The math is simple: go to college + meet man + man asks you out = marriage. Wrong! A lot of people meet their spouse in college, perhaps especially in the South, but it wasn’t the case for me. We are trained as little girls that you go to college and you’ll not only get an educational degree, but you’ll also get your MRS degree too. However, if you graduate single, this equation not adding up is earth shattering. What to do next? I guess I’ll try again with my Masters, I mean MRS. This whole idea saddens my heart so much.
Marriage is a great gift from God. I do desire it but it’s not what I’m living for. We (our church culture) make marriage our finish line. This is evident through our church today, through books on about how to get married, and books that will even tell you what you need to fix so that you can get married. So lets say you get married, then what? What are you living for now? See the problem?
What are you living for? It’s a great heart-revealing question. What do you spend the most time thinking about will easily reveal what you are living for. As a church we often idolize marriage so much that when we don’t get married we are discontent and wrestle with what to do next. But the real truth is this: the cycle of discontentment won’t stop if you get married. When this is our focus we miss something really big!
Here is the reality—you don’t deserve marriage. The only thing you deserve is hell. But because of God’s goodness and grace we get something far better than marriage . . . we get to know God and be saved from our wickedness.
When I’m not satisfied with what I have or angry about what I don’t have, I am not believing the Lord is enough. Psalm 73 is a perfect picture of someone who struggled with this very thing—discontentment. Asaph looked at the arrogant in this passage and envied them, he saw their prosperity. They had no struggles, their bodies were healthy and strong, and they were free from burdens. But then he realizes in verses 21-26 that the Lord is enough. The Lord has graciously used verse 25-26 throughout my life to remind me of this. No matter what life stage we are in be it our marital status or lack there of, our work, where we live, what we have . . . the Lord is and forever will be enough! When we are discontent we focus on ourselves and miss getting to know the Lord more. If we don’t think God is enough then you start looking for a husband or other things to give you what only God can give you: true love and fulfillment.
C.J. Mahaney sums this up by saying, “Your greatest need is not a spouse. Your greatest need is to be delivered from the wrath of God—and that has already been accomplished for you through the death and resurrection of Christ. So why doubt that God will provide a much, much, lesser need? Trust His sovereignty, trust His wisdom, trust His love.”**
Ladies, if you are single you aren’t some damaged goods and you’re not single because there is something wrong with you. We call these lies! I trust that the Lord is good and withholds nothing good from those who love him (Rom 8:28). In order to be content with our singleness we first have to acknowledge that we aren’t in control and that God is. We need to submit our desires to His and trust that whatever He offers us in each season is His grace and goodness.
Don’t waste your singleness on wishing it away.
Rather, use the time that you have to invest in studying the Bible, investing in younger women, and seeking out an older woman to invest in you. So before you throw yourself another pity-party over your life circumstances or try to drastically change yourself to catch a guy’s attention, rejoice in this season and celebrate it because singleness is just as much a gift as marriage is! The Lord, in any season, is enough!
Psalms 73: 1-19, Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?” This is what the wicked are like—always free of care, they go on amassing wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence.
Psalm 72:21-26 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. you guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
**quoted in Carolyn McCulley, Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God for a Hope Deferred (Crossway, 2004), 20-21