Young Women: Preparing for Marriage
In chapter three we discussed minimum requirements that a young man needs to meet in order to marry. In this chapter we will discuss minimum requirements that a young woman needs to meet in order to be prepared for marriage. The role played by a wife in marriage is distinct, therefore her preparation for marriage must also be distinct. Certain aspects of preparation, such as spirituality, purity, positive view of parenthood, and having a servant’s heart, are similar for both young men and women. Therefore, for the sake of avoiding major repetition I will not repeat basics from the last chapter. This chapter will focus on issues specific to young women. It is also very important that young men read this chapter, because it will give them a clear idea of what a young woman prepared for marriage looks like.
This chapter is guaranteed to be controversial in our day. As modern America obliterates the difference between men and women, and collapses both genders into a materialistic masculinity seeking wealth and power, the biblical femininity that nurtures the beauty of the home and children fades further and further into the past. And yet hollowed out materialistic secularists still long for the hope of home and often seek the joy of children, only when this joy is biologically out of reach. Christians must loudly proclaim the goodness and value of Christian feminine virtue. The hope of a peaceful life-giving home. The happiness and community that comes from home-cooked meals shared together around the kitchen table. The joy and sanctification that comes from choosing to die to yourself and selflessly bear, love, and raise children. Other than bearing children (being a mother), these other things are entered into by both the husband and the wife, but the fundamentals of the home and the nurturing of children primarily belong to the wife.
I believe there are six minimum requirements that every young woman needs to meet before she is ready to marry. Those requirements are spiritual maturity, purity in body, ability to manage a household, having a positive view of motherhood, does not have conflicting career goals, and is prepared to serve. Let’s examine spiritual maturity first.
1. Spiritually Mature
It is vital that a young woman have a significant degree of spiritual maturity before entering marriage. The more spiritually mature a young woman is, the greater blessing she will be to her husband, and eventually to her children. Spiritual maturity in young women and young men share many basic characteristics. The godly young woman will love God genuinely from the heart and joyfully live according to God’s commands (1 John 5:3). She will love God’s word and personally study it for greater understanding. She will be known as a young woman of prayer. She will be known for the gentleness, kindness, and self-control of her life as she seeks to live unto the Lord. But beyond basic aspects of godliness, the spiritual maturity of a young woman has a different end goal than that of a young man.
Whereas a young man is focusing his spiritual growth toward the end of righteous leadership within the home, the young woman should be focused upon the supporting and nurturing role to which God has called her. God has called the Christian wife to be a support and help to her husband (Genesis 2:18). This does not mean that a godly wife’s personality is lost within the leadership of her husband, for the godly husband will value all the gifts of his wife. But it does mean that a husband and wife will be at odds with each other if the two continue to go in their own separate directions after marriage. When a man and a woman are both making their own way in the world, eventually those paths will separate. When those two people happen to be married, that separation means divorce. Therefore, God in His perfect design has declared that the husband should lead, setting the direction for the home, and together the husband and wife travel the road of life (Ephesians 5:22).
The husband needs the wife and the wife needs the husband, but their roles are different. God has called the wife to be the primary nurturer of the home and of children (1 Timothy 5:14-15). To fulfill this role of supporter and nurturer God has called for young women to especially seek certain spiritual qualities. First, every young woman should pray for a spirit characterized by gentleness and peace. A peaceful, gentle, kind, and modest young woman is the model of beauty set forward in 1 Peter 3:3-6. This model stands as the opposite of the brash, forceful, sensual, and independent woman that is continually set forward as an example in our age. The worldly woman is not ready for marriage because the love of God has not transformed her character; her heart is not turned toward the home, and she does not reserve her sexuality for one man—her future husband.
The godly woman is not eager to free herself from the responsibilities of a home, or to maintain an independent existence from her husband. The godly woman realizes that the home is more than a temporary landing pad for family members between work, school, sports, and other constant activities. Instead, home is a place of nurture, growth, rest, hope, safety, love, and hospitality. Those who have no true home are some of the most lost and hopeless people in all the world. However, creating a home is much more than just getting domestic duties in working order. It has a deep spiritual dimension that requires the spiritual leadership of a godly woman. Creating a home has much more to do with cultivating love, kindness, and hospitality—balanced by discipline and order—than it does with interior design or landscaping. Only a spiritually mature woman will be able to cultivate a true Christian home, and in a harsh world, her home will be sought out as a refuge by many.
