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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Just Try Harder and Do Better

I read something that really ticked me off. It came from this blog. I don't like the Botkin's teachings anyway, but this...this tops my list of Worst Blog Posts Ever. I hurt to think about the poor girls that are going to read this and get the messege "There is something wrong with you, you need to try harder". At best, it's confusing and contradictory. At worst...it's driving the arrow of shame and blame deeper into the hearts of girls everywhere who want to know why they aren't married yet. It is their response to the so-called "Marriage Crisis" and it is a painful thing to read.

First they claim:

If there is a problem, we believe it’s not that so many young people are not married – it’s that so many young people are not ready to be married. The capper is that we have such low standards for ourselves that we don’t even realize it.
Let’s be honest with ourselves about the ways we’ve been compromised by our society, usually without knowing it. We are still swaying to the beat of our culture’s drum, in many of our attitudes, our affections, our expectations, and our actions. Many of us have picked up Hollywood ideas about what men should be like, and what makes a good match. We’re often double-minded, with our convictions and our affections running in two different directions, looking for a man that will somehow gratify both. Many of us claim to be preparing for godly wifehood, but actually are doing so with a narcissistic and feministic self-focus. We often have lofty demands for suitors (well, not that lofty – just that they be Jonathan Edwards in Edward Cullen’s body), but love ourselves just the way we are. So the men we want to marry often don’t really exist – and if they did… well… why would they want to marry us?

How can they be serious? They are insulting every sincere, Godly young lady I know. Oh yeah, and the feminists, of course. Seriously, I don't know any girl who wants only "Johnathan Edwards in Edward Cullen's body".

Thanks to cultural confusion, personal baggage, or pendulum swings, guys and girls are can have a hard time knowing how to have relationships with each other.

Unbelieveable. So instead of laying the blame for dysfuntional opposite-sex relationships where it belongs, which is squarely on the sholders of people who teach what they and other ultra-conservative teachers proclaim, they lay it on the feminists, the culture, and the girls themselves. What?!?! This is so absurd. The reason that homeschoolers of my generation have skewed ideas about guy-girl relationships is admitted far and wide by we and our parents who are honest enough. Because, as a result of a pendulum swing against the culture, our parents were a little too over-zealous about promoting ideas such as courtship, betrothal, and "emotional purity", to the point that girls are afraid of speaking to guys and guys are scared to death of even looking at a girl. We bought hook, line, and sinker that if we "gave away pieces of our hearts" that we would have nothing left to give The One someday. And, thanks to a certain author that wears a fedora and will remain nameless, we had nightmares of all our "crushes" standing at our marriage alter claiming us for their own. Is it any wonder that we can't have normal, healthy relationships with each other??

There are, by the way, plenty of people who have maturely avoided these mistakes, or repented of them. Among our friends, they are getting married. (If panicky singles would start looking outside of their own situations, they might notice all of the wonderful marriages taking place.)

Right. All you "panicky" single girls should forget your own fears and notice that I, Darcy, am married. Then you won't feel so bad. Yeah, that's helpful. This is like putting salt in the wound of so many girls who want to be married and aren't. I'm married, and I'm insulted.

Whether or not the young men, fathers, and leadership involved have behaved infallibly is not our place to say; we are here to point out that we girls have no business fixating on anyone’s faults but our own. This is partly a point of Christian charity and proper jurisdiction. It’s also a point of having to be honest with ourselves. After all, in any one of our individual cases, the problem just might be: Us.

While I agree that blame-shifting isn't helpful, they then go on to do just that: Blame the single girls for being undesireable marriage material. It's painful to read.

This next section completely blew me away:

For every girl we know asking why so few young men are “ready,” we know a young man asking where the ready and eligible girls are. Our brothers and their friends have told us that many of the qualities girls have cultivated to make themselves “eligible” are things that won’t come up on young men’s radar screens, and the qualities the young men are most looking for have been neglected.
There are many girls who look prepared to be good mothers and good housekeepers, but not to be capable helpmeets. Our brothers and their friends have told us that they’re not looking for mere live-in maids and nannies; they want wives who would be capable of coming alongside them in the rigors of their lives; being engaging, iron-sharpening companions; and assisting them in business, ministry, adventure, risk, conquest, and uncertainty. The young men we know are asking, “Where are those girls?”

Where are THOSE girls?? Those are the girls who these people label as feminists because they dare to believe that God has gifted and called them too, not just the men, and they are the ones living out those callings. They are the girls who aren't staying home practicing to be Daddy's helpmeet and learning for years on end how to cook and clean and tend babies. They are the girls who are living for Christ, some inside and some outside their parent's homes, who have been sent into the world to fulfill their callings as daughters of God. They are the ones who have been ignored, looked down on, and labeled rebellious feminists and "harlots" for leaving their father's "protection" and learning how to live life and walk with Jesus. This is amazing. These people preach for years what a "Godly young woman" should do and be and now the guys want something else!!! And they blame the poor girls?!?!

