Written By Joseph Spurgeon
Voddie Baucham says that whenever a young person asks what he or she can do to be serious about serving the Lord, he always says the same thing. When young men say, “How can I enter ministry?” or young ladies say, “What can I do to serve Jesus?” they are probably anticipating something about going to college or seminary or traveling to some foreign country to do missions. Maybe they are expecting him to tell them about an apprenticeship or serving in a Sunday school class.
None of these are necessarily bad things, but they are not part of Voddie’s answer. Instead he says, “If you are serious about serving the Lord, get married, pray that he gives you a house filled with children, and bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” There is no greater ministry, he says, than to get married and have children.
Wouldn’t it be better to hop on a plane to Haiti and work with orphans for a couple of months? It certainly is easier and more glamorous, and it takes far less commitment.
We have a plethora of young women in the church who are willing to travel the globe for Jesus but not many who are willing to do the hard work of digging in, planting foundations, and loving a husband and children. It is easier to serve children you can leave behind after a few months than it is to serve your own. It is easier to serve strangers we meet on the streets whom we will never see again than it is to love our own families.
Titus 2 commands the Older Women to instruct the younger woman that they are to love their husbands and children and to keep house. But sadly, there has been a dirth in Titus 2 Older women instructing the younger women, and one consequence is a dirth in young women being married.
We live in a period of incredible decline for marriage. The one thing to which young women are commended to in Titus is the one thing they are not doing in our time.
According to the US census data, in 1962 over half of 21-year-olds were married. Yet in 2018 only 8.8 percent of 21-year-olds were married. In 1962, 90 percent of people were married by the time they were 30 years old. Today only 30 percent of people ages 18-34 are married. In 1950, the median age for a woman’s first marriage was 20.5. In 2018 it was 28. According to the Pew Research Center, the median age for first marriage has hit its highest point on record: 30 years old for men and 28 years for women.
Sadly, as the US. Marriage rate has declined, the rate of unmarried couples living together has increased. According to US census data among people ages 18-24, cohabitation is now more prevalent than living with a spouse. Nine percent lived with an unmarried partner in 2018, compared to seven percent who lived with a spouse. Fifty years ago, living with an unmarried partner was rare. Only 0.1 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 0.2 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds lived with an unmarried partner, according to the Current Population Survey.
The plummeting marriage rates may only be matched by the plummeting birth rates. The birth rate in the US is at an all-time low. It is far below replacement rates, meaning that if something does not happen soon, this nation will experience incredible decline economically and in all other ways of measurement.
In addition to these birth rates, another number tells why there may be so few Titus 2 older women teaching the goodness of marriage, and that number is in regards to divorce. In Matthew 19, Jesus was asked by the Pharisees if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all. In that day, it was rare if impossible for a woman to divorce her husband. Now the shoe has flipped. If the Pharisees were to question Jesus today, they might ask “Is it lawful for a woman to divorce her husband for any reason at all?”
And this is what we are seeing. The American Sociological Association conducted a large study on divorce, which found that women initiate two-thirds of all divorces. This is a staggering 69%. They found an even higher rate, around 90%, for divorces initiated by women with a college education.
It is women, empowered by no fault court laws and a court system, that then favors them whether they are the party actually at fault or not, that are driving the divorce rates.
And speaking of any reason at all. Here are the top nine reasons given in one study on why women divorce their husbands. 1. Indifference or cluelessness of the husband to their feelings; 2. Small gestures and reassurances are missing; 3. Money problems; 4. Needs not being met at home; 5. Husbands who cheat on their wives; 6. Marriage not living up to expectations; 7. Substance abuse; 8. Lack of romance; 9. Physical and emotional abuse.
Of these nine reasons only one (number five) and maybe half of the nine (physical violence) is a legitimate reason that Christ would allow. The rest all come around to, “I didn’t get what I wanted, so I left and took the kids and everything with me. “ Its entirely wicked and selfish. It happens because women get into marriage looking for some kind of Disney experience that will help them find their ultimate joy and rather then give themselves to submitting to their husband and building up their household, they break their covenant and dishonor God. Then they turn around and teach the next generation that marriage isn’t worth it. Younger women should make sure they get their career going.
It shouldn’t be this way. Now, gratefully there are some mothers who are reclaiming a responsibility to be Titus 2 women. There are some who desire to train their daughters and prepare them for marriage. There are young ladies who though indoctrinated by the culture to despise their femininity, who are pushing back and do desire marriage. And some are single but by God’s providence haven’t had the opportunity to marriage yet and see it as an affliction which they pray God will remove.
What then should a young lady do to prepare for marriage? What can she do to prepare both to be a good wife but also to be a good prospect for marriage. Here is a non-exhaustive list of ten ways a woman can prepare or a mother can help her daughters prepare. This list is in no particular order.
1. Get in shape and watch what you eat: Like it or not, men are visual and if you want to attract a husband, be attractive. This doesn’t mean dress slutty or immodestly. But it means watch out for how you look. Don’t be vain but consider how you dress. Don’t be frumpy. There is truth to the phrase that men desire debt-free virgins without tattoos. Stay away from the tats but instead grow your hair out and take care of it. And be joyful. Be beautiful inside and out. And woman who are already married, you want to help your marriage. Consider how you look to your husband. Don’t think that now you have a husband, you can let yourself go. Now don’t be vain. Childbearing is beautiful and don’t be so worried about what it does to your body.
2. Watch out how you treat your father. Submit to your father and respect him. If you can’t submit to your father, how will you submit to your husband.
3. Develop your domestic skills. Learn to cook, clean, and keep house. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
4. Be a Mother in the Church: Give yourself to serving God. While it may be good to work an outside job or go to school, these things shouldn’t keep you from serving in the church.
5. Study and meditate on scriptures that teach submission and women’s roles so you can hear God’s heart and not the world’s. Learn what the purpose of marriage is. Don’t let Disney and romance novels be your guide.
6. Don’t go into debt. You might want to go to college and that’s fine, but don’t go into debt to do it. And also realize that a college degree, especially advanced degrees will not move your status up in attractiveness to a potential husband. It may just make your pool of potential mates smaller.
7. Keep yourself Pure. Don’t give yourself away whether in person or online.
8. Be an approachable person while being careful not to be desperate. If you find a man who catches your eye, be available to him. Be careful of the kinds of signals you send off. Your humble quietness may come across as rude and unapproachable but on the flipside too chatty and friendly can come across as flirty or just make you one of the guys.
9. Learn about how to care for children.
10. Learn to pray.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.