A man needs a maid...

Note: On August 16, I posted "Early Marriage" which consisted of a lengthy quote of Benjamin Franklin on the benefits of marrying young. Several days later, I received the following E-mail from a brother in Christ who recently had become a friend. We talked by phone and I did my best to encourage him in his pursuit. But I also asked if I could use his E-mail as a post on the blog. He graciously agreed and edited what he had sent me to protect, as he put it, "the innocent and the guilty."

Your recent "Early Marriage" post struck me, and prompted me to write to you. Perhaps what I write can be fodder for a future post on your blog, or perhaps you may have some advice for me. I don't know - perhaps I just need to vent.

I just turned another year older, and it bothered me more than I'd like to admit. God's providence has not brought me a wife and covenant flock to call my own, a desire I have had for years now, and continues to grow. Especially as I have seen such admirable models of covenant households - including the examples you and David have been, as frequently seen through your blog - my disappointment grows, as I feel I am missing out on such a wonderful blessing as the "Early Marriage" train leaves the station in my life.

Often I feel that no one understands. "Oh, you're still young! You have so much freedom to enjoy!" Oh, yes. The freedom to come home to an empty house every day. The freedom to see my friends get married, leave my life, and establish their own homes. Glorious freedom, indeed. Look, I have great gratitude for my family, my church, and my job. But I'm not going to care about the fruits of my capitalist toiling on my deathbed. Even immersing myself in the Bible and theological literature, while edifying, is not an end in itself. As a man, I feel hardwired to serve someone else, not myself. My attempts to bring more meaning to my life - by getting more involved in my hobbies, or hanging out with other brothers in the Lord, while profitable, leave me empty.

I am no fool, and I know marriage is hard...

I don't have fanciful ideas about it being a sexual utopia, or believe that I would never be lonely again. My own sanctification is hard enough - I imagine that trying to sanctify 2 people at once is much harder. I know women well enough, firsthand, that I also realize how difficult they can be at times. And I have the good sense to tremble at the thought of the difficulties that accompany raising children. But I've never been afraid of doing hard things. You can probably imagine how often I was tempted to drop out during the rigorous studies I endured in college. "You can just switch to an easier major!" But I did it because I knew it would be rewarding - and it has been. I'm sure, for you, this probably conjures up flashbacks to those Advanced Hebrew classes you took - no small feat, eh?

As you may recall, I attend a faithful [Presbyterian/Reformed church]. But I think that our churches don't really know what to do with post-college singles. They are great at ministering to families, and to children. But for those who come out of college and aren't married, they kinda shrug their shoulders at us and say "well, don't have sex before you're married." So that's who we are in the church. The "Don't Have Sex Before You're Married" ministry. How very empowering.

Now, I love my church dearly! But I am afraid that the Spirit of the Age has infected her to some degree. 2-income families where the wife works are the norm ("how else", they reason, "can you keep up with the normal standard of living?"), daughters are expected to go "make something" of themselves by going to college, and, with a few exceptions, family sizes are limited to only 1-3 children. There are some in the congregation who do home schooling and family worship, but not many. And they are usually around my age, so there are only a few older models around to follow.

Anyway, my current state is not for a lack of trying. Ever since I started my career several years ago, I've done everything within reason to find an eligible presbyterian or reformed girl. I'm not a shy person, nor am I a stick-in-the-mud bean counter. Here is a rundown of the recent prospects:

Girl #1 - attractive girl who sits with her family in church. Turns out she is still in high school! (10 year age gap). Wow - I wouldn't have guessed. Oh well.

#2 - girl from another family in the church, stunning good-looks, full-time waitress. But around the time I was going to chat with her, she decides to start seeing the older, grizzly, unemployed fellow in our congregation. Huh. Oh well, again.

#3 - blonde girl from our church, college student. Several months into the relationship, things are "clicking" and, after gaining her family's approval, she abruptly decides that her studies and career must take priority and breaks things off. Double ouch.