The rest of the article is nothing but "try harder, do more, be better" and other such shame-heaping tactics. The messeges that I see loud and clear are "You aren't measuring up; you need to try harder; there is something wrong with you and that's why you aren't married yet; here's 4 steps to ensuring you are marriagable material". Then they contradict themselves by saying that God is actually the One in control of when you marry so try not to fret. But, in the meantime, you aren't good enough, you need to do better.

Girls, if any of you are single and have read this, please, don't believe it. You aren't "the ugly step-sister". You are a beautiful princess of the Most High God. These messeges of "try harder" will only break an already hurting heart. This is a burden that is way too much for you to bear. You are "accepted in the Beloved" and no amount of trying harder is going to make you better or ensure that someone will love you. The Botkins were right about one thing: God is writing your story. I don't have answers for you. I can't tell you what to do to fulfill your heart's desire for marriage. I don't know why God gave me my husband at such a young age while others are still waiting. And I don't pretend to know the ache you have for love. But this I do know: you are so loved! You are worthy because God made you so, not because you did everything right. Dear sisters, don't listen to the lies that tell you you don't measure up. You are beautiful, you are loved, and you are blessed, wherever you are, in whatever season you're in.

I speak out against such lies as this article because I see the damage that they do and I ache for the ones whose hearts are weighted down by them. Listen to the words of the One who made you:
"Fear not, for I have redemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine...Since you have been precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you."

"Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformedl And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me when as yet there were none of them. How precious are your thoughts toward me, Oh God! How great is the sum of them!"

This is the truth and don't you ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Oh yeah, as a parting shot, the girls that wrote the article said this:

People sometimes ask why we, at the ages of 22 and 24, are not yet married. The only answer we can give is that God has not ordained for us to be married yet, and that is, like all His other works, “very good”; we are enjoying the extra time to labor with our family, to prepare ourselves more fully, and to “occupy until ‘he’ comes.” As much as we pray for godly marriages, there is much to rejoice about in the calling of visionary daughterhood.

So, every other girl isn't married because they aren't ready or good enough, but these girls are still single because "God has ordained" it?? This should be enough to negate the rest of this ridiculous, unhelpful, and burdensome article in the minds of every thinking woman who read it.


  1. Though I would agree there is something of a "marriage crisis" in some circles, I don't think it's for the reasons the Botkins mentioned. I enjoyed the book "getting serious about getting married" (http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Serious-About-Married-Rethinking/dp/1581347413) quite a bit, and talks about some very practical ways that women should be PERSUING marraige.

    The reason why people (of mature, marraigable age) aren't getting married? It's because they have not yet taken responsibility for their singleness, and/or they just don't want it enough yet.

    You want to get married? Don't just pray about it - DO SOMETHING!

    Now I'm not saying that these young men/ladies don't want marriage on a very deep emotional, sexual,and even a practical level - but if their desire is a good and godly desire, and they want it badly enough, they CAN do things to make it happen.

    For instance - they could ASK their friends, family and elders in the church to be on the lookout for a spouse for them! They could ask them (and be open to the answer) "what should I be doing to pursue marriage more seriously/wisely?"

    They could admit that they need help, and be open to matchmaking. (Of course they'd have to stop constantly worrying if they are in "God's will" or not-hello, God gave them a brain and the ability to make decisions - His will is for them to LEARN TO USE that brain wisely!).

    The evangelical community is doing their children a disservice by telling them that there is something wrong with THEM that makes them unmarriageable. We are all sinners, we will all marry sinners. Eliminating particular sins is like trying to put a house fire with a cup of water.

    The trick is to find that one sinner in the world who has the same goals and desires as you, whom you share mutual attraction with, who you feel you can fundamentally TRUST, and whom you are willing to commit your life to. How do you find this person? You ask around. You surround yourself with people (not jsut singles) of similar convictions and desires for life. You commit to the search. Stop sitting around "trusting God", or blaming God for your singleness. Take responsibility for your place in life, decide what you really want, and then enlist a team of friends/family/church members to help you on your quest. Sure beats putting your life into your parents children, and never having a family of your own!!!!

  2. Thank you SOO much for this, Darcy. I wold have been pretty upset by that article a couple years ago, even though I never bought into the whole Botkin style of things. (Actually, it scared me when a really dysfunctional woman told me she liked how I was living like the Botkin girls said to, at home, etc. - even though I was working full time and wearing pants. I kind of freaked out internally and did NOT like the comparison :D ) I was leaning towards I Kissed Dating Goodbye type beliefs, though, and I think it really hindered me. I finally got my head on straight about searching for a husband about two years ago and so far the right one has not come along, but I am looking. I am really grateful for your ability to sympathize with us single girls. That's pretty rare from married women, in my experience.


  3. Good thoughts, Elizabeth. I've often given the "get off your butt and go live life and find someone" advice to a person who really needed it. But I've found that that isn't always the case. I know plenty of people who are surrounded by others and just haven't found that special someone yet.