Young women who are either non-Christians or who have only a nominal commitment to Christ, will establish homes characterized by worldliness, selfishness, and based upon false thinking. A young woman must go beyond nominal Christianity and grow up to walk steadfastly in the ways of Christ (Ephesians 4:14-15). A strong spiritual foundation will establish a household that will endure. A weak foundation will cause the house to fail. Until a young woman seeks the Lord steadily from her own initiative, she is not ready to marry. Spiritual maturity is more than simply making a profession of faith. The genuine nature of anyone’s confession will be proven by the fruits of their life (Matthew 7:17-20). The prepared young woman must display the genuine nature of her belief in Christ by living a pure life which is marked by service.
The prepared young woman should demonstrate an ongoing development of the fruits of the Spirit. There should be a forward motion to her life that demonstrates she is well down the road of discipleship and sanctification. The “nice girl” who will not regularly attend church, even when invited, is not ready for marriage. The Christian young woman who has simply never taken the claims of Christ seriously, needs to commit herself afresh to the study of Scripture, purity, and service in the church—proving her character amidst a corrupt world.
Every young woman needs an older woman to disciple her during the transition into marriage. Though God does minister directly to us from His word, He also has designed the faith to be passed from generation to generation by discipleship (2 Timothy 2:2). God intends faithful older women to train and guide younger women (Titus 2:1-5). Ideally this discipleship would be carried on by the young woman’s own mother, but if that is not possible, the young women must seek out some other godly woman to mentor her. Discipleship is not a path to be walked alone. Seeking to learn from an older adult requires a humble, teachable spirit.
The spiritually mature young woman will also demonstrate her inward change of heart in her outward appearance. The spiritual young woman will not look outwardly like a worldly young woman. In an age of raw sensuality, a godly young woman will gladly embrace the virtue of physical modesty. She will not present herself as sexual bait for every man that may pass by. She will instead reserve her sexuality and appropriately cover herself, saving herself for the expectation of marriage. Yet, this does not mean that she forfeits her beauty, because there is a distinction between beauty and sensuality. They are not one and the same.
A young woman can present herself, and should present herself, with beauty while at the same time not revealing herself sensually. The Proverbs 31 woman is spoken of as wearing fine linen and purple, apparently a women of distinction, not disheveled or dressed as a prostitute. Because the body of every Christian is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, neglecting your physical person, or being overly obsessed with it, takes on a spiritual dimension. A balance must be in place.
A young woman who is not modest before marriage will not become modest simply because of marriage. The immodest young woman will continue her seductive ways after marriage in the same way that a young man with a wandering eye will continue to have eyes filled with lust if a spiritual transformation does not take root in the heart.
Finally, the godly young woman will not place her hope for the future in any man but will firmly place her hope in God. Young women who overly romanticize marriage will find disappointment. In the same way that no young man will ever find the perfect woman, no young woman will ever find the perfect man—because there are no perfect people!
All people have been corrupted by sin. Though this does not destroy the ability to enjoy deep love and joyful companionship, it does mean that no earthly person will be without failures and sin. The final hope of every spiritually mature woman will be in God. She will hope first in God and will love God more than her husband. God must have the first place in the line of her affections. When this happens, her affections will be rightly ordered and only then is she ready to love her husband. In this way the husband and wife ultimately hope in God and are able to support each other through trials and failings because their foundation is set upon the unchanging perfection of God.
2. Pure in Body
God cares about your sexual purity. God has reserved sexuality for the marriage bed, and that bed is to be kept holy. Sexuality outside of marriage is highly destructive and ultimately unfulfilling. Sexuality in the context of a loving Christian marriage is highly constructive and deeply fulfilling. I have already discussed this subject in the last chapter and will discuss it at length in chapter eight. Therefore, I will make only one sobering point in this chapter.
Early single-parent motherhood is the leading, and most certain, indicator of future poverty. As noted sociologist David Popenoe states, “Having an out-of-wedlock birth as a teenager and not finishing high school is a particularly sure road to poverty for females.” According to social economic commentators Warren and Tyagi, “Single mothers are now more likely than any other group to file bankruptcy—more likely than the elderly, more likely than divorced men, more likely than minorities, and more likely than people living in poor neighborhoods. Indeed, single mothers are 50 percent more likely than married parents to go bankrupt, and three times more likely than childless people—married or single.” Never-married single mothers and their children are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. poverty population. In short, the surest road to future financial collapse is for a unwed young woman to have a child.