#4 - this was an arranged, long-distance courtship around a year ago, 24 y.o. red-head. Via phone and e-mail communication, things were clicking well enough. However, neither the girl nor thefamily wanted her to leave their postmillennial utopian community (I'm being humorous here, although perhaps with a dash of cynicism). They were not willing to part from their churches, family, and friends. Ah, yes - "Patriarchy: Except When It's Hard [And My Little Princess Wants a Pony, Too]".

There were, of course, pleas for me to relocate. The family even offered to give me a local job. There were two problems with this. First, I would be trading away the very financial and job security I would need to raise my own covenant flock.

The second problem is that having me move seemed wrong-headed. Not intrinsically wrong for me to move to where her family was, mind you. But it seemed wrong-headed and backward to me. Look, I realize that patriarchy does not entail a pig-headed "my way or the highway" mentality, but it does mean that the woman leaves her family to be a helpmate to the man, in HIS calling in life, and establish her own family with him. I am certainly sensitive to the valid difficulties and emotions involved in a woman's attachment to her family. That must be accounted for and dealt with sensitively. But I don't think the solution was to reverse this order. It just got to the point where I was getting the feeling that I was being brought into their postmillennial compound to donate my income and seed (chuckle, chuckle). Maybe you disagree with me here, but the situation at least didn't strike me as wise.

I do wish I would have married younger, and perhaps I shouldn't have waited as long as I did to start looking. But I do hope that the Lord will grant me a wife and, at least, my first child within the next few years. But there is nothing I can do to just "make" it happen. There is no "Reformed bride" section at the local drug store I can pick up on my way home from work. I suppose the only advice you can probably give me is the obvious - keep trying, keep praying, and keep waiting. Yes, I know that that is true.

Peace, brother.

Comments

Pastor Bayly,
I'm almost afraid to ask this question. How early is "early"?
Alex

Dear Alex,

Let's just say "early" is some time before the couple racks up $90k in educational loans.

Love,

Tim

Wow. What an interesting read. I am used to hearing from Godly female friends who are having a hard time finding (and waiting for) a mate, but I haven't heard this kind of thing from a man recently.

I'm intrigued by the way this idea of marrying early tends to be undesirable to people in America today. Even young Christians feel the need to follow the world's lead in this area- to wait until at least the mid-20's to date seriously and marry.

My husband and I spent a good amount of time discussing Tim's comment and question from a week or 2 ago--that we are to marry to keep us from burning, so, "at what age do you burn?" Clearly, most people at least have their fires lit as young-mid teens... that would put marriage at a more classically traditional age of 18-20, right? My husband and I married the day after I turned 21, during our senior year of college, and we got countless comments about "how young" we were.

Interesting things, Tim, very interesting. I'm glad my kids are 4, 2, & 3 months so I can mull over all this and come to some wise conclusions before they're burning! :)

Several comments:

We married very late (me, 34, she 30), and for the first time too (earning ourselves lots of unintendedly tacky queries from wedding retailers about whether this was our second or third marriage!). Marrying this late has a very few advantages, but I won't mention them here, since the advantages in marrying as early as possible far outweigh them.

I concur that evangelicals generally have bought into the "let her finish her education first" agenda, leaving men who are eager to marry them wifeless. And, as the father of daughters in college, I can testify to how aggressively the academy promotes single professional careers over domesticity with its female students. Parents say "Wait till college is finished," and the academny insists "Wait until your career is established." The woman, therefore, quickly reaches her mid-30s with greatly diminished prospects (assuming her interest in marriage and family hasn't been extinguished by that time).

Finally, I heartily concur with the young man's sensibilities to avoid planting his marriage on a foundation that has significant input, particularly professional or financial, in the woman's family. Once this is done, it creates a ballast that causes the marriage (not just in the extended family) dynamics to list in a very unhealthy and troublesome direction. Marriages contracted in this way have a "rock in the shoe" that cannot be removed cheaply. There are always consequences that last for the duration of the marriage.

Finally, we had one daughter marry at 20, and we are very pleased with the results for them both. It had our family and friends clucking about their educations (they were both in the middle of undergraduate work). Let them cluck.

