What a Girl Wants (and How She Can Get It): Part 1

It’s the stuff little girls dream of. What begins as a childhood fascination with princesses, dress-up clothes, and mock weddings, grows into a teenage obsession with wedding magazines, boys, and dreams of matrimonial bliss. Most girls, pre-pubescent and teenage, think about getting married. They flock to romantic movies, swoon over the male lead pursuing the woman perfectly, and then hope and wish that the same thing might happen to them someday. Regardless of what the feminists say about girl power and all, most teenage girls (especially Christian ones) still want marriage and family. But then again, there is also a disconnect somewhere.

Just a quick glance at the statistics regarding teenage sexual activity shows that while girls might want marriage, they aren’t really following the typical path that will get them there—or at least to a happily ever after. Girls might want marriage, but they sure don’t act like it. They hook-up with boys, but then are surprised when they don’t treat them with the respect, honor and pursuit that they see in romantic comedies. And as they get older they grow desensitized, bitter, and cynical to all things male and matrimonial. They start with a fairytale and end with a 30-year-old boy playing video games and drinking beer in their one bedroom apartment. What happened to the house, dual-income, and 2.5 kids they always dreamed about? What happened to the happy ending?

Unfortunately, the joke is on them.

As I’ve taught and discipled girls, gone through my twenties, lived and learned a little, and am now married to a wonderful, godly man I’ve noticed a common pattern with girls these days. They want the happy ending; they just go about it all wrong. They embrace the cultural milieu of hooking-up and no commitment and are surprised when it doesn’t feel as good as was promised. As Christians, we have a distinct and hopeful answer to the girls and women who buy into this thinking. And as much as we would like to think that our abstinence pledges and True Love Waits rallies are setting us apart, they aren’t. In order to embrace a biblical model of womanhood (and manhood) Christian teenagers and young adults will need to be swimming upstream in a muddy, swampy mess of ambient culture. For most of them, they need a complete reorientation of their understanding of what it means to be a woman.

What’s the Church to Do?

All of the writing, speaking, debating, and press regarding biblical womanhood the last decade or so could easily make us all think that the battle has been waged and won. But a quick survey of the modern evangelical landscape shows us that our work is far from over. While there are excellent resources out there, and many places are doing it well, most of our churches are still left lacking. And the local church is where it must be taught. A lot of our teenagers are still dating and pairing off like the world, all the while hoping that they will one day marry like their pastor and his wife. We must have a robust theology of womanhood, coupled with a safe haven for girls to talk, question, and learn about how God has created them to be, all within the context of God's ordained means of spreading his glory in this world--the local church. Everything they are bombarded with on a daily basis is contrary to God’s design. From entertainment to friendship, young girls today need a complete overhaul of teaching on biblical womanhood. Feminism is at the very core of our being, and now that it is a culturally accepted doctrine, it will win if we don’t counter it with the truths of Scripture.

Our churches must be the first place girls can go to learn about God’s design for them. We cannot simply expect that they will learn womanhood by default. They won’t. And this is where the Bible comes into play.

To be continued...