Note: This entry has probably little to do with fashion, but I personally view fashion as having a part to play in everything.
When asked what the essence of being a woman is, one contestant from the 1994 Miss Universe pageant answered very profoundly. The lovely Ms. Sushmita Sen, who ended up winning the crown at that year’s pageant, replied that the essence of being a woman was to be a good wife and a mother. Although I am not promoting beauty pageants, this answer was precisely to the point and quite biblical.
Proverbs describes a virtuous woman as a good wife and a mother. The bible doesn’t give prerequisites for who gets to be a wife and who has to be single for life. I believe the book of Proverbs was written for all women regardless of ethnicity, religion, or economic status. The problem with modern and progressive thinking, even among the church, is the unwritten standard of who gets to be a wife, often involving a sort of mental “to-do list” before a woman gets married. This list usually includes having a steady job, a few years of living independently, and a college degree. I doubt that God had these requirements in mind when he created Eve.
While there is no enumeration of things to be done before marriage, God did however allow governments to form in order to set laws into place, including marital laws (1 Peter 2:13-17, Romans 13:1-3). The Bible’s principles and the government’s laws are explicit, uncompromising, and mandatory. Unwritten contemporary notions of the aforementioned checklist, however, aren’t. Biblically, women were not meant to live independently for the rest of their lives, nor were they meant to be the main workers and bread winners (1 Corinth 11:11, 1 Corinth 11:10). In some cases, this might happen because of circumstances within the home or the life of an individual, and that is perfectly fine, and I believe, part of God’s plan. In His wisdom, He has allowed society to move in a direction where women can live alone or even raise a child on their own without constant fear of starving or being taken advantage of. This privilege and freedom, which can be such a blessing to a (voluntarily or involuntarily) single woman or a person from a broken home, has also created a flexibility of lifestyle that leads to a sense of empowerment. This should not be turned against women who want to get married yet do not have a job. A woman who has never had a job in her life or a college degree is as ready to be a wife as someone who has both.
Sure, a woman is better off knowing how to take care of herself in case anything happens to the husband. Knowing how to survive can be a learned process. It’s not something you can just snatch from a textbook or become an expert about after years of living independently. Everybody is always learning and no one ever quite reaches the point of perfection. That is why being a novice cook, homemaker, or even a novice in romantic relationships when you get married should be acceptable.
Most single people say, “I am not ready to marry.” This usually implies that they are not ready to commit and want to enjoy their singleness with other people of the opposite sex, or it means that they do not have everything on the checklist marked off because of something like having a year and a semester to go before graduation. The latter reason is perfectly fine as long as that personal premarital expectation or goal is not projected onto someone else’s life.
When I was married almost a year and a half ago, I had been hurtfully discouraged from being married as early as I did among my friends, family, and even church members. Their checklists were different than mine. They thought I was throwing my college education and career out the door because I wanted to stay at home and just do freelance. My family frowned upon my leaving our flourishing business and starting anew. To be honest, I really have never been happier. I get to do all the things I love in the comfort of my own home and at the same time fulfill my duties as a wife. It also rocks being with the sexiest man alive.
Maturity Through Age
Regarding maturity, one reason why there is discouragement for young people to marry is that they are fickle and their personalities change drastically over time. For the most part, this is true, but only when the decision to marry is based on feelings. Love is both a feeling and a choice. I believe you can be 18 and have a solid stand on both your faith and your decision to stick with your husband, for better or for worse, ’til death do you part. I personally know couples who got married much younger than I and are still going strong. Ironically, my own parents got married at a younger age than I, but that was merited by their parents and peers because of their college diplomas—whereas I got married while attending college. That’s not such a bad thing, is it?
Another good reason to get married as early as possible has to do with our sexual nature. We desire sex right when hitting puberty, and the longer we wait, the harder we burn deep inside. It took me a while to really admit this to myself. Marriage to me was just about the fairy tale feeling of love which included but was not based on sex. 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 confirms that marriage is about sex. Paul (the writer of this epistle) paints marriage in this passage as an institution for Christians who “burn,” which basically means those of us who essentially can’t contain our sexuality or “exercise self-control.” “This is a concession,” Paul says, “I wish that all were as I myself am.” Singleness is considered preferable. Women rarely think of sex as often as guys do, but I think the fact that we do think of it is prevalent and obvious in our clothing among other things. Women may not all be crazy about sex or crave it, but most of us love sexual attention. Advertising for almost everything, especially in fashion, uses sex because it is one of the top two basic human desires of human beings. Desire is probably the highest form of wanting, and it is synonymous to the acts of coveting and longing. To target this beautifully barbaric need gives an automatic response, and that is why ads that sell through sex do so well. Yes, sex is beautiful, but with the onset of AIDS and heartaches from having multiple partners, among many other complications, it has become painfully obvious that it is best to have only one. God wasn’t being ridiculous and coming up with laws for the sake of laws. He had a reason for each one of them, and some of them we might not understand even to this day.
Turning my back on my old “spiritual leaders” due to their discouraging remarks on my getting married at the ripe age of 22 made me feel like a rebel, but I knew that I had to stand up against personally or religiously biased opinions and checklists and look at what the Bible was really fundamentally saying. It doesn’t help that I look like I’m just 18 years old, which is about the mean (if not mode) age I’ve been mistaken for.
What do you think are the pros/cons on marrying as young as legally possible? Do you think a young woman is capable of raising a family? What are your experiences involving these things?