    L, you're welcome. I'm still a woman, I know what it means to desire love. :-) I've also struggled with the idea that there is something wrong with me and I need to fix it. Which really did me no good. I hate that lie. That you have to perform correctly to be acceptable. I lived under that messege most of my life and I passionatly speak against it wherever I find it (in case you haven't noticed. ;))

  4. Yeah, as if we didn't already feel bad enough about ourselves. :-P Thanks for rebutting this, Darcy!


    Yes, the message I received growing up from this movement was "try harder. You are at fault." I dwelt on that until my heart almost breaks. I do not fault the girls who buy into this; my heart grieves that they might be set free.

    And honestly, the part about being the ugly stepsister hurts the worse. If you believe your heart is wicked, you just might act like. How sad!

    I will be sending my friends your review tomorrow.


  6. "Those are the girls who these people label as feminists because they dare to believe that God has gifted and called them too, not just the men, and they are the ones living out those callings. .... These people preach for years what a "Godly young woman" should do and be and now the guys want something else!!! And they blame the poor girls?!?!"

    This is brilliant. Truly brilliant. It's a tension I felt as I was growing up as an older daughter in a homeschooling family. I eventually left and am now a feminist academic who is married, has a baby, bakes bread, makes butter, and sews skirts. The alternative was molding away at home doing laundry and scrubbing floors. No thanks, folks!

  7. Wow... I came across this from a link "Quivering Daughters" posted on facebook. I SO needed to hear this today. I did read the Botkin's book and for the most part thought it sounded right and good at first, but those teachings put me in so much bondage that I am still hurting from. Jesus is healing and setting free. But yes... thank you for rebuking the lies that we can so often believe. ~ D.

  8. I am SO glad that you wrote this. So many things seem to make sense...they seem to look really good...until they are examined further.

    Thank you for sharing your insights.

  9. Sigh! Everyone is at fault for the outlook except us! They love to generalize don't they?

    '''Many of us claim to be preparing for godly wifehood, but actually are doing so with a narcissistic and feministic self-focus. '''

    Oh boy!

  10. "visionary daughter hood"? What the heck is that?

    I have to say this flies in the face of Jewish culture and practice. A woman was a woman when she got a house of her own, not when she ran her parents house - that was a job for a steward.

    I had visionary daughterhood for a long time til I realized that there was no matchmaker, my parents believed "waiting" on God had to do with butt sitting, and I was stifled from developing my own inheritance (substance with which to support my some day aging parents). It's a broken system. If it really worked the women would be perpetuating their own wealth and substance to be a benefit everyone - THIS is visionary daughterhood.

    Back to the crux of your article Darcy - Well said, no more beat up statements. Until the independent adults use their liberty to get involved and find mates suitable for their children they have no license to blame.

    Anyone who believes circumstances are the will of God and a sign of the will of God have basically bought into Islam. Sad but true. And it runs deep in these circles, I am not ashamed to draw the correlation.

    - Sarah

  11. Thank you for writing this thoughtful response to an incredibly skewed article.

  12. I agree with Naomi, "Brilliant".

    And really, "occupy until ‘he’ comes.”?! What an abuse of the Scripture - putting a potential husband in the place of God:
    "And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come." (Luke 19:13 KJV)

  13. I think that you are digging "too deep" into this post. Although I may not agree with every aspect of this blog post, I don't see how it will necessarily make every single young women, "feel guilty" about themselves.

    By the way, if you don't like what the Botkin young women have to say, why are you reading their material anyway? Just wondering.


  14. Thanks for a fantastic critique. I'm convinced that this latest Botkins post is by far the most offensive thing they've ever wrote. How dare they presume that they're not married because "God has not ordained" it, while the rest of us single women have failed to develop the "qualities the young men are most looking for"!

  15. "Where are THOSE girls?? Those are the girls who these people label as feminists because they dare to believe that God has gifted and called them too, not just the men, and they are the ones living out those callings."

    This should be bolded, in all caps, followed by half a dozen exclamation points and under-lined! It is one very insightful observation.

    Visionary daughters of the Most High God, leave your earthly father's house and go to the country your Father God will show you! Whether that means in your faith only (looking directly to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son and by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit- no other mediators allowed!!)[I Timothy 2:5] or in physical reality like it meant for Abraham, get busy serving God, not your parents.

    As a parent myself, I am much less merciful than most to these selfish, selfish parents demanding their children live for their personal gain and glory, rather than for the glory of God Most High.

    Great post, Darcy! Do you mind if I link to it from my blog?

  16. I believe I answered your first comment with this phrase: "I hurt to think about the poor girls that are going to read this and get the messege "There is something wrong with you, you need to try harder". At best, it's confusing and contradictory. At worst...it's driving the arrow of shame and blame deeper into the hearts of girls everywhere who want to know why they aren't married yet."

