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family / Marriage) (article)

(Link): Un Happy Mother’s Day – universal church continues to worship parenthood, family

(Link): Sorry, but being a mother is not the most important job in the world by Catherine Deveny

(Link): Is The Church Failing Childless Women? by Diane Paddison

(Link): Why all the articles about being Child Free? On Being Childfree or Childless – as a Conservative / Right Wing / Christian

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link): Greedy, Entitled Mother Expects Her Childless Friend to Buy Daughter Computer, DVD Player, or Digital Tablet

(Link):   My husband forgot Mother’s Day flowers, so I had sex with someone else – New York Post Says Number of Married Women Applying on Cheater Site Ashley Madison Increases After Mother’s Day 

(Link): The Isolating Power of Family-Centered Language (How churches exclude singles and the childless) by E A Dause

(Link): Otherhood – An overlooked demographic – the Childless and Childfree Women and Singles Especially Women Who Had Hoped to Marry and Have Kids But Never Met Mr. Right (links)

(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

(Link): Widower to Advice Columnist Talks about Being Stereotyped by Married Couples or Ignored by Other Marrieds Since His Wife has Died

(Link): Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles? by S. Hamaker

(Link): What Churches Should Do for Singles by T. Campolo

(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

(Link): Family as “The” Backbone of Society? – It’s Not In The Bible

(Link): Groom Finds Bride Dead Morning After their Wedding

(Link): Bride Battling Cancer Dies 18 Hours After Exchanging Vows

(Link): Christian Couple Dies in Helicopter Crash Hours After ‘Fairytale’ Wedding

(Link): Joanne The Widow Lady Wants to Know Why God Didn’t Answer Her Prayer to Keep her Husband With Her

(Link): When You’re Married and Lonely by J. Slattery

(Link): Theme Park Bans Single Adults For Fear They Are All Pedophiles

(Link):  Stigmas and Stereotypes of Single Unmarried Men Over 25 or 30 Years of Age – They’re Supposedly All Homosexual or Pedophiles

(Link): The Study of Why Men Stay Single: What No One Is Telling You by B. DePaulo

(Link): Preacher Says in Sermon that Single Men Who Play Video Games Are Losers Who Have Retarded Spirits and This Creates Dating Problems for Women

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s