Stop telling women that God will give them a husband later if they delay marriage now

Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship
Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship

Dalrock blogged a splendid post about people who claim that there is a shortage of “good men”. He says that if there really were a shortage of good men, then people who want women to actually get married would be telling women not to delay marriage, but to instead get serious about marrying early, when their ability to attract a man is at its peak.

Dalrock writes:

We can see the same pattern in Dr. John Piper’s recent post Why Are Women More Eager Missionaries?*  Piper explains that missionary work has become a pink ghetto:

…the actual situation among most evangelical faith missions is that between 80–85% of all single missionaries are women. It is a rare thing, like two out of every ten, for a single man to make missions his life’s vocation, which results in the overall statistics being that one-third of those in evangelical world missions are married men, one-third are married women, and 80 percent of the last third are single women. Which means that something just less than two-thirds of the total missionary force are women.

Piper’s main concern with the post however is not that there aren’t enough single men doing missionary work, but that women who choose this field aren’t marrying as they would like.  Piper complains that the problem for husband hunting missionary women is really an exacerbated version of the same problem all Christian women have, and that is an overall lack of marriageable Christian men…

I’ll save you the quotation of Piper, but his reason why missionary women struggle to find husbands is – SHOCK! – that Christian men refuse to man up. I.e – Piper believes that there are not enough marriage-ready, marriage-minded men.


But if Piper actually believed… that there was a severe shortage of husband material men, he would focus his attention on helping the women reading navigate this incredibly difficult situation.  Overseas mission work may feel empowering for young women, but (according to Piper) single women going into the mission field are greatly handicapping their prospects in an already bleak field.  His advice to young women would be to choose which was truly more important to them, being a missionary or finding a husband.

If Piper really believed that there were a shortage of marriage-minded, marriage-capable Christian men, then Piper would be counseling women who genuinely want to marry to make marriage a priority when they are younger, prettier and more fertile. Some women say that they want to get married “some day”, but the truth is that they want fun and thrills until they get tired of it, and they just expect a suitable man to show up right when they need one – even if the things a man wants in a woman are all gone.

So who is to blame if missionary women can’t find husbands?

Piper even tells a story which would be a perfect way to teach this lesson.  He describes a single woman named Gladys Aylward who went to a place where she found no marriageable men, and then blamed single men for not following her and proposing marriage:

“Miss Aylward talked to the Lord about her singleness. She was a no-nonsense woman in very direct and straightforward ways and she asked God to call a man from England, send him straight out to China, straight to where she was, and have him propose to me.” I can’t forget the next line. Elisabeth Elliot said, “With a look of even deeper intensity, she shook her little bony finger in my face and said, ‘Elisabeth, I believe God answers prayer. And he called him.’” And here there was a brief pause of intense whisper. She said, “‘He called him, and he never came.’”

Now, that experience, I would guess, is not unique to Gladys Aylward.

If Piper really believed that Christian husbands were scarce, he would be sharing this anecdote to warn young women of the foolishness of moving away from the pool of men they hope to choose a husband from and then expecting God to send the man of their choosing across the world to propose.  If we were in a culture of scarcity of good men, this would be the obvious lesson from this story.  But we live in an age with unshakable confidence that good men are not only available all around us, but will always be abundant.  If Piper believed that the husband Miss Aylward was praying for was surrounded by real life English women eager to win him as a husband, this story wouldn’t be complaining about why he didn’t drop everything, fly to China, and propose to a woman he had never met.  If Piper believed that the man was sought after as a husband in England, he would be pointing out the foolishness of Miss Aylward flying off to China and then wondering why a man she had never met didn’t show up to propose once she decided she wanted to marry.

Now to be fair, in Miss Aylward’s case, she almost certainly did a lot more good as a missionary than she would have achieved with a marriage. She was not pursuing fun and thrills, she really was making a difference. Still, it was neither rational nor prudent to think that the odds of meeting a Christian man were very good in China. She either needed to accept that being a missionary in a secular country meant not marrying, or she needed to focus on marriage first when she was attractive to men as a life partner. (Many women are propositioned for sex as they age, but few of them are asked to marry) As homeschooling mom “That Mom” points out on her blog, having an influence through marriage and parenting is not compatible with the irresponsible thrill-seeking hedonism championed by impractical pastors like Francis Chan.

