This is a letter from a new husband, a good friend of ours, extolling his new wife, copied from Facebook 2-22-17:
Six months have well-nigh passed since our sacred union—six of the fullest of my time on the earth. I have never known such quality and purpose of life as I have found in living with such a beautiful, kind, intelligent, helpful, and godly woman as my dear wife. (I love to say “my wife.”) Sweetheart, you have taught me things I didn’t know were to be learned, and for which life is fuller and better. You have loved me well, which is hard to believe. You have not only endured my silliness and immaturity, but have laughed with me and accepted me fully. You place no conditions on your love, which is priceless. You are loyal, and your heart is pure. You have vision and understanding of the Lord Jesus and his body, which I did not see and appreciate heretofore. Your service to Christ is of high repute. Your love for the saints goes before and behind you. I have gained fame and reputation simply by being your husband. It is a joy and honor of immense proportions for me to call you mine.
What else shall I say? Time faileth me to express all that is to be said pertaining to your worth. Suffice it to quote a sage of old who knew a few things about love:
“Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine!” (Song of Solomon 4:9–10)
Much can be learned from this sweet letter.
This man deeply values his bride’s appreciation of him. When a woman’s love, respect, and honor for her man rise above his low points, he will have great liberty to love her and become more than he would have been had she been dissatisfied with his lack of spiritual understanding or public acclaim. This statement is a marriage-saving jewel.
All men come into marriage dumb and immature, at least that is the assessment of most females. We girls value female strengths that men don’t develop until they have been married to a patient woman for a period of time. To us judgmental women, men seem to be carnal, selfish, and insensitive. We are appalled at how fleshly a man can be and how much time he can waste on worthless pursuits, sports, or hobbies. This judgmental attitude seems to be ingrained in females, and for the most part we see it as being a righteous trait. God help me to help you see how damning this attitude really is to both finding a husband and having a loving marriage.
As we said in the previous article, the homeschool Law Makers had many virtues and for the most part left a fine legacy, except for one blatant error. During the Law Makers’ era, spiritual insight in a female was at its height. It was cherished and thus cultivated as a godly trait. Young ladies were carefully schooled to appreciate the mature and godly constraints of a highly disciplined older man. Many young girls became masters at detecting faults and mixed motives—a skill valuable to an older person, but a serious problem to a young lady. Once this spiritual astuteness becomes the standard by which a girl measures others, especially the men who would approach her, it is very difficult for her to see it as ugly. It is difficult to put a finger on it and say guilty, but when it is present in anyone, especially in a young lady, it leaves those touched by it feeling icky. This is why as the Law Makers movement began to fade, it left in its wake an army of unmarried young women.
This “spirituality” is felt by others to be manipulative criticism and is, in fact, a critical spirit. It is also kin to a controlling spirit. It is the Jezebel spirit, and until a woman sees it as sin rather than “having standards,” those around her—including available men—will maintain their distance. All women are guilty of this from time to time, but for the Law Makers unmarried female, it is truly a problem.
Sorry to be the bearer of nasty news, but it is time to have babies, and we must get the show on the road! With each passing year, the pool of available young men grows exponentially smaller.
The good news is that when we speak at shindigs, I notice that there are still a number of young men actively hunting wives. Be advised: don’t be a SNOB, because all these men (really just grown boys) will seem very immature. They are unfinished men and will be quite imperfect to your discerning eye. Keep in mind that at one time your wise daddy was most likely the same way.
The irony is that most of these available men were raised at the height of the homeschool Law Makers era, so they well remember the behind-the-scenes critiques of their sisters and mother, and they will have heard the horror stories of prolonged “I would like to get to know your daughter” ordeals that other young men experienced at the hands of patriarchal fathers and helicopter mothers. They calculate the obstacles and emotional entanglements it would take to get close to you, and if they sense the critical eye in you, they will write you off after fifteen seconds and move on to the lighthearted, smiling, less mature and less discerning younger girl who appears willing and ready to become a bride without issuing the third degree.
The guys know they have major areas in their life that need radical improvement, so just being around a girl with a critiquing spirit causes them to shy away. It is a paradox. These men want a righteous woman to raise their children, but they don’t want to live under the reign of their virtuous wife’s sensitive conscience. All men, and especially young men, just want a lovely young woman to affirm them of their worth, even if they have little. I know, for many of these men have confided in us. They don’t want a girl to look at them with a discerning and critical eye.
In the unedited and unsolicited letter above, you read the profound relief and great appreciation the young husband expressed in this statement: “You have loved me well, which is hard to believe. You have not only endured my silliness and immaturity, but have laughed with me and accepted me fully. You place no conditions on your love, which is priceless.”
More than half of rectifying a problem is simply being convinced there IS a problem and coming to an understanding of its nature. It is your choice. If there is the slightest doubt in your mind that I am spot-on, then by all means continue as usual. But if you want to marry and have a man thrilled to have you as his wife (like the guy who wrote the letter to his very wise bride), then listen to the aged woman’s startling advice. Start practicing today changing not only your responses but your thoughts as well.
