One of the great frustrations of dealing with marriage is that you have four very different women's groups to address. You have current younger wives, you have current older wives, you have divorced women thinking about remarriage. But you also have to think about young women who have not yet married. Younger wives need to know a lot about marriage and older wives have many things to repair and reconsider. Divorced women have to face very hard questions about their failed marriages and their hopes for any future relationship. 

But young, single women simply do not know what marriage is all about. They may "want to be married," but they do not know what it means. Young wives and older women know the realities of marriage in a way that young single women do not know. Younger women too often are so overcome by "love" that they have no idea what they are committing to.

At a wedding, I sit and watch the couple take their vows. It is usually a big show. The bride has a beautiful dress that costs way too much. The men wear tuxedos (and look really uncomfortable in them). The bridesmaids wear the special bridesmaid dresses they bought and that can never be worn again because they are so unflattering. There are lots of candles and a high-priced photographer and the whole show is, well, kind of annoying. (If there is any more inane social practice than having the whole reception wait an hour or more in order to have pictures taken, I don't know what it is.) No one in that ceremony is thinking about marriage in any serious way. 

In church weddings, we hear how marriage is "like God's relationship to His people" and we are told not to let "any man put asunder" the marriage. There is usually some shallow homily about family and marriage from the preacher, then the vows are taken. The entrance and exit (each person walking down the aisle slowly) and seating and taking out the mothers takes longer than the rest of the ceremony. Nothing in the ceremony prepares a young woman for marriage. 

Does she want to be a wife? Really? Or does she just want a husband? Too many women want to have a husband more than they want to be a wife (too many men want to have a wife more than they want to be a husband). Does she know that the call for a wife is to be an excellent wife? 

I sit in weddings and wonder what can be done. How can we prepare young women for the reality of what they will face in marriage? How can we tell them the burden of being an excellent wife? 

Titus 2 remains the best hope, having older women teach younger women about the realities of marriage (good and bad). Not teaching in classes, not teaching with books, but teaching by being invested in their lives. 

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