Is It My Fault That I’m Not Married?

Posted By on July 28, 2010

Our last article, “Why Am I Not Married?!?” has brought in our most diverse range of feedback yet. We’ve received some of the most grateful, convicted, excited letters ever (with the strongest support and thanks coming from young men, interestingly, though we didn’t write it for them). We’ve also had a couple of angry or tearful reactions. Mostly, though, we’ve been sent a wide range of questions, from how to become more eligible, practically, to how to deal with unrequited love, to how to react, emotionally, to the engagements and marriages of friends, while we remain unmarried. We hope to address each of these on Visionary Daughters soon. Today, however, we would like to answer this one.

Are you saying that if I’m not married yet, it’s my fault?

This is called a loaded question. There is much more to this question than the question on the surface, which would be impossible to answer accurately on its face. (Where would you start? “Yes, No, Maybe, It Depends, All of the Above…”)

To unload this question and answer it properly, we need to see that there are five faulty presuppositions behind it.

1. We can “earn” or deserve marriage by our own good deeds. — (Wrong)

God’s plan for our lives began before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), and cannot be thwarted or altered by us. God is not a cosmic vending machine to be manipulated by our good deed coins. We pointed out in our article that there is a correlation between God’s sovereignty and our duty to action; “good deeds” are always our duty, and we should be striving to be worthy of marriage; but at the end of the day, He may still have other plans for us.

2. Marriage is a reward, singleness is a punishment. — (Wrong)

This is a warped view of both marriage and singleness. Marriage is an instrument God uses for His glory — but so is singleness, whether for a season or for a lifetime (1 Corinthians 7). We believe Scripture teaches that marriage is the normative calling for most believers, and that God created marriage to be a beautiful picture of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:23-32); a means of creating a godly seed (Malachi 2:15); and a more effective tool for dominion, forging the strengths of two people into a more powerful weapon for His glory (Genesis 2:18).

Marriage is a glorious opportunity, and we believe girls should be working towards marriage as much as is in their power. However, we should be motivated chiefly by one reason. Our interest in marriage should be a hope that we can serve God more effectively married than single. But God is the One who will decide that — if God still has us unmarried, obviously He has determined otherwise, at least for a season.

This means we can be encouraged in our singleness. The single state is not a penalty box, and we are not second-class citizens, and God is not dooming us to a purgatory of ineffectual puttering. He wants us, and has big plans for us, right where we are. We can be used mightily, right now. Our fruit can be significant, today.

On the other hand, if our days now are introspectively focused on our own personal issues and needs and interests, what makes us think we will suddenly become outward-focused and kingdom-focused when we marry?

3. We can reach a level of eligible perfection. — (Wrong)

To ask, in effect, “Are you saying there’s something wrong with me?” presupposes that we could get to a point where there isn’t anything wrong with us. We’ll never reach a point where we’re “fine just the way we are.” That said, a girl can certainly “buffet her body” (and mind, and heart, and character) to a point of being ready for marriage. She just shouldn’t stop there.

We’ve been privileged to know many exemplary young women who were ready for marriage in every way anyone could see, but yet remained unmarried until their late twenties or early thirties. (God’s ways are not our ways… see point 1.) Though each of these girls was already very eligible, none of them waited out her remaining term of singleness in impatience, or stagnation, or bitterness. None of them thought, “I can’t think of any ways to improve on myself, so I must be one of those girls who’s ready already. I’ll just sit here and fold my hands until I get what’s coming to me.” Each one continued to grow, blossom, and bear fruit. Each one remained humble about where she was, and about how much further she could go. They inspired everyone around them, and were a wonderful testimony to the community — to see the humility and growth of these stellar young women, and to see how seriously they took the opportunity of the single season. To the watching outside world, unfamiliar with the picture of an adult daughter serving her family, they were radiant lights and powerful ambassadors of biblical femininity (and God may have partly extended that season for this very reason).

4. Our own eligibility is the sole issue, regardless of the young man’s state. — (Wrong)

One of the big mistakes we often make is to look only at our side of the picture, forgetting that there is another person involved with his own set of situations and issues. A God-ordained marriage involves the preparation of two people, not just one. Remember the girls we mentioned who had been extremely ready and eligible for years before the Lord brought them their husbands? In each case, the Lord was also bringing the young man along on a journey. In one case, the young lady was 31 when her 23-year-old suitor came onto the scene — she laughs to think that, when she became “ready,” he would have been only ten.

In every story, once He brought the pieces together, everyone could see why it was His plan for her to remain unmarried for so long — as they say, hindsight is 20/20. We would be a lot happier in the interim if we would recognize His sovereignty before we see His plan revealed, not just after. And let’s remember that we’re not the only person in this.

5. Something is somebody’s fault. — (Well, that depends…)

This is always likely, in a fallen world — but not necessarily the case in your situation. Sometimes there are other factors involved in God’s timing. See points 1 through 4.

