“So, something happened,” my text to Kristina started out as I sat on my bed in the lotus position, listening to Bethel Music and crunching on almonds. “Boyfriend asked me how I like my apartment building and when I told him I love it, he then said, ‘Maybe we can look into the two-bedroom apartments there if we get married.'” She replied with an emoji seizure.
When I was with my last boyfriend who lived all the way in Russia, marriage was an ongoing conversation. “If this is going to work out, one of us has to move to a new country and I wouldn’t do that without marriage,” was how he put it; the limits placed on us by distance rushed it. When I explained it to my friend, Lisa, I told her that I didn’t think I was ready to get married, “A part of me doesn’t want to get married until my late twenties or maybe even early-thirties. I really enjoy singleness.”
Now that New Boyfriend has brought up the M-word, a lot of my old worries have started to resurface. I’ve been telling friends my images of him reorganizing my bookshelves to accommodate his library and his clothes lying on the floor all over the apartment. Of course, with each of these fears, they had quick and wise solutions. I could hear how petty and insignificant my fears sounded but to my ears, they were better than the truth.
So much of biblical literature reveres and jubilates women who are good wives and homemakers:
“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.'” Proverbs 31:28-29 NIV
“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” 1 Peter 3:3-6 ESV
“He who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22 NLT
“I’m not sure I’m ready to be married,” sounds so counter to what we’re taught by the conservative church about biblical womanhood.
It seems that friends and classmates are getting engaged or married left and right. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I have friends who are doing neither of those things yet intensely wish they were, coveting what our peers have. I’m in none of those groups; I’m not married or engaged to be married, nor am I coveting the experience. I’m content and fulfilled with the gift of singleness that the Lord has blessed me with.
I no longer feel like I’m less of a biblical woman for saying I’m not ready to be married because the truth is that I’m not ready to be a wife.
Marriage is something that was created by God for a particular purpose:
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:22-33
So many Christians approach marriage the way the world approaches it: we want to get married because we think we’ll no longer feel lonely or that it’ll make us look like we have it together. Like the world, so many of us idolize marriage until it becomes all about how it would make us feel and what it could do for us or give us, completely forgetting that God created marriage for His purposes, not for ours.
The role of marriage in God’s kingdom is to glorify Him, a living representation of Christ’s relationship with the church. The role of a Christian wife is to be an ezer to her husband, helping him fulfill his spiritual calling and meet his full potential, becoming the biblical man God has designed him to be.
The Christian wife is a prayer warrior, an intercessor, an accountability partner, a bible study buddy. She’s called to fight for her husband on her knees, to speak truth and the Word of God over him, and to convict him in love when he falls short of God’s standards.
Being a wife is a sacred ministry position in the Kingdom of God with a holy responsibility. For me to treat the role with the reverence it deserves by recognizing that I’m not ready or strong enough to fill it is a sign of godliness and spiritual maturity.
I sometimes say that I’m not sure I ever want to get married. The truth is that I think I’d like to get married one day, but only when I’m ready to be a wife. Until then, I will pray: Father, may I be worthy.