Have you ever walked into a Christian event and scanned the room for your future spouse? With marriage on the brain, countless times I went to an event hoping to meet my husband. How distracting. I came to these events to meet God and spend time worshiping him. But what did I care most about? Looking for my future spouse.
Friends, marriage is not the answer. Marriage will not fix our problems or fill the hole in our hearts. Only Jesus has the power to heal us and fill our hearts.
Today on the blog, Sam Eaton will answer a topic that frequently floods our minds. Have you longed to meet your spouse? I know I have, and I hope this post brings you as much hope as it brought my heart.
“This is the year you will finally get matched Sam. I can feel it!” She says as I repress my instinct to stab her in the eye with my pencil.
And another one:
“Sam could be married if he wanted to be, he just doesn’t want to.” Thank you… Wait what?
“Do you even try to date? When’s the last time you asked someone out?” I’m sorry, who are you again?
“You just have to stop looking. That’s how it always happens. Just stop looking.” Perfect. I’ll just wait here…
Okay, before we go any further: Yes, I know these people are trying to help. Yes, I know these people “just want me to be happy.” Yet, these comments always tap into a deeper pain in my heart – the pain of feeling unworthy. Those of us on the outside of the marital class get tired of constantly being bombarded with this lie that we have a problem that must be solved. This constant flow of advice feeds these unspoken fallacies that to be perpetually single is the equivalent of a disease that must be cured.
While this is true in our culture at large, it is even more prevalent in our churches and ministry models.
But don’t worry my single friends, turns out this feeling is not a new phenomena. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes:
And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. -1 Corinthians 7:17 (MSG).
Holy sweet Moses. How can anyone say the bible doesn’t actually apply to our everyday lives?
Can we all just take a moment to read that again in bigger font:
God, not your marital status, defines your life.
It is crazy to me that we today are struggling with the same things people did 2,000(ish) years ago. Could Paul be right?
I too planned to get married right after college and immediately settle down with a Pottery Barn catalogue-worthy home, a rambunctious chocolate lab, a pristine white picket fence and 2.5 beautiful babies. I too wrestle with what it means when a loving and present God doesn’t fulfill the desires of my heart at the exact moment that I demand them.
If I want to be married and I am not, does that mean…
God doesn’t love me as much as my married friends?
God made a big mistake when He created me?
There is something profoundly wrong, unattractive and/or unmarriable about me?
God is punishing me?
God ignores my heartache?
Maybe God isn’t even real?
Can we please shout this together:
While God is in this pain with you, he doesn’t see your singleness like the world does. A season of singleness is not a sentence to that of a sad, lonely zombie desperately searching the frenzied city streets looking for any piece of living flesh that can fulfill his required marital destiny. A life lived that way is a life that doubts in God’s plan.
You see, over time I have come to view my singleness not as a source of isolation or self-loathing, but a demonstration of my faithfulness in listening to God’s will for my life.
His will today is quite clear: I’m not married therefore His will is that I am single. And what person in their right might would argue with the will of God?
So, in an effort to trust God’s plan for my life, what if I actually took some of that much loathed marital advice? What if I stopped looking for my future spouse?
*GASP* The horror! How could you even suggest such a thing.
I am not suggesting we all give up and reject anyone that comes across our path. Yet, what would change in our posture towards God if we intentionally chose to unclench our white knuckles on the reins and opened up to the possibility that He has something much greater in mind?
What would change in our attitude and spirit if we walked through each day trusting that this is exactly where God meant for us to be?
So, for the next 30 days, I challenge you to the following:
Don’t go crazy looking for your spouse.
Don’t check every strangers’ hand for a wedding ring.
Don’t comb the online dating sites for your 97% match.
Don’t obsess about your wedding day (I’m talking to you Pinterest people).
Do take a deep breath.
Do spend more time talking to God about the worth he sees in you.
Do open yourself up to new possibilities and new people.
Do see your singleness not as a state to be pitied, but as a sign of your faithfulness to an incredible God.
Do live a life you are fiercely proud of – a life of adventure, risk and possibility.
Well what are you waiting for? Let’s do this!
So as for me, the next time the marital advice comes flying across the table, I am going to choose to smile and appreciate the gesture. I am going to decide to fight off the voices that scream I am not enough and relax into the loving arms of my Father. I am going to remember who defines my life and who holds me.
You are not defined by your relationship status my friend.
You are incredible.
You are loved.
You are His.
Meet Sam: Sam Eaton writes at RecklesslyAlive.com and is a monthly contributor of JP Ministries. Sam’s heart for Jesus is contagious. He’s a music teacher by day, and a youth ministry and worship musician by night. You can friend him on twitter @aliverecklessly.
Heatherat (8 years ago)
WOW. Coming off a weekend of well-meaning grandmas asking “so what are you EVER going to do to meet a man,” this drives home the exact point I need to remember. I may have to needlepoint 1 Cor. 7:17 on a pillow for myself. 😉
aat (7 years ago)
i have to say
i have to say, at times it does feel like God is punishing me, i feel ugly and that it is apparent that God’s will if for me not to be married. But it doesnt mean i am happy about it, because i am not. In fact I cry all the time, about it, because for me it feels more like a verdict and not a state that God has lovingly chosen for me because He just loves me sooo much, it feels more like a circumstance of my birth. at times i dont see the point of going on yet another mission trip without a signifigant other because my life feels so pointless. Im still trying to figure out what I’m doing here at all, its obvious its not to be a wife or mom at least not now, possibly not in the future either. Im trying to figure out why I gotta be here at all.But anyway I’ll try to see things from a different perspective
joypedrowat (7 years ago)
I know those thoughts. I’ve said them, journaled them, cried them (messy cries), prayed them, and felt them. You’re not alone. Spend some time each day with God, because once you get to know him better – you’ll realize His character would never desire to punish you through singleness. Pray and ask Him for you to begin to see and understand your period of singleness. Ask God to give you self love and confidence that God created you in His image and thinks you are BEAUTIFUL. We don’t know God’s will in if you’ll marry or not, but God can handle your pain in waiting to know His will. You’re life is not pointless. You are loved and valued, my friend. I know we don’t know each other personally, but I know and have experienced the pain you feel. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m praying for you.
You are loved.
Tashaat (7 years ago)
“these comments always tap into a deeper pain in my heart – the pain of feeling unworthy.” The feeling I could never put into words. I never understood why I obsessed about finding my future spouse. And when I tried to explain to others who were married “you just don’t understand the drive and emotion and desire for finding the right person.” “Feeling unworthy” brought instant tears to my eyes.
And you think you do know my desire?
-Don’t go crazy looking for your spouse. (Hmm, I don’t think Im that crazy)
-Don’t check every strangers’ hand for a wedding ring. (I chuckled)
-Don’t comb the online dating sites for your 97% match. (Ok, I unsubscribed from half of the sites I was on a few weeks ago)
-Don’t obsess about your wedding day (I’m talking to you Pinterest people). (Are you stalking me?!)
By the end I was upset and wanted to argue with you, which means you are right in every way. My task is to be where I am because God has put me here.
Thank you for the words to understand the emotion, understanding the bad habits I created trying to help God find me the one, and a reminder that His plan comes in His time.
Nahat (3 years ago)
i just came over this article today: i ve been quite asked by a lot of peeps these last days: when will i get married?when will be my turn?and i am trying to find a wise Godly answer to this question
joypedrowat (3 years ago)
Hello, we are never promised that we will get married, but we are promised that God will meet all our needs. God’s love and intimacy is all we will ever need, but I know waiting can be very hard!