PLEASE NOTE: This post is an extremely important post. However the thoughts are on it are expressed a little haphazardly just now. So please do just bear with me until I manage to neaten them all into some coherent shape!
I believe that this whole blog is extremely important because it tries to deconstruct the concepts of relationships or marriage, to examine assumptions etc. Almost 9 years after starting to type out these ideas, I am still a single woman who still sincerely wants to get married.
Here is the thing: you might completely disagree with my conclusions. However I believe that it is extremely worthwhile to deconstruct assumptions about marriage and relationships anyway, even if you were to come to completely different conclusions from me.
The big question that I asked myself when I started writing this blog is as follows:
What can I do before marriage to maximise my chances of marital success?
One of my deepest held beliefs is that the time before marriage is the strongest time to make decisions about marriage because once you are in the marriage, you are effectively stuck fast! For you can’t necessarily make any deep fundamental decisions about a marriage from within marriage. For instance, you can’t easily rethink your choice of spouse without exiting that marriage!
I am a thoroughly born-again, thoroughly Bible-believing Christian so I believe that:
*Marriages are for life
*Divorce is not an option I want to consider for my own life and my own marriage
*Even if I were to get divorced, remarriage is not an option
I believe that as Christians we need to be gracious towards our own selves and one another regarding relationship issues where things have not worked out as we might have hoped and where people have made different choices from what we would expect or the choices that we would make in similar situations, (or the choices that we think we would make!) And yet these above are the commitments I want to make for my own life. So for me, I need to get it right first time. Furthermore, I don’t want a marriage that merely avoids divorce! But rather one that is a true, growing partnership of two individuals who are lovingly committed to one another. (I would have said “stupendously, outstandingly gorgeous, beautiful,” but then I thought that that might intimidate any potential hubby that might be reading this! Candidly speaking, if a man is easily intimidated like this then he is definitely not my husband!!! So then, yes, “stupendously, outstandingly gorgeous, beautiful”, but without making any pretensions to “perfection”, and definitely not a marriage where we are so obsessed with trying to keep everything looking or feeling perfect that we are too scared to argue with one another…) So I want to take all the time I need before marriage to make sure I’ve done all I can to set myself up for that amazing success.
You know, some people apparently believe that it is not possible to be both “feminist” and Christian at the same time. I could not disagree more. When I say I am “feminist”, I don’t mean that I believe that women should go around being rude to men, or treating them with disrespect. I am not suggesting that women need to get rid of men from the human race. Men are human beings and are to be treated with respect, as women are. Moreover, the Bible teaches that God has given men the position of leadership in their marriages. What my “feminism” does mean is that I believe that women should also be treated with respect – it is not one or the other! People pay lip-service to this but in my very extensive experience in the church I have experienced lots of disrespect on account of my gender. Moreover I believe that women can know God just as deeply as men can, and walk phenomenally in His power. In fact, as a woman, I do not compare myself to standards set by anyone, male or female, except Jesus – and I only compare myself to Jesus with the totally Biblical determination to surpass His works (as He Himself promised in the Bible: John 14v12)
I believe that women are created fully in the image of God, which simply means that women are fully human, created with a full complement of human worth, intelligence and potential. I do not believe that I am worth less than a man. I do not believe that my time is inherently worth less than his except in the fact that he can physically accomplish more than I can do in the same amount of time. I know that I am way more fearless than most men I have come across! I will concede that men are generally stronger and bigger physically than women, that I will concede but that is the only concession I will make to “male superiority”! (On the flip side, in my experience women tend to be better at giving birth to babies, which in the grand scheme of things I would argue is more fundamental for the survival of the human race than sheer size or strength! As that saying goes, augmented a little by myself: “The best of men is at best a man…, but the least of women…is at least a woman!!!”* ) I believe that all this potential that God created in women is not for decoration, but is to be explored and expressed to its utmost. I don’t even have time to sit and argue with people who disagree with me. There are just too many things I want to achieve to waste time arguing. Candidly speaking, as a woman, I am not merely the most ambitious woman I have ever met. Rather, I am the most ambitious person I know or have ever met (or heard of) full stop. By whole orders of magnitude. Needless to say, my ambition vastly exceeds the levels of ambition that people politely or subtly suggest that as a woman I am “allowed” to have. Yawn. I generally ignore the limitations that other people try to impose on me. For instance, the idea that marriage is my biggest aspiration in life. Actually, marriage probably is my biggest aspiration in life, after an incredibly deep pursuit and understanding of God. However in my life, my immense dreams of marriage are only the biggest of a dozen tremendous aspirations.
I would be quite intrigued to find a man who is (truly) as ambitious as I am, and all the more so if he happens to be attractive and single. It goes without saying that for him to be truly ambitious in a way that compares to me he would need to be a Christian, because my ambition exceeds things that are rationally possible and extends into the miraculous, things that would only be possible for someone walking very, very deeply in the power of a very, very powerful God. And if a man was truly as ambitious as I am, then I take it for granted that he would know what I am talking about, and he would understand where I am coming from. He would just get it, you know?! (By the way, I can only conclude that most people who call themselves Christians are not really in relationship with the God of the Bible. Rather if they do have a relationship with “God”, it is with a concept, or a weak, man-made theory of “God” rather than with the true living God. Otherwise more of them would be more ambitious, like me, and I would not find it so hard to find a suitable husband. Jus’ sayin’!!!)