We can reasonably expect everyone involved to have failings — the fathers, mothers, young men, pastors, leaders, etc. — but it’s simply not our place as young women to make them shape up. When we step outside our feminine jurisdiction by trying to tell the men how to do their job, we make the problem worse. Helpful hint: henpecking and scolding men doesn’t help them grow up (and, interestingly, doesn’t make them want to marry us either). In these articles, we’re focusing on our faults as young ladies because they’re the only ones we can fix. They’re also the only ones we authors, as fellow young women, have the authority to address. Sorry, girls, but on Visionary Daughters… everything is your fault. :-)

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About The Author

Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin are the only daughters of Geoffrey and Victoria Botkin. They and their five brothers share their family’s vision for cultural reformation, and enjoy working with their father on projects affecting family, church, and state. They delight in discovering new things every day about the beauty and power of the biblical home and family unit, and in investigating the glorious and diverse opportunities open to young women at home. At 24 and 22 years of age, respectively, their interests include film making, orchestral harp, history, music theory and composition, theology, the reconstruction of the West, hospitality, classical piano, the persecuted church, and home-making. They’d be delighted to hear your questions or comments regarding So Much More or Visionary Daughters. Email them at damsels (AT) visionarydaughters (DOT) com

Comments

4 Responses to “Is It My Fault That I’m Not Married?”

  1. Some wise words here, ladies. I find that the struggles many young singles go through is not unlike the pain and disillusionment of married couples who suffer from infertility. There is a lot of guilt, blame, and temptation to compromise–and even to sin–all because there is so much pain and so much want. I think that one of the most incredible gifts that the Church at large can give to singles is to make a place for them JUST AS THEY ARE where they can feel a part of the core and heart of ministry and fellowship. Too often, churches divide themselves into segregated groups: “young singles” “re-singles” “widows” “young marrieds” “40-something marrieds-with-kids” (you get the idea). A communal, multi-generational, Church FAMILY is what so many Chrsitians need–and I think singles especially.

    Thank you both for your ministry and especially for carrying it out with such grace and compassion.

  2. wow! fabulous article! i love how you so eloquently addressed the issues here. point #4 is especially important. I married at 28 and did feel some frustration, and wondered WHEN??? but my husband is 5.5 years younger than me. it is true… even because YOU are the only one you are aware of in this process, there is another half of it.

  3. sweet ti says:

    Thank you for the encouragement for us unmarried young ladies. Focusing our thoughts on Christ- centered character-building is really the key to godliness with contentment, something the Apostle Paul writes as “great gain”. (Also something I am working on…)

    In Christian love,
    Theresa

  4. Dear Anna Sofia and Elizabeth,

    Your articles always leave me wanting to shout hallelujahs! :) When I first read your previous article, I was SO appreciative and impressed. I can see where you could have stepped on some toes (I personally loved your brief sarcasm and boldness!), but toes sometimes need to be stepped on (my own included at times!). The main point you made in the previous article that made me so excited, refreshed, and appreciative was the one that was similar to Jasmine’s in her most recent article-that Biblical daughterhood and Biblical womanhood are about so much more than baking cookies, crocheting baby blankets, and wearing aprons (even though I adore each one of these things! :) ). If we as young women are not seeking to be thoroughly saturated in Biblical knowledge, armed to wage war against the aberrant worldviews raging in our culture, etc., then we’re not being God-honoring young women, nor are we preparing ourselves for a successful, culture-changing marriage.

    This wonderful article was no exception-what a blessing it was to read, and what excellent points you made!

    I really appreciated this:

    “This means we can be encouraged in our singleness. The single state is not a penalty box, and we are not second-class citizens, and God is not dooming us to a purgatory of ineffectual puttering. He wants us, and has big plans for us, right where we are. We can be used mightily, right now. Our fruit can be significant, today.”

    And I must say, the two of you are prime examples of this! As young women in your early-mid 20s, you are anything but lazy or fruitless! Both of you inspire me so much in your godly example of using every day to further Christ’s Kingdom and using your time wisely for projects that bring Him glory. You are both (as is your whole family) being used mightily, and I praise the Lord that the two of you are being faithful to the Lord with your time and pursuits.

    You went on to say:

    “On the other hand, if our days now are introspectively focused on our own personal issues and needs and interests, what makes us think we will suddenly become outward-focused and kingdom-focused when we marry?”

    Great point. I, too, have been convicted by this thought. We cannot think there will be some magical change in us the moment we have a wedding ring placed on our finger. This is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about encouraging young women to implement the teachings of Proverbs 31 into their everyday lives now. If we desire to be Proverbs 31 wives and mothers, then we must be Proverbs 31 daughters!

    Well, I’ve said enough! :) Thank you both so much for your wonderful writing, and I’m greatly looking forward to the future articles on this and surrounding topics!

    Blessings,
    Rebekah

    http://www.byhisgraceandforhisglory.blogspot.com

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