This Problem of Unmarried Ladies
by: Deji Yesufu
I saw a picture on social media a few weeks ago that broke my heart. I could not even comment on the post because I was shocked beyond words. The only way I could deal with it was just to forget the scenario but it returned to my mind when I was thinking of how to introduce this essay. So a lady was pictured in a mega church, very likely one of these Pentecostal churches in a city in Nigeria. She is a single lady that wore a wedding gown to church “in faith”; hoping that God will bless her faith and grant her a husband. The person who took the picture was sitting adjacent to her and when he published it, he captioned it as a single lady in church looking for husband. I will not be able to address the impropriety of this lady’s action here and the problem with the presumption that many ignorantly call faith. I will just leave this here as an example of the “pandemic” of single ladies in our churches and the trouble that many parents and pastors are having at finding husbands for them.
Another scenario came to my attention via one of these short videos published online. This time it was not a church but a private gathering of friends, men and women, in a restaurant. This lady, and her boyfriend, had called acquaintances together to celebrate some accomplishment of theirs. Unknowing to the guy, the lady had other plans. While everyone was feasting and chatting away, she called the attention of their guests and went on her kneel to propose to her boyfriend. For reasons that I do not know, the young man respectfully rejected the proposal, which came with a ring, and walked out of the gathering. The lady was dumbfounded. Unlike the actions of the first lady in the church, I do not think that there is anything inappropriate about a lady proposing to a guy, although it is quite rare; I tell this second story, however, as an example of the so called pandemic of single ladies of marriageable ages in our society. I want to use this essay to suggest a solution to this problem. I do not think that my suggestion is one that will solve all the problem but I think it will create a healthy foundation for the problem to either be solved easily or for it to rest well on. Here are my thoughts.
First, there is nothing wrong with a lady seeking to have a husband. God made us humans to be social animals. We find fulfilment in relating with others and until a woman (and also a man) find the one God has eternally destined to be her companion, she will lack fulfilment in this area. Thus the most fundamental thing that a young woman must possess at heart will be to know God as a husband. God presents himself as a husband in many passages of scripture (Jer. 31:32; Ezek 16:8). The God-man, Jesus Christ, through whom we find redemption from sin, is the husband of the Church and the highest point of redemptive history will be the marriage supper of the Lamb when the Church will be presented as the Bride of Christ (Rev. 19:7). Indeed our whole quest through the Christian life is described as Christ preparing a bride for himself (Eph. 5: 24-27). It is therefore not incongruous to say that a young single woman should build a relationship with God where she has Christ as a husband.
The first step therefore into this relationship will be for the girl to be born again. Conversion will mean different things to different people. For the young woman, her conversion will be a wholehearted committing of her life to Christ. That Jesus Christ will become her life, her love and all of her fulfilment. That the young woman will find all of her satisfaction in Christ Jesus her Lord. This is a grace that God can grant a young woman if she truly asks the Lord for it. And this does not begin at the time when she reaches a “marriageable age”. No.
This whole process of becoming Christ’s bride should begin when the young woman is much younger and growing. If she grows up in a state of mind that Christ is her all, she will have a solid foundation to face whatever issues life might throw at her in the future. Knowing Jesus Christ at an early age, whether as a male or female, comes with a lot of blessing. For ladies it will be an added advantage when the issues of marriage arise. Those who meet the Lord at a latter age can still enjoy this grace – but just like other things in life, the earlier the better.
Second. Our young ladies must possess a healthy vision for their lives. Marriage is a good thing and marriage come with a lot of advantage but marriage is not everything. There are a lot of people who still go on to achieve a lot in life without ever getting married. It is an unhealthy perspective that is often taught in some churches and portrayed in our society that a lady is disadvantaged because she is not married. There is no greater lie than these. I even dare to say that it is a satanic lie. I have seen environments, sometimes in the office, where a married woman is given more regard and respect than an unmarried one – even though the latter is older and maybe more accomplished professionally. I have listened in to ladies talking among themselves and a young married woman demanding that an older unmarried woman pays her some respect because she is married. I have even heard of a lady demand that she deserves a place of honor in a family because she is the only one that has a male child in the larger family context. So much unhealthy prestige is tied to the matter of marriage that is sufficient to drive a single lady mad. Again, there is no greater lie than these.
To put this lie at bay, perhaps it is will be good to inform my unmarried ladies that many of them will never trade places with their married friends because the same unhealthy perspective that these people have of marriage is the reason for the overall bad marriages that we have in our society. In my estimation, no less than 90% of married people are fed up with their marriages. Most of the couples you see who put up smiling faces in church and walk hand in hand in the pew, are biting enemies in their homes. The posts they make on Facebook are just a façade to cover the deterioration in their homes. Most marriages are failed and the individuals in them are simply bearing which each other – most times because of the children. When you hear of what is going on in some marriages, you will thank God you are single. Yet, there are still good marriages and being married can be a good thing.
