When I was a little girl my mom gave me a book of poems written by Helen Steiner Rice. My favorite was “Advice for Girls”. I thought I understood her poem then, but the revelation continues to unfold.
Let me share with you this poem and a story about a woman we’ll call Jennifer. Because this is a true story, many details will be omitted. Still, I pray that you understand the message.
Jennifer was in a committed relationship with a man for many years. She desired a place in his heart that no one was able to occupy since his ex-wife.
The expectations of Jennifer and her “significant other” as she proudly called him were worlds apart. He was looking for occasional companionship while Jennifer wanted much more.
He was honest about her place in his life. They had been long time friends and it was never his intention to deceive her. She committed her heart to the relationship. I suppose something was better than nothing. Maybe she could change him.
Perhaps he didn’t want the responsibility of being married. Or, possibly his love for his former wife never faded. Although legally unwed, their souls were connected by the chronicles of their marriage. That is just how strong the marriage bond is. Nothing can undo the spiritual impact of this kind of covenant… another reason why divorce is so detrimental.
Marriage was not an option for Jennifer. Still, she stayed and trusted in free love. In her mind she was equal to a wife. After all, she was present in his life. She cooked him dinner, brought him into the lives of her children, and laid her head on his pillow.
He wasn’t seeing another woman. She wasn’t seeing another man. So what difference did it make?
How could Jennifer get hurt when she knew the terms going in the door? She knew there was a limit to his contribution. Jennifer understood that their relationship would only go so far. If she was accepting of that, then so be it.
“You want to be attractive and enjoy yourself while young.
You want to be admired and have your praises sung,
And all of this is natural and ordained by God above,
For God made man and woman to experience sex and love…
But never try to prove your love without a wedding ring,
And never deal in free love, for there is no such thing…”
Marriage is the ultimate commitment between a man and a woman. It is two people giving their whole selves to each other. Nothing is held back. A man and woman stand before God and vow to a lifetime of love without limits.
When a man marries a woman, he is openly saying to the world and heavens above….
This woman is more to me than just an object. I will not “test drive” her like a piece of machinery but will invest all that I have to create a permanent place for her in my life. Because of her love, I am driven to provide for her all that she needs to thrive. My heart is hers and our souls are tied. I will not commit without a covenant. My love for her is stronger than all my fears.
Jennifer never heard these words.
Marriage is more than a legal document. The marriage covenant is not only established on earth but it is established in Heaven. What God has joined together let no man put asunder (Mark 10:9). Marriage is a holy union and nothing else is comparable.
Without marriage the commitment between Jennifer and her significant other remains at a carnal state of being. Physical needs are met but the soul is left wanting.
After years of free love, Jennifer’s relationship ended. Because of her commitment and time invested she demanded the benefits and recognition of a wife, but there was never a marriage. Even though she agreed to wear the badge of girlfriend, she left the relationship angry and bitter.
If you settle for less than what you want, you get less than what you want.
“For free love is a sales pitch-It’s a game you cannot win.
The best gambler is a loser when you play around with sin…
So do not risk your chances for a long and happy life,
A life of true fulfillment that’s known only to a wife…”
Jennifer is not alone. Many like her believe they can form their own fashion of commitment. If he doesn’t want marriage, it’s okay. She thinks she can play the game of free love and make it work. She believes she can play the role of wife without the covenant.
She can play the role. But at some point the scene ends, the actors leave the stage and reality begins again.
I cringe when I hear a man call his girlfriend, “wifey”, when he has no intention of being a true husband to her. You are not my hubby if you have set boundaries on your love. It is often a word of vanity spoken to pacify a women’s desire for an absolute covenant.
The vision of this world is limited to the things that are seen but there is a spiritual side that is affected by our actions. We must be careful in how the world guides us. Society recommends having multiple lovers before making a commitment to marriage. But if you have too many, the same society will turn and brand you as a harlot.
No one ever says how many is too many. How far is too far? Where is the boundary between dignity and degradation? But following Christ means not having to worry about such things.
Society promotes free love. Marriage is devalued and seen as an unnecessary price to pay for companionship. You remember the old adage, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
My prayer for you is to hold to integrity and remember that there is no such thing as free love. Your body, heart, and soul are priceless entities. Know your worth before you tie your soul to another.
Having his babies, cooking his meals and loving on him at night does not make you a wife. There will always be something missing. Paid bills, companionship, and sex are not payment enough. It is not honorable enough.
If you practice free love your heart will pay the price.
“For regardless of society and the morals they disparage,
Nothing in the world can take the place of love and marriage.”
-Helen Steiner Rice
All my love, Candra.
Candra Evans resides in Cincinnati Ohio with her husband, Pastor Ron Evans, Jr. and is a member of Greater Community Church of the Apostolic Faith.
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Mailing address: P.O. Box 128787
Cincinnati, Ohio 45212