Friday, November 8, 2013

A fly in the ointment

I had a conversation with a friend on being single and going to Bible studies on marriage. It became clear that we both have quite a few thoughts on this subject due to both being single, manless and hearing Christian catch phrases on this for years. For clarification purposes our texts are in bold and some of the things we've been told for years are not.

"Why is it, that the only marriage advice bible studies are capable of giving to singles is, "Don't have sex and uhhh keep on keeping on"?! As if we haven't been hearing that since we were in junior high and some of us probably have that down. There has to be some practical practicable advice out there; like how do I practice submission now and what habits can I start that will be helpful later on?"

There are approximately 500,000 (slight exaggeration) books written by Christians on the subject of marriage; coupled with 100,000,000 (another exaggeration) Bible studies meant to guide people through being single. But for the most part they seem to be a broken record:

Don't have sex before marriage. Fire is for the fireplace. Sex is for marriage. Keep on...keeping on.

No man is going to make you happy, he is fallen, you are fallen. Marriage is full of horrific struggles that you have no way to be prepared for and that man (or woman) is going to be the worst thing that happened to you. Just so you are fully aware of how horrible, picture zombies, Armageddon combined with someone who never closes the toilet seat (or if it is a women, makes you go to Phantom of the Opera.)

"We get told this one as the married couple stares adoringly at one one another, smiling and holding hands."

But you'll never get a chance at this God given treasure unless you completely stop wanting to be married. You have to want God more then you want marriage. You have to love God more then anything ever. Until that happens you're just not holy enough sorry. End of story.

"Although come to think of it, that opens up the market for a whole slew of yet unwritten books.

Barren Women, Stop Wanting That Baby.

Orphaned Children Stop Wanting Parents.

Cancer Patients Just Cut It Out With Desiring Health

Fathers Leave Off Looking To Love Your Children

Why is it only the beleaguered singles get handed this stupid line?" 

"I have a sneaking suspicion that a marriage is just like any other relationship (except with sex) and maybe a bit more temptation to be hurt. So really pre-marriage classes should just be on holiness, encouraging one another that by living day to day with family or roommates, one is training and preparing for marriage. Enjoy one another. Support one another. Forgive and bear with one another. 

Also we can reject the brow beating of "You want a husband and don't have one? That is because you want a man more then you want God, you need to actually learn to love God THEN he'll bless you with a husband." If you won't tell this to a women who is barren, then do not tell this to me. 

Uhhh did we mention just keep on, keeping on?


Hannah Jean said...

Haha. You must have had more than one convo on this, cause that's more than I remember... ;)
I had a really good talk with the APs last night on the topic. Mom made some good points (doesn't she always??) that for a single person, marriage can be a desire without becoming an obsession and that we should be looking for ways to serve God where we are rather than feeling sorry that we don't quite fit in anywhere. It really is about taking the focus off you and getting it on God and others.
Still. I really wish that churches would recognize the (rapidly growing) category of post-college singles. We exist. We have a hard time plugging into Bible studies or activities because we are in a *vastly* different stage of life than the college group, or the young married's group, or the growing families group, or even the men's/women's groups.
I want to be encouraged to grow in Christ WHERE I AM and not feel like I'm in some sort of holding pattern. Yeah, I'm single. I'd like to not be. But what I really want is to be more like Christ and to be alive to what He wants me to be and do today.

Rivers Daughter said...

Exactly! It is not that people don't become obsessed with something (which takes their eyes off Christ.) And maybe they need help out of that obsession, but that is not always the case. Putting people in the same box really curtails being able to encourage them.