Early single-parenthood and poverty are so closely linked because early single-parenthood among young women almost always sets off a precipitous chain of events that leads to enduring poverty. First, the young man who caused the pregnancy almost always disappears or refuses to take any responsibility, financial or otherwise, for the child. He was just using the young woman to pleasure himself and he has no intention of being caught up in the enduring responsibility that the birth of a child will produce. Second, the young woman must begin to deal with the traumatizing and multifaceted emotional burden brought on by the pregnancy. She must deal with being utterly rejected by a young man she thought cared for her, the difficulty of bringing the subject before parents, the temptation of abortion, the reality of having to appear in public great with child, how she will pay for the child, whether she should consider adoption, and a thousand other emotionally addling thoughts.
Third, this emotional stress often causes a young woman to drop out of whatever schooling she may be in the midst of; sometimes this is late high school, sometimes college. The lack of education will seriously dim her future outlook for employment and advancement—which she will desperately need to financially support herself and her child.
Fourth, once the small child is born the rat race of full-time work and full-time single-parenthood sets in. There is never enough time, money, or energy to cover all of the bases adequately. This regularly leads to crushing stress, depression, drug use, and often drives her into the arms of another ungodly man who uses her sexually and starts the process over with a second child.
The young woman is not the only tragedy in this situation. The children of young single-parent moms also suffer greatly. Compared to children who grow up in an intact two-parent home, children raised by single mothers on average fall behind—often far behind—on every scale of measurement. They are more likely to be sexually abused than other children because of their exposure to passing boyfriends. Economically, on average, poverty afflicts the children of one out of every two mother-headed families. In fact, no other group is so poor, and none stays poor longer than families headed by a single mother. These are fierce and grim statistical realities that continue to worsen as young people continue to believe the lie that sex outside of marriage has no serious future consequences.
You will never hear about this grim outlook from advocates of unbounded sexual activity. Such advocates cannot deny these cultural realities, they simply advocate that the young woman should abort (kill) her baby in order to avoid these life altering consequences. In fact, this is a very serious part of why abortion advocates so passionately promote publicly available abortions. They know full well the life-altering consequences of young single-parent pregnancy. Adding murder to sexual promiscuity is morally wrong before God but can also crush the conscience of a young woman in a way equally devastating to all sociological consequences mentioned above. Neither poverty nor abortion are desirable. Instead, young women should stick to God’s design of sexuality and childbearing within marriage, where both sexuality and childbearing are transformed from serious negatives into invaluable positives. Please, young women, take this choice seriously—your future is tied to it.
However, with that said, God can bring hope out of the most desperate situations. God’s grace is always shown in countless ways to those who forsake their sins and choose righteousness instead. Some such graces include: parents that will not support sexual sin but love and support their broken daughter, the emotional and spiritual encouragement of a compassionate local church, the opening of a flexible and good paying job so that a young mother can be home more often, a loving neighbor that is willing to cover childcare for little or no cost, or an adoptive family that is willing to permanently raise a child in a safe and nurturing environment allowing the young mother to start over. God is gracious, and He will make a way for any young woman who confesses her sin and forsakes it.
1David Popenoe, Life Without Father: Compelling New Evidence that Fatherhood and Marriage are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society (New York: Free Press, 1996), 55.
2Warren and Tyagi continue, “Today more than 200,000 single mothers go bankrupt each year. That translates into one in every 38 single mothers filing for bankruptcy in a single year. At a time when women are advancing on multiple fronts—economic, political, educational, legal—the number of single mothers going broke has increased more than 600 percent, and the gap continues to widen. If current trends persist, more than one in every six single mothers will go bankrupt by the end of the decade.” [italics in original] Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi, The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Going Broke (New York: Basic Books, 2003), 104-105
3 Popenoe, Life Without Father, 55.
4 Ibid., 6.
5 Ben Carson is a world renowned neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Medical center. But, Ben and his brother were raised by his mother after his father abandoned the family when Ben was still a young boy. His account of his mother’s struggle with the emotional strains of single-parenthood is the most touching I have ever read. Carson writes, “Only after we became adults did my brother and I learn the truth about those occasional “special” times when we would get to stay with friends while Mother “went away.” Mother simply told us she had to “visit” or “care” for some “loved one”; she’d be gone anywhere from a few days to three or four weeks. We never suspected those were occasions when she would feel so threatened and overwhelmed by life that she would temporarily check herself into a mental facility to get treatment for depression and emotional distress. Then when she felt capable of coping with life again, she’d check herself out, we’d welcome her home from her “trip,” and life would go on.” Eventually Ms. Carson raised two fine boys, but the strain almost broke her. Ben Carson, Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 69.
