Be Married or Be a Wife
- Wednesday, January 31, 2007
How do you define a "chick flick"? My definition is that it's a movie women love and men are itching to turn off.
Chick flicks appeal to us because they are grown-up versions of fairy tales. As little girls, we read stories about how some plain girl becomes a dazzling princess and earns at first glance the undying devotion of a prince. Rescued from obscurity, she lives happily ever after.
This is the same storyline of every chick flick, but it's set in a big city (usually Manhattan) and the heroine's charms are her quirky personality and chutzpah. There's no fairy godmother to wave a wand, but there's always some sort of physical transformation to catch the eye of her prince. And in the end everything works out for the benefit of the heroine.
So why am I rambling on about chick flicks? It's because I think they color our perception of romance and marriage more than we know. The problem is that the heroine is forever the center of the story. All others are props to help her achieve her desires. In the good ole days, the movie ended with a wedding. In our post-modern culture, weddings are no longer the guaranteed ending, but some form of commitment is communicated.
Now let's think about our desire to be married. In fact, let's look at that phrase: "be married." Isn't that how we always say it? "I want to be married." It's not very common for us to say, "I want to be a wife." We want to be the chosen one and to be the heroine of a chick-flick romance, but we rarely say we want to "be a wife." We chatter about changing our marital status, but it's far more sobering to say we want to undertake a role/position/responsibility.
To get a reality check, we must wipe away the pixie dust and study what the Bible says about this role we desire. Gaining God's perspective is one way we can be proactive about the goal of marriage. Though there are several good books on marriage that I can recommend – including "Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother" by Carolyn Mahaney and "Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace" by Gary & Betsy Ricucci – they are additional study. Nothing replaces looking at God's Word itself.
The first passage we encounter about a wife is the well-known Genesis 2 account of the first marriage, between Adam and Eve. Adam definitely has that hallmark male reaction of every fairy tale and chick flick fed to us – "Bone of my bones! Flesh of my flesh!" And that's a good thing. It's good to be attracted to each other. But notice how the Bible goes on speaking where the typical romance story or fairy tale fades out. Instead of a nebulous statement of "living happily ever after," the Bible gives us something concrete to consider about marriage. Women aren't the center of the marriage, the object forever to be admired and applauded. God is at the center and there are two people He's created to reflect His image, one masculine and one feminine. The feminine creature is to reflect God in certain ways and the first way Scripture lists is as a helper:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for [or corresponding to] him." So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
"This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man."
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2)
Before anyone ever sinned, God gave those made in His image a task. Man was to work in the garden and keep it. And woman was to help. Man can't find solace and consolation in his work alone. He can't find comfort in the companionship of animals alone. But the one who corresponds to him, who was made from him and for him, this is the one who joins him in a "one-flesh" union.
"Happily ever after" in the Garden of Eden is based upon a relationship with God, a humble acknowledgement of His boundaries, and a delight in the tasks assigned by the Creator. A wife's task is to help the man who is holding fast to her. There's so much more to this concept than merely being "chosen." It's not enough to just get married. The credits in a chick flick nearly always start as the happy couple exits the wedding chapel and waves goodbye.
But that's exactly where God's story is getting started. The grand adventure of being a loving helpmate to a particular man is only just beginning, even though the threshold of “getting married” has already been crossed.
Carolyn McCulley works for Sovereign Grace Ministries in church and ministry relations. She is also an author ( "Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God with a Hope Deferred") and blogger (solofemininity.blogs.com). Carolyn is also a member of Covenant Life Church where one of her favorite ministries is the single women's discipleship program. She highly recommends the resources for singles from the New Attitude conference and blog.
Your questions answered! Carolyn will periodically answer Crosswalk.com reader questions in her Singles Q&A columns. While we can't guarantee that each question will be answered, we do hope to hear from you! Please send your questions regarding singleness and related topics to Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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