I don't know how old your friend is but I would offer encouragement. I wanted very much to have a wife and family but found very similar frustrations to your friend. I wound up marrying for the first time at age 40 when I had just about given up hope and God brought my wife into my life by means I never would have anticipated. She also was not reformed in her theology but she was committed to the authority of scripture which gave us good grounds for talking through our differences and we are of one mind now in these things. As much as I'd liked to marry earlier I can see now where my wife is exactly who I should have married and I can see now where the waiting was part of what was required for this to have worked. I used to get frustrated when my mother would assure me that God had someone for me because I couldn't know that to be true so I won't say that. But I do think I can say that for those who trust in Christ God is proactively working for their good. This should be a great comfort when we go through these times which are genuinely hard.

I would just like to suggest that as believers we should have peace in the fact that God's timing is perfect.

So, if God's timing for one person is to marry at 35 and His timing for another person is 18, then God has predetermined that, which should give us joy it was done on His timeline.

As fellow believers, we should not make people in their thirties feel like they're missing out or necessarily doing something wrong. What a great opportunity for that thirty something to be doing work for the Lord with 100% focus and commttment.

In my opinion, the problem is not marrying too old or young, I think the biggest error is when we don't put our trust in God's timing.

This young man has some serious misunderstandings. He says, "My own sanctification is hard enough - I imagine that trying to sanctify 2 people at once is much harder."

Sanctify? He thinks he's supposed to sanctify his wife? I thought that was God's job.

He also says, " The second problem is that having me move seemed wrong-headed. Not intrinsically wrong for me to move to where her family was, mind you. But it seemed wrong-headed and backward to me. Look, I realize that patriarchy does not entail a pig-headed "my way or the highway" mentality, but it does mean that the woman leaves her family to be a helpmate to the man, in HIS calling in life, and establish her own family with him. I am certainly sensitive to the valid difficulties and emotions involved in a woman's attachment to her family. That must be accounted for and dealt with sensitively. But I don't think the solution was to reverse this order."

Hasn't this young man read Genesis 2:24? - "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife."

No wonder this young man is having trouble finding a wife. He seems to think it's all about him and HIS calling. He never once speaks of mutually supporting his wife in her calling, whatever it may be.

This man has much maturation to do before he's ready for marriage.

Come on, Light, this isn't about you.

Light,

Perhaps you should go back and re-read his post. He did say that he is "hard-wired to serve someone else, not himself." He also takes into account the possible difficulties of being married, and he doesn't see it as some sort of "sexual utopia," as most young men would (before getting married). I, for one, think he has shown a lot of forethought and careful consideration, not only about men's possible misgivings about marriage, but also what the Bible has to say about it, too.
Really, Light, what kind of chip is permanently lodged in your shoulder? And furthermore, it seems to me that you DO know exactly what the Bible says about marriage and manhood/womanhood. It also seems that lack of information or even understanding isn't the issue here- it's just that you don't like what the truth is.

I don't agree with "mutual submission." Calvin spoke of this better when he said Eph. 5-6 means "mutual services." That is where I fear egalitarians miss the point of the Scripture, by confusing submission with service.

However, here I am not sure I disagree with Light's point about sanctification, because when Paul talks about husbands, he waxes eloquent about Christ's love for the Church, and it appears to this unlettered woman that when the word "sanctified" is used, that it is referring to what Christ does for the church, not something husbands can do for their wives. In addition to this, we have a positional sanctification in Christ, which, for a wife, a husband has no part in securing.

"Sanctify? He thinks he's supposed to sanctify his wife? I thought that was God's job."

Why, of course! And, you know what? God lays responsibility for that process on husbands. See Ephesians 5:25-29 for details.

An aside to Grace ... Ephesians 5:25ff draws an explicit and detailed parallel between Christ's ministry to the church and the husband's spiritual ministry to the wife, which includes what is fairly termed sanctification, things like "washing" and bringing her to have no wrinkles or spots or blemishes. That sort of thing. Men are told to do for their wives what Christ does for the Church. And, of course wives are told to submit to this, just as the Church is to submit to the identical ministrations of Christ toward His Bride.

