How do you answer ‘That Question’?


So, now I have a difficult (for me, yes, not an easy) topic to open up for discussion.

I have never been an eloquent speaker, and at times it is difficult for me to really open up about myself and my aspirations.

I particularly have great difficulty when discussing with young men my hopes and goals for the future.

How do you, when asked what you want to do with your life, tell a young man (a single man, much less) that your great desire is to be married, to stand up alongside your husband, being an ezer kenegdo to him, taking on his missions and goals as your own; to raise up godly children who will grow up to make a difference for Christ in our world…that you believe the greatest calling or vocation a woman can have is that of glorifying God through her service to her family…how do you tell a young, single man this without appearing 1) flirtatious, or 2)just plain grasping?

I sincerely want to get married, to aid a man in his life’s work of bringing glory to God…but I’m not just rearing at the bit to marry the first guy I see. I don’t want anyone to think my first goal is simply to find a husband, be who or what he will.

I think of this now as I had a conversation with a guy last week (don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful when people ask me these hard questions, as it forces me to really think through them) in which he finally asked me That Question (notice, not the same as The Question–they are totally different); “what do you want or hope to do in/with your life?”. My answer was stumbling at best: “I-uh-well, of course I don’t want to be doing exactly what I’m doing now ten years down the road…but-um…you know, I think where I am now, and what I’m doing is what God has for me at the moment.” I mean, what kind of answer is that?! Not one, if you ask me. You see, people (though not my parents or those whose opinions or counsel really mattered, so why did I listen in the first place? Good question…anyway) had  told me never to tell a young man anything along those lines of marriage, etc. unless you were engaged, or at the least courting; it just wasn’t ‘proper etiquette’. But it’s not like I’m proposing to the guy or vice-versa.

So, my question for you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I’m begging for some input here, please! is this;

  • Gals, how do you answer this? What have you found helpful in this area?
  • And guys; what response do you find answers your question adequately without making you feel a girl is on the prowl for a husband? What do you hope to see your sisters in Christ change in this area?
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12 thoughts on “How do you answer ‘That Question’?”

  1. I have to say that I haven’t been in the place of answering that question when a guy asks it (plenty of girls have though!), but I would feel pretty awkward! My suggestion is always tell the truth, just be tactful and sensitivity to the person you are talking to. Hey, you probably seem weird enough to them if they’ve gone from asking THE question to asking THAT question, how much weirder can you get? =)
    ❤ u!

  2. Carole,
    This is going to be a long comment(I can’t help it!). I think that is a great question and a great post. I would love to see more people drop their guards and reach out to others for guidance instead of pretending they have it all together. I need to do that myself. I had several thoughts in answer to that question. Firstly, I agree with KattyRae and Mark: Tell the truth. In my experience, people in general respond best when I give my honest opinion than when I try to sidestep their questions or guess at what I think they want to hear (which I have been known to do, I’m not proud to say). They can always tell when a person is being a little less than honest, and you will lose the potential of a deeper relationship with that person if they perceive that you are hiding something. Guys particularly I think respect the blunt truth rather than a veiled, confusing response. I don’t see a problem with telling a guy all those goals that you mentioned above in your post, if that is how you truly feel. I would assume that is the answer that a single young man is looking to hear from a woman. They shouldn’t ask that question if they are prone to embarrassment over talking about marriage. 😉

    Now my personal answer when I get THAT question is something that I just recently have been able to put into words. I had a conversation actually with my sister a week or so ago about answering those kinds of questions. I told her that I’ve come to see my goal/purpose in life is BELONGING TO A FAMILY as a child of God, a Sister, a daughter, and wife/mother. Family is the most important thing to me and loving relationships are my goal in life. Then I realized that I can actually give that as THE answer! Of course, when people ask me the question, they are looking for what I want to DO as in a life occupation. Although this may sound like laziness, I want to keep myself from busy-ness or business(career) as much as possible in order that I may have some free time to deepen my relationship with God, family, fellow believers, and also my future husband. If I can achieve that goal then I would count myself as “successful”. The main theme of the Bible is that we were created to have a relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ, the head, and the body, our fellow believers. In Matt 25:40 Jesus says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” It may not be a glamorous, self-fulfilling career, but the Christian is called to fulfill God’s purpose of relationship and fellowship. I would like to point out as well that it isn’t just a woman’s purpose in life. It goes for men too. I don’t think it should be acceptable to a Christian woman if a man’s answer to that question is a self-fulfilling career. That is not to say that we cannot serve God or feed the sheep through our vocation or daily activities. We just need to keep our GOAL in perspective. In fact, when answering THAT question it is also quite appropriate to include those activities that you are passionate about..say music for instance ;)…and how you intend to use them for the glory of God, deepening your relationship with God and fellow-shipping with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

    I hope that helps. 😀

  3. KattyRae; you’re probably right… 😉

    Mark; I got the same theme from FB…be honest. By that, I assume you meant to answer truthfully what you believe/want, instead of holding back in fear of what the hearer will think?

