On the Importance of Wanderlust (and Why the “10 Women Christian Men Should Not Marry” List is WAY Off Base)

I read a terrible article yesterday titled 10 Women Christian Men Should Not Marry. It made me crazy because it was so full of judgement, teeny, tiny boxes in which to shove women (and God), and proof texts, that poorest form of theology which makes the Bible into a rule book instead of an epic love story and makes a mockery of Jesus’ life and the way he championed people again and again.

To spare you reading it, the author’s list of women who make poor candidates for wifery is as follows:

  1. The Unbeliever
  2. The Divorcee
  3. The Older Woman
  4. The Feminist
  5. The Sexy-Dresser
  6. The Loud Mouth
  7. The Child-Hater (aka, any woman who’s unwilling to procreate)
  8. The Wander-Luster
  9. The Career Woman
  10. The Devotion-less Woman

He includes Bible verses after each category and explanations.

After I finished reading the list, gasping aloud in horror (honestly, I sounded like I was watching a YouTube video of serial kitten murders), and then checking the internet to make sure it wasn’t some sort of satirical joke, I realized I’m 40% a Good Wife Choice by this man’s measure. After all, I cling tenaciously to the ideal of equality between men and women; I wear v-cut t-shirts regularly (sexy, baby); I am very, very loud, although I’m certain the man who wrote the list would be somewhat relieved to know I used to struggle with accepting the enthusiasm and volume at which I live life; I’m a career woman; and I discovered years and years ago that the rote morning devotions I thought I had to have to be a good, Christian woman don’t have as much to do with faith as letting God out of the box, discovering that Love is sanctuary in the midst of the storm, and letting grace unearth the light and not just the darkness inside me.

I shared this guy’s article on the Five Kids Facebook page, because I just couldn’t stand it, and I am so grateful for all your “wows” and “what the…?s” because I felt so much less alone. But someone asked why I’d even bother to give this guy publicity for his article, which is a really great question that deserves an answer. My answer is this: there’s an enormous amount of garbage and judgement that happens in the name of Jesus these days from voices so loud they drown out the rest of us, and I’m not willing to allow this man or those who believe like him to speak on behalf of Christians like me who try and fail and try and fail and keep trying anyway to love each other well, and love each other loudly, and love each other with wild grace, which is the greatest commandment, above all other “rules.” (Matthew 22, etc. Proof text that, dude.

But the thing on his list that just astounded me — even more than the prohibition against Older Women which is just laughable — was his denigration of Wanderlust.

The more I thought about it, though, the more Wanderlust’s place on the list made terrible sense. It made sense because, of course, when we keep women only home, only focused on husbands and children, only giving of themselves and never caring for their own needs — when we feed women the ideal that their fulfillment comes solely from being a wife and a mother — when we tell them their dreams of both/and — both home and travel, both family and friends, both children and career, both God and grace, both boundaries and freedom, both our dreams as a family and my dreams as a person — are rich and full and a reality to reach for, we risk losing women to the wilderness. We risk losing women to complexity. We risk losing women to the place where they’re both human and divine — utterly fallible and also made in the very image of God — full of grit and grace and gratitude and grime and gory and glory all at the same time. We risk allowing women to be more than Stepford Wives and participate in the mess and find magic there and learn that there is that of God in everything. Just all of it. God in everything. Or Love, if you, like me, like to use God’s other name when The Whole God Thing becomes too muddied to understand.

It is easier, of course, to keep women contained. To squash the wanderlust that takes us physically away and the wanderlust of our hearts which lets us dream. It’s easier to keep us only home. To keep us feeling guilty when our entire fulfillment isn’t found in being a wife and a mother. Because when we women are set free to be fully who Love intended us to be, we are a force. WE ARE A FORCE to be reckoned with, and there are men and women in this world who are unwilling to do the reckoning.

To be clear, I am a woman who finds my greatest joy in my family; and they also drive me up a freaking wall. A FREAKING WALL, friends. Because my family is made out of humans, and I’m one, too, which is as awful as it is awesome, but my simultaneous desire to snuggle all five of my babies on my lap and also run away screaming to Mexico has nothing – nothing – to do with the depth of my love for or devotion to Jesus, nor my worth as woman, nor my value as a wife and a mom.

Truth is, I am a better mama and a better wife when I escape from time to time. To recenter. To rest. To live. To wander. To wonder. To think. To find myself beyond wilderness boundary and also longing to come home. To be terribly, deeply, beautifully both/and. And to be a woman fully loved and worthy of choosing, exactly as I am. 


P.S. After I read The Terrible Article, I offered to divorce Greg and remarry him ’cause I had an enormous urge to be an even bigger disappointment to the guy who wrote that drivel. 

