By Jasmine Baucham
I’ve been given the gift of over-analysis, and, over the years, it’s been seasoned with a healthy dose of self-deprecation and a side of cynicism. I could just see how answering that question honestly in a room full of married women would be:
Me: “My name is Jasmine. I’m twenty-three years old. I’m an English major, and I love teaching humanities. And one of my life goals is to be married to a godly man and raise a beautiful family.”
“Oh, honey bunny! Keep your head up! There’s still plenty of time!”
“Dear heart, isn’t that the sweetest thing? It’ll come when you least expect it!”
“Sugar plum, don’t despair! Lots of girls get married at your age!”
“Baby doll, I know a guy. If you can get past the sixth toe, the lazy eye, and the bird’s nest on his head, you’ll see he’s really sweet.”
Okay, so, maybe not that last one, but you get the picture.
And just to further seal the deal against me putting down that life goal, another single woman stood up and named it as hers, and, I kid you not, at least eight other women descended on her to tell her not to despair.
She hadn’t spoken of despair. Nay, suicidal thoughts never entered the conversation. But these women knew what I know: waiting for any heart’s desire is difficult, especially one where the Lord has made it so abundantly clear that he holds the reigns.
So when my turn came, I smiled and said, “My name is Jasmine. I’m twenty-three years old. I was an English major, and I love teaching humanities. And one of my life goals is to have a Great Dane named Atticus.”
Contrary to popular cultural dogma, desiring marriage is not a bad thing. It’s not something to be ashamed of, and it’s not something to bury beneath career goals. Woman was created to be a helper suitable, to come aid man in his work (Genesis 2:18).
What could be more beautiful? The Lord fashioned man to have dominion over his good and perfect creation, and fashioned woman to come alongside him in that glorious calling. And, not only was woman fashioned as a helper, but, also, in the union of marriage, we are given an unquestionably clear picture of Christ’s relationship with his Bride, the Church.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).
It can be easy, reading verses like these, for some single women who have a desire for marriage to feel as if they’re sitting on a shelf, waiting for fulfillment to come. When will I get to be loved and sacrificed for? When will I get to help a godly man in his life’s mission? When will I get to raise a godly heritage for the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)?
That God-given desire becomes a sinful desire when we subtract the Lord’s providential wisdom for the equation and give in to despair and desperation.
Here’s the thing about our desires, though: they have all been met in Christ.
In Christ, the very purpose for which all of humanity is made (to glorify him and enjoy him forever) is met. In Christ, we are cherished beyond measure. In Christ, we are given a life mission of service and joyful submission to his will. In Christ, we are given opportunities to proclaim the Good News that’s the stuff of godly heritages!
A desire for marriage is good and healthy, insofar as it does not become idolatry.
One of our biggest struggles in life, whether married or single, is to find true satisfaction in the Lord and the calling that he has placed on us. It can be really easy for single women to get the message, from our own insecurities and from the pitying glances of the married women around us, that we shouldn’t be fully satisfied until we’ve been given the gift of matrimony… or that if we want to be married and aren’t, we are to be most pitied among women. But while matrimony is a precious gift and a blessed state, the sweetest joys in marriage are mere shadows of the eternal joy we will have with Christ!
They are delectable shadows, I’m sure. I’m all about those shadows. Yet the desires we have need to be kept in proper perspective: I would love to be married someday (or, perhaps, in another sister’s case, right this minute), but because I love the Lord and trust that his eternal purposes in my life will be met whatever my state, it is by his grace and for his glory that I remain as I am for as long as he wills. Even if that’s always.
So, why didn’t I just answer the question honestly?
I think a whole post could be written on the dumb things that people in the church say to single women. In fact, I know that articles like that have been written, and I’ve read them with tears of hilarity streaming down my face, because they’re so true!
But I want to address something else in this section: perhaps when I am single ten years from now, I will be less of a good sport, but what does it cost me to look past the unfortunate wording of a sign of love from a brother or sister in Christ, to see a heart full of care for me, and to either thank them for the kind notion, or to lovingly correct their misconceptions?
I’ll tell you what it takes. It takes swallowing my pride. And that’s a tough one.
But if there’s any bootcamp for preparing to become a godly wife, it’s one that involves pride mortification. And if there’s any way to be utterly mortified, it’s to mention a desire for marriage in a room full of happily married women who just want what’s best for you.
Backtrack to my life goal.
Ultimately, my life’s goal is to glorify the Lord and enjoy him forever.
Subsequently, I would like to…
And, be married to a godly man and raise godly children to the forsaking of all of the above goals except for that ultimate one if necessary. And I say I want to be married not because I’m on a man-hunt complete with tranquilizer darts and tags, or because I cry myself to sleep every night waiting for him to come, but because I know the desire for marriage, in its proper place, is a good and healthy one, and one that I hope to model for the women around me.
I can take the, “Oh, sweeties!” And you may introduce me to middle-aged cousin Earl whose singleness you swear has nothing to do with his unpleasant qualities and everything to do with the fact that he’s just too good for the women he’s been seeing. And I will swallow my pride and smile and say, “Thank you. Sometimes the wait is hard, but, for the most part, it’s a joyful one. And even if the wait is endless, the Lord loves me no less, and my purpose on earth is no less fulfilled.”
Or, maybe just the smile.
Jasmine is the oldest of Voddie and Bridget Baucham’s eight children. She is a homeschool graduate, holds a BA in English Literature, and is currently pursuing an Master of Arts in Religion. Jasmine currently serves as a sixth grade teacher at a classical/university model school in Houston. She is the author of Joyfully at Home, and loves living at home where she continues to learn from her mother, enjoy her siblings, assist her father and others in research, and will begin studying at Reformed Theological Seminary this summer.
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