But some missionaries really are delaying marriage for frivolous reasons. The 33-year-old missionary woman I know keeps telling all her advisers that she wants to get married “some day”. Her last two boyfriends were both penniless students in their late 20s, who had never worked a full-time job in their entire lives. She feels that there is no need to prepare herself for the roles of wife and mother, either. Her negative $20,000 net worth? No problem. The 5-year gap in her resume? No problem. Her chorus of advisers tell her that God will give her a husband right on cue. A husband who won’t insist that a wife have chastity, sobriety, self-control, financial responsibility, beauty or fertility.

What men want in a wife and mother apparently has no importance whatsoever to women today. And women have no appreciation of how investing in a husband early causes him to be loyal to her when she is older. Women think that a husband will show up when she is ready, and be loyal to her even though she was absent during the hardships of the first decade of his career. Fun and thrills in your 20s are more important than helping a man through the difficult battles of his early career. Just show up when you are 35 -unchaste, wrinkly and infertile – and reap the rewards of his unassisted earning and saving.

Why do men like John Piper mislead women about the feasibility of their emotion-driven plans? Answer: because they fear women’s reactions to disagreement. Men are easier to criticize than women, because men are trained to take it, and not to show their emotions. Practically speaking, whenever a woman anoints her emotions as God speaking to her, her plan almost never works out. But it takes courage to tell a woman to make plans with her mind, instead of with her feelings.

I expect women today to disrespect male advisers, even those with proven ability, because we live in an age of radical feminism where even Christian women who deny feminism act as if they were radical feminists. But it’s not just men who are disrespected. Many women don’t even respect older women with proven ability (See Titus 2:3-5). They just block experts out and find advisers with no proven ability, but who agree with them.

By the way, for an explanation of why men prefer not to be missionaries, read this post on Deeper Strength blog.

23 thoughts on “Stop telling women that God will give them a husband later if they delay marriage now”

  1. One potential reason for the number of single female missionaries that I haven’t heard anyone mention is that single women enlist for mission work because they’re not marrying and they figure doing something overseas “for God” while they wait on a man to show up would be a good use of their time. The church has taught them that there’s nothing they can do to prepare for marriage or to seek it and that they’re at the mercy of men who may or may not show up to propose marriage, so they should be busy in the meantime. What they often don’t realize is that there are a lot of things they can be doing to prepare for marriage and haven’t done, and not doing those things makes it less likely that they will marry. What’s more, heading off to a foreign country with few Christian men is going to make their marriage prospects even bleaker.


    1. What kinds of things would you recommend for women to do, in order to prepare themselves for marriage?

      I wonder what Christian women would say to your idea that they ought to be preparing for marriage.

      I can tell you right now that there is real pushback when I try to urge them to pay off their student loans (or get their educations without loans) because men prefer to marry women who are debt-free, and responsible with money.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are a number of things women should be doing to prepare for marriage.

        – Studying what their role would be in marriage and what their husband’s role would be and embracing this vision for marriage.

        – Studying apologetics so they are prepared to teach their children about the evidence for Christianity one day.

        – Practicing proper submission to authority, self-control, wisdom, care for children, house keeping, and other godly traits for wives.

        – Learning to build up a man through encouragement and support.

        – Practicing good money habits so that they will be able to live within their husband’s income and frugally so as to lighten his burden of provision and ensure that she can be home with the children and not forced to work. This includes, at minimum, avoiding debt of all kinds and avoiding unnecessary spending on luxuries.

        – Practice teaching children and learning about their needs and how to care for them.

        – Learning to control their tongues to avoid being bossy, argumentative, nagging, vulgar, or foolish with what they say.

        – Learning how to resolve conflict peaceably.

        – Learning how to place others first.

        – Keeping in shape and developing good eating habits and hygiene.

        – Learning to cook healthy, nutritious, and delicious food and to do so frugally and wisely.

        – Learning to clean and organize a house effectively and to keep it maintained in a state of order and cleanliness.