Yes, I know this doesn't get preached very often. Shepherds of churches are, regretably, pretty chicken when they get to this passage.

Now back to Light's confusions ...

"No wonder this young man is having trouble finding a wife. He seems to think it's all about him and HIS calling."

Umm. Actually it IS all about him and HIS calling. She was created for him, not him for her. He had the calling, for which she was created to help him accomplish. See Genesis 2 for the original pattern, and 1 Cor. 11:8-10 for Paul's apostolic endorsement of that pattern as normative for Christians.

"He never once speaks of mutually supporting his wife in her calling, whatever it may be."

But, he does, at least implicitly, insofar as he envisions her as part of the covenant flock, of which he is the shepherd. He is her calling, you see. He's looking for a wife who understands this. Which is why Ms. No. 3 turned out not to be a prospect. She decided, contrary to Holy Writ, that she had a calling in academe and the professional world thereafter.

This young man shows every indication that he undertands what it is to be a husband -- that is, one who husbands a wife and children as a farmer husbands a vine or olive shoots (see Psalm 128 for an example of this).

"This man has much maturation to do before he's ready for marriage."

Au contraire. So far as any could judge from his words, he is ready. You, on the other hand, have much need of reading and pondering God's Word, so you may repent of your foolish and worldly judgments and, instead, confess and obey God's very good will for you as a married woman.

Trust Morton to turn this discussion astray.

Alex - to answer your question, I am 27. Not "old", I know, but not the 18-22 range Tim's article originally had in mind.

Fr. Bill & David Gray - thanks for the encouragement.

Light M. - I don't have any pretension of taking the Holy Spirit's job in a woman's sanctification, although I do expect to be used instrumentally toward that end.

And, yes, I have considered Genesis 2:24. Indeed, I have already left my parents - but not for the purpose of finding a wife so I can cleave to HER parents. Consider the pattern of the biblical patriarchs.

Fr. Bill,

sorry for the confusion, but when you say "it is all about him and his calling, and she was created for him." Are you talking about God or the husband or both? If you are talking about just the husband I would have to say that I think men easily think it means a woman has to drop all of her gifts, dreams, and ambitions and sit at home while the husband is off following his calling.

>a woman has to drop all of her gifts, dreams, and ambitions and sit at home

What does this actually mean?

Bill K,

I think the passages referred to by Fr. Bill make it clear that his statement is referring to both God and the husband.

Upon reading your statement, I asked my wife how she sees the role of every wife/mother in contrast to their dreams. She responded by singing a verse from a song. The song says,... "Jesus, all for Jesus, All I am and have and ever hope to be. All of my ambitions, hopes and plans, I surrender these into Your hands".

When the wife/mother begins to surrender her ambitions/dreams to God in order to follow her calling from God (being a helpmeet to her husband and raising godly offspring), then she will truly begin to find fulfillment. Likewise, when the husband/father begins to surrender his ambitions/dreams to God in order to follow his calling from God, then he will truly begin to find fulfillment.

When a wife/mother attempts to follow her own ambitions/dreams, rather than Gods calling/dreams for her, then in the end she will discover that it was a road to a very empty place indeed.

Whether single, married, male, or female, Christs words apply to us all, "He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it"-Mt 10:39

My suggestion, as someone who married at 26 a man who was over 30: if he honestly feels "hard-wired to serve someone else", he should do so now. Hobbies and hanging out with the guys can be fun, but they should not take the place of serving God by serving others. Develop a servant heart now. There is more, far more, for a young man to do in the church than just be involved in the "don't have sex until marriage ministry". In fact, singles are in a unique position to have all sorts of time and energy that can be used in single-minded service and devotion.

My husband literally had no time to be involved in our church's singles ministry. But I wanted to meet him well before I did because my younger brother spoke so highly of his Sunday School teacher. The first time I met my husband was when I was part of a small group praying for him as he was headed off for a short term medical missions trip. My husband's commitment to serving God spoke volumes to me.

One warning: don't do these acts of service as a "way to meet pretty girls". Don't waste time at church trying to scout out all the attractive young things. Instead, live out your single years, however many there may be, following Paul's instructions to those who are not married. Your attitude in church should be one of being focused on God, not on finding your next date.

