News Flash: If you ain’t trying to get married, then John Gray’s message isn’t for you


Earlier this week the internet was sent into yet again another frenzy when singer Ciara posted a clip of a sermon by pastor John Gray on her Instagram and twitter pages. The clip was approximately 60 seconds long, followed by the hashtag, #Levelup, which enraged women all over the country, which I personally found absolutely absurd and down- right irritating.

Twitter fingers quickly turned to trigger fingers as Ciara’s followers slammed her for sharing the clip and cosigning the message, which they interpreted as shaming single women. They felt the need to remind her that she has not always been a wife and that her dating record isn’t so spotless. I still don’t know how Future pulled Ciara, but that’s a topic for another day. I will say this, hurt people, always feel the need to hurt other people. By bringing up her past, I knew that the fans weren’t really as happy for the songstress as they like to pretend. Hater’s gonna hate no matter what, but Ciara tried to explain what she meant, emphasizing the importance of learning to love herself and knowing her worth, whether single or married.

Articles have been published on sites such as The Root, The Grio, and The Huffington Post, just to name a few, written by women expressing their disdain for yet another man preaching from the pulpit, telling women how to live and behave in order to change their status from Ms. to Mrs. With the #metoo movement in full swing and men in high places falling from grace left and right due to sexual misconduct, this was the last thing women wanted to hear. But in all of their anger, they missed a very important message.

In the clip, Gray began his message by saying it was for the women who desired to one day be married. He didn’t say that all women need to be married, or that all women even desire to be wives. So again, if you ain’t trying to be a wife, then this message isn’t for you. If you’re happy being single, or being a lifelong girlfriend, then do you boo. Do what makes you happy and to hell with anyone that says otherwise. But for those of you like myself, that do desire to be married one day, then you just may want to listen up.

In the video, Gray says: ‘You’re not a wife when I marry you, you’re a wife when I find you. You become my wife when I marry you. But a wife is not the presence of a ring, it’s the presence of your character. Too many women want to be married, but you’re walking in the spirit of girlfriend.’

<Insert internet riot here>

To be honest, I’m not very familiar with Gray or his teachings, but I do like Ciara. So, in her defense, I get why she felt moved to share it with followers. This particular message resonated with me because I had a very similar conversation with God a few years ago. I was feeling bold and told Him that I was ready to meet my husband and God simply replied, “Obedience.” I asked Him what He meant, to which he explained that I needed to start preparing for this mate that I so boldly requested. And if women actually stopped to listen to Gray’s message, they’d hear very same advice.

People prepare for jobs that they may never get, schools that they may never attend, and anything else they feel is important in life that they want to accomplish. But how many women who desire to be married, prepare for marriage before walking down the aisle or even meeting their future husbands? How many use their season of singleness to get counseling to heal from past relationships, to grow in patience, strengthening their faith, learning how to deal with conflict and to resolve issues in an effective manner? Discovering who they are and what their purpose is in life so that they will know who complements them as a partner is extremely important. I, like Ciara, had to level up when it came to the way I saw myself, the men that I allowed to take up space and time in my life, as well as truly pursing my purpose.

Marriage takes work, and the better prepared you are before you meet Mr. Right, the better equipped you’ll be to handle the challenges that will arise in your marriage. And for those of you rolling your eyes at me asking why aren’t preachers telling men to prepare for marriage, I promise you that the men who do want to be married, are doing the work. They are focused on building careers, preparing their legacy, and buying houses for their future wives to turn into homes. And ladies, I’m not telling you all to wait to live until you find a husband. I’m saying quite the opposite. Live life to fullest, and work on becoming the best version of yourself, because someone out there is truly going to love you, flaws and all. And if you’re wondering what happens if you do the work but what if the man never comes, I’m going to tell you what my counselor told me. God keeps His promises, and that faith without works is dead. If you’re wondering how my work is coming along, I’m happy to tell you that in December of 2017, I had a premiere for my first short film that I wrote in Atlanta, and that I’m currently in one of the healthiest relationships I’ve been in for quite some time. So, do the work all the while trusting and believing that your husband is coming as fast as he can, that he will probably appear when you least expect it, and when you’re most prepared.

Us premiere

As always, this is from my heart to yours.


12 thoughts on “News Flash: If you ain’t trying to get married, then John Gray’s message isn’t for you

  1. Hi Ariel! I enjoyed the article! I’m a married woman with a few single girlfriends and periodically, we have conversations like these.
    A few of my few single girlfriends have desires to be wives but they’re currently dating men who do not desire to be husbands but they stay with the men. I’ve gotten heat because I’m “already married and don’t understand.”
    Is she operating in a “girlfriend” spirit? What message would you give to single females in this situation?

    1. Hi Greenie! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I wouldn’t say that your friends are acting in the spirit of girlfriend but I would have a heart to heart with them about why they’re staying with men who don’t want to marry them. We must stop holding onto places and people that no longer serve our greater good. Are they staying because they don’t want to start over with someone new or do they feel they have limited options? I’d encourage them to seek counseling to get to the root of why they feel they can’t do better or why they don’t want to do better. Starting over can be scary but it’s often necessary if you’re needs aren’t being met. At some point they must want more for themselves and trust me, I’ve been there accepting anything just to feel loved, but it ain’t worth it. Doing the work saved me from myself!

  2. Ciara’s post definitely triggered a lot of women because they’re not read to do the work, clearly, because they didn’t even take the time to read or listen. And like you said, every message is not for every body.

    Great post. Congratulations to you and thank you for sharing your testimony.

    1. Thank you Kelley! I can also understand the women that are frustrated and feel that the church has failed them when it comes to dating and holding men accountable as well. But to me, that’s not what this particular message was about. I’m still a work in progress and I just want people, both men and women, to identify when they need to do something other than go to church. A lot of people are experiencing church hurt and don’t know what to do with that pain. Counseling and attending healing classes helped me more than I can say.

      1. I think that’s a major issue: people not recognizing the problems and projecting that hurt and pain onto their friends, family and potential lovers/significant others.

      2. That is a huge problem! Unfortunately, the church can’t and I don’t know that it was meant to solve all of people’s problems. The most important thing is developing a personal relationship with God so that you can discern what’s right and wrong for you. It’s so many layers to this.

  3. Reblogged this on R.A.D.I.A.N.C.E. and commented:
    In the midst of my social media break, there was some sort of online frenzy concerning a sermon from one of my favorite pastors. I had to reblog this amazing perspective because I could not have said it any better myself. #ItAintForEverybody

      1. I definitely understand that. Many of us (because I’ve been there) have to really get past that pain and work on us before we can be with someone else. And that goes for men as well. They aren’t excluded. Pastor Grey’s message wasn’t wrong but there do need to be more messages about men stepping up to being husband material.

  4. This article lines up very well for the women who want to be married. You
    are so correct that women who want to be married has to work on themselves and prepare themselves to be a wife. Otherwise they will get the wrong man or not prepared for their husband due to their own issues that are not resolved. I loved this article so keep them coming.

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