        – Learning wisdom and proper priorities in life so that they are prepared to provide wise help to a husband and not blow issues out of proportion.

        – Evaluating men on character traits and practicing being attracted to good character over looks or style.

        – Getting what education they can without going into debt – ideally in a field that will help with future training of their children (science, math, education, child development, etc) or that provides skills to help a husband or run a household (bookkeeping, home economics, gardening, canning, etc).

        I’m sure there are others as well, but these are some of the major ways that women can prepare for marriage.


        1. Each of these deserves a post showing how to practically achieve them. Maybe others could write about the keeping in shape and the cooking, but I should definitely write about the character ones – how to train up the abilities in a practical way.


        2. That’s quite a list. Biblically speaking, all a woman needs in order to be “prepared for marriage” is respectful, obedient and sexually loyal. That appears to be sufficiently difficult for women that additional requirements might as well be a ban on marriage.

          Why do people talk as if getting hitched is comparable in dedication and resources to astronaut training? “Young, frisky wife makes hubby happy” is all it takes. No formal education needed, in fact, nothing a girl learns in college will make her a better wife/mother. Rather the opposite.


          1. Because men want their marriage to have an influence, and they know that skills matter when the culture is secular.

            If you don’t care that your marriage does anything other than make you happy, then the requirements can be lower.


    2. Or maybe she sees an opportunity to do just that. Maybe there is an opportunity to get an high quality (very secular) part time education in a foreign country for 1/8 of the cost of an American university. Maybe she sees this university as a mission field and equip christian student groups in apologetics.

      Maybe she also organizes discussion events for non Christians so those Christian groups can have a chance to interact with argumentation. Maybe while doing this she has a chance to interact with some of the best, most amazing single Christian men in the country.

      Maybe she also volunteers to watch kids at church to improve childcare skills. Maybe she also holds hospitality events in her house regularly to practice cooking and caring for people.

      Maybe she also happens to be starting a small business in said country from which profits will go to fund said growing apologetics ministy.

      Maybe she wakes up at 5am every day to study apologetics, study a foreign language, and exercise to take care of her body.

      Maybe she would never get these same opportunities to prepare for marriage at home.

      I dont know, but i’m doing the best that I can.


      1. Your list of behaviors to prepare for marriage look good, but in my opinion working for money is better than education, especially if you are in debt.

        I think the concern I have about any female missionary depends on her age.

        If the missionary is under 25, then it’s no problem for her to burn a couple of years doing these important things. One of the best wives I know (Jen) was a missionary in Russia, and she returned to find work, save a lot of money, and marry a good man. She had two kids – one at age 32, another at age 36.

        If the missionary is over 30, then I would recommend that she choose a man soon, who is marriage-ready according to the roles that a man plays in marriage: PROVIDER, protector and leader. It is very important to choose a man with work experience, and savings built from past earnings. This is the main role that a man plays in the family: generous breadwinner. Obviously, chastity and spiritual leadership matter, too. What a man wants in a woman as a helper is better supplied when the woman is younger, not only because of youth and beauty, but because the conflicts at the beginning of the man’s life are more difficult than when he is established in his career. Early help makes a big difference. I would recommend to female missionaries that they not be distracted by attractive atheist men, nor by Christian men who do not have the immediate ability to provide for a home and children – the older she is, the more critical immediate funding is, because of her fertility window.

        Marriage is a way to make a difference, and it works better the more time is spend investing in each other and surviving trials together. Does that make sense? Marriage IS an engine for influence, as a model to others and as a means of producing influencers. The strength of the marriage depends on how long each spouse has been investing in the other. Sooner is better – more investment means more fidelity, more stability. You want to aim to share life experiences and get to know each other sooner, rather than later. Marriage is like a raising a plant – if you leave caring for it to the very end, then it is not likely to be as good as if you were paying attention to it all along. It’s not a certificate or a merit badge you get after doing whatever you want through your 20s and early 30s as two single people. It’s a joint enterprise, and the more you help the other person (by starting to invest in them early) the stronger the output of the enterprise will be.