Let me warn you: you have been nurtured into the image of a Pharisee. It is now part of your character. For the rest of your life, your initial and natural response will be to judge the motives and actions of your husband and those around you. You will look down on lack of decorum, silly comments, or irreligious decision, and you might be totally correct, but who are you to be the keeper of the gate? Your whole life has schooled you to judge. If you see your fault and would change, you must begin schooling yourself in mercy and grace.
Mike has always described girls who men find most appealing as “vulnerable.” They are not guarded. They don’t appear to be weighing the motives of others. The gate to their soul is open. Their eyes are alight with interest and curiosity. They appear to be having fun and living in a state of serenity. They are wise and discerning but not critical or judgmental. They don’t think of themselves as better than those around them.
Here is the advice found on page 37 of Created to Be His Help Meet:
Practice makes perfect. Practice having a merry and thankful heart (open, non-judgmental spirit). I have known people who, though they did not have a natural knack for music, started piano lessons and practiced every day. After two or three years, their fingers moved across the keys easily, and their music sounded sweeter and more fluid every time I heard them. If you ask them, “How do you know to hit all those notes?” they answer, “Practice. I’ve practiced so much, I don’t think about it. It just happens.” Life is like that. Most people have practiced hitting the notes of bitterness, sourness, hurt feelings, and frustration so long that their soul finds the discordant (disparaging) notes easily, almost without thought. [For Law Makers girls, it is not bitterness but feeling a need to make straight something they feel is crooked, or rejecting someone because he is crude.] But you don’t have to keep on practicing discord; you can practice joy and thanksgiving just as easily and certainly with more pleasure. Every day, every right response makes the fingers of your soul find the notes of joy and thanksgiving more easily, until it is so natural that people will say to you, “I am not like you; I just don’t have a bubbly personality. I’m not a happy person. How can I have joy?” And you will be able to tell them, “Practice makes perfect.”
The next thing I would suggest is to start serving outside your circle. Mix with sinners and love them. Apply for a job at the hospital (even as a volunteer for late-night emergencies to comfort the family or provide pillows, etc.). Get a job at the coffee shop or become a waitress. Do volunteer work for political rallies or courthouse meetings. Offer to help at sports events or church fund raisers. It shouldn’t be YOUR church or group. Get outside your box. Look on the web for events happening and call, offering to help. Any place where good people gather for social or political events is the place you need to be. Remember that MOST of the available men outside your circle are not going to be homeschool heroes, so do not get high and lofty about that detail.
Go to the Sunday and Wednesday evening services of churches that are not your own. Make sure you introduce your smiling self to several older women at the church, because older women usually have sons, and some of those men might not be married. Also, help with the married couple’s events (babysit, etc.), because they all know someone who is looking for a wife and you “seem to be perfect!” If you are musical, then make your gift useful. Holding back is selfish and screams “closed gate!” Create a nice brochure advertising your desire to clean and decorate houses for special occasions and give it to the older ladies. It doesn’t matter whether you want a job; you will just be leaving your contact information with the ladies when you move on to the next new church. Before you leave, be sure to explain to a couple of the ladies that you need to go to your own church but will always come back around. Plan on dropping in occasionally, because one of the older women might have thought of a fine young man and just wished you were still around.
A few months ago, a young evangelist and his wife came to our house. Their two children were babies, so I knew they must have been married only 3 or 4 years, yet they appeared to be in their thirties. I asked her to tell me her love story. It was fascinating! She said she waited at home for God to bring her a husband, but the years passed and there were no opportunities and no men in her tiny country area. She pined away as the only child left at home with her aging parents. A friend heard of a very old lady who needed someone to live with her. Since there was nothing for her to do, she accepted the job in this faraway, cold state. She told me that she and the 94-year-old lady became best of friends and traveled and did all kinds of projects together. Her life had never been happier or fuller! But the old lady saw time passing and was concerned for her young friend. She contacted a traveling evangelist who had once sojourned a few weeks in her home and encouraged the single man to come back for a restful stay between his meetings. Long story short; he came and met the young woman. They spent many happy evenings talking, playing music together, laughing with the sleepy old lady, and falling in love. I felt bubbly all over hearing her story and seeing her joy. I want to be a matchmaking old lady like that! What really made me love this girl was how glowingly she spoke of the old lady (who soon passed in her sleep) and the great times they had together.
If where you are and what you have been doing aren’t opening doors, then it is time to consider a change.
Mike and I stop in at Hardee’s (the fast-food joint) on occasion. Early in the morning the place is full of old widowed men. They come to eat and talk, for they are lonesome in an empty house. Around 10 a.m., when the old men are at home taking a nap, the old widowed ladies come in. Then during the lunch hour, the place smells faintly of sweat from the hard-working, dirty young men who fill the seats. I look around and think to myself, “I guess if I die, Mike should drop in around 10 a.m., but if he dies I will have to get up really early. Just saying…