P.P.S. Greg hasn’t responded yet, so I assume he’s considering divorcing me just to make me happy. That’s why I love him, and I’ll never leave him.

P.P.P.S. I’m writing this as I’m wander-lusting to Australia.

P.P.P.P.S. These are some pictures of me leading my daughter, Abby, astray and teaching her to be wanderlusty, too: 




Because if I bring a child up in the way she should go, when she’s old she won’t depart from it. 



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55 responses to “On the Importance of Wanderlust (and Why the “10 Women Christian Men Should Not Marry” List is WAY Off Base)”

  1. The fact that my husband is four years younger than me has had no impact on his leadership in our marriage. How absurd! Maybe if one gets married extremely young, there isn’t a mutual maturity? Those four years, in-fact, gave me an opportunity to serve the Lord in missions overseas prior to meeting my husband. It allowed me to grow all wanderlusty so that a desire was planted in my heart for my family to live and serve overseas. I prayed for years out of this desire, not understanding why the desire was so great when the possibility seemed hopeless. I didn’t understand until out of nowhere, God sent us via my husband’s job to a wealthy foreign country where few people know the hope of Jesus, and the cost of missions is so high, the American church and missions have largely given up on these people. Now we serve as volunteers alongside some other missionaries in a new church plant in our city, but we are fully supported by my husband’s job. My husband is thankful for my heart to live overseas and how I am able to joyfully support him in this phase of his career where so many other wives could/would not. And we are part of growing God’s church! Do you see what He did there? I pray this guy stops putting God and people in such a tiny box.

  2. Ok, I have to admit, I did not read the ‘terrible’ article, but I did read yours Beth, and this is why I feel compelled to speak up – There are “two sides” to this:

    First, while this guy who wrote this article may be a bit off, I would like to point out that this is AMERICA – Where freedom of speech is a constitutional right guaranteed to American citizens –

    Regardless of whether or not we agree or disagree with the content of the article, I don’t think any laws have been broken here – I’m sure you may be asking why I’m saying all this? Because I gave up 22 years of my life defending this country of ours in the U.S. Navy, and for the principles and ideals that the Founding Fathers based this country on…..

    Having traveled the world myself, I understand the “wanderlust” – it’s in all of
    us, whether we are male or female (after a while though, it gets old in my opinion)….”God created woman to be a help-mate to Adam” – To me, that means
    EQUAL PARTNERSHIP! – A husband and wife team that understand this concept, who
    have mutual respect for each other, where neither one tries to ‘suppress’ the

    This concept was re-inforced to me during my time in the Navy – TEAMWORK. Enjoy the good times together, and conquer the bad times together – that’s what it’s
    all about (I could go on, but I think I’ve said enough) – Don’t let the writings
    of someone else dictate how you feel about your own life, or your beliefs – the
    only one you should be asking if you’re doing it right or not, is our Lord in
    Heaven…..He will have the final judgement in all things!…..


    • Christopher, first and foremost, thank you for your service. You’ve walked the walk of sacrificing for all of our rights, including that of free speech. I personally believe that free speech doesn’t mean much unless it includes the freedom to say things others find offensive. I don’t think this was written because the article somehow damaged the author’s sense of self or her beliefs. Instead, she was taking advantage of the freedoms you have helped preserve. The author of the other article has every right to put his ideas out into public space. But when those ideas put women in a box, and Christianity is a bad light, the best possible response is better ideas.

  3. A to the Men! My husband read me the article last night and I was seething. I made a comment that he better not show my sister or she’d be pissed. He did because he’s snarky. I’m going to add this post to the discussion on that FB thread with all of the other irate women. I hope some men are mad, too, by the way. Because this is definitely an insult to them as well.

  4. I shared your post on my FB page and it has started a discussion. One of my friends said that this man think all babies go to hell… I’m sorry… I must have overlooked the verses in the Bible that gave us the ability and burden of knowing man’s (baby man or old man) heart!!!

    Thanks for sharing Beth… you kick a**

    Also, us sisters need to pray together for his wife and daughter (if he has any) Could you imagine being under his leadership?? Don’t submit to a fool, comes to mind. Poor woman!!!

    Much Love

  5. It’s people like this, who not only hold,but promote, ideas like these, that kept me out of the church for so long. I was a closeted Christian, who believed in the message of Christ, but refused to belong to a group that was so hateful and self righteous. Eventually, I decided that I could not let the haters win, that God is my God too, and I wanted him back. Anyone who defines Christianity like that, is missing the point of Christ. Thanks for playing for right side!

  6. This guy is as Christian as the Aryan Nation or the Ku Klux Klan is Christian. The good news is that I know he is a wacko. I can’t imagine being married to someone without those qualities. (OK, I’m married to someone younger, but not by design, and who has a wonderful belief in an inclusive God. 🙂

  7. Boy that list makes God.sound like an awful bore.doesn’t it? Why would anyone want to hang out with that guy? (Because that version of god clearly is @ dude.)

