There is a wealth of crap that happens in a Christian environment under the guise of purity and chastity that is simply an outlet for personal desires or personal fantasy. In other words, we cloak selfish impulses with religious over-spiritualization. It’s gross.
If you’ve ever heard someone say to you, “God really laid it on my heart for me to pray for you about [that thing you do that I find personally annoying]”, you know what I’m talking about. Using God as authoritarian wish-fulfillment isn’t okay.
One of the worst ways I see this is when we urge and encourage young girls to write “Dear Future Husband” letters.
Young women, pre/during/post(?)-puberty, are urged to write letters to the man they’re one day going to marry. These letters are often a prayer for their future husband or a relating of current difficulties. They’re supposed to be designed to help women safeguard their hearts (and virginity) for their once and future husband. They’re also supposed to be designed to help the premature bride be mindful and in prayer for the spiritual strength, stability, and well-being of their future husband.
Some women keep this practice up through their teen years, some till the day they marry. And then there are those other “some” who don’t have a cut-off date. Those whose letters are never going to be delivered.
These women who were let down by God because he clearly promises, in the Bible, marital stability and protection for as long as you —
It’s not in there? Huh. But you wrote letters! Why didn’t God answer your letters with a husband? After all, most people do get married. Why not you?
The problem with this letter, is that it seeks to bind God to a desired future outcome. It aspires to dictate to God (through a pure desire for marriage!) that you will eventually definitely have a marriage. It takes youthful insecurity and assuages it with a promise of fulfillment. If you’re writing the letter to someone, then that someone must exist!
Trouble is, I could have written a thousand letters to my future self. My …traveling archaeologist self. The self I wanted to be when I was fifteen. And reading those now, what would I think about it? After all, my dreams were pure and good. I was going to travel and uncover God’s truths hidden in the earth. I was going to witness to many around the world! Why doesn’t God want that for me?
By attempting to tie God down to a future world we miss out on the incredible future he has planned. One that’s unknown, scary, heartbreaking, definitely disappointing in some ways, but jaw droppingly amazing in others. We miss that when we’re busy trying to get God to keep our self-promises.
Marriage IS something that you shouldn’t walk into blindly, it’s something you should enter with consideration and prayer and preparation. In this regard, it is right and good. Praying for your spouse is an excellent idea. Keeping your own heart saved for your marriage is also an excellent idea.
Never be afraid to prepare yourself for good things in life. But remember that what God considers good is not always what you consider good. Don’t bind God to your small vision of future happiness.
If you truly do insist on writing letters (and who am I to stop you? I love a good letter). try writing “Dear God” letters. Tell him your hopes and dreams and wishes and watch how he uses them, changes your heart, and gives you answers to dreams you never could have written.