    I never said anything about guilt or feeling guilty. I am speaking of shame and striving. Guilt comes with the knowledge that you did something wrong. Shame is the feeling that something is wrong with you. This article heaps the shame upon every girl who desires to be married and isn't. They put the blame where it does not belong. It is not helpful or edifying to blame girls for something they can't help.

    I wrote this elsewhere in a discussion but I'll add it here: It is the difference between striving for goodness, and resting in the Lord. When we are resting in the fact that it is God who is sanctifying us, conforming us into the image of His Son, we are at peace. But when we are following The 12 Steps To Being Perfect Wife Material, and trying so hard to do and be something, and still not getting the desires of our hearts, we are striving and and we fail and the vicious cycle of shame for not measuring up starts all over again. Resting in the Lord doesn't mean we are sitting on our butts, waiting for God to make us good. It is a mindset and a state of the heart that says "I love the Lord, I desire His sanctification, I know that He will complete what He has started. I'm not going to fret and worry that I'm doing things wrong or not doing enough. God knows my heart, I know my heart, and I am living for Him, not following a formula to make me a better person." It's a subtle difference, but an important one.


  17. Cont. from above:
    The messege of that article is this "You aren't married and it's probably your fault for x reasons, so you need to work on trying harder and doing better and then God will see fit to bless you with a man. You aren't married because there is something wrong with you SO FIX IT. Here's 5 steps to becoming marriagable material." They assume that 1. if you are not married it is your fault, you need to fix something; and 2. marriage is the blessing you should be striving for and singleness is less blessed (I know they stated otherwise, but they negated that one statement by the whole rest of their article). God doesn't bless us because we deserve it. He blesses us because He loves us. And I, as a married woman am no more blessed than you. I didn't "overcome these problems", as they claimed, and that's why I ended up married. I'm married because that is the chapter in my story where God wants me. For goodness sakes, according to their works-based blessings, I shouldn't be married at all! I "rebelled" against my parents, went to college, moved out of their house, dated against their wishes, was not a virgin when I married, and while I desired to do right and follow God I made a lot of mistakes. God has blessed me anyway. Certainly not because I did everything right and made sure I was Cinderella and not an ugly stepsister. Because our lives are not about what WE are doing. THey are about what GOD is doing. The kind of shame and striving that article heaps on single girls is a burden too heavy for them to bear.

    I don't believe I am "digging too deep". I'm just weighing their words to see if they reflect the heart and truth of God or not. I believe in testing everything, in weighing, studying, analyzing, and comparing what people write/speak with scripture and the character of God. I refuse to just accept what a man says or gloss over the implications and consequences of men's teachings. If this is "digging too deep" than so be it. I'm not into being shallow.

    As for your last question, this article was brought to my attention by someone wishing to discuss it. Regardless of that, I have many friends who are deeply influenced by these teachings and are in bondage. As someone who cares about them, I have to speak Truth where I see lies. Also I am very well-read and like to familiarize myself with the teachings of every popular author/speaker, especially ones that directly influence the homeschooling movement, which I am a passionate supporter of.

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  20. Whoa, triple comments!! :P My computer's acting up. Oh, and the above were in reply to IR, the anonymous poster before Jenny. :-)

  21. I would be honored, Shadowspring. :)

  22. Sorry...Why was my post deleted?

  23. Jenny! I didn't delete your post, honest!! Something is up with my comments. Your post was there, then it disappeared then it came back and now it's gone again. :P I hope it comes back. :-D It's happening to others' comments as well. :/

  24. Well, guess that explains what happened to my comment. I'm pretty sure I didn't say anything offensive.

  25. Blogger is seriously acting screwy...I've lost and regained comments for several days now.

  26. I see that you have deleted my last comment . . .

    I just came back to post because I owe you an apology. I didn't read the entire article in depth, but only scanned over sections of it.

    Although I felt that there were SOME points of truth to their post, I felt it wasn't addressed with enough compassion or understanding (and this is coming from one who is NOT in your "anti-patriarchy" camp, e.g., I am a firm believer in Biblical Patriarchy).

    I know that the writing style of the Botkin sisters sways towards "bluntness." However, I'm afraid this post takes things a bit too far, even for my tastes.

    Lastly, I am sorry if my last "blunt" comment upset you or brought back "old memories" of a painful past.


  27. Darcy, thank you for sharing. As a 34-year-old single mother who followed and believed the "formulas" of courtship and ATI/IBLP and learned to ignore my own feelings and just do what I was told... following my emotionally abusive father led to following my abusive ex-husband and I'm still struggling to see life differently and understand that God REALLY IS GOOD, and not the evil tyrant He's made out to be by controlling religious people. Pray for me. I'm really struggling. I read your whole blog tonight and I can't tell you what it meant to me. A thousand times, thank you for sharing. <3 Rochelle

  28. I.R, I DID NOT delete your comment. I'm having issues with comments coming and going. Matter of fact, I can see your comment right now! I also took the time to answer your concerns with 2 comments of my own. I would only delete a comment if it were mean, crude, or vulgar. I welcome dissenting comments and opinions! :) I appreciate your apology and the heart behind it. Bluntness doesn't bother me in the least. But lies do. And misrepresenting God and scripture does. Which is why I even wrote this in the first place. Peace to you, friend!