        I think the big problem with being a missionary after 30 is that unless your future husband is there with you where you are, then it’s not easy to invest in him. If you don’t have a future husband at all, then you’re starting from scratch when you meet him. Most people say that 2 years of dating is necessary to get past the “in love” period and regain your senses before marrying. And men generally like a honeymoon period, before children arrive and bring challenges. This timeline is not a problem if missionary is under 25. Big problem if she is over 30. She may be doing good things, but the time factor requires her to focus on marriage sooner, rather than later or it will slip away, like what happened to the woman in the original post. She sounds like a person who viewed men as an accessory to her travel and adventures, rather than someone who wanted to commit to be a man’s helper in the home – which is what marriage is really about.


  2. To me, it seems like you are stating the blindingly obvious, and it’s not limited to Christians. Women (and I guess men too) in my generation have over-inflated egos and set their standards unrealistically high.

    Many of them also hope to enjoy their twenties, often sleeping around. It is only once they exhaust their youthful years that they desire to settle down. The problem is, they have lost most of their appeal and value once they enter middle age. They then wonder why there aren’t any good men around. In fact, there are plenty of good men around. They are, at this point, way out of her league.

    Another problem is that they believe the lies that women can do anything that men can do. Men can afford to wait until middle age to get married, since men are fertile even into their seventies. Women, however, generally lose their fertility by time they hit their mid forties. So women who wait until their early thirties to get married have lost over half of their fertile years, and the better half to boot!

    Even if the women don’t get married, but are instead focused on recreational sex, the problem doesn’t disappear. They are most appealing in their early 20s, and their appeal steadily declines as they get older, because the vast majority of their appeal comes from their youthful bodies.

    It’s not the same with men. Sure, younger men will be more appealing all else being equal. But other factors such as money and power and status often override these factors in men in a way they do not in women. This is why older men like Sean Connery, Hugh Hefner, and most men who have a great deal of money and power can pick up 20 year old supermodels the way you pick up mud on your shoe. And it’s not as though they are merely trying to get a piece of the man’s money and power. They are sexually turned on by the man’s status in a way that does not occur in the other direction.


  3. I could write a doctoral dissertation on the state of Evangelicals, dating, courtship, and marriage, but …

    There are some systemic problems of course. [I got married later in life, plus I didn’t go to a Christian college, and I live in a major metropolis, so I got to experience a number of these.] On the one hand, a former dean of my seminary mentioned that for those Protestants and mostly Evangelicals who go to 2-year or 4-year Bible colleges, Bible institutes, Christian colleges, and the like, the vast majority (high 90-percent) get married within 2 years of graduating. Of those who don’t get married soon after graduating and/or don’t have a significant other, some portion of them go on to seminary and treat that like Christian graduate school or are trying to spouse-hunt there. And then others are of course reacting negatively to this culture or attitudes (even of the desperation).

    Those who didn’t go to a Christian college are unfortunately influenced by both Christian culture and secular culture.

    Suffice it to say, sometimes single people almost blindly apply the Ontological Argument to themselves, e.g., “there must be a Christian man [or woman] who is a perfect soulmate for me that exists, and therefore I’m on a quest to find him [or her].” (Of course, Plantinga’s modal ontological argument is IMHO stronger than the Anselm one, and since significant others being finite and creatures don’t exist in all possible possible worlds and because they aren’t necessary beings, they don’t exist in all possible worlds, etc.)

    AHA! Apologetics applied to dating! Who’d have thought!

    Or they make God jump through hoops as Miss Aylward did (“…call a man from England, send him to China…”) Which reminds me of the old joke:

    An overly pious Christian was watching the news about the state of the Mississippi flooding and the Christian declared with all certainty, “God will deliver me.”

    As the flood waters rose up to the porch, the Christian was praying. A man in a row boat came by and said, “I have room here, do you want to get in? I can take you to safety?” The Christian said, “God will deliver me!” The rower said, “Suit yourself!”

    Now the flood waters started pouring in the living room so the Christian climbed on top of the fence to pray some more. A motor boat veered towards the Christian and a voice on the megaphone boomed, “Hello! We can take you to safety! Just stay where you are and we will come and get you!” The Christian replied, “No thank you! God will deliver me!”

