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    Inspiring Those Men

    April 26, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    [dropcap]T[/dropcap]he last chapter of Maken’s book is entitled Inspiring Men to Biblical Manhood. This chapter really resonated with me because I have a son, and I hope that he becomes a strong, godly man someday. I will admit that I read Getting Serious About Getting Married because of two of the many roles I play. First, because I am a friend to some very special single people who long to be married. Second, because I am a parent of children who I hope will grow up, get married, and {to be honest} give me lots of grandbabies.

     

    Regarding Single Men

    Because I am a woman, most of the single people I know are women. But there are a handful of single men I know through my husband. Some of you reading this may have a brother who is single, or a cousin, or a friend of your family. If you are married, perhaps your husband has a single uncle or cousin, etc. My point is that we all know men who are single and yet do not have the gift of celibacy. After reading this book, I believe that the greatest favor we can do for the single women that we love is to encourage the single men we love to grow up and get married, sooner rather than later {now is preferable}.

    If you are like me, the single men you know just don’t seem to be a good fit for the single women you know. If only it were that easy! However, we can remember that the single men we know should still be the husband of some woman out there, some woman who likely feels a lot like my single friends, which is to say they feel lonely, and wish there was something they could do to change their situation.

    Every man who does not have the gift of celibacy and is refusing to grow up and get married is stealing a husband from a wife. At least, that was what Calvin said, and I am inclined to agree with him. If we start encouraging the men in our lives to fulfill God’s calling for humanity, to create a family if they are not called to be celibate, we will be doing a great service to them, as well as their future wives.

     

    Regarding Singles Ministries

    If you are in any way involved in a singles ministry, that ministry model may need some rethinking. I would highly suggest getting together the single women from that group and reading Maken’s book in order to start the discussion of what singles ministry should look like, or if it should exist at all. My new hunch is that single ministries may be enabling men to think that it is “normal” to prolong their singleness beyond an appropriate marrying age.

    Singles ministries may best serve their members by teaching them marriage as normative for adulthood, and then finding out what exactly is wrong with the men within their membership. Maken reported that she would often tell the men she dated that “because they were over thirty and still unmarried, they lacked biblical leadership that requires securing a wife. They should have to explain why they are still single.” Maybe singles pastors should be trying this approach.

     

    Regarding Boys

    This is my own observation after thinking so much about the concept of protracted singleness. I am the mother of a boy. I do not want him to delay marriage unnecessarily. Maken has convinced me that it is not healthy, and may even be sinful, depending on the circumstances of his heart. I wrote about this early on, but I think it is worth repeating. From now on, when I talk with my son about his adulthood, I will make sure that he understands that taking a wife {not a job} will be what makes a man of him. Making money does not make a man. Becoming responsible for a wife, and eventually children, is the pinnacle of Christian manhood. Does this mean I’m going to preach at him about getting married? No, I think it can be much more subtle than that. It will simply be implied in everyday conversation. When you are married you are an adult, I will say. By holding up family as the ideal environment for a grown man, he will understand his calling.

     

    To End

    So I think I am done with the singleness issue for the time being. Before I end, I will share what had the most impact on me. I wrote all about it in my post “Jesus is my Husband” Singleness. Once upon a time, spinsterhood was for the mean, the strong-willed, and the excruciatingly unattractive. Now, there are beautiful, intelligent, kind-hearted women who are single by default. They are single because no one is asking.

    When the church stands up and chastises these women for admitting that they are not content with being single, the church is actually undermining marriage itself. In the very beginning, the first thing that God declared to be “not good” was man being alone. And it was marriage that He created to solve the problem of man’s aloneness. God did not say that He would fulfill the companionship need. Rather, He invented marriage. What we see in Genesis was intended to be normative for mankind.

    Commanding women to be content while they are single is to fail to deal with the problem. The Church as a whole needs to recognize that these women should be married, and then deal with the bachelors in their congregation as a way of tackling the problem. In the meantime, we should offer these women sympathy, encouragement, and a promise that we will encourage every single man we know to go and take a wife in the hopes of recapturing, both for the sake of these single women and the sake of our own children, a culture that esteems and encourages marriage.

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