Yesterday, on her blog, “The Transformed Wife”, Lori Alexander published a post entitled “Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos“. It quickly went viral, achieving tens of thousands of shares on social media.
“Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins” was provocative enough, but the article went even further, quoting from another lady’s email, with Lori’s comments added:
[Email:] “[After college] The husband will need to take years teaching his wife the correct way to act, think, and live since college taught them every possible way that is wrong.” [Lori:] (Sadly, most young Christian women wouldn’t listen to their husbands since they’ve not been taught to live in submission to their husbands. However, it’s the older women who are called to teach the younger women biblical womanhood and most husbands have never seen it modeled in their lives so they wouldn’t know what to teach.)…
“They lost a handful of years of experience learning to cook large meals and learning how to work in the garden. College kids don’t cook. If they do, it’s typically for themselves.” (Young women learn nothing about biblical womanhood or what it takes to run a home when they go to college. They don’t learn to serve others either. They learn the ways of the world instead.)…
“It’s very rare to find an 18 year old woman that continues to work and live at her parent’s house until she meets her husband. It’s pretty much a joke to all who do that.” (It’s actually protection for young women to live under their father’s roof until they get married, if they are able, and there’s nothing wrong with doing this if they want this protection.)
I grew up with these messages. I’ve heard them for years. I believed them for years. And there’s a lot of falsehood mixed in, some of it subliminal or implied, that we need to identify.
To best understand what I’m about to share, I suggest that you read the full article before you read my comments.
Please note: I find discussing “debt-free virgins” rather crass. However, since Alexander uses this phrase in the original article, I will use it here.
Falsehood #1: Men prefer debt-free virgins without tattoos
TRUTH: SOME men prefer such women, but not ALL.
Lori makes a bold statement in the title of her post, yet she doesn’t cite any sources to back up this claim. This claim quickly unraveled as pro-tattoo, pro-debt, anti-virginity people flooded the comments on Facebook.
It is important to clearly define what we say. It is true that some men prefer debt-free virgins without tattoos; saying so would be fine. Without the qualifier, it automatically means “all”, or at least “most”, which simply isn’t true.
Falsehood #2: Women who go to college will be deficient in their cooking skills
TRUTH: Cooking skills can be developed by anyone, anytime.
When I was eight years old, my mother taught me how to make bread. For the next several years, I made virtually all the bread our growing family ate. By the time my oldest sister was 11, she could prepare lunch for our whole family of eight. Had she gone to college at 18, she would already have had plenty of big-family cooking experience. And gardening experience? Don’t get me started.
On the flip side…
“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” – Julia Child, TV cooking show host
Falsehood #3: Women who go to college will learn a lot of things that their husbands will have to correct
TRUTH: 1) This is potentially true of anything we learn, and 2) this may or may not actually happen
False teaching is everywhere. Staying out of college will keep you from learning it there, but you may still learn many things that are false.
It’s important that we each try our best to learn the truth. If you merely soak in whatever a professor tells you and don’t do any critical thinking, research, or further study, you set yourself up to be hoodwinked. We need to use these same things with anything we study, however, not just college courses.
This falsehood is also based upon the next one:
Falsehood #4: God’s sole purpose for women is to marry, raise a family, and keep house
TRUTH: God may well lead a woman to do these things. However, it is not the only Biblical model for women.
If, in order to be Godly, a woman must marry and have a family, then there are many women who are ungodly through no fault of their own. Now, I realize that few people would actually say such a thing outright. But as one reads through Lori Alexander’s blog post, there seems to be little or no recognition that God may call a woman, for example, to become a doctor and never have children.
I will never understand how women prefer careers over having precious babies.
Contrast this with Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 7:
There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. This I say for your own profit; not that I may ensnare you, but for that which is appropriate, and that you may attend to the Lord without distraction. (1 Corinthians 7:34-35)
Paul points out that an unmarried woman is free to devote herself to God’s service, without the distraction of caring for her husband. He seems to see no problem with her not wanting to have children so that she can more freely serve God.
As I mentioned before, this ties in with the previous falsehood. #3 is based upon the idea that women shouldn’t want any career other than raising a family, and that college will give her the wrong ideas about womanhood.
Falsehood #5: A woman should make sure to preserve her virginity
TRUTH: We need to lead lives of righteousness, which includes refraining from sexual sin
Stay virgins until marriage, out of debt, and don’t get tattoos!
