Why Am I Not Married?

July 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm (Recommended reading) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Recently we posted a link to the “No Girl Left Behind” website.  A satirical solution to the “marriage crisis” (which, incidentally, we’ve not witnessed.)  Of course, the answer to the question “Why am I not married?” is not always, “Because you aren’t ready.”  It can also be, simply, the Lord has something else for you to do right now.  But if you’re single and don’t want to be, it may be helpful to consider what “accomplishments” make a women truly marriageable.  In response to the “No Girl Left Behind” website, the Botkin sisters have answered with a few thoughts for those who may be feeling panicked regarding marriage–or simply want to know what an “accomplished” woman should cultivate–and we think their thoughts are worth considering.

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The Trouble with Edward

November 25, 2009 at 7:11 pm (Articles, Attitudes, Godly Living) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

Lauren and I don’t really stay up on trends for several reasons. One is that we simply don’t care, for the most part. The other is that we simply don’t have time, energy, emotion or money to pursue them. But the Twilight trend definitely caught our attention—from the posters in Wal-mart, to the constant advertisements, to the books lying on the coffee-table of the house I clean—we simply haven’t been able to avoid it. In fact, it’s been difficult for me, at least, to resist the luring tug to at least find out more about this sensation and understand exactly what has “bitten” the women of our world. I’ll confess that I picked up and paged through the books as I dusted, and even looked up the story-line on Wikipedia. “What is it,” I wanted to know, “that is so compelling about this unoriginal story?”

This past weekend we were together at my aunt’s house, trying to talk over the TV, when something caught our attention: two women coming out of the “New Moon” premiere. While her friend stood there weeping, one woman shouted, “I would leave my husband for Edward!” Anyone else hear that? For a fictitious character, she would leave her husband. Does that make you get warm fuzzies or what?

This morning when I turned on my computer (for the first time in a week—it’s been nice), I discovered two excellent articles exploring the root issues in the Twilight craze. It’s so nice to know others see the same ominous danger lurking behind Prince Charming’s “perfect” face. Jasmine at Joyfully Home and the Botkin sisters at Visionary Daughters, both share some excellent insights that go beyond the issue of vampires and trading your soul for love.

As Lauren and I read these articles, recalled our own brushes with the “bitten” and discussed the raging controversy, we began to realize that the trouble with Edward isn’t that he’s a vampire. It isn’t even that he doesn’t exist. But the fact that he doesn’t exist points us to the real issue—the trouble with Edward isn’t Edward. It’s us.

Should Edward leave his fictitious realm and woo that woman I saw on TV from her husband, the day would come when she would discover that even perfection leaves her wanting. When she’s having a bad hair day, she’d snarkily respond “Quit staring at me!” and someday she’d want some personal space—“Seriously? You watch me 24/7. Why don’t you ever go do something else?” She’d quickly tire of his protection and provision and begin complaining about how “smothering” he is. If Edward were her husband, she’d soon be ready to leave him for some fictitious character.

How do I know this? Because I’ve seen it. And I’ve done it. Ladies, how often do we leave our perfect Betrothed Bridegroom to pursue some fictitious hero? We spend hours curled up watching a chick-flick, only to go to bed and replay every sensitive word and intonation. But we still are not content. We complain that there is not enough of him—the story ends too soon. Eventually, we pass on to the next fictional character. First it was Prince Charming, then it was Mr. Darcy, now it’s Edward. It’s nothing new. While our Perfect Bridegroom stands forsaken, we pursue cardboard cutouts. Oh, we can shudder at the woman who declares “I’d leave my husband for Edward” but we do the same thing. Is Jesus just not good enough? The problem is not with Jesus—it’s with us.

We devour books like Twilight, complete with the ever-perfect Edward, and we get our Jane Austen fix, or come home with our arms full of Beverly Lewis books or Cinderella stories. Or we scour the internet for true (though slightly idealized) courtship stories. Why? Because we want to escape a life we think is dull. Because we want to imagine the next thing—that will be better than this present thing. We’re bored and we think that being with someone perfect would solve our boredom. We sigh, thinking how happy we could be. Or will be. Or wish we were.

It’s a big, fat, slobbering deception. Why? Because we have Someone perfect. Are we content? He watches us 24/7, but we push Him out of the way. He is jealous of us, but we want to be free to pursue other lovers. He offers us counsel and protection, but we aren’t listening—we have our golden oldie love songs turned up. We flee His presence, forever seeking empty emotional escapes. Sure He’s perfect, but He’s boring.

Being with someone perfect only reveals our own imperfections: we are human, and we are discontented, irritable, irrational, easily distracted, selfish, rude, rebellious, ungrateful, unloving, unholy and bored with divinity.

That’s our attitude toward the perfect Lover.

Why do we think it would be any different with anyone else?

The problem for that woman isn’t her husband. The problem for us isn’t the men in our lives (or the lack of them). The problem certainly isn’t Jesus. And no matter how much we wish we could blame it on fictitious characters, the problem isn’t fiction. Romantic books and movies don’t cause our discontentment and selfishness–our obsession with them is because they appeal to our discontent and selfishness. Our obsession with Edward–or anyone else–is really an obsession with ourselves. The trouble with Edward isn’t Edward. It’s us.

When I mention “courtship stories”, I am in no way attacking those who have shared the way they have come together as one in the Lord. Nor am I suggesting that all details should be made public. A good story includes only those details which further the story’s conclusion. However, each reader should recognize that this literary fact leaves even “true” stories idealized. And we should be aware of our intentions and hearts if we are constantly on the hunt for another courtship story. Are we just looking for another “pure” love story, with which we can get emotionally involved and live vicariously through? Are we measuring the events in our lives to see if they have the “potential” to be a “beautiful courtship story”? When pouring over “love stories” of any kind the temptation is to lose sight of our divine love story and let our hearts run ahead of us with “romanticized” and “idealized” perceptions of men, circumstances and perfection. If we are truly enthralled with hearing “what God hath wrought” we should be at least as eager to pore over the Acts of the Apostles and to hear our brothers’ and sisters’ Christian testimonies and read of gospel breakthroughs in other countries, and we should certainly be delighted with the gospel—the divine wooing of Jesus Christ.

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