6 Children raised by single parent mothers are “three times more likely to have a child out of wedlock, 2.5 times more likely to become teen mothers, twice as likely to drop out of high school, and 1.4 times more likely to be idle (out of school and out of work). Popenoe, Life Without Father, 56.
7Ibid., 65, 70
8 Ibid., 54.
9 Two other very interesting and important books that defend the goodness and necessity of marriage, especially for women, are The Case for Marriage and For Better or For Worse. Both of these books will encourage young women that cohabitation or “engagement” is enough of a commitment to hold a together a happy and productive future. Marriage is still the only commitment strong enough to create the best possible future. Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher, The Case For Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially (New York: Broadway Books, 2000). E. Mavis Hetherington, For Better of For Worse: Surprising Results From the Most Comprehensive Study of Divorce in America (New York: Norton, 2002).
10The Word on Health and None of These Diseases are two excellent general resources concerning health and nutrition that take the Bible seriously and speak from a creationist perspective. I recommend them both to anyone seriously interested in health and nutrition from a distinctly Christian perspective. Michael D. Jacobson, The Word on Health: A Biblical and Medical Overview of How to Care for Your Body and Mind (Chicago: Moody, 2000), and S. I. McMillen and David E. Stern, None of These Diseases: The Bible’s Health Secrets for the 21st Century, revised ed. (Grand Rapids: Revell, 2000).
3. Ability to Manage a Household
Whereas every young man must be able to provide for a household, every young woman must be able to manage a household. This is a much bigger task than most young women realize. Managing a household involves creating an inviting home, preparing nutritious meals, hosting guests, maintaining cleanliness and order, caring for children, and all this within the reality of a limited budget and limited time. No matter how you slice it, this is hard work—rewarding—but nonetheless work that takes great skill. This is what used to be called “home economics.” The household is an economic and industrial microcosm that the wife is primarily in charge of. A women who manages her home well is a wonder to everyone and a source of great blessing. Those who manage their homes poorly are viewed with pity or contempt.
In the same way that a young man must pursue the skills necessary to earn a living, a young woman must pursue the skill of homemaking. Meal preparation is a significant part of every family. It takes significant time and skill to prepare good tasting and nutritious meals. Food is also one of the main budget items of the home. The neglect of home cooked meals as an important part of life in the home has led to an epidemic in obesity and other diet related degenerative diseases among American children and adults. Nutritious kitchen-prepared food is too often replaced by faster, processed, high sugar, high salt, and high fat packaged foods. Food is fuel for a family and nutritious food promotes healthy living. The whole family often takes part in preparing meals, but the responsibility for feeding the family is a part of what it means to be homemaker. Wives who take this role seriously are devoted to preparing good food for themselves, their husbands, and children (Proverbs 31:15). This is not a demeaning role, but a role of great importance that can bring much happiness and in which great creativity can be displayed.
Social scientists and family advocates are continually saying that families need to spend more time together with each other around the table, because it’s a natural place of conversation, relaxation, and relationship building. But when a working mom rushes in from the office to serve processed packaged food again, the beauty and desirability of the dinner table is greatly diminished. I am constantly astonished with the creativity and ability of godly wives and mothers to make meals special and nutritious. Such women are devoted to the health of their families and to making mealtimes special. Because of their devotion and skill, such blessed families have a storehouse of good memories related to eating together as a family. Skill in this role grows over time but can be prepared for extensively before marriage.
Meal preparation is just one aspect of work within the home. The ideal presented in Proverbs 31 is that of an industrious and skilled woman who is busy primarily at home and with the nurture of her children (Proverbs 6:6-11). The husband must certainly also take part in all that needs to be done around the house, but he is helping the wife as she directs the daily workings of the home.