  8. Good Thing my husband wasn’t a Christian when he met me. 🙂 What do they say about marrying younger men that you convert? 😉

  9. Wow. There are a lot of reasons I’m agnostic/atheistic now, and stopped being any religion at all, and That Guy and Others Like Him is a huge part of why. But I still believe in people, and love, and you are helping me do that today. Because sometimes the only way to deter that kind of hateful, bigoted thought is to repudiate it and show how it’s wrong. So thank you for being loud and gracious and gritty and opinionated and wonderful.

    • Guys like this make me stop believing in people and cling desperately to God like a drowning man and a life raft.

  10. Men/boys who follow his advice are going to miss out on sharing life with an absolutely AWESOME woman!

  11. Just so many things to love about your blog, but particularly your point about what happens if we remain silent. His article was atrocious, horrifying, all the sleezy nasty feels that any woman should be offended to read. We are so much more, and deserve to be viewed as so much more, in the Light of Grace.

    Thank you,
    Theresa Moxley

  12. Thanks for writing this article. Articles that are written like the one the guy wrote are the reasons why non believers have such a hard time coming to the Lord. We come across so righteous and judgemental. I don’t fit in a box and neither does the creator. ThankS for showing another perspective and shining the correct light on our Lord.

  13. I was loving this post (as I always do!)…laughing and smiling throughout the whole thing. But then this, “Because if I bring a child up in the way she should go, when she’s old she won’t depart from it. ” This brought tears to my eyes.

    From an older woman, who is at 30%-40%

  14. I’m a single Christian female and this list is the reason I cringe when a guy on an online dating site talks about wanting to find a good Christian girl…I fear this is the list in his mind for what a good Christian girl is.

    As alway I love your perspective and writing. Thanks!

  15. Is that a tatoo? Shold be number 11 on his list…sign of the devil and such 😉

    Love’d the article, I’m probably as guilty as you on some of those points. And yes, i enjoy that my job (doh, career woman and all) gives me the opprotunity every once in a while to go someplace else alone. Even though work needs to be done, it’s also a good opportunity to think things through (on long plane rides), re-center, re-charge (despite jet lag) and actually appreciate the mess of home more coming back. Keep going, seems the right direction to me 🙂

  16. Well if that was a list about men then there were five good reasons my wife shouldn’t have married me. If she hadn’t married me I probably wouldn’t have fou d God as it was her example that lead me to Christ. These lists strike me as doing more harm then good in the way they affect and I felt mens views of what a woman should be. Bringing them into the open for discussion like this can only be a good thing.

  17. That blog just made me want to cry. And to think about my horrified, disgusted, outraged reaction. I came to the conclusion that:
    I applaud and believe in all people who champion Love, and Grace, and Peace.
    I am horrified and disgusted and outraged and want to cry and hit things when people do not.
    I am even more the above reaction when the person trampling all over People and Love and Grace claims a title I would like to be able to call myself, because then I feel compelled to defend MYSELF, as in, I AM NOT THIS!!!
    And I don’t want to have to define myself in defense.

    So That said, I love the freedom and enthusiasm with which you write and stand up for those of us who just want to Love.

  18. Just when I thought I couldn’t love you more! Enjoy your trip!

    P.S. Jesus took mini-breaks from his “regular” life too, so I think he loves that you are enjoying his creation! <3

    • Yes. And yours for choosing a mouthy, independent woman to wife. It’s almost as though you’re a strong, confident man who can not only handle your wife and daughter, but actively champions us, encourages us, partners with us, treats us as your equals, and believes to your bones we’re capable, smart, wise and worthy of deep respect and abiding love. Weird, huh?

  19. Beautiful post! Thank you for countering with the voice of Love!
    and for leading in wanderlust! I have it – just no means to accomplish it…:)

  20. Very well written! That guys article was horrible and judgmental. Not Christ like one bit! Thanks for speaking up on what it really means to be a Christian woman.

  21. Oh dear amazing one. I am SO GRATEFUL you posted this! I had seen it on another friends Facebook wall and was mad. Like – seriously outraged and angry and spiteful and stuff. While I considered responding directly (and signing off as a woman who deeply loves God but who pretty much overwhelmingly met his list) I didn’t. I sat on my response and my reaction. Then I awoke today and saw it from other sources and was so happy to see your response which so well captured my feelings. I’m so very sad for any that follow this thinking – for they miss so much love and connection. Cheers sister for my new favorite description of the REAL God…”grit and grace and gratitude and grime and gory and glory”. I put on my wading boots and stand in solidarity with you in all of the above.

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