It's a great thing to feel hard-wired for service. The church needs more young men with this attitude. There are so many, many needs and so many avenues for serving. So serve!

Quinn,

I'm not sure if I totally agree with you without some clarification. Are you implying that ALL women should be wives who do not work and stay at home raising children? Do you consider a single woman who works to be on or heading down the road to unfulfillment? Can't a woman work out of the home and still be obedient to God and with a clear conscience sing, "All for Jesus?"

WOuld you suggest that God has a one size fits all plan for women, that is raise children, not work outside the home, home school, etc.

I don't intend for these questions to seem harsh, I'm just trying to get a better understanding of where you are coming from.

Thanks.

Bill K.

Bill K.,

You ask, " ... when you say 'it is all about him and his calling, and she was created for him,' are you talking about God or the husband or both?"

Initially, I was responding to Light's statement "He seems to think it's all about him and HIS calling." If I were to restate Light's comment, eliminating the ambiguous pronouns, I would suppose she meant this: "The young man seems to think it is all about the young man himself and the young man's own calling." I took Light to be objecting to a perspective she detected in the young man's ruminations, a perspective which supposed that his quest for a wife is all about himself and his own calling.

In response to this, I replied that it [viz. the young man's ruminations] was indeed about himself and his own calling; that is, his calling from the LORD. In other words, I AGREE with Light that this is the young man's perspective. She seems to be shocked at this, or to find this perspective a discredit. In contrast, I find this perspective to be a credit to the young man, who evidently gets this perspective from the Scripture, for that is where such a perspective originates.

Genesis sets before us, as a pattern, a commissioned man (i.e. he has a calling from the LORD) who needs a helper so he may fulfill that calling. Woman is created for him, so he may fulfill the calling he already has. The woman's calling is, first and foremost, her husband. Her husband, and his mission so far as she participates in it through him, is her calling. In the Garden, she doesn't get her own, individual mandate. Adam is her mandate, if you will, though it is not cast in these terms. Rather, she joins an already commissioned creature, she participates in his mandate, his commission from the LORD, and she is created expressly for him, so that he may fulfill that mandate.

Now, what I am suggesting, what Paul endorses, is that this pattern in Genesis 2 is normative for humans (for, even fallen humans are still His creatures, who function best according to His design).

When I counsel a young man concerning marriage, I ask him, "What are you going to do with your life? What you have purposed to do will, in large measure, inform what kind of woman you should marry. If you are going to be a dirt and dairy farmer, you should probably not (for example) marry a coquettish Southern-belle girly girl. For, no matter how appealing she may rightly be, she won't bring to YOUR calling the temperaments, talents, and values you would most desire in a wife if you were going to make your living in a rural agrarian setting, milking cows and planting crops."

For the record, I know a farmer who did exactly this. To his and his wife's credit eternal reward at the Judgment, they finished their married course without divorce and with believing children who are all committed Christians as adults. But, no one, at the end of that marriage, had any illusions about their being the best match either of them could have made.

To paraphrase you slightly, you comment, "I think men easily think that "it's about me and my calling" to mean that woman has to drop all of her gifts, dreams, and ambitions and sit at home while the husband is off following his calling."

A couple of comments in reply:

1. If she is sitting at home while her husband is off following his calling, they are each failing the other: he by going on with his career as if she had nothing to contribute to his success in it; she by sitting at home (pining away for what might have been? You didn't say.) rather than putting her shoulder to some wheel which directly or indirectly helps him in his calling.

2. While what you describe is far more common than otherwise, it is most definitely not what we find in Genesis 2 or in successful marriages. Just how the man and woman relate might vary widely. My wife has a theological graduate degree, and our ministries are well integrated with one another in common kinds of labor (study, teaching, writing). Many physicians have nurses for wives. It is no accident that ambitious business men are often tempted into sexual relationships with a female who is always "there" in his work as he pursues his career.

