Navigating life as a celibate Christian single can be rough. Inevitably there seems to be a moment in my conversations about singleness with other Christians that makes me cringe. Eventually those dreaded words are spoken: “Oh, but don’t worry; He is preparing you for your husband.”
I cringe because I feel so misunderstood. I could swear I had just articulately communicated to the person with whom I am speaking how I am truly enjoying life as a single (which I most assuredly do). But they seem to be fixated on the idea that singleness is a problematic circumstance in my life which God is doing His best to fix as rapidly as possible, albeit behind the scenes.
Though marriage may be in God’s plan for me, I struggle to believe His purpose for my life is so inconsequential, insignificant and dull. Please, God, dream bigger!
It’s not that I am a man-hater. I most definitely am not. I absolutely love seeing a man of God laying down his entire life for his wife the way Christ laid down His life for the Church. So rare. So precious. So beautiful. Perhaps someday there will be a man in my life to whom I will submit while he lays down his life for me, but I pray God is not merely focused on preparing me for something so momentary, so fleeting, so shallow.
How dare I call one of the most beautiful relational pictures of Christ and the Church shallow? Because comparatively speaking, it is.
Yet, my dear single siblings, God is preparing us for the big M. This might surprise you, but He is preparing our married brothers and sisters for it too. The purpose of all things in our lives is exactly the same. And it has nothing to do with their spouses or our, perhaps still imaginary, future spouses — but everything to do with our guaranteed Groom.
Sometimes little lies can be so misleading! Consider these thoughts:
Don’t spend all your time dating losers. Instead, focus on becoming the woman that the man you want to marry — will want to marry.
Great advice, except isn’t our focus still on the man and what we want? What about becoming the person God wants us to be? Fulfillment doesn’t come when we simply dress our idol in different clothes than does the culture which surrounds us. It comes when we abolish our idol.
Your season of singleness is a very special time in your life.
This is a time when you can focus solely on serving God, so make the most of it because it may not last forever! Right. Exactly right, yet so WRONG! The purpose of our entire existence from the moment we were born to the infinity of eternity is to focus solely on serving God! Aka worship. Worshiping God is the purpose of our lives, not just of our singleness. The purpose of our lives does not change when we get married. Our roles, schedules and sex lives will change; but not our purpose. It stays exactly the same.
I want to get married because I am lonely, so I want to be in a relationship where I know someone will love me for the rest of my life.
Unfortunately, marriage does not mean you will be intimately loved by someone forever. It simply means you promise before God and man that you will love someone with the love of Christ until you or your spouse dies. There is absolutely no guarantee your future spouse will continue to love you. Our relationship with Christ is the only relationship where we are guaranteed to not be separated from someone else’s love.
God dreams so much bigger than we dream. Our ultimate destiny is to be transformed into the image of His Son. While this destiny does mean our ability to be in healthy relationships while on earth will improve, it does not mean our destiny is to be prepared for a temporal spouse.
Do I hope someday I will be married to a temporal groom? Yes. Yes, I very much do; but only under one condition. He is going to have to be someone with whom I know I will be able to serve God better when married to him than if I would have remained single.
My dear single brothers and sisters, let’s not pine for a marriage Jesus never promised us. Let’s place our hope in Him, the Promise Keeper. He has promised we have a Groom. One who is so worthy of our love and adoration that we will spend the rest of our lives preparing to be His eternal wife. It’s not a religious fairy tale. It’s our reality.