Tuesday, August 27, 2013

True Love Doesn't Wait: The Marriage Crisis, Courtship and a Generation of Frustrated Godly Youth

Earlier today my Mom read this article to me from Facebook and then later someone anonymously left the web address in response to my last blog post. It's a very interesting article. I agree with a lot of it, but it still leaves some questions in my mind. So, I'm looking for some discussion. And it would be really nice if I could get some mixed discussion, i.e. both guys and gals. If you don't want me to know who you are then leave an anonymous comment, but at least give yourself a codename like Chipmunk or Paintbrush so I can at least have a mental picture of you rather than this empty cyberspace person.......*insert alien music*

Let me know what you think!


Peter B. said...

My initial thoughts:

I think Mr. Ohlman makes a good point, although he lacks some tact in saying it. The point I think is good is that marriage is for sanctification, not the end of it. I still think there should be a degree of Christian maturity on the part of the couple being married, but the answer is not primarily "wait to be married," but to mature faster.

(That said, this article shows a weakness of online articles. What might be a problem in some places might not be a problem in others.) My theory is that one of the major obstacles for conservative homeschoolers (among others) to get married is the lack of community and the lack of stable, healthy community.

Also, I'll point out that Mr. Ohlman is a father and the Botkin sisters are daughters. It is easier for a father to say fathers are the problem and for daughters to say daughters are the problem.


The Babiak Family said...

Thank you Peter. You pointed out some things that I had not thought of. I can definitely see the lack of stable, healthy community being a problem. It seems like that is one of the main things that separates our generation from past century's. The question is, how do we fix that? It's very hard to embrace good community when you are so used to the segregated, almost legalistic side of things. :-)

I really liked your point about maturity. You are so right! When I read about the men and women of old, I see people who were very mature at very young ages which is why they married so young.

And your last sentence was profoundly true. I had not thought of that fact before. :-)
Thank you so much for your input!
God Bless,

Daughter of Eve said...

Hm. This is a very interesting conversation, and I'm glad to see people are having it. =)

I agree with the majority of what the author says. While I don't really live in the "courtship" culture, I still see it permeating a lot of thinking, especially young people's. And I think it's a problem. He makes good points.
Similar thoughts came to me last year when I heard a mother talking about her daughter's early marriage, and her feelings about it. K started dating her now-husband when she was sixteen, and they were married when she was nineteen, I believe. This mother said she was wary at first of allowing K to marry so young, when her husband was just out of school and she was still studying. But she said she realized that early marriage, instead of keeping people single until they grow up, allows couples to grow up together, as one, living and learning and loving. And I thought that was a wonderful point - maybe it isn't so bad to mature together.

Another thought, though. I was recently reading the Scriptures, and I came across 1 Cor 7. There, Paul seems to argue that being unmarried is not a bad thing, but is actually more desirable, if one has the self-control required. He says in verse 7, "I wish that all were as I myself am (i.e., single)." Then in verse 27, he says, " Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife." Later on, he writes, "The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband."
Basically, single individuals can focus more solely on God. Marriage divides your attention. Now don't get me wrong, marriage is obviously a beautiful and wonderful thing. And I want very much to be married and raise my own children. But I think Christians, especially conservative homeschoolers, have lost sight of this and are so focused on marriage as a kind of end goal that they forget that God really is the end, and sometimes young people can serve God with more abandon when they are unmarried.

Okay, I am really sorry that was so long. It's late at night, and I'm probably rambling far more than I should. =) Basically, I liked what the author said, but I think he too fell into the trap of thinking all Christians must marry. The Scriptures seem to say something different, though, and I think it's important to keep that in mind.


Tara Janelle said...

There's a lot I could say about this article, but I think I'll just keep it to this one thought:

Where does this article leave us as young ladies? Other than trying to figure out where we stand on the courtship/betrothal/marriage issue, this article doesn't change anything for us, other than make us impatient to get married. Which is not a good thing, or a healthy thing. In the end, we still need to be preparing ourselves, maturing, and growing into godly young women.... basically, everything that the Botkin's talked about in their article. :)

The Babiak Family said...

Thanks Rebekah! I think our family would agree with what that mother said about maturing together. I remember listening to Little Bear Wheeler at a conference once and he said something to the effect of, "It would be great if the young man and woman were both completely and financially ready for marriage, but if we're honest, most of us married couples were not ready and struggling together in those early years is what made us stronger in our marriage."

Along the lines of singleness, I think it is important that we have our eyes and hearts set first and foremost on Christ. Some of us simply will not marry. God does not intend for everyone to marry and so while it is important to be preparing and have marriage as a possible goal in mind, I don't think that marriage should be our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal should be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. As singles, we do have more time and attention to focus on the Lord, but if He does in fact, someday call us to marriage I don't think we should purposely stay single simply because we could focus on Him better. If and when He brings that significant other into our lives, it is to help sanctify us and draw us closer to Him. But of course all that is being said from a person that is obviously very single. :-)

The Babiak Family said...

