Bridal Showers – Are They Really of God?

Have you ever read something and found yourself saying, “I wish I had written that,” or “my thoughts exactly!”? Well, this happens to be one of those moments for me. A friend of mine asked me the other day why I have not yet written on dating (or courtship) relationships on my blog. I told him that I, too, had the same question. It is therefore with great pleasure that I begin by sharing with you this post by Shiro wa Gitosh. She has been thinking about the cultural practice of bridal showers, and their biblical implications. Let me just say beforehand that, her insights hit home in very effective ways. It is time we all thought through some of the things that have become so commonplace in our “Christian Culture”. Boys, you can replace “bridal shower” with “bachelor party” and all the girly words with boy ones. Read on:

The origin of bridal showers, though not evil in itself, had nothing to do with God or His word. They were simply meant to help out a new couple as they start a new life together.  (For more details kindly Google).

So, how did this practice find its way into the church? Well, it’s pretty simple, just like stag nights for men, valentines, Christmas… Christians borrow some idea from the world, modify it and make it “sacred”. It has nothing to do with God and whether or not He approves of it. It’s all about fitting into this world which is clearly not our home according to scripture. 1Jhn 2:15-17, Col 2:8, John 15:18-19, James 4:4. God help us!

The 3 main areas of concern: 

1.    The bridal shower itself

It’s normally a short meeting, roughly 2-4 hours long. It’s done once for every bride-to-be, shortly before her wedding day. And a meeting can have few or as many as 30/40 ladies in attendance. Bearing Titus 2:3-5 in mind, this is the problem; is this one meeting enough to prepare a girl for marriage? Not at all! The bible says that young ladies should be trained to become good wives. It’s not a crush course and cannot happen overnight. It takes time. And anyway, where have these women/mentors been all your life? If they really cared, they should have started training you a long time ago.

2.    The participants  

We have 2 categories of people here; older married ladies who normally do the teaching/advising, and the younger single ladies, including the bride-to-be. Still on Titus 2:3-5

a)     Older married women – In most cases, not all the women here are well known even to the bride herself. The bible requires that these women themselves must be of good character first before they can train others. I highly doubt if this is ever checked. Truth is some of these women seriously need to first put their houses in order before they can advice others on how to build theirs, and it’s pretty obvious at times.

Also concerning, is that these older women are not always one in spirit and sometimes teach based on myths or opinions that are questionable and not led of God. I’ve personally been to a bridal shower where 3 women gave 3 very contradicting explanations regarding a very key issue in marriage. It’s not until much later that I confirmed through God’s word that only one of them was right. How sad, aren’t these meetings supposed to help and not confuse us? 1Cor 14:33, 40.

b)    The young singles – Why on earth do we even invite young girls to such meetings? Girls who aren’t even about to marry, some as young as 18. Why? There’s normally a lot of talk on sex and in great detail. Do they really need to learn such things this early? How does it help them? I know of girls, (myself included) who’ve been left traumatized after learning such things too early. Some are left scared or disgusted by the mere thought of sex and marriage. Is this right? Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5, 8:4. Why have so many other young girls present if the bulk of information at a bridal shower is especially meant for the bride-to-be?

3. The teaching/advice given

Some of the things that are taught leave a lot to be desired whilst others are just wrong and misleading. This is greatly attributed to relying on opinion and past experiences and can be very misguiding because people are different and so are their marriages. It’s not a one shoe fit all issue. Also, in most cases, there’s very little reference to scripture if any. And sometimes, verses are misquoted and misinterpreted. Let’s look at two of the most common wrong teachings.

a) “Sex is all about pleasing the man”. Or, “I should be a prostitute to my husband to keep him from straying”. Where do such ideas come from? Certainly not from scripture! Is sex purely for the man’s pleasure? What about the woman? Does she lower herself and loose her self-respect by behaving like a prostitute? So a prostitute is now a role model? Seriously? What about the woman’s needs and physical state? What happens when she’s unwell?