    Some time later, the flood waters rose to submerge most of the house and the Christian was standing on top of the house. A Coast Guard helicopter was in the area and veered over. “You down there! Stay right where you are, and I will send a rescue diver!” The Christian waved off the helicopter. “No! God will deliver me!”

    After drowning, the Christian questioned God, “I prayed and I prayed for you to deliver me!” God replied, “What do you call a row boat, motorboat, and helicopter?!”

    I recognize some Christian women went on the mission field after not meeting “any eligible men domestically” — meaning sometimes they women would prefer less choices. Which makes me wonder if some people are paralyzed by *too much choice* and they want to be more certain.

    Another thought: Even non-Christians these days are aware that for people in their 20’s: the balance of power in dating lies with women, although the balance of power is actually for slightly favoring marriage-minded men even in their 20’s (i.e., there are equal or less men and less mature and competent men in the church) and this inequality of power continues to widen into the 30’s and 40’s when even the balance of power in dating shifts to men. (There’s a few secular dating websites I read where people who talk about this.)

    Translation and application: If you’re a woman, and you don’t want to sleep around, and if you’re looking for a Christian spouse, it is in your best interests to develop being the best Christian, grow in sanctification, and developing some skills, attitudes, etc. to be discern a good Christian man. (Not to sound like a doomsday prophet but: yes, it gets more challenging the older you get…) And yes, a single Christian man who just wants to sleep with a Christian woman should be corrected and rebuked…

    What?! you may say. “Develop myself?! Grow in sanctification?! Discern a good Christian man?! Isn’t dating about getting the right thrills or feelz about a man?!” I might contend this is the wrong perspective. Sure, it’s important to be attracted to your [potential] spouse, but deeply attracted, e.g., with character.

    I think from hearing from some of the single and married women over the last decade or two, a certain well-meaning and influential Christian writer’s influence of “If you’re a Christian woman, you shouldn’t be looking for a Christian husband or even wondering what any specific Christian man thinks of you — that’s not trusting God!” — this is fortunately waning. The attitude still exists, but fortunately this attitude is waning. (We could apply this attitude to employment: is it not trusting God to look for work and to want a job? Or is studying in school or doing homework “not trusting God” — i.e., we expect a sudden miraculous revelation regarding Differential Equations or Fluid Mechanics, not having done any homework or not studying at all? No of course not — the attitude is ludicrous.) God is in charge — He is still in charge — but expects that I will exercise wisdom and discernment. He opens and closes doors, and I have to make my efforts. I shouldn’t expect an employer to call me out of the blue, “Hey buddy! I don’t know why I called you but I want to offer you this job for oodles of money!” (which is kind of what some Christian leaders are suggesting in terms of dating)

    I know you’ve been reading through the book of Ruth: Ruth examines Boaz’s character (chs. 2-4), she determines his kindness, generosity, etc. and even makes a marriage proposal — twice (uncovering his feet and lying at his feet, 3:7-8, and explicitly asking him 3:9). Boaz observes that Ruth could have had any of the young men, whether rich or poor (3:10). On Boaz’s side, he still takes care to honor God by allowing the nearer kinsman-redeemer an opportunity to redeem Ruth (3:12-13). It is not mentioned in the text explicitly, but it is evident upon the background material (e.g., Deut. 23:3, “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation…” and that Ruth was described as a Moabite (1:4, 22)) that Boaz must have examined Ruth’s faith — that she was indeed an Israelite by conversion, no longer a Moabitess. In fact, she is included in the genealogy of David and of Jesus Christ.

    I am certainly NOT basing the value of women in terms of their looks nor their fertility (however, I do know that evolutionary biology would like to observe that choices of/attraction to people do correlate with evolutionary advantage e.g., powerful, rich men; young, fertile women). Besides, couples this side of eternity may run into infertility and complications… IMHO, the best thing you can say as a single person is, “I would like to be a blessing to someone else through marriage.”

    I might have to write a separate post on “things single women can do to help their marriage prospects” and “things single men can do to help their marriage prospects.”