Tara, I agree with you there!!! Haha, that was one of the first things I said after reading the article. It is an interesting article and did lead to some very good family discussion in my home, but in all reality, we young ladies are still in the same spot....waiting. And while I think it is beneficial to discuss these things, I also think that we need to keep our focus on the Lord because otherwise it becomes very easy to be discontent. I actually did like much of the article the Botkin girls wrote and I do agree that we need to be educating ourselves and maturing in godliness. :-)

Daughter of Eve said...

Yes, I agree with what you said about singleness. I guess my point was, I feel like the way a lot of young women approach growing up is unhealthy. I've seen young women just continue living at home, helping around the house and maybe doing other things, but not pursuing a college degree because they think it will be "useless" and a "waste of money" in the long run, because they want to get married. Now, I do not at all think that's bad for everyone. But often, it seems like girls just assume that their lives are going to be marriage, so they set their hopes and dreams on that and do nothing much else until that comes (if it does). I just think that's a silly way to go about things.
Some girls will come out of high school and be moving towards marriage with a young man soon afterwards. Some girls will feel God calling them to remain at home, or to work at their church or in another ministry, and so on. But I feel like a lot of girls just don't give it much thought, and I don't like that. I, personally, have no prospects of marriage at the moment. There's no one I'm interested in, and no one (well, no one decent - random guys at school don't count) has shown an interest in me. So, I decided to continue with school. Right now, I'm moving toward a bachelor's degree, currently finishing up my associate's before transferring to a bigger school. If I meet a man and we want to marry, I might just get my associate's, or I will more likely finish my bachelor's degree while getting to know him, and then marry him when I'm done with school. But if I don't meet someone, I may continue on with a master's degree. I love learning, and I care deeply about the things I'm studying and pursuing. I would love to be a wife and a mother. But that isn't happening, so while I wait to see whether God has that in store for me or not, I'm doing other things and opening other doorways for my life. If I don't marry, I'd love to either be involved in politics or be a librarian (haha, I know, very different things). Right now I'm moving towards the career paths, and if God sends a man along, I will not feel like I've wasted my time. I'm learning so much, and I'll have a means to support my family someday if, for some reason, I need to.

So, I just feel like girls sometimes decide against college or any other movements forward, just because they think they're going to get married. But I think that's the wrong way to look at it. Getting a degree doesn't stop you from marrying, and it gives you more options if you don't marry. But so many people bank all their hopes on marriage, and then are disappointed when it doesn't come. I'd rather be productive and become independent, instead of sitting around the rest of my life waiting for a man who may never come.

I know this is a really personal decision, so I hope I don't offend anybody by saying all of this. These are just my thoughts and feelings - feel free to contradict me. =)

The Babiak Family said...

I totally understand what you are saying, but I do want to point out that not all young women who choose not to go to college, do so simply because they assume it would be "'useless'" and a 'waste of money' in the long run, because they want to get married." Yes there are some that do, but not all. My decision not to go to college was not based on wanting to get married. It was based on a lot a praying and simply seeking the Lord's will. I looked into CollegePlus and some other colleges, but in the end I really felt the Lord leading me to take online classes from Voice of the Martyrs, continue teaching piano, and serving in my family, church and community. I am still learning and finding ways to challenge myself so that I will continue to be more educated and I am far more busy now than I ever was before. I definitely don't think it's wrong for young women to go to college, if that is where the Lord is leading them. What I think is wrong is when young women (or anyone for that matter) make choices simply because of what someone told them or because of what everyone else is doing. We need to be seeking the Lord's will. For some of us that will be college, for some that will be staying at home, for some marriage, from some the mission field, etc. Every life is uniquely different because God designed us all differently.
I completely agree that we as young women should not be wasting away our lives hoping for a marriage that may or may not come. Personally, I really don't think that is what God wants either. When I look at Scripture I see many accounts of active, busy women, not lazy, daydreamy girls wishing for marriage. But like you said, it is a personal decision that we each make. And really that's how it should be; a personal decision between you and God. :-)

Peter B. said...

Some other things that came to mind:

"But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan." (1 Tim. 5:11-15)

"But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband." (1 Cor. 7:2)

"But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry." (1 Cor. 7:36)

It is interesting in the passages above that Paul simply says that the persons under consideration should marry, not "wait to be married and take the opportunity if it comes up."

It would have been easier if Paul had expanded on how that was to be accomplished. While they conform to the same basic biblical principles, I think we see a variety of ways in Scripture that this is done (ranging from Isaac and Rebekah to Song of Songs). 1 Corinthians 7:36 does makes mention of the father being involved.


The Babiak Family said...

That is interesting. Yeah, it would have been nice if Paul had explained that a little more. In all reality, I had an "opportunity," but I didn't feel that the Lord was leading me in that direction. God just gave me a peace that he was not the right young man. So I still think it depends on the situation.

Peter B. said...

Yes, if anything is clear in 1 Corinthians 7, it is that it depends on the situation.

Vaughn Ohlman said...

Wow, I had no idea this thread existed until our new site got a hit from it. Thanks for the share, and I appreciated the discussion (even the statement that I lack 'tact'. Not the first time that has been said to me :( ).

I believe that the Scriptures say a lot more about the 'how' to get married than we realize; but our problem is we don't like a lot of it.

Feel free to drop by our new site and ask us questions or interact in other ways, or ask me here. Hopefully I will get notified that the comments exist.