It’s worth reflecting on this much-debated topic as we focus on Black History Month
Discussions around the reason people ‘remain’ single for a long time are fascinating. I have said it here before: my desire was to get married at 25 and have four children. When I was 25, my husband was married to someone else and not saved, so that wasn’t going to happen. It was not God’s plan for me to be married in my twenties.
For some, God has ordained marriage and motherhood early. For others, the gift of marriage and the blessing of children will come later.
Historically, there have always been more women in church than men, so there are challenges. Plus, I have spoken to many Black women, who feel that some churches preach the message: ‘Serve God in His house and your husband will find you’. They served faithfully, waited and waited – but didn’t necessarily do anything to help themselves while waiting. Now they feel like the gift of marriage and children has passed them by. But can we blame the Church for this?
I have also come across some interesting doctrines over the years that have women dressed in unflattering clothes, no make-up, and hair that could do with a makeover. This could actually make you less attractive and less approachable. Don’t blame church if you’re unwittingly making yourself invisible on a Sunday morning.
Can church really keep an individual single, when it is not the responsibility of a pastor to ensure that we get married? The church is not matchdot.com. The real question is: What exactly are you attending church for? To get stuff or to grow spiritually?
It’s the responsibility of a minister to preach the Word of God without compromise. It is our responsibility to practise what we have heard and, more importantly, study the Word for ourselves. It’s our actions and the decisions we make that will determine the course of our love lives. Single women need to look like royalty, pray, and then wait on His timing. In addition to this, enjoy life – go out and practically position yourself to be ‘found’.
What the church can do is help to make women ready for marriage with practical teaching. It’s amazing how many women expect to meet their husband in the church they attend. The reality is you could meet your spouse anywhere. Don’t limit God. We need to hear this more.
There are a lot of women’s conferences, but the Church could help by focusing more on male discipleship. If you have lots of women who are all fired up for God, and the men don’t share that same zeal, we have an imbalance in church: the knock-on affect will be fewer men wanting to commit to marriage, simply because they don’t understand what true commitment is.
In some cultures, marriage is a priority. Asian communities, for example, don’t delay in starting families. In fact, while their children are studying, the parents are busy liaising with suitable families in order to find an appropriate match for their children. This is not old fashioned; it is a recognition of the investment they have made as parents. They have no intention of seeing that investment squandered by the potential poor choices of their children who ‘think they’re in love’. Young Asian women today are not forced to accept their parents’ choice, but the wise ones will be guided by them. African communities place a similar priority on marriage and family. As a result, these men are more likely to proactively search for a wife.
Am I advocating arranged marriage? No, but I am suggesting ‘strategic intentionality’. I see many more Asian and African women married in their twenties than I do Caribbean women. And, being West Indian myself, I know that intentionality is lacking in our community. The desire is there but the assumption is it will just happen. Nothing ‘just happens’. That’s why some women, sadly, feel they have been left with nothing. They did ‘nothing’ other than pray and be overly prescriptive about the type of man they want – meaning that any man who was right for them, but didn’t fit their ‘ideal’, didn’t stand a chance.
As godly Black women and men raising the next generation, we need to focus on changing this rather than blaming the church. Having said all this, nothing can alter God’s plan. If you desire to get married it can happen for you. It doesn’t matter whether you are 25 or 50 – and the colour of your skin is irrelevant.
He is the God who said in Genesis 2:18 that ‘it is not good for man to live alone’. He is the God who provided a husband for Ruth, a foreign widow in Israel. He is the same God; He has not forgotten you. Nothing is too hard for Him. Get out of your comfort zone and meet people, be intentional. Get rid of the carnal mindset that says, “I am from here, so my husband has to come from this part of the world too.”
I am West Indian and my husband is Nigerian; it works because God is a perfect matchmaker.
The devil knows the power that two people have when they get married. He will try to derail us with excuses and debates that lead us nowhere, except to feelings of disappointment and resentment.
Let’s commit to being history changers and reverse the statistics. If you’re married, and your brother or sister isn’t, keep your eyes open and be intentional about practically supporting them to find their spouse. Arrange dinner parties, attend events with them, be relaxed about it, and then allow God to do the rest.
God bless you.
love God, love life, love people.