There was a story floating around Facebook a while back. Wait a while and I’m sure it will come back around, just like bell bottoms, leg warmers, and banana clips. If you are a hopeless romantic, it is a great story. A girl buys a tie and prays over it for seven years. In the mean time she meets a young man, gets engaged and presents it to her husband-to-be right before their wedding. As she walks down the aisle, she sees her groom sporting said tie (amazingly, it has the exact colors as her wedding colors). Please don’t get me wrong: it’s a sweet story. Who doesn’t like a sweet, romantic, sappy Hallmark ending? But let me explain a couple of reasons why my daughters will not be doing the same thing.
First, growing up we are bombarded with stories where they live happily ever after. Cinderella? She is neglected and abused and yet she ends up marrying a prince. Snow White? She hides out with a bunch of dwarfs, eats a poisoned apple, falls into a deep sleep, is kissed by a prince, and lives happily ever after. Sleeping Beauty? See Snow White (minus the dwarfs and poisoned apple.) Rapunzel, the Little Mermaid, and don’t get me started on Hallmark movies. If you’ve never seen a romantic Hallmark movie, allow me to spoil it for you. Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl have a falling out, boy and girl make up, boy and girl live happily ever after. (and for the record, I think I’ve seen every one ever produced. Except “The Christmas Shoes.” That one is dumb. And so is the sequel. Or so I hear.)
Yes, they are good, clean movies. But that is not real life. I don’t want to assume my daughters will get married. I don’t want my daughters thinking they will definitely marry. I don’t want them thinking every story has a Hallmark happy ending. What if they stay single? I don’t want them to think they are second rate because they are single. I know quite a few single women. Fabulous single women. Beautiful single women. Humanly speaking, I have no idea why some guy has not snatched them up. But my counsel and advice? It is hard enough being married to the right man. Imagine being married to the wrong man. (Thanks, Mrs. Dunbar!) A woman is not a reject because she is single. There is nothing wrong with her. (Most of the time. There is the occasional crazy cat lady.) Many of these ladies are content with where God has them, and they should be. Being single is not inferior to being married. You just have to learn to be content.
I know some women who have been so desperate for a man they continue to lower their standards until they snag a man, any man. Sometimes standards and scruples are thrown out the window as long as a man notices them. I know women who have married for money. I know women who have married for security. I remember a student sitting in my studio crying because she was about to graduate from college and was still single. I explained to her that if God wanted her married, He’d bring the right one along. If not, God had another plan for her. Not a plan B, not a worse plan, not a second rate plan, just a different plan. She was not a failure. She was only 22! She had all the time in the world. (and she did end up meeting and marrying a young man a few years after graduation.)
We used to pray for my daughters’ husbands as we put them to bed at night, but then I had a change of heart. Praying that teaches my girls we expect them to marry. I don’t assume that anymore. I want God’s will for their lives above wanting them married. I pray God brings them the right man IF He wants them married. If not, I pray they will be content being single and embracing all they can do that a married woman cannot. I think many times we, especially Christians, put so much pressure on young people to marry, they marry for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, that causes numerous issues and the divorce rate among Christian young couples is on the rise.
Another reason why I don’t care for this story is this: too many girls plan their wedding out before they are even engaged, many times before they are even seriously dating/courting someone. I have seen many times girls pick dates, dresses, flowers, colors, etc before there is even a ring on their finger. It seems as if the husband is just another thing on their checklist. “Okay, I have everything planned, so now I just need… oh, you’ll do. Check!” It makes me sad (okay, truth, it irritates me) when I hear some girl say,
“When we get married on May 31…”
“Really? Ooooh, can I see your ring?”
“Well, I don’t have a ring yet.”
I so badly want to say, if you ain’t got a ring, you ain’t got a thing, sweetheart. Another Hallmark movie faux pas: girls that have their weddings planned complete with idea boards/books since elementary school. Seasons, dates, dresses, etc. Life doesn’t always work out like that. Planning a wedding before an engagement seems so antiromantic. (Is that even a word?) “It’s about time you gave me the ring, I have everything planned.” What happened to the element of surprise? Just wait. Let God bring you your husband in His time. You’ll have plenty of time to get things done.
So, if my daughters do grow up and remain single, please don’t greet them with questions like, “So when are you going to find a nice young man and settle down?” or “What’s wrong with you? You’re not married yet?” or “Have you met my great nephew Irving? He has a great personality.” My goal is to raise them to be godly young ladies. Smart ladies. Faithful ladies. Even independent ladies. If God sees fit to bring them a husband, great! If God sees fit to have them remain single, great! Their worth is not tied to whether or not they are married. Their worth is tied to whom they belong: Jesus Christ.