Well, I tried to lay this to rest in my mind. I really tried. Spare me one more blog to muddle through it all. I realize that my previous post could have been misunderstood. I read the concerns and good points about having the ability to discern whether someone is marriage material and the right and obligation to weigh that decision and of course, I agree. I was never advocating no choice in the matter. And I whole-heartedly agree that counsel is wise. Most people seek counsel from those closest to them in life. It’s part of the support and love we have for each other. Very natural. Some kind of discerning is necessary, whether we call it a list or not. So I want to clarify I do understand that.
So, what is my angst in all of this? This has been difficult to pinpoint. I feel like I may need more time to uncover it. If it’s not about the list, what rubbed me wrong? Am I just too right-brained to see the value of this thought-out, methodical process? No, I don’t think that’s it. I had ideals when I was choosing a mate. I also had many wonderful people who poured into my life and helped me along the way. So I’m still struggling to get to the root. I don’t know. I am still looking for grace in the middle of it. The sacred pull of the free will of man and the sovereignty of God seems smack dab in the middle of this as well.
So, I haven’t concluded a lot. I do know that I find myself feeling leery of someone that I don’t know, who has not been a part of my life on a personal level, being given the opportunity to make such absolute claims, using the word “never”. Could the advice be spot-on? Yes. Absolutely. But somehow spot-on isn’t enough for me. Maybe I’m back to evaluating the spirit. Only God can help discern that and maybe I have assigned something prideful in the advice given, that really wasn’t there.
But here’s how it feels. As an example, It would be like me writing an article called “10 reasons why you SHOULD have at least 5 children”. Am I qualified to write such a thing? Yes, I guess. I could easily do this. I have 5 children. I know the benefits. (Now I don’t mind sharing with those who want to know why I think having 5 is awesome). But should I publish it to everyone using the verb “SHOULD”, and expect that it is good and right advice for all, without knowledge specific situations? Most of the time it will be ok, right? Because I know the benefits. I could even give examples of bratty, spoiled, children who are an only child and make a case that the parents are being selfish, only having one child. I could move on to the dynamics of only having two children etc… then I could employ the use of guilt. -“You want Christians to propagate the earth don’t you? You wouldn’t want to be part of the problem instead of the solution, would you?” You get the point. I’m using some generalities, calling them facts, rolling it all up with guilt and making a case. Anyone can do anything with generalities. But what about your anguish? What about all of the things about you that I don’t know. Throw in a Hosea, for example, and we have trouble. A monkey wrench on steroids.
So, should we give advice like “10 steps to…”or “8 people Christians should…”well, I can’t answer that for you. But for me, well, I’m not writing any YOU SHOULD NEVER articles any time soon. I’ll save my two cents for those who are close to me (kids) and those who want to know my thoughts and even then I would be cautious with those words.
It just doesn’t seem like “good advice” alone gives me license to make absolute decisions for you. It leaves no room for your own wrestling with God on the matter. Personal sovereignty seems to be lost. Maybe that’s what I’m mourning. I guess I could be gracious about my article and say “10 reasons why having at least 5 children is awesome” so I can feel better about it. Either way, I’m convinced that our one-on-one conversations and synergy with each other is more important in this process than we might guess.
ok, well, I may have muddied the waters even more. At the end of the day we all want beautiful God- filled marriages and families. It’s all about the journey to and in. Thanks for bearing with me as I think aloud.
❤ to you and yours.
Your blog about the dangers of these lists was good. They do lead to false security and a lack of leaning on the Holy Spirit, and they do not allow for the reality that all of us need to grow, and all of us require a dose of forgiveness to make marriage work.