It wasn’t long ago that I asked my wife if she would view me as an optimist. I didn’t even get a verbal response, just a smirk. Since then, I’ve been seeking to change my image to hopefully be perceived by some as a “glass half full” guy. In thinking of the future landscape of mates for my children, I’ve made some progress. For my boys, I’m half full. Alas, for the girls, I’m more half empty.
My wife and I were recently in the mountains in Colorado. We saw dozens of elk, impressive creatures. Of those we viewed, almost all of them were does, and only a few bulls. The bulls pretty much had their choice. Not so for the does. To me, it appears to be the same with respect to young girls and guys that would be worthwhile future mates. Simply put, there appear to be many more young girls who are serious about their walks with the Lord, but not so much the case for the boys.
With marriage in general, there is some glass half full information. The good news is that only 14.9 of 1000 marriages in the US ended in 2019, according to data from the Census Bureau. But on the downside, the Institute for Family Studies also reported that many fewer adults are getting married nowadays – only 33 out of every 1,000 adults.
The challenging circumstances that I mentioned for our daughters are traceable to some extent to the Fall. Adam was passive in taking on godly leadership, protecting his wife, and banishing Satan. Ever since, men have inherited some of that passivity gene as part of our sin nature, and it shows up in our lack of inclination to lead in pursuing godly relationships with the Lord. This is critical to change at the core. As CS Lewis said, “Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, is of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
A boy is so often willing to invest in various plans in life – his workout plan to get big and strong, his progress towards a career that will make him “significant”. But for too many, there is a lack of initiative to put in the discipline and rigor towards godliness. This commitment matters and is of utmost importance. We need to help a son seek to be the right bait to catch the right fish. We need to pray for him at night, in his presence, so that he hears our prayers for him to find a godly mate and that the Lord would be preparing that young woman for him. As fathers, we need to encourage and praise his mother in front of him so that he learns to appreciate and respect godly women, and not take them for granted.
Amidst this challenging landscape, we need to teach a daughter patience and dependence in the Lord. Sure, there are plenty of apples out there, but not all of them are worth picking. Teach a daughter not to settle for a false, bitter fruit. While I’m concerned that they don’t have as much from which to choose, I’m hopeful. Simply knowing that her Daddy loves her can help a daughter be patient and hopeful. But more than that, we need to help her realize that she has a heavenly Father who has her best interests at heart. Wives, encourage, respect, and praise your husband in front of your daughter so that she realizes that there is a godly husband out there for her.
In the end, there are causes for which to be pessimistic for the future mates of our children, but also surely ones to be hopeful. The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart, and that our sons and daughters would hopefully love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. As parents, we are quickly humbled to realize that we are utterly lacking the ability to control their steps. Hence, we desperately, but joyfully, rest upon the Lord’s good hands. And that fills our cup way more than just half full.
For Part 2, I’ve asked our Youth director, who has years upon years of experience in ministry to youth, college and young adults to give some practice insights and wisdom from his perspective in response…
Pastor Darol Timberlake