I'm 40 and can't find a husband in the church
LOVE & SEXSunday, September 21, 2014
By KIMBERLEY HIBBERT
FOR years she has been waiting patiently on the Lord to supply her need for a husband, but Cindy A, 40, is becoming impatient. The 20-year Christian says she has done everything to please God -- she has remained a virgin, valued her purity, and waited for what she describes as the 'perfect man' to come into her life. The holder of an MBA, owner of her own home and small business, Cindy now realises that there is a shortage of suitable men in the church, and that her qualifications may intimidate men. And she can't seek her husband outside, since the church has strict guidelines about who she should date and eventually marry.
Cindy is now contemplating ending her Christian status to find a man on the outside, so she can enjoy the life and family she thinks she deserves.
She's not alone. Much has been said about the dearth of eligible men in the church, a problem that spans all denominations. The men are either elderly or too young, and never the 20 or 30-somethings needed to match the legion of young Christian women hoping to find a mate.
Reverend Alvin Bailey, president of the Jamaica Evangelical Alliance, says if Cindy knows what she wants but cannot find it in the church, maybe her man doesn't exist.
"Men are not in short supply, and if you can't find a man and a man can't find you, there's really nothing to do. I would encourage her to continue waiting on the Lord and to also understand that not everyone will get married, whether there's enough men or not," he said.
"The Lord will provide all our needs according to His riches in glory, but we just have to wait and keep praying. She needs to stay away from things that increase the desire for sex and which create unrealistic expectations of what a man can do. It messes with your spirituality. I would not encourage her to marry outside of her denomination, especially if the doctrinal teachings are different. It can lead to becoming unequally yoked and it can also become the formula for a dysfunctional marriage. Keep praying and waiting on the Lord."
The leaders of a few other denominations also weighed in on Cindy's problem, and the Christian solution.
Mark Harrison, chairman of the Jamaica Pentecostal Union youth arm:
From a biblical perspective on the issue of being unequally yoked, we seek to marry and have unions within our particular faith. Saying there are no men in the church is a very limiting statement, and women of a particular age look for certain features in a man. Importantly, the Bible does not say that all of us will get married and it also advises us against fornication. If you seek God and His righteousness, He will know you inside out and know your needs and how to channel your environment to provide for your needs according to His will. On the issue of marrying outside of her denomination, the Pentecostal church holds steadfast to marrying brethren of like faith -- apostolic or Pentecostals.
Reverend Karl Johnson, general secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union:
The first problem is that she's seeking a perfect human being, and there's none. Her situation is not unusual and the fact of finding someone you can spend your life with in a covenant is not guaranteed, whether you're in or out of the church. When situations like these happen you begin to drop the adjectives of finding a perfect man, a metro man or even a rich man. You determine if there are non-negotiables. Would you marry at any cost or be in a relationship at any cost? There are also things worse than singleness and you may not be called to the vocation of marriage. It may be more of a blessing than she realises. The Baptist denomination does not prevent individuals from marrying persons from a different Christian denomination. We don't erect artificial barriers, but we hold up the sanctity of the church. If persons desire to be married they have to undergo premarital counselling. However, we do not promote the marriage of Christians and non-Christians, but at the end of the day it is ultimately the individual's decision. A Baptist marrying a Baptist is not a critical yardstick. Also, because you're singing the same sankey doesn't mean you're in sync or equally yoked. Incompatibility, separate from denominational beliefs, equates to being unequally yoked. My encouragement to Cindy is to be true to her own convictions and arrive at a point where she determines her non-negotiables and never loses sight of things that are worse than singleness.
Reverend Carla Dunbar, marriage, sex and family therapist, Church of God of Prophecy:
Singleness according to 1 Corinthians 7 is a gift, but not all are able to refrain from sexual intercourse except with the help of the Lord, that's why he says it is better to marry than to burn with lust. She is sexually frustrated with reason as are many other saints now in the church. As to her not being able to find a husband, was she looking or waiting on God to literally drop one in her lap? Because the church falls short on teaching that she can look as well. God will supply, but I must apply. Perhaps she is not really looking but just trying to deal with frustration and remain pure, however, purity is not just an action, it's also a thought. Does her church answer sexual questions that singles have? That can be helpful because expression of self is healthy. Do they teach what to look for the in a spouse like good character, or is it just who has the loudest hallelujah? She is no longer a young woman so if she intends to be married she needs start by knowing what she wants in a man and start looking in church, at conventions, or even retreats while she prays for God's direction. Different denominations and religions present a challenge for couples and many times I encourage couples to understand what they are in for and come to a compromise. Where being unequally yoked is concerned it's about persons believing in God as opposed to not believing in him.
Pastor Milton Gregory, executive secretary of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists:
Apart from being Christian, it would be unacceptable for Cindy to marry someone outside of the Seventh-day Adventist church. We have different beliefs, worship style, day of worship and diet. When she has a family there will be issues. Both parties will worship on different days. It is fundamental that a family be together in church. We don't marry outside; we would prefer if individuals married within the faith. If she were to do that, the union would be considered unequally yoked and the marriage would become a strain after a while, and history in the church has shown that persons who marry outside of the faith end up with divided families. Therefore, we stick within the denomination to minimise the conflict. She needs to realise that some folks will remain single, and some folks marry late. There is a waiting period and not everyone will marry, but it's best to stay in the faith.
Very Reverend Monsignor Michael Lewis, Roman Catholic church:
Denominational differences don't matter in today's society. Irrespective of how they look, talk, their skin colour or their religious affiliation, as long as they are able to live and take care of each other, differences don't matter.
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