  29. Rochelle, thank you for your kind words! That's why I write, why I'm so transparent about things. Because someone, somewhere, is going to read my writings and see God and find hope. That is my prayer.

  30. Do you have an email account? I've been thinking heavily about the comments you have written, and would like to share something with you, but not in a public blog.


  31. LOL! Okay, I can see that blogger is "eating" your comments. It states my comment was posted, but there is nothing there, dumb machine!

    Anyway, I was just wondering if you have an email account. I have been heavily thinking about what you have stated in regards to this article. I would like to share something with you, but not in a public blog.


  32. Sure, my public e-mail is

  33. Thank you so much for writing this. :) I approve this article. :)

  34. I've never been to your blog before and stumbled onto it when this post was recommended on another blog. I just wanted to say how much I appreciated this entry. I do not understand where the Botkins sisters get half of the stuff they talk about and it was nice to see someone explain so clearly why their article is inaccurate and has nothing to do with following Jesus.

    On a side note, I was blessed in God's perfect timing, at age 23, with a wonderful husband. He is intelligent, patient, understanding, hard-working, gentle, caring, always thinks of me first, and seeks after God's heart. He can fix/build anything, is a wonderful provider, is completely supportive of me, and is pretty good-looking, if I do say so myself! Know where I met him? At work. Maybe if some of these girls who want husband so badly got a job, they would meet someone as great as my husband ;)


  35. This is so true. There is nothing else that I could even add that hasn't already been said. I was subjected to this kind of mentality by my parents until I fled the home at 19. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  36. I met my husband when I was 22 and drunk in a bar. He was tipsy as well and within a few hours we were engaged in intimate activity. That was 19 years and three kids ago. Was I a good prospect for marriage and motherhood at that time? No, I was a slut and loved to party. Guess Who came knocking at the door of my heart a few years ago?? Guess, if I am "worthy"of anything, Who it has been who has made me worthy??? The LORD had a plan for my life that I was completely unaware of, but HE has been faithful to make my paths straight and finish what HE started. It has had absolutely NOTHING to do with ME!!! I pray that these -now women- would get a life...a full and liberating and gracious life in Christ for their own sakes and for all those that they have influence over. I pray that they would quit making formulas and their father their Lord. Thank you so much Darcy for this post.

  37. I hope you don't mind a comment from a guy. ;)
    Your comments are perfect, Darcy, and I'm so glad that you are standing up against the shame that is being spread by the Botkin girls.
    My wife and I were talking a few month back about the Botkins girls, and we came to the conclusion that it is a really ugly thing the way so many Christians paint a perfect ideal and cause so many people to become discontent and filled with shame because they don't live up to the perfect standard. Father loves each of us right where we are at, and He designed each of us differently. We're not supposed to fit into a perfect formula or a legalistic mold!!!
    My wife dealt with shame because her relationship with her Dad didn't look like the "perfect picture" even though he's a great guy, and they have a good relationship. But now she sees that her Dad is just different than the fake ideal, and that was how God created him - so their beautiful relationship will ALWAYS look different than the "ideal" picture. But that's how it SHOULD be!

  38. Benjamin,
    I don't mind a guy commenting at all. :^) Especially when they tell me I'm right. ;^)

  39. Oh my goodness. What exactly makes any young person of 22 or 24 think they have advice to offer their peers - especially in an area where they themselves have no experience? Ugh! Thankyou for your responding post. It hits the nail on the head.

  40. Wonderful article ... as a homeschooling mom of ONE beautiful 14 year old girl, this is a real encouragement to me. Some in our extended circle of friends have "checked their brains at the door" with regard to the whole Vision Forum/Doug Phillips/daddy's helpmeet cult and I fear for their daughters' futures. I have a dear friend, a childhood friend who was caught up in all of this. Her husband was emotionally abusive and nothing she ever did was good enough for he and their NINE children. Last year she ended up leaving him after 27 years of marriage. She attempted to get custody of the kids, but when your 10 year old son is looking you in the face calling you an apostate and a whore of Babylon ... well. He has the children, and she prays for reconciliation with them (but not him) someday.

    I am praying that as the twisted thinking of these people is exposed by articles like yours, fewer and fewer young women will be at risk of getting caught in its trap.

  41. Oh, and by the way ... I met my husband in college. He was not a Christian, I had walked away from my faith. After two years of dating, I wanted to get married and he did not so we broke up. Four years later, he accepted the Lord into his heart and I was back on track in my relationship with Christ. We lived 80 miles apart, had not spoken in ALL those four years, and yet God brought our paths together and we married 11 months later, when he was 27 and I was 28. We have been married almost 19 years and have ONE beautiful 14 year old daughter.