As far as I know, nowhere in the New Testament does God tell us that we should seek to preserve our virginity until marriage. Instead, He tells us to walk in sanctification and honor, and to abstain from sexual sins, not just fornication, but also lust and impure behaviors.
What’s the difference? Everything. When we seek to walk in sanctification and honor (see 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7), we can give value to everyone: the virgin, the repentant fornicator, the rape victim.
However, when we emphasize virginity itself, we place an immovable burden of guilt and shame upon anyone who loses their virginity before marriage. They no longer have this pearl of great price that all the prospects are looking for. They have no way to get it back.
This especially makes my blood boil when we come to the rape victim. She did not even willingly give up her virginity. Someone forcibly took it from her. She no longer has a virgin body to give to her husband—through no fault of her own.
I’m ashamed to admit that when I was a young man, I didn’t want to marry anyone who had been sexually abused. I wanted a virgin who hadn’t been used by someone else. That is, until I discovered that a close relative had been abused as a girl, and I realized that a good marriage was still possible after abuse.
Brothers (and sisters), let’s change the narrative. Let’s show honor, value, and love to all, regardless of their sexual past. I’m not saying that we should believe that someone’s sexual past will have zero bearing on their future, especially in marriage. What I am saying is that we need to create a culture where non-virgins do not feel like outcasts or second-class people who no one wants. Let’s be willing to walk through difficult things with spouses who weren’t virgins when we got married.
Note: there is another problem with emphasizing virginity. There are many people, women especially, who remained virgins until marriage, but have suffered tremendous guilt and sexual dysfunction after “losing their virginity” in marriage. This is beyond the scope of this article, but I highly recommend The Scarlet Virgins for more on this subject.
Falsehood #6: A woman should remain a non-tattooed, debt-free virgin so that she is more attractive to potential mates
TRUTH: God wants women to focus on the inside, not the outside
To show the fallacy of this line of reasoning, suppose the title was: “Men Prefer Women Who Have Blond Hair and Slim Bodies”.
What’s the similarities between talking about non-tattooed, debt-free virgins and slim, blond women? Both are focusing on the physical, not the spiritual.
God tells women that their adorning should include good works and a mild, quiet spirit. In other words, be attractive on the inside, instead of focusing on the outside.
Now, granted, it’s fine for a guy to prefer a woman with no tattoos, just as he might prefer blonds over brunettes. And debt is harder to overcome than a preference for a certain body type. To be perfectly honest, I’m not crazy about tattoos myself; I would rather not have to pay off debt; and as someone committed to saving sex for marriage, I would love it if my future wife has done the same.
But here’s the thing: my number-one desire for my future wife is that she loves and knows Jesus passionately and deeply. That the Holy Spirit fills her life, transforming her from the inside out. And of course, by the time we get married, I hope she’s deeply in love with me as well. Obviously, there’s more to a good marriage than just those things. But that’s the foundation. And if I find that the Right One is a tattooed, debt-laden, non-virgin, that’s fine. Maybe I’ll think that her tattoos are cute and be thankful for the education that caused the debt.
Brothers, it’s not wrong to find certain women more attractive than others. But let’s be like our Heavenly Father and place the most importance on the inside qualities, rather than the outside.
Lori Alexander may have desired to encourage young women to wait until marriage to have sex. That’s a good desire.
Unfortunately, good desires do not excuse bad teaching. Especially when we now have ample evidence that this sort of teaching has caused many, many problems. It is one thing to naively teach error. It is another thing to ignore all evidence to the contrary and continue teaching error.
The greatest danger does not come from the conscious beliefs that this article encourages. The greatest danger comes from its subconscious messages: If you’re not a virgin, you’re undesirable. If you want a career, there’s something wrong with you. If you go to college, you’ll go to Hell or be really messed up.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I grew up with these messages. I have seen their fruit. And I cannot be silent as Alexander’s tens of thousands of followers are fed destructive messages.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the (rapidly growing) audience that she has, so I’ll close with a request: if this post has resonated with you, will you please share it? Help me spread this vital message to my sisters in Christ:
Your value does not come from your externals and what you have or have not done. Your value comes from being a daughter and image-bearer of God!
For another review of Lori’s post, please read “God’s Not Looking for Debt-Free Virgins”.