The young woman timidly entered the minister’s study and asked for a few minutes of his time to talk about her problems with her college studies. The conversation began slowly, and her nervousness was apparent. Some of her college teachers weren’t Christians. Of course, neither had her high school teachers been—but she was worried about passing in such classes. Then suddenly she blurted out: “I’m twenty-one years old and want some good times, but I’m scared out of my wits at the idea of marriage.” She went on to say that she had never dated the same boy more than twice, because she was afraid he would get “serious” and she never wanted to marry.

As her outburst subsided, the minister began to ask some questions: “Why are you afraid to get married?” “Who told you marriage will not work?” “Why are you here today really?”

Her answers were quite revealing. She came from a family where ten out of twelve marriages had failed. Her own parents had been divorced and had remarried years later. She had grown up constantly being told that she would never succeed in anything and had been led to have absolutely no faith in herself. Her family was financially well off, and her parents drilled into her thinking the idea that anyone who seemed to really like and appreciate her was merely “using” her for gain.

Marriage had often been discussed at home. Her mother always insisted that people were better off not to marry. Furthermore, she said that her children could never successfully marry, offering as proof the breakdown of marriages in the family.

The girl, desiring happiness and fulfillment in life, feeling the normal desire for a family, yet frightened by this negative approach, now confided to the minister that she felt completely frustrated. ...

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