Some advice for young men. About the ladies.

For Karen, on our 30th anniversary (orig. written May 2010)

This is for the guys, but the women can listen in!

Weddings are a great place to meet young women. Everyone is thinking of love and marriage, and many want to meet guys. So go to weddings when you’re invited, even if you have to get dressed up.

NOW, here’s my advice.

There are two girls you’ll see there:

The first girl: Do you see the young woman who is beautiful and knows it? Who carefully scans the crowd and figures out just which lucky male will enjoy her attention? Who forces herself to look fascinated by whatever he says? Who rolls her eyes up at the rest of guys, snickers about how other girls are dressed, makes cracks about older guests?

The second girl: Now, do you see the young woman who is also very nice-looking, but isn’t obsessed with how she looks? Is she the one who makes sure the elderly guests get a piece of cake, and has a smile and friendly words for them? Who is helpful to the hostess? Who keeps an eye open for cute guys but talks to everyone, men and women of all ages? Who is happy to chat with you, but doesn’t play those shallow flirtation games?

Brother, take it from me, I know whereof I speak:

In 30 years, the first girl will still be a “princess”, only three decades older and significantly less mesmerizing.

In 30 years, the second girl will still be your queen, older, yes, but more fascinating and charming by the day.

Admire the first girl, sure. But do whatever you can, my friend, to marry the second one.

“Some advice for young men. About the Ladies,” by Gary S. Shogren, Professor of New Testament, Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica


Some Advice for Young Men! (and the Women can Listen In)

Where is MY special someone?? [Studies in 1 Corinthians]

The New Testament gives no formula for choosing a husband or wife. Yes, in 1 Corinthians 7, Paul speaks to a widow who wishes to marry ‘is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord,’ that is, only if the new husband is a Christian. Apart from that, the instruction that Paul gives in that chapter is directed to very specific questions about singleness and marriage. He does not offer a full set of rules. In short, the apostles are concerned that we marry a Christian and that we live righteously within marriage; they say nothing about how to figure out which Christian to marry. In the first century and in many cultures, it is not the young people who decide on a mate, but rather parents or other members of the family or tribe. In many Latino cultures up to the 20th century the Catholic church required signed permission from both fathers.

The Western church of today adds to the apostolic teaching and at times sets it aside. Christians have adopted a romantic view of marriage that has more to do with 19th century philosophy and Hollywood movies than the New Testament. What comes out is the assumption that there is a special someone for everybody, that you have to find just the right person, that marriage vows are not as important as following your heart.

Despite the single story of Rebecca in Genesis 24:10-21, God never promises in his Word to give us a special revelation to show whom we should marry. (more…)