    1. WF: Great job with Ruth. I once brought up this conundrum (DT 23:3 vs Ruth) in a Sunday School class in an attempt to teach some critic type apologetics. I’m convinced by the blank stares that none of them (many going to church for 30 + years) have ever heard of this. But I was pleasantly rewarded with some very good responses once they thought about it, many of them similar to your conclusion.


  4. “The Lord will provide” is the battle cry of the Hallmark Channel-inspired Churchian gospel of muh feelz that has led many a woman to delay marriage, only to live a life of either loneliness or with an inferior man far below that of the men willing to marry her when she was young.

    Pretty lies need to perish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The bad results of those “pretty lies” also need to be pointed out (sometimes brutally) and reinforced as to the truth of the false narratives that promote them.
      There would not be so many ‘proud feminists’ if the fate of their “Useful Idiots” (such as single mothers living desperate lives in ratty government housing) were more well-known.


  5. I’m not sure you have it completely correct, sir. As a father of 3 daughters who are all happily married to believers, I would suggest that the fault lies as much with women as with men. Yes, young men need to “man up”, but women need to be attractive and winsome. Not doormats, but not angry feminists either. Knowing that being submissive to your husband’s leadership is not the same as being subservient to his every whim. Someone who wants the best for him and is there to complete him – a helpmate, as God designed the relationship.


    1. You’re wrong on two fronts.

      First, “doormats” and “subservient” are feminist terms for any submission or obedience to a husband.

      There’s no such thing as too much submission. Christians can never be too submissive God. Neither can wives to husbands.

      Second, when encountered with submission, wives sometimes get the idea (of their own or from other Christian wives who don’t understand the context of submission) that they must obey everything their husband says without question. This is NOT “too submissive” but it is rather “false humility.” Such a wife is obeying her own ideas of what she thinks submission is and thinking that it is righteousness (e.g. false humility) rather than responding to her husband’s need for a helpmate — offer a helpful and/or different perspective and then obey what their husband decides.

      Hence, there’s no such thing as being too submissive. Feminist thinking has warped Christians into believing there is such a thing when it is actually false humility.

      A wife can be a helpmate and too submissive and that is godly and holy, even if her husband is not a Christian. See: 1 Peter 3.

      You’re not the first person to not understand that you’re caught up in feminist thinking, and you won’t be the last.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. As men, we are abandoned, downtrodden, ignored, abused, and blamed for everything. Wherever we go, both feminists and Christian women who are unconsciously indoctrinated into feminism attempt to do everything they can to drive men like myself out so they can take the reigns of power.

    Marriage, relationships, colleges, churches, missions organizations, and other things offer men absolutely nothing today. Feminism has spent the last fifty years, both within and without the church, doing everything it can to end male leadership and to turn men into women. Well, it worked all too well. Most men today are too discouraged and downtrodden to even attempt to exert anything resembling masculinity. What’s worse, society has taught men to feel ashamed of their masculinity itself and any attempts to assert it (like leadership).

    Sure, the answer partly lies in changing women’s thinking, but that is a secondary issue (not in importance, but in focus). The real answer lies in rebuilding men from the ground up, because we have been absolutely demolished. Systematic campaigns are needed to instruct men in masculinity from a biblical perspective, but also, years of counseling will be needed to teach men not to be ashamed to assert their masculinity. Men need to be taught how to be the men they were never taught to be, and then need to be taught and encouraged to ENJOY being men who act masculine. Until this is done, we can expect to see all attempts to shame men into “manning up” fail miserably. This is because you cannot call out of a man that which is not in him. Men today have been subjected to a decades long campaign of psychological warfare and abuse that was specifically designed to bring them harm in order to put women at the front of the line.

    Want to fix these issues? Give men the main focus of your attention and support men as your main goal with a specific and targeted campaign whose purpose is to rebuild masculinity, rather than shaming men into behaviors they were never taught to observe.

    If men are continually shamed instead of being rebuilt…..

    Well, then it is time to start looking into real estate companies who have experience in helping to sell churches, because most of them are going to close down.


