Today I got an e-mail from a Christian author about singleness. She, a married, woman would be 'discussing' singleness. Here's a question for the audience, what can a married woman honestly discuss about singleness? Honestly.
A couple weeks ago, I touched base with one of my friends who is attending a 'single woman' Bible study, led by a married woman. They are working their way through an absolutely amazing book, but get this, skipped a chapter about being single because it, in the eye of this married leader, "bashed marriage." I laughed. That was the best chapter of the book for me. Funny how our perspective changes things.
So, can a married woman honestly teach a single woman the best way to be single?? Can she? The overwhelming message from married women as advice to singles is this: "Hang in there. Just serve God as much as you can and eventually he will show up. You'll see." Women are encouraged to wait... problem is, we shouldn't be waiting. So, then you have the other extreme (also pioneered by married women) that says, "Don't wait! Get yourself out there! Find him! You are running out of time." It is no wonder that many women are confused.
Why is it that every book I have ever read on singleness, save for Rebecca St. James' "Wait for Me" is written by a married woman? Have you ever heard people scoff the so-called 'parenting experts' who have no children? Is this not the same concept?
Frankly, I believe there is middle ground that married women cannot find. That is not to their fault. Married women are, rightfully so, passionate about marriage. They want that same love and luster for every woman in the world, so much so that the concept of being single is almost painful for them. To think of one of their friends never seeing that side of life hurts.
I regard marriage very highly. I have many married friends. I attend many weddings every year (it seems). I think it is very honorable, and I do desire it for myself one day. My problem is the confusion surrounding it. Young women are getting conflicting messages. Either they are to be a Sleeping Beauty or they are to be a "Ruth" and go and get their Boaz (which is very unfortunate misinterprettation of a Bible story). Where is the middle, BIBLICAL, ground?
But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
I Corinthians 7:32-35
People site the writings of Paul to prove many points. From the Sleeping Beauty side... well, I don't know what they do with this passage. I think they tend to ignore it. Instead, they cling to the Song of Solomon that talks about not waking love. A poisoned apple. Down they go.
From the Ruth camp, they say "Well, it says that if you are single, you will devote more time to the Lord, but who honestly does that? So we should all get married." So, now we have frog chasers. They have to be active- doing something. Waiting isn't going to cut it for them, so off they go, into the swamp to chase down an unfortunate frog named Boaz.
Let's try a new approach. How about this. If you are single then you SHOULD be devoting the extra time you have to the Lord. That seems like a logical interpretation to me. You cannot adjust Biblical standards to fit your case. Just because you do not use your time to serve God does not mean you should not be using your time to serve God. If you use your free time to play video games and watch hours of TV, that is not a legitimate 'excuse' to be married. Those are habits; they will not change. What it should get you to do is to reevaluate your priorities. Fact is, you have much more time to serve God now than you will once there is a spouse and a family involved. Use that time wisely!
Like I said before, marriage is a good thing. It is something to be desired, but I am sick of married women crawling out of the wood work and trying to teach single women how to be single. In their minds, marriage is something that is coming eventually and just hang on or run after it. What if, we woke up all of our Sleeping Beauties?
Do you know what an army of Christ is sleeping right now because they are afraid of screwing up their chance of being married? Do you know what impact and influence lies dormant waiting for the kiss of a Prince Charming? Do you know how many Ruths could be out fighting for the Lord but instead are chasing frogs through the swamp? Too many, and that's sad.
Worst of all; it's our own fault.