    Sam; you’re right-that WAS a long comment! 🙂 But it just tells me that you really took time to think this through in your life. Thank you for taking the time to answer me here. I really appreciate what you shared.

  4. When I’m asked that by anyone, I don’t talk about marriage. I have a goal in life. A life purpose that goes beyond marriage, and raising a family. It’s something I will do when I’m in my eighties, and my children and grandchildren are raised. And that is what I talk about when people ask me. From my perspective, it’s important to find something you’re passionate about, a people group you love, and a life you can see God calling you to.

  5. Hey Carole,
    I believe that you should tell a guy that asks you a question like that what your convictions are on the matter. I think that the best answer would be that you are looking for the man that the Lord has in place for you and that your long term goal is to be his wife and homemaker and to raise ya’lls children in the way that God would have you to.

  6. hey girl, I have only been in that situation once, the guy asked where I wanted to be in five years. I was really comfortable around him so I was like, well I want to have a nice job as a graphic designer, and I would like to be married… It wasn’t awkward or anything. But I think it really depends on the guy you are talking to.

  7. @ Bethany Jean…I think the question implies that Stonerose has MARRIAGE as a goal, set as a goal by seeking God’s will. In your own words “A life that God is calling her to”. I don’t think goals (such as becoming a doctor, or whatever) are beyond marriage. Nor do I think that marriage is beyond other goals. All goals are on the equal footing of being, simply put, GOALS. I assumed that both Stonerose and your common main goal for life is to glorify God (from what I know of you). I don’t think the question was to state that the ultimate goal is marriage (it’s not, btw), the question is HOW to convey the desire that GOD has give Stonerose in a pure way. I’m glad you are not focusing on a goal that only covers a portion of your life- that you are looking at the bigger picture- and I appreciate that. I love seeing you both pursue God’s purposes for you with passion!!! ❤

  8. Hey Carole,
    Thanks for asking this – good question… I remember well dealing with this.

    Here’s kinda where I stand/stood…
    – Most guys know that a woman’s desire is to get married and have kids (whole chic flix have been written on this fact!). So, if a guy asked me, “Hey, what have you been up to?” a reply of “I’ve been preparing to be a wife and mother” may would sound like either: 1) I’m desperate or 2) I’m so filled in my mind with preparing that I’m not happy with where God has me now.
    While it is very different after you get married, consider if a close friend posed this question to me now… since I’m married – do I now answer “I’m preparing to be a mother”? (I guess in a way I am – we’re saving money, preparing for tomorrow, and I babysit!). To me, If I affix my goals on life as a succession of wife, mother, grandmother and take my eyes off Christ I’ve missed the mark – consider the awesome single ladies God used in the Bible!

    – I agree with above comments that most guys who ask have the underlying intention of figuring out the answer to “are you an interesting, easy to talk to, Christ centered person?” Ryan agreed with me on this one so there’s a guy’s perspective.

    – So, these all too familiar conversations for me generally went down like this…

    guy: “Hey, what have you been up to these days?”
    me: “staying busy, I’ve been studying nutrition and working towards being a registered dietitian. I have been in Bible studies, teaching piano lessons, etc………. What about you?”
    guy: “school, work……”
    This is the point where the conversation would turn one way or the other…
    If he wasn’t really on the radar, so to speak, I’d just kinda keep talking about work or school or the weather. If he was possibly, I’d let him lead the “future” discussion…
    guy: “so do you plan to be a big career woman?” -idk, something like that
    me: “well, you know, I was homeschooled and having my mom stay home with me was such a blessing. I hope that if one day God blesses me with a husband I would be able to stay at home once we have kids. I see nutrition as a great field to be able to use practically and as a ministry in the future.”

    he can ask more questions if he wants.

    The biggest blessing to me was when I realized that God was going to work it out – I sure got awkward and stuff around some guys but just treat them as brothers in Christ and God will take care of the rest.