Therefore, I encourage you to develop a healthy perspective to life. Know that marriage is good but marriage is not everything. I will implore young ladies who are not married to commit themselves to doing whatever they are doing and do it well. If you are a young professional lady, by all means pursue at reaching the height of your career. Get degrees, buy a car, build a house; do not buy into the lie that a man will not approach you because you have a car. The truth of the matter is that if a man is insecure because of what you have and are, and cannot approach you; you should thank God for such a natural barrier God has placed you in to ward off such insecure fellows. He will not make for a good husband, even if you were to marry him without those accomplishments.
Possess a healthy vision to life. Work at your goals. Be committed in church and pursue to be a blessing to humanity. Most of the things we will receive in life will come to us in the place of duty. That means that rather than pursuing things, pursue healthy goals: things that glorify God and bless humanity, and the things others pursue will begin to pursue you. The moment marriage is demystified before your eyes, you will realize that there are greater goals in life and marriage will suddenly come at a time you are least expecting it.
Third. This recommendation, unfortunately, cannot be carried out by the lady herself because it is regarding the roles of fathers in their daughters’ life. My experience shows me that ladies that have loving and supporting father are able to handle the issue of their singleness better. In this vein, they are able to wait and then finally marry the right person, rather than just jump at whatever they find all in the name of their “getting on in age”. The picture that the Bible paints for us is that the father is a husband to his daughter (Num. 30:3-4). This is never meant in a sexual sense but in a supportive way. A father must be the young woman’s instructor in life. A father must live out Christ before his daughter and present God as the true Father to her early in life. A father must guard a daughter in such a way that the girl is secure in life. A daughter that knows that her father loves her will not be swayed by deceptive words of love from young men who might just want to take advantage of her. A father should oversee his daughter and in some ways even take the effort of finding a husband for her. Rather than the girl going out and proposing to a man, it is the father that should take the initiative of finding a responsible and godly man for his daughter and then take the steps at linking the two together.
I mention this third step because I have a daughter and I am not going to wait until she is in her thirties before I begin to trust God for a husband for her. For now, I am endeavoring to live out Christ before her. I trust God that my daughter comes to know the Lord Jesus Christ early and has a heart that hears the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. With this she will possess discernment in dealing with the issues of life. Subsequently I will be actively involved in every pursuit of her life and someday I will begin scouting for a young man for her. I will be happy to have her bring a man home but in case that delays, I have my job all cut out for me. If however my daughter is not married when she is 35 years old, this is what I will recommend to her:
I will ask my daughter, as I am also recommending to you, to adopt two or more children. Besides the quest for companionship that women seek in marriage, women also seek to express their God-given heart to nurture children. Our society is filled with young children that need homes and that need godly parenting. A young woman, who is accomplished professional wise, and still is not married can adopt children of her own and raise them up to bear her name. I have heard of a woman, who is in her seventies now, who was never married but raised two young women to be her daughters – both of them adopted. In her old age now, although an accomplished person in her own right, those children are the ones caring for her.
My counsel in this essay is not for people who are not Christians. If you are not a Christian and you are reading this essay, your problem is not a husband; you need to commit your life to the Lordship of Christ. But as a Christian, if you find yourself in the unenviable position of waiting for a husband – I appeal to you, keep waiting. While you wait, develop a solid relationship with Christ. The one who named himself the husband of the widow, can also be a husband to the single woman. Let Jesus Christ fill up all your desire for a man – and he will.
Secondly, develop a healthy perspective to life. Marriage in our clime is overrated. Marriage is a good thing but you cannot shut down your life because you are not married. Most times as you go about your business, marriage will simply come when you least expect it. Do not make marriage such a big deal that you allow your desperation lead you into the hands of the wrong person. In such a case you will have to live with a lifetime of heart ache and regret.
Lastly, young ladies, please do not wear wedding gowns to church in the name of seeking for a husband to marry in faith. Such churches who teach such presumption in the name of faith will receive their judgment from God. Pastors should realize that many ladies who are not married and who do not have godly fathers, will be looking to them as a healthy substitute. We must not disappoint our girls. Teach them the word of God. Teach them Christ. Tell them that many godly people in the Bible waited before they received their blessings from God. And there is a sense in it that God still reserves the best for the last.
Dear single woman, there is nothing wrong with you. Know Jesus Christ, wait for him and he will grant you the desires of your heart.