Someone recently asked me, “Are you praying for a wife?” I answered honestly, “No, not really.” The person seemed surprised. “But why not?” My reply was something like: “Well, I’m young, and I just moved here and started a new life on my own. I don’t need to settle down right away.”
It’s a nice line. One I’ve grown accustomed to using. And it’s at least part of the truth.
You see, most days, I really am content being single. I’m 26 and I’ve been single for a long time, so I’ve gotten quite used to it. I took a new job and moved to a new state within the past year, because I wasn’t tied down and I can do things like that. I’m also pretty busy and a bit introverted, so I value my precious free time not being occupied by a significant other. This is not to say that I’m opposed to relationships or that I never wonder about the possibilities — because I do. It’s just to say that I generally like my life pretty well, and marrying ASAP really isn’t high on my priority list.
We singles hear a lot these days about being content with where we are until the right person comes along (or even if that person never comes along). And that’s a great thing. Singles should be content with who they are and with where God has placed them before they ever get into a relationship. I’m happy for myself and other singles who have reached that place of contentment. But sometimes I have to wonder whether or not my contentment is really based in the right reasons.
At a wedding I attended recently, the pastor made some comment about how men are usually the more insecure ones, more afraid to commit to relationships. I joked about it with my friends afterward, but I couldn’t deny that he was right. It’s a common stereotype of men, but I know that I too am afraid of commitment. There’s something a little daunting to me about giving 100 percent of my heart to a flawed human being for the rest of my life, giving that person great influence and control over me — especially when, at this point, I have no idea who she might be. As someone who values my independence and has been hurt by relationships in the past, I tend to be wary about the prospect of entering a new one.
What’s more, I actually have recently had a few female friends express interest in the possibility of dating me. But I told them I wasn’t really interested and I didn’t think it would work. Sure, I have reasons (or excuses) for not being interested in those particular people or circumstances. But after turning down the second girl in recent memory, I had to go to a close male friend and ask, “Am I doing this for the right reasons, or just because I don’t want to step out of my comfort zone or commit to anything?” My friend reminded me that relationships take work and sacrifice, to which I half-jokingly replied, “Yeah, that’s why I don’t like them.”
Again, being content in singleness is generally a good thing (I Corinthians 7:27). But, if I examine my own motives honestly, there are both good and bad reasons for not wanting a relationship.
The good reasons include finding sufficiency in God, using my singleness to serve Him, and being confident in who He has made me and where He has placed me.
The bad reasons include being afraid of commitment, selfishly not wanting to give myself to anyone, and cynically thinking that no relationship is really worth the effort. Which set of reasons do I have? Some days, it’s honestly hard for me to tell.
Sometimes I have to reexamine my own heart and remember that “he who finds a wife finds a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22). Sometimes I should take a chance and be willing to let someone in, even when I’m not sure if I want to. Sometimes I need to remind myself that, although my flesh utterly resents this idea, it’s not always bad to give up some independence for something potentially better.
If you’re single, then I hope you’re content with where your life is right now. But I also hope you’re content for the right reasons. We’re told not to settle for the wrong relationship, but we also shouldn’t settle for being motivated by fear, selfishness, or cynicism. We must instead find our contentment in Christ and in using our lives to serve Him, no matter where those lives may lead.