And yet with all my ambition in so many ways I am also quite happily lazy. What can I say – I’m a contradiction!!! And I would also quite like that in a future husband too – to be lazy in all the right ways!
The radical assertion of this blog, which really should not be that radical, is that while, yes I dream of an outstanding marriage, still from my experience of the human race in general and countless supposed “Christians” in particular, I unapologetically assert that singleness is overwhelmingly the best choice for an ambitious female woman, unless her husband is going to genuinely be outstanding. I mean, stupendously outstanding, like Jesus. I have very, very strict standards about what it means to be outstanding. Like ridiculously strict. I am totally totally Christian, totally feminist in obedience to the Bible and totally romantic. As a feminist, candidly, I resent having to submit to my husband for the rest of our lives. However as a Christian God’s word overwhelmingly comes first in my life, before which everything else must bow, including my feminism as necessary. Frankly, if the man in question was truly submitted to the word of God, like Jesus, then submission to him would not be so difficult, as I could genuinely trust that, like Jesus, he sincerely had my best interests at heart. So in all candour, the most feminist thing I can suggest is to marry a man who is genuinely pursuing the heart of Christ. Not merely paying lip service to this, like *so many* countless Christians and even pastors, but genuinely living this out. Really.
None of all this is to suggest that I am perfect. As much as I strive after utter excellence in God I hope I am also very candid on this blog about my own character failings such as with humility (!) and my ongoing battle with sexual purity, specifically reading very unholy erotica, two deep-seated struggles which I hope to finally leave behind once and for all in this year, 2019! I am such a reader and writer that everything I do is expressed in reading and writing! Even when I sin that is often also expressed in reading and writing! I hope I totally understand that Mr Amazingly-Like-Jesus will not be perfect either, but will also be desperately flawed, sometimes in surprising ways – but in that, striving aways to overcome his sins and weaknessnes, to truly be like Jesus.
Who is this blog for? If I am to be perfectly candid, this blog is overwhelmingly for myself. I myself am probably the biggest consumer of the thoughts on this blog. Then secondly it is for women who are like me: Very ambitious, who want to excel in life, and don’t want to have to take nonsense from anyone. Women who want to have truly outstanding marriages. Women who do not want to spend their life “keeping up appearances” about their marriage, or pretending for everyone else’s benefit that their marriages or lives in general are “perfect”. But who instead want marriages that are genuinely full of love, tenderness, fantastic communication, and perhaps a full quotient of red-hot passion too! (That sub-blog may or may not be coming later!!!) Woman who are fed up of fakeness and fakery and insincerity, and meaningless “Christianese” and just want it said as it is, whatever “it” may be. Women who want to obey the Bible in submitting to their husbands, but who will insist, like I have, like I continue to do, on finding husbands who are truly worth submitting to in the first place.
When to read this blog?
This is a big complication! Because I believe that the thoughts on this blog give a genuine and realistic way of thinking about marriage, and finding a spouse, I believe that this blog, and the ideas within it, should be considered when as a woman you are completely single, before you have committed yourself to a husband or a relationship in any way.
However, the complication is this: this does not correspond to the way many relationships work. I hope it is not too much of a generalisation to say that many young people meet, fall in love, and proceed to get married without considering any of these issues, or even understanding why they need to be considered, and it is only if things fall apart that they might then sit down and analyse what went wrong.
You know what? Perhaps for those ladies who find themselves married before realising the need to ask big questions we will just have to pray that God would reach them another way. So this blog then, is for those ladies who are thinking things through, asking themselves big questions, challenging any of their innate assumptions. Because I am doing all those things myself. I do not by any means have all the answers, otherwise I would just say what I think they are! Rather I too am seeking , considering, reconsidering in real time.
*Sorry to insert this thought, but it occurred to me that if women were as physically powerful as men, then by now we would probably have eliminated men from the human race because we just don’t need them for day to day survival in the same way that they might need us. That is, in terms of procreation and reproduction I have heard of artificial insemination but I have yet to hear of any successful artificial wombs – so it would be much harder I imagine for a race of men to consistently replicate the sophistication of human wombs than for a race of women to consistently inseminate themselves artificially to keep the race going. I hope it would be fair to say that I would be one of the possibly rare voices arguing for the ongoing preservation of male human life because I am such a big believer in the dignity of all human beings. So I hope you can all be grateful to me on that count, guys!!!
And that might well be the reason why God made men stronger than women, and males in nature stronger than their equivalent females! And the fact that men physically need women to perpetuate the human race might also be why, for all men’s superior physical strength and the immense levels of sexism, domestic violence and gender-based violence that women encounter in the world, women in general have definitely not been eliminated, and there are still far more women in the world than men!