3. Finally, a woman who has dreams, ambitions, and the like which are NOT domestic will never think of marriage as the Bible thinks of it. She cannot serve two masters. And married women with ambitious careers never do. I know a woman who woke up one day, shocked to find that she was spending 50 hours a week, advancing the career of the head of the firm she worked for, while she shared bed and board with the man to whom she was married, and nothing else. There was no sexual adultery on her part; but, neither did her marriage amount to much more than the pro forma features.

To her and her husband's credit, they took over a fifty-percent cut in earnings (she earned more than he did) in order for her to come home.

"Getting it right" is best done by getting it right from the beginning. Trying to get it right after 25 years of marriage in which the man and woman are simply room mates with mutual sexual benefits and mutual inheritance privileges ... well, by that time, the ruts are pretty well set. I've seen corrections made at that point, successfully too; but it's a painful process.

Bill K.

To be clear.

I was not specifally addressing single women except in my closing statement quoting Mt 10:39. I do feel however, that far too many single "Chritian" women are pursuing their own ambitions/dreams rather than seeking Gods for them.

I specifically chose the words "wife/mother" instead of woman in order to try to avoid this confusion.

A wife's Godly calling is to be a helpmeet for her husband.
A mother's Godly calling is to raise Godly offspring.

Thus a wife/&/or/mother who has any dreams/ambitions that wage war against her Godly calling, must learn to surrender these into God's hands. And no doubt she will. The fact that she does, gives her the opportunity to express her love to God by not eating of the forbidden fruit.

Quinn

Wow, reading that email is like reading about my own life. Just gone 26, returned home nearly 2 years ago because I felt the call to get more involved in the family farm, find a wife and settle down.

""Oh, you're still young! You have so much freedom to enjoy!" Oh, yes. The freedom to come home to an empty house every day."

I can totally relate to that.

The thing is, it could be much worse. Try living in a tiny rural community where the churches are all in strife over unity and leadership - by the end of the year there will only be 2 full-time permanent ministers over the 7 mainstream churches in the town. There are literally no single female women in our churches because, as L'Angelo says, all the churches seem to be able to offer young adults is "don't have sex til you're married".

You've still got choices L'Angelo, I'd go for the stunning good-looker, take on the grizzly old guy and seal her away with your chivalry and charm.... :)

The problem is in the paradigm. The female subordinationist position assumes that women exist only to serve men's needs. They over look the fact that women have callings, dreams, needs, and wants of their own ... or, at the very least, that women's callings and needs must come second to their husbands. But that is not how Christ teaches us, nor is it how mature godly adults behave. Grownups work things out and support each other; none of this "me first" nonsense. The NT is full of exhortations to "love one another," "submit to one another," "respect one another," and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Dear Light,
I would call it more of a Biblical position, rather than a female subordinationist position. And it doesn't overlook a woman's callings, dreams, needs or wants. It does ask us to submit to God and our husbands and give those desires up if that's what we're called to do. (As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Eph. 5:24). This doesn't mean that we don't struggle with it (or at least some of us)! But since when does living a Christian life mean we shouldn't have struggles?

I know this has been discussed on other threads as well, so I won't make this lengthy. I thank you for causing me to open my Bible today and be reminded of and challenged by what it means to be a Godly wife and mother. I would encourage you to keep struggling particularly with those passages that you don't like. In my experience, those are the ones that have helped me to grow in my faith the most, because I know that they are calling me to be obedient to Christ, rather than to my own desires or the temptations of the world.

I'm amazed how Light always reels this back to her own situation.

This guy is seeking a wife, seems to have his head on straight, and doesn't just look after his own needs, but looks at marriage with a sober eye (i.e., look at his ability to look at these young women --beautiful or not-- and make thoughtful decisions not merely based on his own lusts, etc.).

Fr. Bill noted above the woman who was working to advance the career of her boss. This reminded me of Prov. 31- and the description of a valuable woman- that 'her husband is respected at the city gates, where he sits with the elders.' The simple fact that this verse is in this particular chapter indicates that the wife has had something to do with him sitting there in a place of respect. Now, I'm not saying there is NEVER an instance where a woman should work (although I would say they'd be far less frequent than men) my question is: which woman can more greatly affect her husband's position and respect level? A woman who clings to her own "rights" and expects to "have it all"? Or a woman who humbly submits her own desires to the higher goals of having a family, making a Christian home, and shooting out little godly arrows from that home? A woman who refuses to make her own "goals, ambitions, and desires" (if they are incongruent with marriage and being a helpmeet) subject to her husband's, and to the Lord's, ought to think soberly before entering the marriage union.

