Are you worthy?: The jig is up!

Cici got into it on social media for posting the clip below yesterday...

Ciara rightfully got dragged for sharing this video and adding the caption, “#LevelUp,” at that. If she didn’t know that it’s bad form to shame single women for not being married—like she herself was only a few years ago—and to suggest that being married is on a higher plane of existence, she learned Sunday.

Marriage may very well be special to the individual people who are in it, but it is not an inherently special institution to aspire to, or one that someone “deserves.”

If no “husband” has “found” a woman yet—assuming that she wants to be found—it’s not because churches don’t intentionally create the kind of men who value an actual equal partnership over subjugation; it’s not because there are statistically more black women with higher levels of education and income than their male counterparts, which can cause issues in pairing off; it’s not because some women do not desire marriage at all or do not desire marriage to a man; it’s not because a woman’s life might have more purpose beyond being married (surprise!).

No it must be a reflection of a woman’s character, something she’s doing wrong.

That’s the implication given when a woman is “promised” that a “husband will find you” as soon as she changes her ways and deserves to be found.

Be for real.

Even married husbands have no problem “finding” single women (and it has nothing to do with a woman’s “spirit”). So let’s stop pretending that married people are some elevated and virtuous class of worthy people.

The truth is, singleness is not a woman disease that a husband cures. It’s not a holding pattern or a phase until you’ve fixed all your damage and become lovable enough to ascend to a higher status. 

How about now. The next time a woman comes crying about why she isn’t married yet, pastors can tell her the truth. That God created her with her own agency and her own purpose that goes beyond whoever she might marry and whatever children she might have. Equip her to break a toxic cycle of looking for male approval as a sign of her worthiness. Affirm her desire for romantic and sexual love, and also show her how to value her platonic relationships as much as she would value any romantic ones. Equip her to go find her purpose.

And to ensure that patriarchal societal barriers don’t get in the way of a woman becoming who God created her to be, teach men to value women as full people with their own agency and purpose outside of men. Deconstruct the dangerous complementarian myth that women exist to be helpmates and mules for whatever man deems them “valuable” enough. Teach men that they do not have the right to define any woman’s value and that marriage with them is not a prize to win but simply a negotiation of terms. Tell them to sit down, be humble.

Because men have never faced and will never face the societal pressure women historically have faced to be married. Unlike women, men have never had their literal value inextricably linked to their marital status. Women, since time immemorial, were seen as literally worthless and discarded if their fathers couldn’t marry them off, and then again if they couldn’t bear children for their husbands.

That fear of not being good enough for marriage—the one thing that could give women a potentially “secure” life in a patriarchal, oppressive world—has been passed down to women from generation to generation. This is not your history, men. So why are you talking?

Time’s up on those days.