    What I would say to all these young people worrying about getting married? God has the right person for you. BUT something that I learned is "The right person at the wrong time is still the wrong person." If my husband and I had married the first time we dated, when I wanted to, I have no doubt that we would have been divorced within a couple of years. God's timing is critical and it does not always follow a path laid down by men.

    We have a concept of "courtship" for our daughter, but it does not resemble anything like the VF people push. For a young man to date our daughter, he will have to spend time with us as well, so we can get to know him as a person, see his walk with Christ, but they will also be allowed to go out, too. At some point, you have to TRUST that your child has learned the lessons you've taught and is adult enough to make their own decisions. It's like these VF people think if they keep them on a short chain, they'll never be able to sin. WRONG.

    My sister is divorced ... she was married to a youth pastor who put on a really good front, but was as carnal as they come. When they were dating and even after they married, he never wanted to spend time with our family - even during the holidays. When she finally left him, we discovered the emotional abuse that had been inflicted by him AND his controlling parents (in 8 years, my sister never had access to a car or the ability to go and do anything without his permission).

    Sorry for such a lengthy 2nd comment! But I wanted to share that, too.

  42. Thank you SO MUCH for this post. I saw the above-mentioned post on the VisionaryDaughters website a few weeks ago and, as usual with the Botkin girls' message, it bothered me but I thought I was at least partly in the wrong.

    ....oop....I just noticed that yesterday their blog was updated with a post responding to the sorts of feedback I've seen here. Feedback is categorized as 'some of the most grateful, convicted, excited letters ever (with the strongest support and thanks coming from young men, interestingly, though we didn’t write it for them).' Or else: what we see here: 'We’ve also had a couple of angry or tearful reactions.'

    Do you see what they think of all negative responses? That they are either ranting, bitter, rebellious people....or tearful woe-is-me maidens feeling victimized. Would anyone really want to be categorized as either of those two options?

    I wonder if any reasonable objection was offered up by people commenting on the previous blog post. Do the Botkin sisters truly think that anyone who disagree with them is either 'angry or tearful'? Or maybe people like us just didn't respond to them...I know that I have seen responses both here and elsewhere that is neither...that is well-judged and truly concerned about the well-being of young Christian women.

    In their most recent post here, http://visionarydaughters.com/2010/07/is-it-my-fault-that-im-not-married, the Botkin sisters step very neatly around the question of 'is is girls' fault that they are not married. I think they have backed down somewhat from their previous position...or at least they realized that that was not an effective technique. However they still make it clear that they are determined to focus on the faults that women have to deal with. I agree that blame-passing is not beneficial: but how appropriate is it to say that 'Sorry, girls, but on Visionary Daughters… everything is your fault. :P ' Yes, that is an actual quote. Do they think that the smily at the end makes everything all right?

    'When we step outside our feminine jurisdiction by trying to tell the men how to do their job, we make the problem worse. Helpful hint: henpecking and scolding men doesn’t help them grow up (and, interestingly, doesn’t make them want to marry us either).'
    How is refusing to >continually pick faults with women< in ANY way henpecking or scolding? I have been trawling through a lot of websites dealing with these subjects in recent days, and NOWHERE have I seen blaming of men.


  43. continued from above....

    If anyone here sends emails to the Botkin sisters [that's the only way to get in touch with them, I believe], please try not to express whatever anger you may feel at their remarks! It appears that even reasonable expression of displeasure may cause us to be labeled as bitter, although to their credit the sisters have not done so in this post. I plan to send an email to them very soon and would appreciate it if others would do the same...but please ask for God's guidance before doing so. Although I do not think that anything we do will convince the Botkin sisters of anything except that their viewpoint is the correct one, we can at least raise questions which may allow other young women to consider other options.

    One issue which Anna Sophia and Elizabeth most definitely did not address is the fact that in their previous post, they did in fact all but say that THEY are in a blessed season of singleness as ordained by God, but OTHER young women need to seriously consider their own fitness for marriage.

    'There are many girls who look prepared to be good mothers and good housekeepers, but not to be capable helpmeets. Our brothers and their friends have told us that they’re not looking for mere live-in maids and nannies; they want wives who would be capable of coming alongside them in the rigors of their lives [...]' I must agree with the commenter before this who said that these nanny-skills are JUST what has continually been promoted to us by the Botkin sisters and so many others like them! They often mention 'preparing to be a helpmeet' but so rarely tell us HOW to do that.
    The skills that I have developed in the past few years [I am almost 18] have in NO way been influenced by the patriocentricity or Botkin movement. In fact, some of my more recent experiences [directing and editing a film, participating extensively in FIRST Robotics, planning to major in Computer Science in college] might even be considered to go against traditional values. I enjoy gardening and cooking but this is not because of the Botkin girls!
    Now I find that it is my extensive organizational and technical skills which, at least in part, attract young men to me. My best friend, a young man, has even gone so far as to describe me as a Proverbs 31 woman. I say this not to boast [I hope..], because I know it is not necessarily true, but to demonstrate that not all women who disagree with the Botkins are undesirable! And any personal traits or skills that might classify me as such are no result of the Botkins.