And as for the suggestion that his unwillingness to move was basic disobedience to the idea that a husband is to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, consider: this woman was not yet his wife. And he would have been knowingly going into a situation where he was dependent upon a father-in-law when he was perfectly capable of supporting her on his own. If you take that verse too far, no wife should live very far away from her family and no husband should expect her to.

Surely this discussion has digressed to be about something Tim never intended??? I wish Light would quit hijacking every set of post comments. I enjoy what Tim has to say on this website, and come to read it because of that. Not that there will never be disagreement, but if I constantly and consistently disagreed with everything Tim said, I think I'd give up reading his site and look for someone who could encourage and exhort me in a way that I could receive it joyfully.

Holly said, "It does ask us to submit to God and our husbands and give those desires up if that's what we're called to do."

Holly, you say IF that's what we're called to do. Yet, since you are siding with those against Light, then what you actually believe is WHEN He does, not IF.

I don't think Light is denying biblical directions on being a husband or wife. I think what she is trying to point out is that God does not have a one size fits all plan for everyone, which seems to be the beliefs of the majority commenting here.

If it is one size fits all for women, then we need to make all single women who have careers in nursing, education, etc, to give up their gifts and sit at home and wait for a "godly" man to sweep them off their feet. If God has one plan for all women, then we need to take the married women with no kids, but who are working, and tell them to turn in their resignations so they can sit at home and wait for God to send them a man to follow. And, if you are a married woman with kids, and working outside the home (these are the most evil) then we should stone them, that is, if there is one among you who can cast the first stone.

Sounds ridiculous, but when it comes down to it, this is what those of you opposing Light are essentially saying.

Thanks, Bill K, that's exactly the point I'm trying to get across. The mindset here seems to be that men can have any number of callings, husband/father plus doctor, lawyer, indian chief, pastor, engineer, yada yada yada, but that women have but a single universal calling, and that is wife/mother. There seems to be the idea that women are so vastly vastly different from men - and apparently interchangeable from each other, if they all have just one calling by design - that the only life they are suitably designed for is homemaker. Homemaker is a noble calling; anyone who says I spurn homemaking is a liar. In Genesis God commands both man and woman to rule and subdue the earth. Same command. Funny how some folks then prune that command back sharply and limit women's sphere of dominion.

In a Christian marriage, both parties are required to love, support and respect each other - and that includes helping the other person to fulfill his/her calling, whatever that may be.

Dear Bill,

After watching you for quite some time, I'm afraid that I'm coming to the conclusion that you have a most regrettable affinity for misunderstanding others' arguments--in this case, the arguments both of those opposing Mrs. Light Morton and those of Mrs. Morton herself.

May I suggest you take a printout of the posts and comments on this blog that you refer to above, including your latest comment, and ask Mrs. Andrew Dionne to explain to you what Mrs. Morton is really saying? I think a woman's perspective on this would help you immensely.

Then, if you need help understanding this comment I myself have written, would you please talk with your pastor or brother about it? I'd be grateful.

This would, I'm convinced, benefit your soul and the souls of others much more than further comments here, at least at this time.

Your brother in Christ,

Tim Bayly

Only a brief comment to point out that nobody is endorsing having women "sit at home"! Scripture says that we are to be workers at home. This is not a life of ease and sitting around with our feet up all day eating bon bons. Rather, it is the work we are suited to. It is rewarding, it is helpful to our husbands. What about younger women? If older women are to teach younger to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, submitting to their own husbands, the certainly younger women have a responsibility to receive this teaching and practice - even, dare I say it, prior to marriage!

I'm speechless. As you wish.