Let me close this section by discussing the reality of limited resources. Every young woman must work to develop the quality of frugality and self-control. When the duties of provision and home are divided between the husband (as the primary earner) and the wife (as primary manager of the home) the wife ends up spending the great majority of the family’s disposable income. Disposable income is that income which is not already obligated to pay for recurring monthly expenses such as rent / mortgage, power, car payments, insurance, and so forth. What is left after meeting the monthly reoccurring expenses is what the wife has to work with to buy the necessities of the home and to feed and clothe the family. A young woman who does not know how to carefully limit her spending, how to shop for deals, how to eliminate waste, and how to reuse things already in the home, will not be able to live within a budget. She will end up accumulating debts and over time that can cause great harm to the family. A young woman who regularly spends more than she has, creating a constant cycle of debt, is not ready to marry. It is the duty of the husband to bring home enough to live on, but it is the duty of the wife to use those funds wisely. Part of preparing to manage a home is learning how to live with limited income and cultivating a spirit of frugality and contentment (Proverbs 31:11).
4. Positive View Concerning Motherhood
No one is ever fully prepared for their first child, but at the same time no one should marry who does not want children. God has ordained that children should be raised by parents, primarily in the home, not as wards of the state or in groups by paid workers (daycare). This is a two-parent task, but the primary daily caregiver should be the wife. God has naturally equipped and inclined women toward this role. Young women are called to love their children and be “sensible, pure, workers at home” (Titus 2:3-5). This is not a part-time job. The home and the children in that home will suffer, or benefit, in direct proportion to how well a young wife carries out her role as a mother in the home. The hardest working and most well-intentioned husband cannot make up for a wife and mother who neglects her duties at home. The point here is that no young woman is ready for marriage who is not ready to become the primary and devoted caregiver of children when they arrive.
Any woman who has careful plans for how she can shuffle her children around from one place to another so that she can primarily pursue a career, is not ready to marry. This does not mean that a woman cannot develop work outside of the home, but it does emphatically mean that a woman must devote herself to raising and caring for her children while there are children in the home. No husband and wife should have children that they do not want to personally raise. A young woman should not marry until she is prepared to joyfully put on hold any career path that would take her mostly out of the home when children arrive.
This past year my wife and I were invited to dine with a large and wonderful family. During the dinner conversation I learned that both the husband and wife were medical doctors, but the wife had intentionally withdrawn from practice years ago to care for and raise their beautiful children. Her care and nurture of them was obvious and displayed in their joy, demeanor, and service throughout the evening. This woman weighed the choice of earning a large salary from a prestigious university hospital, against raising and investing her life into her children. She chose the latter believing that it was God’s will. I know that she has not regretted this choice, and that God has rewarded her family greatly for her decision. I applaud her courage in making this choice. She may yet practice medicine again in her later years, but for now it is not the better path.
This is not an isolated situation. I personally know many incredibly talented women that have put aside high earning and prestigious jobs for the purpose of turning their hearts toward their marriage, children, and homemaking. Every one of these women are enjoying the fruit of their labor through a happy marriage, godly children, and a home that thrives filled with godliness and good works. The world lies to young women telling them they can “have it all.” This lie tells young women they can pursue a full-life consuming career and still have every joy at home. The idea is that you can make enough money to pay other people to do what you would be doing, and that this is a better situation. The short response to this is that you can never pay another person to love and raise your children like you can. The end result is simply not the same.
5. Does Not Have Conflicting Career Goals
A young woman seeking marriage should not have career goals that will conflict with her ability to manage the home and care for children as they come. This was mentioned earlier but must be stated plainly because it is no longer an issue that is understood by most young women or their parents. Too often today parents are raising their daughters like parents in past generations raised their sons—to take up a profession and make their way in the world. There is a decreasing expectation that daughters will marry, and a decreasing expectation that if they do marry that their husband will be able to support the family without her additional income. It is no newsflash that two-income homes have become the norm in America and the “necessary” means to affluence. There is also an increasing expectation that even if a young woman marries she should maintain some extent of financial independence because of an unspoken expectation that the marriage will likely fail, and the young woman will have to provide for herself at some point in the future. Therefore, she should hedge her bets and pursue a career.
Every one of these notions runs counter to God’s plan concerning gender roles in marriage and have largely developed as byproducts of generations of failed marriages and a warped view of what is truly valuable. A young woman cannot place a premium on both family and profession. Inevitably, one will be sacrificed for the other. A choice must be made. Young women who place a premium on the pursuit of a profession, should not marry. If they do, they will enter marriage on the wrong track. If once in marriage they continue to pursue a career outside of the home, they demonstrate a failure to value family and its relationships along the lines prescribed by God.