    I am going to sign off now, and go write an email...again, thank you SO much to Darcy! And if any of you send emails to the Botkin sisters...please keep it polite...it may be hard after seeing their latest post.

  44. it's a good thing i wasn't drinking milk when i read the last bit...

    agree with your frustration and assessment. i've hated how that subsculture has made marriage the be all and end all - THE focus in life for all single girls.

  45. I think I love you. :) The excerpts made me want to puke, but THANK YOU for writing sane, sensible, Godly rebuttal to this nonsense. Especially the "Where are those girls" part.

    Really? How can they even ask that.

  46. After all their insistence that it's the men who are ready rather than the women, did it strike anyone else as terribly ironic that it's their brother who's getting married and not them? Obviously, he didn't have any trouble finding someone.

  47. This all just goes to show that we should never follow one person's/ organization's views on everything, but take the good from each. EVERYTHING should be tested against God and His Word first.
    I am a very happily married, home schooling mother of 13. I have made mistakes and hope that my children will not judge me as harshly as some of you are doing towards your own parents. I am sure most of them meant well. You will make mistakes, too, not the same ones necessarily but mistakes none the less. You will beg for God's mercy and grace as you see the results of your own personal mistakes in your children.
    It would be healthier to get on with your lives and not have a victim mentality forever. It is best to forget the past and press on towards the prize...

  48. Thank God for someone writing some sense. Marriage is not a reward that the Lord gives out to those who are more mature than others, who have achieved certain things spiritually. That's works-based thinking, not grace-based. Debbie Maken's book is excellent, but it still doesn't "work" in the sense that if you do all the wise things she suggests, you still might not get married right away. And that's where you remember that it's all about grace. I have friends who were further on in the 'queue', as it were (ie younger, waiting less, in my view hurting less, etc), and yet they got married well before me. It doesn't mean I have done it all wrong. I could do it all 'right' and still be waiting. And that's where it's all down to God.

  49. Wow. I am a mom of 9 kids, the three oldest being girls. They suffered through such "you're not good enough" crap from their father that I am amazed they are as emotionally healthy as they are. I am so sick of the abuse he had heaped on our family that one year ago I told him NO MORE. Being a quiet submissive wife stops at the door to verbal and emotional abuse. Pastors have labeled me as rebellious but the boundary will stand or I will make him leave. I have never felt more peace and comfort from God as when I stood up to this legalistic tyranny. Keep preaching Darcy!

  50. Tammy, I'm reading the book "Boundaries in Marriage" and highly recommend it, if you haven't read it already. It flies in the face of every book that says "just be more submissive and everything will work out fine". I'm amazed by this book and wish I'd had it a long time ago. I may just buy it and give it out to every new married couple. Stick to your boundaries, and stand up for your children, sister! You will save them and maybe save their father in the process.

  51. Darcy, it's so funny you would recommend that book. Read it a year ago. Very helpful and helped me get to where I am now!

  52. Wow - thank you - great post! It's funny in retrospect - I left home
    at 17 determined to never get married, because I couldn't imagine that
    I could be a Christian and be married with such a "rebellious spirit"
    as I had! (That was what I had been told for years - that I needed to
    control that rebellion or I would never be suitable!) SOooo I decided
    that I would just never get married, told my family that "God called
    me" to be single, went to college, graduated, taught public school and
    then moved my rebellious little heart to a foreign country!

    I was 26 when I met someone that convinced me I could marry him and
    not go to hell because I couldn't be the domestic goddess I thought I
    needed to be. And I could still be a Christian doing it....

    It's sad when I look back - I truly thought that I could not get
    married because I knew I couldn't be the person I was expected to be,
    I would either have to sacrifice marriage or my faith.... I thought my
    only option was to be single.

    I am now married to a man who doesn't expect me to be someone I'm not,
    a college professor and a Christian. Sadly, I never thought all three
    could mix.

    So where are the girls? Well some are off committing themselves to a
    life of singleness because they know just how "rebellious" they

  53. "Jonathan Edwards in Edward Cullen's body"????!!! Hahaha. I seriously burst out laughing. That is so ridiculous. Yelling from the pulpit has never made anybody hot. Even if he could possibly look like Edward Cullen.

    I mean, this is also really sad and oppressive and a very trite answer to a real "marriage crisis" with incredibly complicated answers.

    But hilarious, too.

    Thank you for sharing, for writing a response that reflex the complexities of this social situation, and is filled with grace, grace, grace.

  54. I'd like to comment on a couple of comments as well as your post. :)
    If someone asks "Why read the Botkins(es?) if you don't like them," I think it's only fair to ask why they read YOUR blog if they don't like it. :) Or maybe this was just a one-time dislike.
    I know multiple single women at my church who ARE ready to be married, and I see no reason why they should not. I entirely agree with matchmaking--when requested, when done by the right people. Sometimes the ready MEN simply have to connect with the ready WOMEN.