  9. Bethany….I understand what you’re saying to a point. Marriage isn’t, and shouldn’t ever be considered, a life purpose. My life purpose is to bring glory to God in the way that HE lays out for me. But KattyRae hit the nail on the head when she mentioned that one of MY goals (certainly a great hope) is to do this through marriage. To further address this, you might (or might not; that’s ok! ;)) find an earlier post I wrote in August helpful in understanding my background info: http://www.stonerosevalley.com/2010/08/09/the-question/
    love ya, girl! And thanks for taking the time to leave some input!

    Heath; I liked how you mentioned it as a “long-term goal”…that seems to take out some of the pressure of that statement.

    Holly; I agree…the depth of the answer probably should change,depending on the guy. I too seem not to have trouble with the guys I know well…I trust that they know my intentions to treat them as brothers and that I’m not veiling any ‘hidden meanings’. It’s another story entirely when talking of these things with someone you’ve only met a few times before. Thanks for stopping in, girl!! 🙂

    Ellen; I think some of where I’m unclear is the difference, or lack thereof, between when a guy asks you “what are you doing with your life now” and “what do you want to accomplish with your life/what are your major goals?”…seems that some of the answers I’m getting is that there is no difference.
    I do really like how you answer a question of “what are you doing” with exactly that, but leading into your long-term goals well.

  10. Carole, kudos for taking the bull by the horns and discussing this topic, those are questions that are too often swept under the rug.

    While seeking to one day be/to find a godly spouse is to be highly commended, and is frequently mentioned in scripture, seeking God (as many before me have already posted) should be paramount. (but, i will re-iterate, none-the-less!)

    In a book by C.J. Mahaney, which I’d recommend to everyone, titled “The Cross Centered Life,” he re-emphasizes the most important truths for believers to focus upon, namely Jesus’ work on the Cross on our behalf. 2 Tim 2:8, 1 Cor 15:1-3 and Eph 4:32 are just three places where Paul provides ample instruction in this truth. Marriage may be something that God created and can happen in an honoring way, but primarily, we as believers must focus on He who has saved us!! (and too often we get caught up in ‘christian-ese’ and forget this core truth of the gospel)

    Another book may be a bit more to the point on this, written by Kevin DeYoung and titled “Just Do Something.” In it, he deals with the idea of ‘finding the will of God,’ and how that has already been given to us in scripture (Mt 6:33, Rom 12:1-2, 2 Cor 3:18, and the entirety of scripture). The author also breaks God’s will into two parts, based upon scripture; God’s will of decree (Eph 1:11, Mt 10:29-30, Is 46:9-10), and His will of desire (1 Jn 2:15-17, Heb 13:20-21, Mt 7:21). Deut 29:29 is the closet we get to seeing both wills of God defined in one verse, but that clearly says that there are somethings that it isn’t for us to figure out. There is no where in scripture that God’s will is an incomprehensible maze for us to stumble through as we search for jobs, girlfriends and boyfriends, or school or housing opportunities. DeYoung summarizes his book with Romans 12:1-2, 1 Cor 10:31, and Ecc 12:13, saying that in whatever we set out to do, honor God, search the scriptures, get wise counsel, and go do something, don’t waste time and energy in a frustrated state of paralyzed indecision.

    Going back to the Westminster Catechism (and several others), our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and whether that enjoyment is done in a Lamborghini or a Saturn, with a spouse raising a godly family or single, or be it doing the job of our dreams or in difficult jobs, we are still to glorify God in all states of our lives.

    (but I kind of gather, as your last answer states, that you’ve got this down, or at least are working on getting this down.)

    In regards to ‘letting someone know you’re interested,’ I’m no expert in the relationship area, but as brothers and sisters in Christ, we can do a much better job of caring for each other, meeting each other’s needs, and getting to know fellow believers in mutually respective, non-dating friendships; not necessarily singles groups (I really dislike that term/idea), but groups of believers gathering for study or fellowship, etc.

    Encouraging or continuing to foster godly relationships with fellow believers is something that we’re required to do our entire lives as believers, not just to those we hope to marry, and, I believe, there’s a lot of growth that we all can do in that area. Hopefully that opens doors to more mature conversations without godly single women having to resort to more under-handed (and less sincere?) flirtation.

    We must also be careful to not describe ourselves as ‘single Christians,’ where singleness is our defining trait, but as Christians who are part of the Body of Christ, and who are, for the time being, able to minister in ways our married brothers and sisters quite possibly may not be, or at the very least, are truly content with God’s providence in our lives.

    P.S.: sorry for another long-winded response, but this is a subject that I believe requires one.

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