My corner of Facebook has been fixated on this article by NYCpastor entitled “10 Women Christian Men Should Not Marry.” Since I meet more than half of the criteria that supposedly makes me unworthy to catch a Christian man’s eye, I thought I would spend some time interacting with the material. Feel free to read his article before continuing. I will list his 10 deal breakers, but the words after are mine.
1) The Unbeliever.
Alright, so on this one quality, NYCpastor and I agree. I think people do best to marry someone from their same faith, and even more, to marry someone whose faith is of similar importance to them. My Christianity informs everything I do and hope for, and is therefore a huge part of my personality, motivation, and time. Marrying someone who doesn’t understand or share that passion is going to make for an increasingly disconnected relationship. So sure, marry someone of your same faith (or lack of faith). I think that’s wise.
2) The Divorcee.
As a counselor, I have seen female clients who experienced abuse in their marriages. Two of my friends work at a domestic violence counseling center, and the women they work with have suffered horrifically brutal lives at the hands of their husbands. This is Texas, so often those husbands claim to be Christians. I’m not a fan of NYCpastor’s ignoring the very real fact that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime. Writing divorced women off as inherently unappealing when they might be escaped survivors of intense trauma bothers me.
3) The Older Woman.
Haha, whoops. Here we get into personal territory. I almost always find myself attracted to younger men. This began way back in some public school health class when I learned that women live, on average, five years longer than men. My weirdly practical brain immediately decided that it would be advantageous to marry someone five years younger than me. It wouldn’t guarantee that we would die at the same time, but it certainly put the odds in our favor. Setting aside NYCpastor’s belief that men are to be the spiritual leaders of the home, this just doesn’t make sense. Leadership is inherently linked to age? Especially a difference in age of, most likely, less than ten years? I suppose this means businesses with young CEOs are doomed to fail. I’d like to think that leadership is founded on humility, intelligence, and passion–qualities that can be found in people of all ages.
4) The Feminist.
I expected this one, though NYCpastor’s, “There’s no room within Christendom for the ‘Christian feminist,'” immediately made my lips curl. As a Christian feminist who attends seminary, regularly participates in church, and tries to align my life with my faith, I….have to disagree. My gut reaction is to argue the post point by point, but instead I’m going to fight a smaller battle. Sure, if you’re a Christian man who wants to carry the weight of a marriage by yourself, don’t marry a female Christian feminist. On the other hand, as a Christian feminist, I’m definitely going to wait until I find a male Christian feminist who affirms my God-given talents and wants to share the responsibilities and rewards of relationship with me.
5) The Sexy-Dresser.
Oh man. Where to begin? The unsubtle slut-shaming? The complete ignorance of cultural pressures that tell women they are only as worthy as they are appealing to men? This smacks of all the modesty lessons I received growing up in church in which I subconsciously learned that I was responsible for men’s lust. Whatever I say will pale in comparison to my friend Michal’s blog post about just this topic, “Modesty and Rape Culture” so I suggest you check it out!
6) The Loud-Mouth.
Oh good, and now we’re on to stereotypes. Because women are gossips, didn’t you know? I’ll agree with NYCpastor’s advice not to marry someone who gossips and slanders, but why is this specifically mentioned about women? A quick jump to his post about types of men to avoid reveals that good Christian women are apparently allowed to marry male gossips. Or is the implied fact that such men are simply non-existent? I’m going to suggest “locker room talk” qualifies for gossip and slander, and is just as ubiquitous in male culture as “gossiping” is in female. All humans feel a compulsion to gossip. All humans are capable of not doing so. Find someone, of either sex, who is committed to speaking wisely and kindly.
7) The Child-Hater.
What an intense label, especially since he immediately clarifies, “This does not mean that the woman hates all children.” Well, then why not call it something else? This one is especially close to my heart for two reasons. First, I have dear friends in loving Christian marriages who have been unable to conceive for years. NYCpastor’s flippant statements about God expecting children out of a marriage reeks of self-absorbed unfeelingness. Second, I am completely confident in God’s ability to use people’s unique personalities and passions for his glory. So a couple doesn’t want to have children? I’m inclined to think God brought them together precisely because their childless marriage can provide opportunities for unique ministry opportunities. Children are, among other things, huge time commitments. A Christian couple with loads of time on their hands sounds like an awesome opportunity to me.
8) The Wander-Luster.
It’s almost as though this list is hitting each of my self-described adjectives listed below my blog title. NYCpastor says, “The constant desire for new experiences, new places, new faces, and new forms of entertainment only serves to clearly manifest the fact that the woman has not found her rest in God.” It’s almost as though he thinks change is inherently bad. And it completely ignores the fact that some travelers seek new places and new faces because they love seeing how God is working in other people’s lives around the world. Once again, this seems more like a matter of common sense. If you want to spend the rest of your life in one place, marry someone with a similar passion. If you want to make travel a significant part of your life, marry someone who values that too.
9) The Career Woman.
By this point in the list, I’m so near to just recording retching noises rather than forming intelligible thoughts. NYCpastor’s statement that “God made men to be the providers and women to be the nurturers of the home (in most instances)” ignores the fact that a work/home duality is a modern system only available to first world countries after the Industrial Revolution. It also ignores the fact that the first church in Europe (in Philippi) was founded in a career woman’s home (Acts 16:13-15), or that Jesus’s ministry was funded by women (Luke 8:2-3), or that Proverbs 31 praises women who work (v. 16-18). And what about men? I personally believe men are perfectly capable of being loving and nurturing to their children. Why the need to divide everyone into boxes all the time?
10) The Devotion-less Woman.
This is pretty much just a re-tread of point #1. And again, yes, I agree that people ought to marry people with similar faith commitment levels. But yikes, this is an intimidating litany of questions. Maybe I’m just feeling nit-picky at this point, but it would be nice to see some grace here. A person’s faith is deeper than a checklist of accomplished tasks and personal recommendations. Look beyond the rules to the relationship below. And maybe throw out the lists of how to choose good wives (or husbands) while you’re at it.
What was your response to reading the original blog post? Are my critiques ridiculous or thought-provoking? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.