  7. “Want to fix these issues? Give men the main focus of your attention and support men as your main goal with a specific and targeted campaign whose purpose is to rebuild masculinity…”

    IF men will trust anymore. For at least the last forty years, Western men have been hatefully betrayed and abandoned by their own society and their own female counterparts, who justified their faithlessness and betrayal on a feminist tissue of exaggerations and outright lies.
    Once faith and trust have been broken, they are hard to regain — IF EVER regained.


  8. Reblogged this on Philosophies of a Disenchanted Scholar and commented:
    There’s a lot of sweeping assumptions here. There are less quality people. People. Men and women, but since most of aren’t bi, we tend to fixate on the opposite sex. However, due to economic factors alone, even the good ones aren’t getting established financially until their 30s, something Aaron Clarey covered at some point. Combine with other facts like dual incomes are needed based on cost of living, and especially if the woman earns a lot more, she needs to work part-time. It’s money first, then culture, and finally, finding someone not just of quality, but someone in that narrow band where you’re both good for each other and can work together, similar ideals etc.


    1. That really depends on your definition of “quality”.

      A man or woman at 22 is perhaps going to be more of “a diamond in the rough” in accoutrements (economics, salary, understand what it is to be responsible, etc.) However, a person’s character is demonstrated in choices — and a wise person makes wise and good choices. At 22, I wasn’t interested in someone who was financially set or knew everything about life.

      There is a saying, “Two heads are better than one.” My senior pastor has observed many people including many Christians want to get to a point they are stable, whether that means in their career, in their social circles, in their education, etc. — before they want to consider a long-term relationship with a view to marriage. However, he contended that if a couple can adjust their expectations to their situation (i.e., if the couple are two grad students, they shouldn’t expect that they are financially set and own a house and two cars, etc.) — people are better off married than single for many reasons. Merely having another person to bounce ideas off of, or to weigh pros and cons — or might I suggest the shocking idea, to serve — all of these are highly beneficial. Nothing defeats selfishness and self-centeredness faster than intentionally choosing to serve another person.

      From a Christian perspective (not a secular perspective), everything that happens in our life is for our sanctification — that is, it helps make us more Christ-like. Marriage makes us more Christ-like. Husbands (and fathers) learn to die to themselves all the more so. We learn in a deeper way what sacrificial love entails. We learn patience in greater ways. We also get to appreciate what God has done in deeper ways. Marriage has a way of knocking the rough edges off a person.

      Thus, it is more important [for a Christian] to choose conformity to Christ over compatibility as well as agreement in the important stuff. We all have shopping lists. Even people who don’t think they have shopping lists have implicit ones. It’s important to prioritize these — and especially to focus on the more important qualities.

      I’ve had the honor of getting to know a few different older couples in my church. (Older as in above retirement age, sometimes by a decade or so.) Many of them married in their early 20’s — which was very common in their day, I recognize. Three couples have been married 50+ years. You start digging into reasons and what the individuals are like and their assumptions. None of them married for money or because the man was loaded or whatever. Eventually, all three of the men were “the chairman of the board of elders” at my church, at different rotations. There’s a 3-year term for this. The oldest one of the three husbands lavished praises on his wife when I met him personally for the first time. “She could easily run a corporation; she’s run every committee in the church except the elder board.” She glowed at his praise. The second one was a high school math teacher (eventually head of the math department for the high school) whose wife eventually ran the women’s ministry. Very wise couple. The third one was a professor emeritus, then associate dean of engineering and dean of engineering and the vice president of computing operations at a very recognizable school. All of the three couples certainly grew in stature (whether in their secular vocation or at church). All three couples have families too.

      If one is a Christian woman, one might be tempted to say, “Wow, those wives were lucky to pick such great husbands.”


      Far from just luck.

      From what I’ve heard from all three couples, they looked at each other’s devotion to Christ and character and conformity to Christ. I asked each couple what attracted each person to his or her spouse. They emphasized character — something that I think is a little lost on this generation. They emphasized that they thought they could glorify God together better.


  9. “Why do men like John Piper mislead women about the feasibility of their emotion-driven plans? Answer: because they fear women’s reactions to disagreement.”

    That, and they want to keep the gravy train running; it’s how they make their livings, selling books, conferences, etc., mostly to women and henpecked men…


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