This guest post is from Good Naija Girl who currently resides in the Canada and has been working very hard with the Nigerian Blog awards. A woman of many talents she also has a further blog All my singles ladies. Check them out!
I can’t remember where I first heard of the book Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God With A Hope Deferred, but from the title and from reading what the book was about, it was apparent that I, then a 30 year old, single Christian woman, would benefit from it. I bought the book several months ago, and it sat collecting dust as I bought and read another book on relationships, one with a catchier title, written for a secular audience, which was a lot easier to read (as is often the case for me with secular versus Christian books).
I’m glad that Chichi’s invitation to guest blog stirred me to read this book and I’m here to share my first impressions after just finishing it.
When I told people I was reading this book, some mentioned that those sounded like good books to read. But no, that long title is for one book! Some also made an immediate connection to Joshua Harris’s book I Kissed Dating Goodbye (which I haven’t read), and it turns out that Harris was the one who gave author Carolyn McCulley the title for her book, and he wrote the forward for Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?
One thing that was interesting to me is the fact that Carolyn McCulley wrote this book from experience: although she’s now 46, she was 40 years old when she wrote the book. She’s a Christian woman who is very active in her church and countless other Christian ministries. And she is a single woman. It was important to me to read a book from the perspective of a woman who was still experiencing what she was writing about at the time she wrote the book (and beyond, as it would appear), because it lends an authenticity to instances where she says that she knows how you, the reader, feels.
Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? is divided into three parts: Surveying Singleness, Finding a Guide for Relationships in the Proverbs 31 Woman, and Finding a Guide for Daily Life in the Proverbs 31 Woman. Not surprisingly, Proverbs 31 is the key reference of this book. Most Christian women preparing for marriage know Proverbs 31 well, and many churches prescribe it as essential reading for women planning to marry one day. My introduction to the Proverbs 31 woman is recent (only in the last few years), and I’d hardly say I’ve really studied it. I’ve read it several times and concluded that I am not ready for marriage (even though I would like to be married soon), but that is not going to change matters, is it? I need to read the words and really meditate over them, and see how I can apply them to my current life and the future I desire. Reading this book is a first step that allows the reader to do just that.
To be honest, there is too much to say on the book, so I’ll have to focus on what I learned and found encouraging, and I'll share some difficult parts too.
I learned that:
- Singleness is a gift, just as marriage is a gift
If you’ve been single as long as I have, it might be hard for you to consistently think of singleness as a gift (and there’s a passage early in the book about singleness being a gift you don’t recall asking for that will make you laugh). You may have married friends who have told you that you’re “so lucky” that you’re single and you can do what you want when you want. When you’re trying to leave the single life behind, these words provide little comfort.
But if you believe that God only gives good gifts, and that God’s measuring stick for what makes a gift good or bad is not the same as a human measuring stick, you will open yourself up to seeing how your singleness is a blessing and how much you can bless others while single (and this book will help you realize both of those goals).
- Our time on earth is fleeting, and our concern should be on eternal things
This was encouraging but also difficult. We all know that this world is fleeting and we should be preparing for eternity in heaven, but it’s so easy to get caught up in earthly matters and events, and for women who have dreamed all their lives of being married and having kids, it is very eye-opening to be reminded that the things of this world will not last! Our time fretting over our single status would be better spent doing God’s work here on earth, preparing for eternal future, rather than wondering whether marriage is part of God’s divine plan for us. There are countless ways that we can use some of the advantages of being single to bless others around us (and there are so many in need of this blessing), and the book shares many of these with the reader.
- Single women are called to be Proverbs 31 women
If like me you’ve been thinking that you have at least your dating life (prior to marriage) to become the Proverbs 31 woman, this book will jolt you from that “I have time!” mentality. We are called to be Proverbs 31 women today, no procrastination allowed! We are to be women of noble character; we are to make decisions about our life today that will affect the kind of wife we may become in the future, decisions like learning submission (always a hot topic in the Christian walk for women!), and you’ll be interested to see ways in which McCulley suggests we can practice submission. We are to learn the many facets of hospitality (Proverbs 31: 14-15); enter into home ownership, if it's feasible, even without a husband (Proverbs 31: 16-19); and single women can have children “who rise up and call her [us] blessed”, as it says in Proverbs 31: 28, even before we have our own biological children (if that is God's plan). I hope you're intrigued enough to want to read the book for yourself and learn much more about how to be a Proverbs 31 woman, something that will serve you well regardless of whether or not you marry in the future.
Don’t let the above deceive you into thinking I found the book easy to read. There were some difficult parts, difficult because the book convicts you and shows you some of your sin. It may also expose some of the weaknesses in your walk with Christ and that can be very uncomfortable. I was personally reminded that my faith is weak and I have to work harder to make time with God a priority in my life.The more time I invest in God's words, the easier it will be to draw on His Word when I am finding it hard to wait on God for a husband.
I was a bit discouraged to learn that the author is still single, but if you look at all that she’s doing with her life, my sentiment is unnecessary−she’s certainly not sitting around feeling sorry for herself! I may have my own selfish reasons for feeling sorry for her: maybe I’m afraid that I will be single 15 years from now and I find that scary. When I start to feel this way, I remember that God, not (a) man, is in control of my life, and I remind myself to have faith that God will answer my prayers in the best way. That is encouraging and quite uplifting.
For those who have wondered if maybe it’s their external appearance (those 50 extra pounds, *ahem*) that is keeping them from catching the eye of a godly man, there is an excellent “Heart Check” on Beauty” at the end of Chapter 10, 10 questions that help you put things in perspective and ensure that your reasons for focusing on your outwardly appearance so much are reasons that are God-honouring. There's also a reminder that it’s our inner beauty that God is concerned about, and that we should also be focusing on (not that McCulley doesn't address outer appearance too). It was all eye opening to me.
There are so many things to appreciate about this book: the fact that McCulley supports her points with biblical references as well as references to resources from other Christian writers, the list of additional reading resources she provides at the end of each chapter, and her sense of humour to name a few. Since I wanted you to read this to the end, I tried to keep it short (well, my definition of short), but don’t think I have spoiled the book or shared all that it has to offer. I truly encourage you to pick up Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God With A Hope Deferred if you want a bible-based book on how to navigate through your season of singleness. If you’re not ready to commit, the first two chapters are available here.
Picture taken by Good Naija Girl.