Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Thoughts on Getting Married
Several of you indicated that I'd piqued your interest in this book I just finished by Candice Watters -- Get Married, What Women Can Do to Help It Happen. I thought it only just to come right back and post about it now that I have finished it off (and before I hand it off to my single friends for their reviews).
I must say, I have to appreciate the counter-cultural message that Watters daringly proposes. She lays the groundwork in her book by removing misconceptions about marriage, and replacing those misconceptions with biblical thinking. These were misconceptions that she herself held as a single woman, working on Capitol Hill to stand up for the rights of families in the country. Deep down, she wanted to be married, but she was repressing that desire, and praying faithlessly about it. Watters points out how the church has adopted society's view of single women, and no longer is a safe zone for single women to talk freely about their hopes and dreams. She pointed out some typical quips that married people use to "comfort" single women, such as pointing out the flaws of marriage (as if that is some sort of comfort), joking about freedom, etc. Her point is clear -- there is absolutely nothing wrong with a godly desire to be married. Furthermore, those desires should be honored by the church, by providing a community in which such a desire might be freely spoken of. Watters challenges single women to talk about their desire to be married without shame! Certainly, it is easier to say nothing and never fail in the eyes of others, right?
Watters provides some practical helps to women who wish to be married. She asks them to take stock of their lives to see if they are living as if they were intending to marry (I got a little tripped up on this one, but I think I got it now). I reflected on her point here, and applied it to my situation -- wishing to be a mother someday. It's true I wish it, but I really don't live like I'm planning on it. In preparation for marriage, Watters recommends digging into a multi-age community in a church, practicing good stewardship with your time and resources, refraining from sexual activity as "good seed" to sow. Watters says "Many women sow bad seed, then pray for good fruit. It's like spending time with friends instead of studying for a test and then asking God to help you pass."
I also liked her honesty about challenging commonly-held over-romanticized ideas of marriage. She dispels the "soul mate" myth (made popular by Kip and LeFawnda, no doubt), and points to false expectations we might dream up by reading too much Christian fiction! I had to laugh when she said "Living up to your wildest romantic fantasies, being your lifelong soul mate, anticipating all your deepest longings and desires, and feeling with you as deeply as Oprah does, well, that's a tall order for someone designed by God to be a husband." Watters presses single women to think about their expectations for a man through the lens of scripture -- what does scripture call men to be? Certainly don't lower our standards, but realign them.
I do commend this book both to single women who hope to be married someday, as well as those married women who have single friends, or work in a singles ministry. I think Watters does a great job instructing the reader to be content, patient, godly and wise, while at the same time bringing this message of hope to those who have been told for so long that their hope is foolish.