I wrote this one a few years back. I was still single if you can’t tell.
Ah, wedding season is here again. But does it ever really end? If you’re like me then you have more wedding invitations on your refrigerator right now than you do pudding snacks inside of it. I currently am living with two roommates who are engaged and getting married this semester, and last year I attended three weddings of my roommates from that year. And I went to a few more weddings of friends who I didn’t live with. I’ve been a groomsman, given speeches, DJ’d, MC’d, and sang in weddings for the past few years and there are five weddings on the radar for the next three months. So I have been around a lot of this stuff. And if anyone needs any kind of bridal magazine or pre-marriage books let me know, I’ve got a billion of them lying around the apartment and shoved under couches.
This is not to provoke sympathy, although it is welcomed, but this is to let you know that I have seen my share of nuptials. And I’ve gone solo to all of these weddings as well, which as you may know, is one of the things that can make you feel less confident in yourself than any other type of event. It can even be worse than going to the gym and seeing a girl bench press more than you. Not that that’s ever happened to me before.
So here many of us sit. Single. Ready to mingle. No one to mingle with. It can get pretty depressing and discouraging sometimes. I mean let’s just be honest, watching everyone else seem to find their soul mates while you sit on the couch watching nature documentaries on a Friday night can be a bummer. And then they show all the animals finding their mates and you’re like “Ah come on, you smug wallabies!”
As a Christian, you start to wonder why the heck God even has verses in the Bible like Genesis 2:18. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable helper for him.’” Or Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”
So apparently this whole marriage thing is a good thing because they keep using the word good, and doesn’t the Bible also say that God will withhold no good thing from us? (Psalm 84:11) So what game is God trying to play here? Is it that old gag from the cartoons where they dangle the carrot in front of the horse to get it to move but the horse doesn’t realize he can’t actually get the carrot? Is God dangling this idea of love and marriage in front of us even though it’s not something we will ever get to?
If there’s something good, then why don’t I have it? Why am I getting older and older and having less and less single friends while I stick it out by myself? Have I not sought the Lord as much as everyone else? Am I caught up in some kind of sin I don’t know about? Am I way behind everyone else in maturity and I’m really not ready for a relationship still?
Are any of these questions you have asked? I have asked all of them, and some I still ask.
You start to re-analyze your life and situations and thought patterns. You move from feeling you deserve love straight to thoughts that you’re in the wrong because you want the love of a spouse when really you should just desire God only. There’s got to be some middle ground here doesn’t there?
No, we don’t deserve love. We don’t deserve any good thing that the Lord has already blessed us with or will bless us with. But that being said, He still wants to bless us. And the Lord has given us an innate desire to be with someone. I don’t think it is evil at all.
I believe that the Lord should be the one who satisfies us, but what does the Bible say? “He satisfies your desires with good THINGS,” (Psalm 103:5). So God establishes relationships in our lives (with spouses and friends alike) that allow us to be satisfied, and though it is through a person, it is part of God satisfying us.
You’re not evil for wanting to belong to a loving relationship. It’s as natural as desiring food to eat. It’s a God-given instinct. But just like with food, too much desire for it is where the problem comes in.
The danger I see in the American church today, though, is that in our efforts to uphold the sanctity of marriage and push for husbands and wives to live holy and fully in love with each other and in service to each other is that we’ve turned marriage into a destination and an idol. Now grant it, I am on the other side of this thing, but so many times it seems to me that we treat marriage like the starting point of actual, real life. “Alright, you’re married, now you’re officially a man.”
We think that people are just magically shot with a new dose of wisdom because they now wear a ring, or now they are way more advanced in their maturity than the single folks. And so, warped by this view, we turn marriage into a necessary achievement to obtain peace and to have purpose in life. It can so easily become an idol to people who are single. We desire it so deeply and passionately that it transforms into lust. Like some kind of Transformer from the movies… Optimus Bride? (Took it too far.)
Church people do a great job of putting it on a pedestal, too. I truly believe that people may be in good intentions with me, but it’s crazy how many times someone has asked me how I’m doing, only to follow it up with, “Are you dating anyone?” I know they are just curious and want what’s best for me, but Church, how are we supposed to expect people not to view marriage as an idol when it comes up every conversation? And like it is something we are supposed to have by now that we don’t have.
I know that God never intended marriage to be this. This destination. This goal. This idol that it can so easily turn into. Anything that takes the place of God is sin, and isn’t it just like sin to take a blessing of the Lord and pervert it so it becomes what takes us away from the Father?
When marriage changes from a blessing to a beginning point we miss out on so much of what God has done and is doing. The blessings and purpose of our past seem meaningless, just time we had to spend in time-out until the teacher let us back onto the playground. The work that we were able to accomplish because we were single seems pointless because we didn’t have anyone to share it with or take dorky pictures with and put them on Facebook. To put it bluntly- this is stupid.
YOUR LIFE DOES NOT BEGIN AT MARRIAGE! See what large letters I use as I type to you with my own hand? People, we have got to get past the glory of a wedding and the thrill of changing a status to “In a Relationship.” We must grow up.
Let’s look at what are the facts for the singles out there. You are single. God is not rejecting you. You are single. If you seek the Lord and fear him, I truly believe that there is not much room to screw up something as lifelong and important as marriage. So apparently God has a plan for you right now that does not involve a partner yet. So what are you doing now? What are your advantages? I’ve heard it said of aspiring missionaries that if they are not serving like missionaries right now, then what makes them think they will do it when they get overseas? I believe the same goes for us. What makes us think marriage will kick life into high gear if we’re not already at work in what God is calling us to do?
Our lives must have completeness and meaning based on something that no man or woman can give. The source of our strength and realization of purpose must come from the Lord.
And now let me just be clear, I am pro-marriage. Yes, it’s a good thing. You don’t want to be standing at the altar on your wedding day and saying something like, “I guess this is ok with me.” Of course a spouse will add joy and blessing to your life, but it cannot be what defines our lives. The truth is, we may never be married, and if we die unwed I don’t want to be going out feeling like I did not accomplish something. Marriage is not an accomplishment. It is a calling, and in itself a ministry of service to God.
So as we watch our friends ride off into the sunset with their husbands and wives, we must not sit back and wish the whole time that it was us… and like Photoshop our faces onto wedding pictures. So let’s remember the command from Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice!” Let’s be happy for people when good things are happening! And pray to God they remember we did and then get us huge gifts when it’s our weddings!
You know who the happiest person I saw lately was? It was a little baby in church. Laughing and smiling at everyone. And I’m pretty sure that baby was single. So hey, if a baby can be single and happy with life, why shouldn’t we be, too? This is a call to be big babies.
“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”