As a single Christian woman, I’m often inundated with messages about singleness from church friends, strangers, and the cursed algorithms of social media. I remember one conversation in which we were told that we have to get out. The person was telling us that if all we do is go to work, home, and church we’ll never find a spouse, because God isn’t going to drop a man at our front door. This seems to be a common message echoing throughout singles ministries every where, but is it Biblical?
The logician in me agrees wholeheartedly that the likelihood of me meeting my future husband at work, home, or church is very slim—after all you risk HR violations at work, there aren’t many men in the church and there are no men at my home. However, the believer in me vehemently rejects this idea—do we not serve a God of miracles? Did He not grant an elderly woman a baby? Did He not raise people from the dead? Traditionally church and work were exactly where people found spouses—my own parents, married 42 years at the time of writing this, started dating when they worked together. Where exactly is it that people are suggesting we go to find husbands and in that process vet that they are in fact Godly men?
Of course, learning from Matthew 4, I’ve found that the best response to anything is the Word itself. So I started looking at some of the ladies from the Bible: Eve, Rebekah, Rachel, Ruth, and Esther. They all have something in common when it comes to “finding” their spouse. Spoiler: the where exactly where they were supposed to be.
In Genesis 2, God sees that Adam is alone and creates Eve to be his companion. God places Eve in the garden with Adam and they are married. It was very simple. God placed Eve where she was supposed to be; Eve didn’t have to look for Adam and Adam didn’t have to look for Eve. They were both exactly where God told them to be and that put them together.
In Genesis 24 Abraham decides it’s time for his son Isaac to be married, so he sends a servant to find a wife for Isaac. Neither Isaac nor Rebekah are out looking for a spouse. The servant prays over how he will know whom to pick, and Rebekah just so happens to fit that prayer. Rebekah is doing her chores; she’s simply at the well watering the flock as she probably did every day. When she sees a stranger at the well, she is polite and offers him a drink which matches his expectations from his prayer. From this simple interaction, she is chosen to be Isaac’s wife. Rebekah didn’t go out of her way looking for a husband or change her normal routine.
Rachel and Jacob meet almost identically to how Rebekah meets Abraham’s servant (Genesis 29). Which will play out a third time (oh, the Bible and the number 3, eh?) with Moses and his wife in Midian (Exodus 2:15-22). Nonetheless, with Rachel and Jacob, we only have one person doing something out of the ordinary and that is Jacob, who is fleeing Esau’s wrath. Rachel was going about her daily chores. Leah, Zilpah, and Bilhah (Jacob’s other wives), met him through Rachel. Not a single one of these ladies went out of their way to find Jacob.
The story of Ruth and Boaz is prime material for singles ministries, and many will argue that Ruth indeed went out of her way to shoot her shot at Boaz. However, she was still following God’s plan for her. The book of Ruth doesn’t start with Ruth deciding to go look for a husband. In fact, she does the opposite of what would be expected for her to find a husband. When her first husband dies and she chooses to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Israel, her mother-in-law points out that she has no more sons to give her. Naomi tells Ruth to go back to her own people, but Ruth chooses to follow Naomi anyway. Once they are in Israel they are essentially destitute, which is why Ruth has to glean the fields. The primary motive for Ruth gleaning the fields is survival. Naomi is the one who suggests Ruth “shoot her shot” at Boaz since Boaz is a near kinsmen. While Ruth is probably the most forward in her method to get a husband, she still didn’t do anything extra to meet Boaz. She had to go glean the field or else they would have starved.
Esther married the King of Persia, because she listened to Mordecai, who was like a father to her. Esther’s story is a bit like The Bachelor and if we’re being honest, it probably wasn’t PG-13. I doubt the king simply walked in to a room and chose the girl with the prettiest face. In fact, Esther’s story seems quite the opposite of what we’re taught as believers. One of Mordecai’s first instructions to her is to hide the fact that she’s Jewish. We know Esther was in an unequally yoked marriage because the King of Persia wasn’t following YHWH. Pure speculation, but she likely had to sleep with the king before he chose to marry her. However, at the end of the narrative, we find out that Esther was exactly where God wanted her to be: in a position to stop the massacre of her people. We don’t know if Esther went through a sort of “audition” to get chosen to be among the women taken to the king or if it was involuntary. If the latter, she also did nothing extra to meet her husband. If the former, the only reason it succeeded is because God needed her to be the Queen of Persia when evil befell His people.
References & Footnotes
- “Did Esther have to sleep with Xerxes before she married him?”. GotQuestions.org; visited December 2023