I’ve got marriage on my mind again. No, I don’t have anyone in mind for myself and I’m not interested in getting married right now. I’m not even interested in dating. I’ve just been thinking about marriage recently because of things going on in the lives of those around me.
I think I’ve mentioned before that there’s an unspoken expectation in the Christian community that young people should be at least seriously considering marriage. I think it stems from a genuine sentiment that marriage is a wonderful thing. It is. Don’t get me wrong in this post, I’m sure marriage is great. So those who are married and especially those who have been married for a long time feel like it’s been such a good thing in their lives that they can’t imagine anyone NOT wanting to experience that. They begin to lack the perspective of a single person because they can no longer fathom a life apart from their spouse.
The expectation also comes from celebrating marriage. It should be celebrated. Bridal showers, bachelor parties, the wedding itself, and then if the couple has children then it’s a whole new set of celebration about the couple and their new family. Then there’s the anniversary every year when it’s mentioned in the bulletin at church or at least if you know the couple then you’ll hear about it verbally or if it’s a ‘big’ anniversary then you might be asked to participate in a celebration. So every year you’re reminded that these two people are committed to each other.
It’s great, I think they should be celebrated.
But then there are the single people. They don’t get celebrated. I mean, there’s our birthdays but couples have birthdays too. There’s nothing to really celebrate for single people. We can celebrate being single but then that’s not really something we always like to draw attention to. Sometimes it feels like the church doesn’t want to celebrate single people too much because, I don’t know, maybe it would make them think there’s an option to live your life without being attached to another person.
Okay, I don’t think that. I don’t know why it feels like that in the church because there are plenty of churches with singles classes AND couples classes. And while people will ask about your dating status, it’s often just an interest in knowing you as a person rather than a judgement. I think it’s really just that married people really push marriage, sometimes without realizing it, because they see so many benefits. So us singles get a lot of, “Just wait until you meet the right person!” or “God has someone out there for everyone!”
Oh, does He? Would you have said that to Paul? You know, the UNMARRIED apostle who wrote down almost half the New Testament? He even said it was good to remain single because you could focus ALL your attention on spreading the Gospel: “The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:34). When you’re married you have to think about caring for your spouse, supporting them, focusing time and energy on them that could be focused on the Lord instead.
I’m not opposed to one day getting married myself. But I’m not ready for that. And I don’t have to be. I’ll repeat that, I. Don’t. Have. To. Be. Ready. For. Marriage. Right. Now. Surprisingly enough, God made me an entire person all on my own. He designed me to be who I am and I AM WHOLE IN CHRIST. I don’t need anyone else to ‘complete’ my personhood. God has already completed me. I wasn’t born missing any essential part of my personality that needs to be filled in by a man in my life. I don’t need a man to support me or hold doors or smash spiders. I don’t need a man to serve God. God didn’t make me a man so I think it’s safe to say He didn’t think I needed one for my basic survival.
I think it’s easy to fall into the ‘marriage is the only option for me’ camp. Even outside the church it’s still really pushed hard on young people. If you’re a 20-something-year-old who feels that pressure, know that I am on your side. If you have a significant other then that’s wonderful and I’m happy for you! If you don’t or if you just got off a bad relationship, are thinking of delving into a relationship, or are taking a break, remember you are a whole person. God made you exactly you to bring Him glory. You don’t NEED anyone to complete you because you’re NOT incomplete.
If God has someone out there for you then being discontent and whining about your singleness won’t make His timing move any faster or slower. Singleness is not a curse. Be content with being you. All on your own.