The girl was given to understand, from various quarters, that it was girls like her, girls who delayed marriage, that were the trouble with her generation, with Christianity, and with the country in general. She was informed that it was her own fault that she didn't have the things that she longed and prayed for. She started to hear words like "spinster" and "bitter" and "self-absorbed" and "career woman" whispered around her.
And the girl grew tired.
She was tired of advice. She was tired of waiting. She was tired of hearing about Prince Charming and Mr. Darcy. Perhaps most of all, she was tired of shaking heads.
So she ran off with the first non-Christian man who showed some interest, asked her out, and treated her with respect. And the knowing ones shook their heads and said, "What happened to her? She used to be a good Christian girl."
Gina R. Dalfonzo is editor of The Point and Dickensblog and a writer for BreakPoint Radio. She has never run off with or dated a non-Christian guy, nor will she ever. But she's not surprised when some Christian girls do.
"Speaking Out" is Christianity Today's guest opinion column and (unlike an editorial) does not necessarily represent the opinion of the publication.
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Previous Christianity Today articles about singleness and dating include:
The Case for Early Marriage | Amid our purity pledges and attempts to make chastity hip, we forgot to teach young Christians how to tie the knot. (July 31, 2009)
Restless, Reformed, and Single | Online dating services argue that God can use virtual reality too. (July 31, 2009)
Choosing Celibacy | How to stop thinking of singleness as a problem. (September 12, 2008)
30 and Single? It's Your Own Fault | There are more unmarried people in our congregations than ever, and some say that's just sinful. (June 21, 2006)
Sex in the Body of Christ | Chastity is a spiritual discipline for the whole church. (May 13, 2005)
Would a Christian Bachelorette Be Different? | A panel of Christian singles discusses the proliferation of reality dating shows and the turn from seeking one-night stands to seeking spouses. (Feb. 1, 2003)
The Man Who Ignited the Debate | An interview with I Kissed Dating Goodbye author Joshua Harris (June 11, 2001)
Solitary Refinement | Evangelical assumptions about singleness still need rethinking (June 11, 2001)
Kissing Nonsense Goodbye | A slew of recent dating books are asking the wrong question (June 11, 2001)
A Singular Mission Field | There are more single people in America than ever—and they need the church as much as ever. (June 11, 2001)
Women Churchgoers 'Face Growing Difficulty in Finding Partner' | British magazine says church is out of single men, especially older ones. (June 7, 2000)