Dear Bill,

Not "speechless," but rather "waiting a moment for clarification from a sister in Christ before continuing the discussion" is how I'd prefer to put it.

Your brother in Christ,

Tim

Dear Bill,

A quick clarification, please. When I said "if that is what we are called to do", I was simply trying to make the point that I am not always called to give up my desires. But IF the desire is in direct conflict with that of my husband (and not necessarily when, since we do desire many of the same things), then I am called to submit to him. But, you are correct that it is also a matter of when I am called to submit, since it has already happened and will continue to happen throughout our marriage.

I just wanted to try to make sure that my explanation was clear, even if my grammar wasn't!

"Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him" (Prov. 29:20).

OK, so- I spoke too soon. I'm sorry, Light, for implying that there's not a place here for you. Clearly, this isn't my blog space or my turf- and even if it were, honest dialogue and respectful debate is welcome there also. So, I'm sorry for speaking so hastily- Solomon indicated there's more hope for a fool than me. What a zinger!

Anyway, I guess I don't understand why anyone would keep coming to read the blog of someone they consistently disagree with. For example, I used to read Anna Quindlen's articles at the back of Newsweek (when I had a subscription to the magazine.) I read it because it was there. Because I came across it and it was in my face. But here, you have to seek this out. I only take time on the internet to read news or things that encourage and exhort me, not things that are written by people that I consistently and constantly disagree with. Can anyone who does this explain why you do and what you get out of it? (Really, I'm just honestly curious.)

"There seems to be the idea that women are so vastly vastly different from men - and apparently interchangeable from each other, if they all have just one calling by design - that the only life they are suitably designed for is homemaker."

Light,

Wow. Just WOW. Homemakers are "interchangeable"? That's *your* assumption, and it speaks volumes. Nobody else has said or implied anything of the sort. In fact, the home is the haven of a family's uniqueness in a world of ever-increasing economically mandated uniformity. Any two homemakers are far more different than any two lawyers or engineers. My child doesn't talk yet, but I'm pretty sure she would disagree that I'm interchangeable. In fact, it's the mentality that encourages mothers to go out and work that regards them as interchangeable - with low-paid daycare workers, that is. I admit I have been in homes that would seem interchangeable - the homes of harried two-income families who have no time to make it their own. The houses of accomplished homemakers I know are as unique as snowflakes - even when the two homemakers are mother and daughter living across the street from each other.

Your attitude toward vocational fulfillment seems, frankly, childish. The purpose of work is not our own intellectual stimulation and personal development. Those are nice side-effects. Several of the vocations you name are consequences of God's curse on Adam (there were no illnesses or legal disputes in Eden), and although they are noble and interesting, anyone who pursues them for the sake of his own fulfillment is a fool or worse. And the reality of social existence is that the vast majority of men throughout history haven't had the choice. They did whatever form of subsistence work was typical in their time, place, or family line. And they were not diminished as men by that fact, nor did their wives regard them as "interchangeable" with all the other farmers or fishermen.

In our own society, the gray-walled cubicles of corporate America have been steadily filled with generations of girls who grew up being told they can be "anything! a doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, engineer - absolutely anything you dream of, honey!" only to find out that the world needs a lot more people to run MS Excel than it does people to rule Indian tribes. This increase in the labor supply was consciously engineered by the cultural and economic powers that be in order to increase competition for jobs, hold wages down, and deprive wives who would prefer not to work of the economic ability to do so by undermining the earning power of their husbands. The objections you apparently think are based on some deep intuitions about human value, or something, are really reflections of how deeply you have integrated the social programming of your generation. Sad to say.

Extraordinarily well said, Elizabeth!

I watch in incredible sadness as the young ladies where I work get larger and larger with pregnancy, then take 3-6 weeks off for the birth, and then return to look at a picture on a desk...while their little one is now in the hands of a stranger in some sort of daycare arrangement. And they think they are "growing" and "using their gifts" and "making the most of their lives." It grieves me that they are so deluded.

But...one of the only ways to get fired from the job that I do is, as a man, to challenge a woman on her decision to work.... As such, we can't even have a discussion about the situation. And I grieve both for them and for their children....

Charley

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