If you are over 25 and still single you know the depth of the accusations lingering within…this is not to say women below 25 do not feel the same anguish, there is just a different depth to the accusations as time passes by. I believe that when you reach 27 and older that the accusations become the force that slams on the door of your heart each day. When all your friends seem to be getting hitched and married, you are left sitting at the wedding ceremonies wondering: ‘What is wrong with me?’ ‘Am I not lovely enough to be pursued?’
There is nothing more complex than navigating your heart through this topic especially as a woman living in modern society. This has been the lingering theme of my life up to now and finally I am starting to face these tough questions…hoping to find solid answers to my longings. After a few years of just denying these desires I am left wanting solid answers for myself. So allow me to share with you a brief look into the answers I am finding for myself. I will not attempt to describe this as being a conclusive summary on this subject but what I want you to see is, that being a woman is about being vulnerable and it is ‘Ok’ to bring these matters before the Lord and wonder about these things. I think we live in a culture where we are silently taught to either negate these desires or to make it happen for ourselves. So today I want to attempt to share my findings on this topic.
The longing for intimacy is not going to go ‘away’: Firstly I have come to find in my own heart that the longing for marriage is a part of who I am. I will never be able to deny those desires. I was often the one consoled with the words ‘when you no longer long for marriage it will happen’, as much as I love my friends’ attempts at making me feel better about the situation, a part of me feels like this is not fully true. Will my longing just suddenly disappear and then the ‘right one’ arrives? No the longing for marriage was fashioned within me and often I confuse that longing for intimacy with the idea of being attached to a husband. The desire for marriage is valid and created by God for an eternal union to the man Jesus and marriage was in his plan for our lives.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; (Revelation 21:7)
Then the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him. (Genesis 2:18)
With that said I believe that the Lord is able to bring setting in our hearts on this matter. A settling to trust his leadership in every season of our lives and even in our single existence. I think trusting that he is faithful in this matter is the hardest part for me to fully grasp, because I am constantly reminded by society that the clock is ticking. I am still navigating my heart through this because it is a daily renewing of my understanding, as I do this I find deeper trust forging between me and the Lord. So my take on the matter is that the longing for marriage should not be confused with the desire for intimacy. The longing is ingrained within me and might never go ‘away’, but I have the opportunity to find deep settling and trust in this season as I openly speak to the Lord about this. Allowing my heart to let go of my own ideas of intimacy and seeing what intimacy really looks like.
Marriage to a man is not an end in itself: Gosh this is probably the biggest thing I need to face. I have placed being married on a pedestal. All my life I have equated my worth to being pursued by a certain gentleman and have become absorbed in the idea that marriage would solidify that I am beautiful enough, that I am noticed and lovely.
I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. (Song of Solomon 7:10)
This is so hard to navigate through because the media has placed such a huge emphasis on this matter. The beautiful girl gets chosen first and the wall flowers hang out on the side of the dance floor, crowned as the loser in an ugly puffy dress. We are taught the silent message that our ‘goal’ in life is to be married and find ‘the one’. As much as I believe marriage is going to be beautiful I don’t believe that it is an end in itself. I want to be married and find that a man has pursued me and that he enjoys me…but placing an emphasis on being married as an end in itself is going to set me up for major disappointment. If I live in the place of wanting marriage as a way of ‘fulfilling’ my desires, my needs, my my my…I am going to fail at it completely.
The past month my church had this series called adult content …which was based on love, sex and dating (I would suggest this as a wonderful sobering insight to this topic – check it out on the link under messages). The one thing I found screaming out to me is that marriage in itself will not bring you happiness and satisfaction. Who I am now will be carried into marriage. Finding myself in the Lord first will establish me as a person unto being able to function normally in the relational aspect of it all. David Sliker sums this up best: ‘Our greatest pursuit must always be the knowledge of God and encountering His love. As we pursue the One who has found us, loved us, and saved us we are empowered to love Him back with all of our hearts – which must be our highest priority and greatest goal. If these words define the rhythm of how we live our lives, then we will express true love deeply and authentically. Love, for the one who is in Christ, is something far deeper and more powerful than a Hollywood romance.’ – How to marry the right person
Lastly it is important to remember that as human as I am, so human will my future husband be. For me to place such a huge emphasis on the idea of marriage, places an unhealthy burden upon him to be the ‘perfect’ man. Chances are he will be broken, have issues, disappoint me and sometimes hurt me…because he is human, not God. Finding my satisfaction in the Lord is of utmost importance…or I will destroy myself and my future marriage. I believe that God gave marriage as a gift and a picture of what he is like relationally…so to find the balance in our relationship with him will only benefit our ability to love well.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, I speak concerning Christ and the Church. (Ephesians 5:31-32)
Single-hood is not purgatory until I get married: I never want to look back on this place in my life and think. ‘Gosh I was so obsessed with being married that I missed out on the now’. I am a dreamer and sometimes it gets the worst of me. The age old fantasy…escapism. Conjuring up my own ideas of what my life will be like when I am married…as wonderful as the mind is, it is also my greatest enemy. I can be so absorbed in the idea of what life would be like that I completely lose sight of what life is like now. I am able to successfully live in the now, if only I would allow myself. Being wrapped up in the ‘what ifs’ will ultimately cause me to live in a world that is not mine to create. I want to enjoy and be present in this moment. I am in the process of training my mind to see the now, comprehend the present and take in every moment.
Being an au pair has shown me the responsibility that comes with having a family and being a mother / wife. I have this gap in my life now to still be a tad bit selfish and spend my time doing the things I like. For example I love endless hours of reading and making random decisions to do crazy things…when marriage comes, my time will be divided. So for now this really is a blessing to be able to sit at 09:00 in the morning blogging and being able to spend endless hours reading and spending time with the Lord. I want to be able to see the beauty of this time in my life.
His leadership is perfect: I touched this topic earlier but I want to emphasize this point most. Being able to follow someone is a far more humbling experience than it is given credit for. Being able to submit my emotions and my ‘wants’ now to the Lord often breaks my heart. More than anything it girds my heart to believe that he is truly good. It allows me to experience the truth that he is faithful to me…that his intentions will always be for me.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3)
I remember days of reciting this verse in Sunday school, not fully grasping the weight of how true this is. The Lord has lead my life so well thus far, away from things that could have caused so much hurt and brokenness in my life. Even in the moments of having let go and being broken he led my heart along the rivers of comfort and restoration. Everything he does is out of his nature…he is consistent in his character. He has the most integrity and is unmoved in his love for me. This is probably one of my favorite passages concerning the nature of the Lord:
…God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:8-12)
Even before my existence physically, he loved me. He knew me deeply and was committed to me. Such love that transcends the boundary of time… a love that was and is…eternal. This moves my heart in a way that words fail to describe.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. (Psalm 139:16-18)
Finding my anchor in the truth is what sustains me. The fact that I exist speak volumes of his love for me. I did not just appear on the earth, I was fashioned by the very hands of the Lord…he has a plan for me…he has days written down for me in the journal of his heart. How can I not believe he loves me enough to lead my life well? As longs as I have breath in my lungs I want to believe and trust and follow the only one who truly loves me. I want to know that he is faithful to lead my heart and lead my life to someday find a man who represents everything that he is. Until that day I want to be committed to become everything he has in store for me right now.
I pray that these verses will become the anthem of my heart in this area of my life:
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.(Psalm 37: 3-5)