Thursday, March 1, 2012
Ask the Men, part 1
Teachers of Good things is a series of interviews we will be conducting on Tuesdays and Thursdays here at Ruby in the Rough. It is our goal with these interviews to follow the instructions found in Titus 2:3-5 for the "older women" to teach the younger women good things such as: loving their husbands, keeping their home, and conducting themselves with all purity both before and after marriage.
Most of the interview questions for Teachers of Good Things came from conversations and emails between myself and the young ladies at my church. As we talked I realized that there were a few questions that could only be answered by men. So, in a slight departure from our norm, this week and next week I have two men who have agreed to share their thoughts on these questions.
We'll be starting with my husband, Richard. Richard writes regularly on an assortment of topics related to Christian manliness at his website, Gentleman Adventurer.
That’s a difficult question to answer, since we more or less grew up together. Offhand, I think it was her maturity. Even before I really knew her, I can recall a conversation that I had with my cousin about how mature and level-headed she was. She was fun without being silly, but she was also level-headed and sensible about things. I think it was that combination of maturity and good humor that I first liked the best about her. Then, as I got to know her more, her passion for the Word of God and for being a godly woman kinda sealed the deal.
What are the main things that you see lacking in single girls today?
Failure to launch. Girls hit high school age and suddenly there’s the rest of their lives staring them in the face. And we (meaning conservative Christianity) don’t really have a good answer as to what they are supposed to do next. On the one hand, you have families who eschew all forms of higher education in favor of getting married and having kids as soon as possible. But when that perfect guy doesn’t come along for the next five or ten years, they go into a kind of paralysis and don’t know what to do with their lives.
On the other extreme, we have families who send their girls off to college so that they can pursue a career, as that was the ultimate goal. These kinds of women risk missing their true calling in favor of making an idol of their career.
The problem is that both of these extremes are bad and both will damage your future marriage. Men (at least, the good ones) want a women who can keep up with them spiritually and intellectually. And an education is an important scalp in your belt for training and equipping children of your own. But your husband also needs you to be focused and engaged on your family and your marriage, not whatever you choose to put before that.
So there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. The most important thing is that you not buy into the lie that you’re supposed to “sit and wait” for a husband. Get an education. Be engaged in carrying out the Great Commission. Remember, a spouse is there to make your “good enough” life into a “great” life. And on the flipside, be ready to make your family your priority when that time comes.
How would you define a woman who is "prepared" to be married?
How well prepared is she to be single? Who is she discipling? Is she emotionally prepared to be a mother? How does she guard herself in her relationships with other men? Is she a wall or a door? Is she easily offended? Is she an emotional rollercoaster? It’s hard to say at what point someone is ready, but these are some of the questions that I would ask.
If you could say one thing to your sisters in Christ about their single years, what would it be?
Men are idiots. Whether in the world or in the church, single guys are by and large on the prowl. And like any good hunter, they’re looking for the easy prey. So you’ll see these girls who are flirty and easy and not discipling others or studying the Bible for themselves (both of which the Bible tells us are signs of a mature Christian) and very often they’ll get married much sooner than another young lady who is perhaps older and more mature. And it’s frustrating and it doesn’t seem fair.
But this is what separates the men from the boys. There are men – real men, the kind you say you’d like to marry – who will be attracted to mature womanhood that is ready to have a family, be a helpmeet, and work together towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission. If you find a man who values that, you’ve done well.
Finding a man like that might take a while. So don’t be idle in the meantime. Have a ministry. Pursue a passion. Don’t make it your idol, but you should be able to come into marriage as your own person with your own interests, not some blank slate for him to write on.
Don’t expect a man who’s twenty to be as mature as your pastor or your dad or whoever else you have in your head as a good example of manhood. Much more important is that they be “trending” in the right direction. So ask all of those same questions we mentioned earlier: Who is he discipling? How does he interact with other women? How does he deal with criticism? How does he deal with failure? Sure, he makes mistakes and handles things badly. But does he fix it? Can he genuinely ask for forgiveness?
And finally, stay far, far away from angry men. Men who can’t handle criticism, men who want to bend you to their will. Any idiot can give orders. It takes a godly man to lead.