I'd Have to be Crazy!

I turned on the news the other day and a book flashed onto the screen, “Better to be Single than Sorry”. The author, a thirty year old woman, told the reporter that now that she is no longer in her twenties, she has “wizened up”. She doesn't need a man to be happy. So far she has turned down three marriage proposals. When asked why, she responded that she'd rather be single than start a family with Mr. Okay instead of Mr. Right.

More and more women are delaying marriage or deciding against it altogether. Fifty one percent of women in the United States are now single. This is a record high.

Why are women less anxious to get married these days? The author thinks it is largely because women are more educated. Right now, women outnumber men in colleges by 1.3 to one. They can provide for themselves just as well as a man can and this independence often pushes marriage out of their plans. Men are simply not living up to their standards.

The news item then flashed to footage of  the author talking and laughing with her single girlfriends at a restaurant. The underlying message was that she had chosen the right path.

I felt very sorry for this woman and for all those who will read her book. The sweet  memory of my husband's kiss goodbye that morning as he left for work still lingered with me. I remembered how safe and warm our home felt the night before when he arrived home and the children rushed to climb all over him. It felt wonderful to snuggle on the couch together after the children were in bed and laugh as we talked about their antics during the day.

The aforementioned author will be waiting a long time for Mr. Perfect and it is more  likely he will never show. Will she still be smiling so much when she is forty and childless? What about when she is fifty and all alone? Will she regret her decision to be single when she is sixty and wonders what might have been had she accepted one of those marriage proposals?

Every man has his flaws, as we all do. Even a “Mr. Right” can appear to turn into “Mr. Okay” after a few years of marriage. The divorce rate reflects this. God's plan is the only one that works. If we learn to do as Ephesians chapter five outlines and  'honor our husbands'  rather than putting them on a measuring stick, we enable the Mr. Right inside them to stick around.

Of course we shouldn't jump into marriage. It is a prayerful decision and there are exceptions like Mother Theresa who devoted her life to nurturing orphans. This doesn't change God's plan for us from the very beginning.

God told us in Genesis, chapter one that a man and woman would become one flesh. He knows what's best for us. Our bodies were designed to bear children. With more women staying single, there are a record number of women in this country who are childless.  According to a recent census, women with higher incomes have the highest childless rates. Bearing children, especially before the age of 24 offers long term protection against many reproductive diseases. Uh-Oh, the average age for first time childbirth is now above 25. This average has jumped up three years in a little over a decade alone.

The results are starting to come in--reproductive cancers are rising and ovarian cancer is soaring to alarming rates. The failure to experience lactation and childbirth appears to cause malfunctions which frequently result in health problems for women later in life. The U.S. Health Department declares childbirth as the most important known factor in preventing ovarian cancer. Women who have never had children are twice as likely to develop ovarian cancer. The more full term births a woman has, the lower her risk for this disease.

This is also true for breast cancer. Women who are more likely to delay childbirth by pursuing careers have higher breast cancer risks than their counterparts. Women who breast feed for at least two years cut their breast cancer risks by about half. Their risks go down for every following birth and year of breast feeding. Any woman who has breastfed for seven years out of her life decreases her risk for breast cancer by more than ninety percent.

Studies also reveal that having few or no children is a risk for endometrial cancer. Women in underdeveloped nations who frequently have six or seven children rarely get this disease. A recent study at Harvard School of Public Health has found that women who have had three or more children have nearly 40 percent less risk of lung cancer, whether they smoke or not. The risk for lung cancer also declines with the increasing number of births a woman has.

1 Timothy 2 15 makes more sense than ever before when it says, “Women shall be saved in childbearing.” Once again, science proves God's Word true.

Childbirth has also been shown to have a positive impact on women's mental health. A 1992 Canadian study that examined more than a thousand women found that married women with children had the highest levels of psychological well being compared to women who did not have children. The researcher concluded that “Childless women don't really get much out of giving up having children.”

With all the voices out there saying marriage isn't worth it, I'd like to offer my own. “Oh, yes it is,” I say. Sure, there are times when it is challenging, but anything good requires some work. Why would anyone want to give up such a precious gift?  Not only does it make sense, it is truly rewarding. Here are five things I love about being married.

1. Being loved.

I think we take this one too lightly. Let's give it the respect it deserves. When someone chooses to love you above all others and cling to you for the rest of your life, this is no small thing. In a sense, it is a miracle in itself. To think my husband chose to love me out of every other woman in the world! I could have happy thoughts all day dwelling on this point alone. To think he would even lay his life down for me! That is a God-given love from a man to his wife. It is something to be grateful for and handle with care.


2. Having a Protector.

I'll admit that sometimes I feel like my husband is a little too protecting. He can't stand for me to be home late if I have to go out in the evening. The frown on his face when I get home says it all. He doesn't like not being there to physically protect me from danger. This protective instinct is another God-given gift that husbands offer their wives. The security a husband gives to his wife and children is the perfect buffer from the perils of this world. I know I should accept this instinct with a little more grace..


3. Having a Warm Bed Partner.

There is nothing I love more than going to sleep and feeling my husband’s arms around me. I pity any woman who values drinks with friends more than this. I can't say my husband is my only bed partner though. We still have a couple of  little ones who like to join us in the middle of the night. But when we are alone, our bed can be a pretty exciting place. The passing years have only made this better.


4. Having a Provider.

While I may be capable of providing for myself and my children, I am glad my husband is willing to assume this important role. I have the freedom to stay home and answer only to him. I know some men love their job. Many others, like my husband, commit themselves day after day for the sake of their families. My husband drives well over an hour each way to and from work. I'm thankful he loves us enough to do this so I can be home with the children. If not for us, he would simply go back to being a road musician. We know we are worth a lot to him for that sort of sacrifice.


5. Having a Best Friend.

I was one of the many who presumed having a best friend in a husband would be something quite different to what it is. I imagined many hours of soul talk where we would share our deepest emotions. We would shop happily together and discuss in dreamy detail the way we would decorate our home. It makes me giggle now to remember my dreams. Aside from expressing his love for me, I don't believe my husband has ever talked about his emotions in our thirteen years of marriage. Sometimes I wonder if he has any. But then, I probably have enough for both of us. Still, I would rather spend my time with him than anybody else, even if we don't talk about shades of taupe on walls. As a best friend, my husband is a wise counselor, a listener, a comforter, a source of encouragement, and he still makes me laugh.


Would I give all this up to be single? I'd have to be crazy!

PEARL BARRETT

Primm Springs, Tennessee, USA

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