The bible teaches a lot on sex and that should be our foundation always. The book of Song of Songs describes a love relationship and intimacy between two people who both enjoy it and equally work to make it beautiful. It’s not a one man/one woman show. In 1Cor 7:1-5 man and wife are one and sex should be based on mutual agreement of both parties. Not on one party’s preferences, demands or fantasies.

b) “It’s wrong/sinful to have sex during ones monthly period.” This is part of the law and it’s found in Lev 18:19. How I wish we’d take time to find out why God gave this particular law, and the many other laws that we blindly follow or comfortably ignore today. And also find out how these apply to us today. Still on the law, why are the laws regarding men and semen never mentioned today? Unlike women, why aren’t men today bound to these laws? Lev 15:16-18, 22:4, Deuteronomy 23:10-11, 1Sam 21:4-5. Better yet, why are there so many other laws that are ignored e.g. Lev 19:19, 26, and 27, Deuteronomy 14:23 and others very strictly followed e.g. Mal 3:10? why follow the law selectively?  Who decides what’s to be followed and what’s to be ignored?

Here’s the bible’s take. You’re either a slave to the law or to righteousness. Christ supersedes the law. John 1:17, Rom 3:20-31, 6:14, 7:16 and 10:4, Gal 3:10, 25, and 5:18, Ephesians 2:14-16, Heb 10:1-7. And as seen in James 2:10, it’s all or nothing; if you live by the law, follow the whole law, otherwise it counts for nothing. So why don’t we?

Conclusion

Christians DO NOT need bridal showers. As ladies, what we need according to Titus 2:3-5 is to grow in God daily, develop Godly character and be Godly in all we do. Then, when mature, married, and most importantly as led of God, we will be able to walk with younger girls and train them over time to be Godly as well. This takes time and there’s no crush course that could ever replace this lifelong “formula” specially designed by God Himself for our own good and for His glory. Let’s do away with these useless shortcuts! Bridal showers are for those who are of this world, NOT for those who are led by God Almighty!

And please let’s stop applying God’s word wrongly and or selectively. Let’s ALWAYS go back to scripture and confirm everything we hear especially when a teaching is questionable or contradictory. Let’s ALWAYS search God’s word and establish the truth before we apply it to our lives. Let’s be like the Bereans. Acts 17:11.

Shiro wa Gitosh

Yes, let’s be like the Bereans. Christ over culture.

6 Comments

  1. Methinks the article is great but a bit one-sided in the views expressed. Blanket criticism of such a largely differing event is not the way to go. The writer should have done a bit more expansive research before delivering the verdict too soon. There are some which use scripture. What of those organised by the best couple who’ve been walking with the bride all this while? There are just so many questions left unanswered.

    • I get your concern Tony. As a matter of fact, I shared the same concern when I first read the note. It’s true that many questions are left unanswered ( but that happens with every blog post as it is not a book).

      However, I later realized that, as long as any practice does not find it’s root in the church, it will always be predominated by wrong ideologies. This means that if we were to avoid criticizing any rules because of the “exceptions”, then there would be nothing to criticize in this world. Every pagan practice (by Christians) has some good people and occasional Bible verses, but that doesn’t make the general practice any less pagan. Sometimes the only way to do it is not to split hairs, but to speak forth and let those who have ears to hear.

      PS: The author’s point was never to have Bridal Showers abolished. That would be too simplistic. Her point was to make us think BIBLICALLY through the implications of such cultural practices. The point remains, we can have them, but let us not delude ourselves that we NEED them, we don’t.

  2. Not sure we should be calling a bridal shower a christian event in any context. Likely to be useful to the bride to be but should not replace set out Biblical principles. In fact when in doubt fall back to what the bible says. Same I guess applies to the bachelor party.

    • That’s right Josiah. If we were to strip away everything in a bridal shower that does not show fidelity to scripture, I don’t think what we will remain with can continue being called a bridal shower (or a bachelor party). Oftentimes, the logical conclusion of “redeeming” some practices is a completely different practice (e.g. we will end up with biblical discipleship in this case). The Bible saves us the hassle of having to go in a round-about way to attain something that is already clearly commanded and commended in scripture.

  3. Very interesting article, Shiro. I find it very educative n how it should b a life time learning guided by the Word of GOd. Some been thought that sex is dirty that they become rigid. The whole thing need some wisdom. We shouldn’t throw it whole-sale. If well applied, not crudely as per experience, it can help those who’ve no one 2talk2. It shud b given 2getha with councelling 3mnths b4 the wddng. Tks

  4. I most definitely agree that this sort of mentorship (brides to-be and older married women) should be continuous.

    But I was hoping to read compelling biblical principles that are violated by bridal showers as a concept. Sadly, I found the article shallow at best. Perhaps it should have been titled “Things I disagree with in the bridal showers I’ve been to.”

    Note that the same lies she points out can still be perpetuated in those mentorship set- ups should one have the misfortune of landing one of those misguided mentors.

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