“Everyone around me is getting married and I’m over here single”…. I read the words from a very beautiful ex student of mine just the other day and it hit me. Those feelings that I felt came flooding back. As a Christian woman there is this perception, sense of pressure to get married young, to find ‘the one’ and settle down quickly. And most women want this also. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get married. Marriage is a wonderful thing. I know I desperately wanted to find the perfect guy, have the perfect wedding and the perfect family… I turned 21 and I was single. I turned 22 and I was single… and then there was the few drop kick boyfriends inbetween. And suddenly I was 27 and I thought ‘well that’s it for me, I need to get used to the fact I will remain single for the rest of my days.’ I spent a lot of time letting go of the ‘ideals’ I dreamt of, the perceived ‘ideal Christian culture of being married young.
I found, for me, that dealing with my feelings and letting go of this ‘ideal perception’ was a great thing, mentally and spiritually. I look back now in reflection and think how sad. How sad to think women are potentially thinking negatively that they aren’t good enough after a certain age, nor good enough for marriage.
Now, let me just stop you in those thoughts here. These thoughts are not of God. But I’m also not going to tell you friend that you are enough. Because simply without Christ you aren’t. You need Christ to transform you, you need Christ to mould you into someone who can be the best version of yourself in both marriage and singleness. You are not enough without Jesus reader. Please know this, please meditate on this. Once we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our hearts, souls and minds there is a renewing a new joy that as I have said before no one can steal. And so you finally become content where Christ has you because in your singleness you are content, married you are content, any stage of life you are content in Him and where He has you in every moment.
After only a few years of marriage I am far from an expert on the matter, however I will say this; I finally understand what Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians 7 where he states it is better to be single than married. I thought for a long time, no it’s not, it’s better to be married. But you see reader when you are single your focus isn’t on your family, but during this time you can focus on doing God’s work.
Really getting in there and serving, helping, praying and supporting others. Does this mean you can’t serve when you are married with children? Certainly not, however your focus is split and your priority is family and so it should be.
When I was single I used to serve at a soup kitchen in Newtown on a Wednesday night. I remember being in a really good place in my spirit and knowing this is something I won’t be able to do once married. So I made sure I tried to serve in ways I could take advantage of my singleness. Looking back, probably not nearly enough, though nonetheless might I encourage you in this season of waiting to focus your time and energy on serving far better than I have in ways you may not be able to do when married.
Another important note I might add here is when you are single it’s a great time to invest deeply in asking God to prepare your heart for marriage. Prepare you, healing up wounds and baggage you might be carrying. Learnt behaviours, parts of your life that you find difficult. Give it all to God. Being married is truly wonderful in sharing our burdens, praying for each other, encouraging our spouses to be everything God intends us to be. So please don’t read this wrong. We will always carry hurts, hardship and trials are part of our human existence. Ask God to teach you how to deal with your hardships in the right way. Ask Him continuously to heal and break behaviours and help you to become the Proverbs 31 wife or to love your wife the way Christ loves the church.
I also prayed during my singleness for my husband. You can be specific when it comes to their character. Do you pray for you husband or wife friend? Do you ask God to protect them and charge them with the strength of Jesus? Do you pray they are a warrior for Jesus, faithful to Him above all else? That God is working in and through their lives daily?
Well you need to do this. Pray for them. Don’t just write your list of what you want but rather write a list of things you want to ask the Lord to do in their lives, helping them, preparing them for marriage. To partner with you and direct your family in a manner that is worthy of the Lord. Please don’t forget reader God designed marriage for good. He says in Genesis 2:24 that for this reason “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
And here’s the BIGGEST THING to pray for. Patience. Pray for patience while you wait. Pray for joy while you wait, pray for contentment and rest while you wait, and satisfaction in Jesus while you wait. Allow this season to be fruitful and a blessed one while you are here. I’m not saying it is easy. Oh, boy is it hard. There were days, months and even years I struggled. For me, in the circles I socialised I felt old and washed up for not being married by age 22! How silly, and damaging that can be. Yet, in all my thoughts and failings I wouldn’t settle. I just couldn’t live the rest of my life with someone who didn’t fulfil the prayers of the man I wanted. I came to terms with he just may not be out there. And that’s ok. It’s not going to be easy but I can survive. It’s something I needed to give over to God. How do you do that? It’s a constant prayer- a conversation. If the thoughts or sadness creep in, if the doubt or worry appear, tell Him where you’re at, tell Him everything. You may as well because He knows all our thoughts. So share and ask God to take control of your feelings and emotions. I’m sure by now you realise you can’t. Ha! Well I learnt that long ago. Only Jesus can take hold of how I’m feeling and reshape me. Share with those close to you if you have a support group so they can gather around and pray for you. Tell me, I’m here, I’ll listen and pray with you through this season and allow Jesus to be the husband/wife no one will ever be. I soon learnt that marriage is hard. We need to chose to love daily, to sacrifice and put our spouses needs before ours. I soon learnt that they will hurt us and let us down and so will we. We are human. But let me also tell you some very good news,
JESUS WILL NEVER HURT OR FORSAKE YOU! He will forever be your ultimate love, your deepest longing and desire. He is your husband or wife. He takes everything. All your pain, guilt, sorrow, anger and turns it into peace, joy and a desire to enjoy Him to the fullest.
My friend, in our Christian circles I’ve seen heartache, I’ve seen single mothers not feel comfortable because they don’t want to come across as desperate, or wanting to steal other women’s husbands, I’ve seen and felt for myself being left out of group outings purely because I didn’t have a man by my side. It can get messy. We are flawed, we sin, we judge others, we think we know what’s best or when we need to marry. For those who marry in this life it really is our highest calling to be a wife, mother and provider. To serve, love, train, discipline and guide our children to be the best people they can be. Always pointing to Jesus. But what if the Lord wants a different path for you? What if you are to remain single? How do you come to terms with it? Jesus will prepare each in their hour of need. He will provide faith and peace and rest for those who need it. The only way you can do this, this transformation of contentment in Him is by asking the Lord to do it. There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING you can do to feel good, peaceful or happy where you are at in life unless you ask God to change your mind, your thoughts and actions to coincide with Him.
Now a note about children, pray for them now. Pray for their future and spouse even before your child is born. I pray for each of my children’s wife and husbands. I specifically ask of God to mould their partner to be the attributes of so many of the men and women from old in the Bible. Do you pray for your children? Even if they aren’t here is physical form yet, PRAY! Pray for their protection and a deep faith in Jesus. Set this habit up now and once your children arrive you will be well versed in prayers and petitions for them. It will be a natural transition.
So reader can I spur you on in your singleness, to not settle for less, to be picky (in the right way) and to seek God, enquire of Him to show you the right person. And to find peace while you wait.
Let’s celebrate both friends. Let’s celebrate the season of singleness and what comes with it. And let’s celebrate the season of marriage for others and ourselves when it comes. God gave me my perfect guy and perfect wedding and perfect family. In His timing, not my own.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12