    I too enjoyed Getting Serious About Getting Married. I LOVE a challenge to how we think!

    Perhaps the Botkins' post (?) (I have not read it) was a reaction to the many blame games played on how immature young men are, blah blah. And sure, SOME are, but I hear this so much, with little evidence to back it up. Sure, a few still live at home, but MANY more girls do, and who criticizes that? Be fair. Sure, some don't make a lot of money yet, but neither do some girls. Be fair. And the real kicker is the whole "spiritual leader" concept, the perfect way to destroy a Christian man's confidence (telling him he's not a "spiritual leader"). Ladies, abusive and unhealthy relationships aside (as in not addressed in this paragraph), he will be the leader YOU ALLOW him to be! As Mary Farrar put it, "If you never step back, he will never step forward."

    So perhaps the uncalled-for male-bashing is what they were responding to. HOWEVER--neither gender needs to bash the other. I think the whole SYSTEM for how Christian young people relate is broken. Even my darling husband had to be reassured that he wasn't "stalking" me when, at the beginning of our relationship, he wasn't sure about "calling every day" (that can be stalking IF it's not wanted, but...). (We were 27 & 28.)

    I think men are shamed about their desire for marriage, and--yes, sex! God MADE it. And yes, it does help prompt some men into committed relationships. It's not the ONLY thing, but to ignore that force is ludicrous. And sexual sin, lust, etc., need to be repented of, but to tell a man, "Marriage won't help that" is silly. It's a sex drive. He's hungry. Yes, marriage to a likeminded woman WILL help! Because God made him to hunger for that. (I realize that there are exceptions. Not everyone wants or is called to marriage. But if a man has no reason to believe he should stay single, what's to prevent him from pursuing marriage?)

    Men need to be encouraged to PURSUE women when they are ready for marriage. And for Pete's sake, just ask her out already. Enough with the "hanging out" stuff.

    Also, older/ married Christians need to avoid guilting single ones by telling them "They have to be content being single first." My sister in law (husband's sister) was told this, and I told her I didn't agree with that. Yes, we need to strive for contentment. But did God give the 20 year old (or younger) a husband because she was so content? No, it just worked out that way. God is a loving Father. As such, would He play mind games by telling us we need to tell Him we DON'T want something before we can get it? (btw, my sister in law's wedding is this December, just under 2 years from that conversation. :)

    Singles have enough guilt. They need grace and encouragement and maybe--be cautious here--but maybe an opportunity to meet someone you may happen to know in a neighboring town. Quit blaming the men (Christian culture at large), quit blaming the women (Botkins sisters), and ENCOURAGE them instead!

  55. Anonymous above, has a good point. I think that the "be content in your singleness" line is just a convenient excuse not to help singles find matches. Really, who wants to marry someone who's completely overcome his or her sexual desires? It's stupid.

  56. Thank you! Actually, I came back to this after doing a search to see if Darcy had critiqued the Botkins now that I've finally learned what they are all about! It's crazy! I had forgotten this blog post.
    Darcy, I am sorry if perhaps I gave too much "benefit of the doubt" to these women's blog post. This was before I realized who they were and what they stand for. While I still think that sometimes women who'd like to be married (and their families) need to ease up on their critique of men, to turn the criticism so strongly on the women is completely inappropriate, wrong and cruel.
    Where do we get our ideas about "readiness for marriage" anyway? I have to tell you, some of the greatest trials of my life have come through being out on my own, hating my job, DESPERATE for direction. It's not that hard to have a godly attitude when you don't have the pressures of work and so on. Far be it from me to proclaim that someone else's life is easy, but something tells me that with three-plus homemakers, it's just not as stressful getting dinner on the table, and it's Daddy's job ALONE to pay the bills, so no worries about that, either! I have a hard time believing that anyone who understands their premise (living at home until marriage) takes their advice seriously. But you are absolutely, totally right that this could hurt impressionable young girls. Thanks for speaking (make that "writing") up!

    I haven't been on here in a while and have to check out what you've written lately, but I'd be intrigued if anyone has some kind of believable explanation for this nonsense being tolerated and apparently actually growing.

  57. The logic in the Botkin's sister's blog is twisted. Everything I've read about CP states that unmarried women are supposed to do what their father's tell them. (I think this is a crazy starting point, but they don't.) So if women are not prepared for marriage as help-meets, that would be the fault of the father, not the daughter.

    At a practical level, how are you supposed to guess what your future husband needs out of you? I "prepped" for my marriage by going to college, starting a teaching career and having a honorable, fulfilling life. My husband and I joke that my dowry is the insurance coverage I brought to the marriage. I grew up in the city and married a dairy farmer. I didn't know much about cows before I met my husband, but I learned. To be fair, he didn't know much about teaching inner-city kids, but he's learned too.