How Being Churchified And Church Going Limited My Dating Pool And Marriage Prospects.
By Raina T. Shaw
For years starting from age nineteen I was a church goer (off and on but more on than off) immersed in the non-denominational Christian church teachings.
I didn’t grow up in the church so, I was excited to learn about the prosperity movement, God’s special people that were all one in Jesus Christ, how God would grant all of my desires if I lived right according to the bible and sowed enough financial seed, etc. I felt like the sky was the limit!
With all of those wonderful promises, I was sure that God would have a husband for me as a reward for living a clean Christian life (as best as I could) at some point before my child-bearing years ended.
The women in the church were constantly reminded that their husbands were on the way (just keep praying, tithing, believing and serving/volunteering in the church) and to remember that Abraham had a baby at one hundred years old and his wife Sarah was ninety (Genesis 21:3). So, God may show up at the last minute but, He was going to show up and show out. Your strong faith would make it so. Right!
The single’s ministry at the church encouraged the single parishioners to not be unequally yoked (bonded) together with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14) in business, friendship, marriage. When choosing a mate make sure the person is “saved”. They encouraged the singles to limit themselves and not go to “worldly” places like clubs and other places that unbelievers go looking for a mate. The women were also told to be careful how they dressed because they didn’t want to attract the wrong ungodly men.
The single women, myself included, were encouraged to ignore the statistics on divorce in the church, black babies born out of wedlock, men shacking up and refusing to marry, the disintegration of the black family, black men marrying non-black women in droves, the downlow dilemma, etc. Because, if one showed their faithfulness to God by serving in the church to build God’s kingdom (which was really the pastor and first family’s kingdom and wealth), live right, be a good person, pay your tithes, be at church every time the doors opened, God would see to it that a good Christian, hardworking, loving, “good” man would one day miraculously appear.
For me that was not the case. I was (and still am) single with no children, had (and still have) a thriving career, in great physical shape (then and now) and I was serious about following the church’s teachings until I would fall off of the wagon and slip up with one of those good “Christian” guys that the church told me was on his way to be my husband.
Unfortunately, the “Christian” men that I met could be included in many of the negative statistics about black men and the black family and usually when they did bother to marry, they would marry someone that wasn’t even in church. Usually, it was somebody that they fornicated with and got sexually turned out. After that they didn’t care if the woman was “saved” or not. He was going to make a convert out of this freak of the week with three kids! The men talked holiness, chastity and celibacy but wanted the same thing that other non-Christian men wanted after all. The church girls got tricked and are tricked on a continuous basis to this day.
The men heard the same teachings that I heard about not fornicating but they had no interest in abstaining from premarital sex. I’m talking about men active in the church.
They heard the same teachings that I heard about the man being the head of the household but, the “saints of God” that I met were only interested in being the head without the responsibility or provision for their family.
The men in the church loved to talk about the Proverbs 31 woman and all that she did for her husband and family. The popularity of that teaching has gotten everything flipped around. Now, the woman is supposed to prove to the man that she is worthy of his marriage proposal even when he is a substandard man that needs to remain single.
My mistake was counting out men that were husband material in every way but they were not church goers or “saved”. When I finally woke up a few years ago, it wasn’t necessarily too late for me to marry but I was past child bearing age in my mind. If I had not wasted so many years waiting for someone that was in church and “saved”, I would have definitely married and started a family.
I am not coming from a victim’s standpoint because it was ultimately my decision to pass on the hypocritical, lying, gaming, substandard losers that are in a lot of churches. Luckily, I once lived abroad during my modeling days and was exposed to high caliber men (but, they weren’t “saved”). Leaving the neighborhood and seeing another side of life helped me not to settle but, I still allowed myself to be pigeon holed with the stupid unequally yoked teaching. My victory was only a partial one at one point.
I am urging women to get out of these churches, especially the black churches. The men may know all of the scriptures in the bible but linking up with them will most of the time make you another negative statistic. He is just as likely to abandon you and his children just like a man that is not “saved”. The church will blame you while ole boy will be on to the next woman (that he was two timing you with). Oftentimes, the new woman is from right there in your church.
The church paints single people as second class citizens and life is not good unless one is married. So, on the other end of the spectrum (from me and my way of thinking) are fabulous, accomplished women who allow themselves to be encouraged to settle for under achievers, ex-cons, drug addicts, men on the downlow that are fighting the feeling, men with many divorces and children, under and unemployed but they get a pass from the saints because they know all of the scriptures. He talks a good game but doesn’t have any signs that his belief in God and knowledge of the scriptures is working in his life. Of course pastor says, “That with prayer, patience, love and someone that has his back, he’ll become the man that God intended him to be.” The pastor is abdicating his duty to uplift, help and rehabilitate the men in his congregation and he has the lonely desperate women do it for him. The women rarely have success with this undertaking because many of the men are not looking for a wife to love, honor, cherish, protect and provide for, they are looking for a mother and someone to take advantage of.
Year after year, the women are told to hold on until their prayers are answered and for this man to amount to something. Meanwhile, they suffer physical and mental abuse, are the sole support of the household (because all of his financial schemes fail), watch their children be abused, have their credit ruined and their finances squandered (on nonsense and paying his back child support among other things). In the end when they are in poor health from all of the stress and ruined financially, he’s off and running because his wife would not “submit” and/or “let him be a man”.
I urge black women to pay attention to statistics and do all that they can to not be one. Unless it’s a good statistic. Black men just do not have a good track record of having black women’s back and no bible scriptures and waiting on a miracle will change that.
The church keeps people in bondage with idealistic teaching and that because one knows scriptures and does everything to win God’s favor and love, they can make dysfunctional decisions and still come out on top in the end. Don’t look at the exception, look at what usually happens in dysfunctional situations. It is highly likely that you will not be the exception when making bad choices. Forget having a “hell and highwater” testimony (ghetto story) because outside of the church, nobody cares when you make dumb choices and they definitely don’t respect you.
In closing, I do not regret passing on marrying and having children with dysfunctional, unmarriageable men but, I am absolutely sure that had I not limited my dating pool to so called “saved”, “Christian” men in the black church and black men in general, I would now be a wife and mother. My horizons have been broadened for quite a few years now so, although I’m no longer interested in having children (I help in the rearing of my nephews to satisfy the mothering urge), I will take up with a non-black gentleman that recognizes and appreciates a black queen like myself when he encounters one. A gentleman that is looking for a loving partner (that he can love and cherish) in life.
Note: This article is not to belittle black men. I am sure there are some “good” black men but, I no longer have the time or patience to wait for the ever elusive “good” black man (who is single, available, heterosexual, employed, sane, financially, solvent, responsible) that is equivalent to a needle in a haystack.