I have had some e-mail correspondence from a lady who has never married.
I would like to discuss the matters it raises here because some of what this lady has said is of general application to men seeking to get married and some of it would raise red flags to some of the MRM posters.
This lady identifies herself as being middle-aged, well beyond the age at which carousel riders usually want to get off the carousel and get a husband. She has never married. She is lonely, and longs for the intimate relationship that being faithfully married for a long period to the one faithful husband would have brought her. She identifies as a Christian but was “disfellowshipped” under church discipline by her then church for being sexually active outside marriage a long number of years ago. I do not know what her partner count is, but I suspect it is much higher than 1. There are medical reasons for her behaviour at that time. She wants to go to church but I detect a feeling in her writing that she feels unworthy to even enter a church building. I do not know if she lives in a small town or in a large city, let alone where she lives and I am happy to leave it at that. She does sound repentant about her life so far.
I can understand why this lady feels as she does, but what succour or advice can I offer her to support her, without putting my own marriage at risk?
First I would suggest she finds herself a church and starts going to it. I would also ask her to join the women’s felowship in that church and to make friends with some of the women. Only as the friendships deepen and she knows who can be trusted not to gossip, would I suggest she gives any details about her background.
Secondly, I would suggest that she starts/continues on a celibate life, in accordance with Scripture
Thirdly I would suggest that she scrupulously tries to avoid situations where she is alone with a man, to protect both of them. At the moment her history would be a secret in the church, but if it gets out and she is alone with a man, it could has and her reputation to be trashed, irrespective of whether anything happended between them emotionally or sexually. This is no more than the mirror image of what I did as an unmarried 20-something after I became a Christian, and at least one divorcee in the church decided I would make a good addition to her bedroom.
But looking longer term, what if a widower or a divorced man were to show some interest? Would any of the folks here advise him to continue with the relationship given her history? I know that there are the EAP’s, to borrow BSkillet’s phrase who will be hypergamous, but is this lady likely to be like that? Should they both consider the Foccus or Prepare/Enrich pre-marital counseling that Marriage Savers proposes before agreeing to marry? I would absolutely want her to be totally honest about her past to her fiance, because if he hears it from her, than it will not cause the problems that it would cause were he to think she had been a goody-two-shoes all her life.
What do you think in this situation?