It has been on my heart for a while to write about being both a woman and being single. Of course, it also requires me to place myself in a rather vulnerable position and be honest about some things. Everyone loves being brutally honest on a blog that anyone (especially people that know said person) could easily read.
As a single woman in her thirties, I often get asked about my intentions for marriage. “Do you want to get married?” is a frequent statement. It is to the point that small children ask me why I am not married on a fairly consistent basis. There is a few ways to take these inquiries, but only one that truly is honoring to God.
- I could respond with a flustered “Yes, of course I want to get married!” Outwardly, I express enthusiasm for the idea of meeting someone and being married, but inwardly it is a different tale. I chastise myself for obviously doing something wrong all these years. There must be some flaw that is preventing me from meeting anyone (this is a lie I constantly struggle with). I must be incomplete and can never be happy if I am not married.
- I could start to lay out a plan to catch me a man! Change the way I look and act until I become another person entirely. Maybe I will pay $50-$100 to sign up for an online dating service (casting a larger net in hopes of finding the elusive “one”).
- Side note: I am not saying online dating is wrong, but I (and a few of my friends) would agree that it affects women differently than men. For me, it is like prostituting myself in front of men I do not know, that may or may not be men of God and are most likely more concerned about satisfying their desires. There is an excellent article by Carolyn McCulley on her blog; Radical Womanhood that I would encourage all to read about looking at your motivations for participating in online dating.
- In this response, I have tried to make myself sovereign over my life and find my identity in another person. Even if I were to become married, under the above assumptions, it would be a disastrous marriage. My husband would let me down and suddenly my entire world that I had built around the alter of our marriage would crumble.
- I could respond, “If God wanted me married, then I would be.” (I have never said this aloud, but it has been in my thoughts.) Taking offense to this inquiry leads me down a dark road. I begin to resent the people that ask it and then take offense with the idea of marriage and of men. Soon I am turned off to the idea of marriage and determine to live my life out alone because it gives me the freedom to live my life the way I want. I do not have to answer to anyone!
- Or, I could put a godly spin on my bad attitude and state that God has made me single and that it is wrong of me to desire something like marriage as it is obvious that is not something He has planned for me.
- In this response, I have taken the gift of marriage that God freely gives to those He chooses and spat on it. I have decided that marriage is the worst thing that could happen to me and looked to find worth within what I do, what I want, etc. My life is about me. This harsh response is actually a mask to cover my real response. I am not worthy to be married. God looks at me and sees this wretched sinner that has no business being in a relationship. I cannot even manage a regular quiet time with God; how could I handle a thing like marriage that is supposed to be a reflection of Jesus and the church!
- I could respond honestly. “You know, I do desire to get married, if it is God’s will for me and sometimes it is a struggle that I am not.” I could be honest about my tendency to not always respond in this manner. I could ask for prayer and tell people how they could help me keep my heart from stumbling headlong into sin regarding this area.
- Instead of looking at marriage as something that completes me, I could see it as one a many ways God could bless me and stretch me. I focus on what God has already done; how He has provided for me and realize that I am well cared for and loved. Married or not, I lack nothing. I do not need to change myself because God has uniquely crafted me (I wish I believed this more). Though I struggle with sin, I am clothed in the righteousness of another.
- This response requires me to see myself as God sees me. I am His child, His heir, a forgiven sinner whose greatest need has been met. If God were to withhold any more blessings the rest of my life; I would have to declare with joy that He has blessed me richly beyond measure because He has! Marriage is a wonderful and special gift, but it is not my everything. Jesus is my everything. It is not wrong to desire a gift, but I do not want to love a gift more than the gift-bearer.
So, I think it is easy to fall into one of these three responses, my hope is to be like Response #3 always, but the other two show up in my life all the time. Marriage will not make or break me, why do I worry about it so? All I can do is pray, confess and look to my savior to show me the truth.