Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Temptation to be Mrs. Bennet

I don't know if I would have made this connection without reading this article by Nancy Wilson several years ago. Here's a little taste, but you really should go read the whole thing.

••But you may ask, "What's wrong with trying to find a nice Christian young man for my daughter?" It sounds like such a holy pursuit! First of all, why do so many mothers think it is their job to find a suitable husband for their daughters? Has your husband delegated this responsibility to you? "Honey, Susie is pushing twenty-two, so I'd like you to find a husband for her. Start going through the church directory and we'll have the young men over to dinner in groups of three." I don't think so.••

When I first read this, two or three or more years ago, I found it very amusing. Anybody who has read Pride and Prejudice or seen one of the film adaptations can probably picture a modern day Mrs. Bennet...gotta get these daughters married off, gotta find suitable husbands, oh my nerves, oh that husband who won't help, oh the regiment is in town!

When I found it amusing, though, my daughter was in her early teens. Now she's 18, going to be 19 soon, and what she wants to do with her life is be a wife and mother. So, even though I know better, I sometimes find myself thinking like Mrs. Bennet. Obviously we want her to have a godly husband most of all. But we go to a teeny tiny church and if I were to start inviting the young men over to dinner in groups of three we would run out of young men ridiculously quickly.

So, late at night, my crazy mind starts scheming, thinking of scenarios. Hey, we were in a good church back in Illinois when she was born. And she was born during the massive 1980s baby boom at that particular church. Lots of our friends had babies around the same time. And, believe it or not, some of those babies were boys. Hmm...our godly friends from College and Career Youth Group days might have eligible boys wanting wives. "Hey, honey, wake up...ROAD TRIP!! What...what do you mean you 'have a high respect for my nerves'? Ah, you do not know what I suffer!"

I can think of a bunch of really good reasons why it is SO stupid for me to be like Mrs. Bennet. Three will suffice:

1. God is sovereign. This is really the only reason I should need, but I am a weak bumbling human. God knows if Natalie will marry, and He will see to it that she meets the man without my crazy schemes.

2. Natalie isn't exactly desperate. She's 18, for goodness' sake! After all, I was not nearly as pretty and accomplished (and all those other Austen virtues!) as she is...and even I got married before I was too terribly old. Without having to go running after the regiment, even. :) There's plenty of time for her to meet someone before she's anywhere near to being an old maid.

3. I don't really want her to leave home anytime soon. She's my helper and my friend, and when she's not here I miss her a lot. It's going to be hard enough to have her gone two days a week for her new job...I don't want to think about what it will be like when she might be hundreds or thousands of miles away.

So, as you can see, this is one of those posts that I'm writing to make myself face the truth. Mrs. Bennet was an idiot and I don't want to be like her. So I need to keep reminding myself to trust in God for the future in all things...including my children's future spouses.

Spouses. Spouse(s).

I wonder what Mrs. Bennet's thoughts and strategies would have been if she had an unsocialized homeschooled son to marry off? :) Perhaps I should be thinking ahead...Colin's going to be 7 soon, after all.


agentlejoy said...

Maybe it's because we, in our generation, know so few people who have been through courtship and marriage out of homeschooling. We don't have a lot of anecdotal evidence of how, when, or where it happens!

My eldest is an 11-year-old boy, and I have trouble believing that he will one day be able to dress himself properly and hold down a job, well enough find a lovely accomplished (stay-at-home homeschooling Christian mommy-to-be) wife. Am I asking too much? Hmmm... Maybe I should lower my standards a tad. Can I cope if she's tattooed and no more a Christian than I was when I married?!? Ack!

My official line to my children is that it's better to pursue God's purpose in your life than to pursue marriage. That way, when He brings someone into your life, through your job or interest, they'll be ready and able to join you in your life's work instead of pulling you in different directions.

Doesn't that sound good on paper?

Hope it works.

Amydeanen said...

hehe okay I can so relate to this.. i joke with a few of my friends about arranged marriages for my children (4 of them 5&under) but some of it is that yearning I think to help the decision, and yet i know God's in control!

What a fantastic post!