Some women who work outside of the home do so by principle, mistakenly thinking that the best use of their time and talents is to achieve success in the marketplace and to financially add to the affluence of their households. Their earnings often make the difference between driving a BMW instead of a Nissan, between wearing name brand clothes instead of shopping at Target, and between having a large house rather than a cramped one. But is it worth it? When you hear stories about children being dropped off at daycare at 6:00 am, then transferred to “extended care” programs so parents can pick them up at 6:00 pm – and this is repeated everyday Monday through Friday as a normal course of life – you should pity these poor children.
Let’s be frank. Would you have enjoyed spending your childhood like this? I wouldn’t, my children wouldn’t, and I don’t know any child that has experienced better who would. Very often the people who place their children in such situations are wealthy. This is not necessary; it is a chosen path—and the kids are getting the raw end of the deal. Young women who have no intention of derailing their careers to care for children are not prepared to marry.
Other women say that in principle they would prefer to be homemakers and stay at home with their children but choose to live a lifestyle that cannot be supported only by the income of the husband. Incrementally the couple chooses to live beyond the income of the husband until their financial obligations “force” the wife to enter the marketplace and leave the home. However, the situation is one of artificial necessity. It is a tragedy of the couple’s own choosing and one that can be reversed through sacrifice. The couple could live in a smaller house, could drive less expensive cars (or go to one car), could cut out expensive restaurant eating, and other expenses to live on only the husband’s income. But this choice takes great humility and strength of character. Pride drives people to materialism and a lack of character allows them to continue rationalizing a lifestyle they know is wrong.
Finally, there are some wives that truly are forced to work outside of the home because of real and pressing financial necessity. Situations of truly desperate need occur far less than the actual number of two-parent working homes, but such need should not be overlooked. When I think of what it means for a woman to truly have to work outside of the home in order to support the needs of her family I think of Ann, a godly and strong older woman that I know. Mid way through life, Ann’s husband unexpectedly began to use drugs. He eventually robbed a number of local convenience stores to get money for drugs and was thrown in jail once the law caught up with him. Ann had to work outside of the home to keep her family together. There can be no doubt that this was true need. For many years Ann worked hard and managed to cover the needs of her children, while also not growing bitter toward God. She is a strong woman and I admire her resolve. In such a situation parents must seek out the best situation possible for their children while they have to be separated from them day after day. This need arose from the failure of the husband. Because of his failure, everyone else had to adjust and experience hardship. This should never become the permanent state of things unless health, or some other outside circumstance makes it truly impossible for a husband to be the primary provider for his home. Don’t let a temporary setback become a permanent way of life. Only true need should drive a mother of children out of the home and into the marketplace.
6. Prepared to be a servant
No young woman is ready to enter marriage until she understands what it means to be a servant. The best marriages are marked by the mutual loving service of one spouse to the other. This must be a central focus of Christian marriage because it was a central aspect of the attitude of Christ, whose example we are called to walk in. Philippians 2:3-5 states, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” These verses are very plain. Stop living a self-centered lifestyle. Instead, do nothing from selfishness, but with humility consider your needs and desires secondary to those around you. This means that godly young women, who are prepared for marriage will live lives marked by service and humility.
Servant-minded young women will be the ones offering to take the nursery duty that no one else wants. They will be the ones that stay behind and help do the dishes when everyone else leaves. They will be the ones who visit the elderly and help the overwhelmed young mother with some free babysitting. They will revere the example of Dorcas (Acts 9:36-43). Servant-minded young women will be known for their patience with difficult people and their kindness toward the weak.
Wives who love their husbands will go out of their way to serve them. As the husband seeks to do the same, an attitude of mutual service will animate the marriage with a spirit of self-sacrificial joy. Maintaining a home is a continual act of service and can be motivated by love or by a grudging sense of duty. The motivation matters and will ultimately shape the outcome. The woman who maintains a home and serves her husband because she feels that she must, will soon tire of the situation—often seeking escape from the home to the workplace. But the young wife who maintains a home and serves her family from a glad heart of servant-love will receive great blessing. Remember the words of our Lord that, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). I understand that this heart of service grows over time along with spiritual maturity, but the astounding level of selfishness displayed by many young women today is a serious factor contributing to the destruction of homes.
Young women are not prepared for marriage until they can gladly sacrifice what they want for what their potential spouse and family may need. As both the young husband and the young wife grow in their understanding of self-sacrifice, their early marriage will develop a beautiful mutual sacrifice, rather than an ugly and increasingly isolated individualism. If a young woman does not have a heart for service she is not yet ready to marry.