What’s a single girl to do when marriage takes too long?
Valentine’s day has come and gone, and for many singles, it was an affliction to an otherwise normal month; the one day out of the 365 when everyone makes a big deal about the one thing they do not have; a spouse.
I remember the weird feeling that came with Valentine’s when I was a single.
The commercialization was just starting to hit Kenya back then, but even then, it seemed like every street corner had a flower vendor, every man was lagging a girly package, every restaurant and store had a splash of red, and every girl had a special delivery to her desk in the office.
Valentine’s was everywhere. Except in my corner.
I was okay with missing out on the funfair, for the most part, because I knew you couldn’t hurry a man. He shows up when he shows up, asks you out when it’s time, proposes when he’s ready.
I was content to wait; be about my Fathers business and not focus on relationships like they were everything.
That is, until February came along and the parade began. A girl can coast along, just fine, all year long, until someone rams the delicate button at the wrong time.
Valentine’s and other lovey-dovey seasons can be hard if you are trusting God for a mate and it seems like He took the long route.
It is hard when the wedding season hits and the bridal shower invites pour in, and everyone appears to be hooking up, and you haven’t been out on a date for months, maybe years.
If you are single and waiting, I am sure you have heard it all – from “be content in your season” to “marriage is not everything.”
For the most part, people mean well, but the lines can feel old – especially when coming from married folk.
So I don’t want to offer platitudes or any of that because what you are feeling is valid and I cannot fix it. But I do want to invite you to a different outlook.
Sometimes what we need is little shift in perspective, a little manna to take us through today, as we wait on God for tomorrow.
If you are struggling with your still single status, questioning, wondering how to stay on the “narrow road,” consider the following;
Godliness is not for the faint of heart.
A lot of times, the hard thing and the God thing are the same things.
But we tend to see it the other way round; Godly living = comfortable. Godlessness = discomfort.
So as singles, we imagine our lives should be easier – not a lot of struggle, no much wrestling, no questions, no waiting, no broken hearts. After all, we are obedient and faith-filled!
However, Paul, the author of most of the New Testament, paints a different picture.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
The Bible does not say what Paul was struggling with, but we know he wanted it gone.
Three times he begged God to change his season and each time God said “You don’t need the struggle gone as much as you need my grace. You feel weak, Paul, but my strength is better released in your weakness.”
God did not remove Paul’s troubles but instead, invited him to change his perspective. Eventually, this hero of faith began to get the revelation, in fact, delight in the opportunity to grow his faith.
When the longing for a husband overtakes you, when you feel like you cannot stand one more “do-you-have-a-boyfriend-so-what-are-you-doing-about-it” quip, remember;
You can take your weakness to God
God did not rebuke Paul for asking the trial be removed. Instead, He reminded him of His enoughness.
It is not wrong to desire a mate, to want to get married, to feel frustrated when people make your marital status their business.
God wired you for connection and intimacy, first and foremost with Him, and then with a life-long spouse here on earth. These feelings are valid and so is the frustration when the desires go unfulfilled. (Proverbs 13:12)
However, we need to take the next step.
Paul did not keep his thoughts and frustration to himself. Instead he initiated a conversation with God. Three times.
If he had stuffed his thoughts, he would not have understood Gods mind or intention. His faith would not have been strengthened, and we would be missing a beautiful piece of the New Testament.
The peace and answers you are seeking do not come by way of ignoring or stuffing your trial; they come by way of honesty and vulnerability. You cannot find healing without exposing your condition to the Healer.
Bring the mess to Him! Tell Him what you are feeling, what is hurting. Ask the questions. It will surprise you, how your world changes, how your perspective shifts when you learn to talk to God about everything.
You can take on God’s perspective
That time you turned down a coffee date, the day you walked out of a restaurant because he wanted more than you could give, that week you chose God and your world crashed?
You felt beaten, ashamed, weak, broken; the last thing on your mind was “I am a strong woman!”
Yet as lovers and pursuers of God, that is exactly what we are when we face challenges and still choose to walk through them, instead of camp.
“My power works best in weakness,” God says.
We are not strong because we can fix ourselves, medicate our desires, stuff our sexual feelings. We are strong when we allow our weaknesses to point us to the One greater than us.
Years ago, I dragged myself from a coffee shop, walked across town, got on a bus and wept all the way home when broke off a friendship with a guy.
The man loved God, liked me and thought we had a future together. But God was convicting me about the friendship, asking me to break off whatever was trying to develop.
So I told the guy. I also said everything else the Lord said, and he thought I was crazy. As I walked away from that coffee-shop, I felt crazy too. Numb with pain, heartbroken.
But I loved God, and I had been learning to listen to him even when it hurt. Especially when it hurt. So even as I mourned the loss of a potential relationship the next few days, I knew I was obeying God.
In my lowest moment, I was choosing God over being in a relationship or the promise of marriage. Surely it counted for something.
You may not feel your finest or strongest when you make these tough resolutions for God.
It might not feel fair to be single when all your friends are getting married, and you’ve been waiting on God all your life (or so it feels), and finally the fine guy from church is dropping all the positive hints, and God won’t give you peace about him.
It might not feel right when the handsome guy in the next office professes his liking, is willing “to give your god a try, just for you” and the Holy Spirit is lighting up your spirit with red lights.
It might not feel fair when the girls with “way low standards” seem to get married faster, and God offers you no release from His high standards.
Perhaps you have thrown a tantrum or two, maybe gone ahead and did the thing the Lord forbade so you could feel special this past Valentine’s.
Listen to what Jesus says in Mark 2:17
Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.
Regardless of where you are, whether you compromised to feel good, or stayed on the straight and narrow and are nursing disappointment, I want to encourage you to go ahead and still choose God.
Today is another day to choose God. To pick yourself up and bring your mess, your questions, your tears to God and know that He will help you.
You don’t have to dwell on your yesterday, you can start afresh today.
It was only a few months after I “broke up” with that guy that Tommy and I started going out.
I am not saying God will bring you a husband because you turned down a date (I had crossed off many more dates before that one!) but I am proposing it is possible to delay God’s purposes for our lives, based on the choices we make today.
Had I hang out with that guy, continued to ignore the Spirit of God, my relationship with Tommy, and eventually marriage, would have delayed.
I don’t know God’s next step for you, but I do know everything is connected. What you do today has an enormous impact on tomorrow. Your choices today can catapult you towards a brighter future or delay it.
Grace and perspective make godliness “easy.”
The grace of God makes the impossible possible.
Godly perspective (taking on and agreeing to, God’s point of view) births a sense of peace and a “you know what, I see how that works even if it doesn’t feel good” attitude which helps us weather the toughest of storms and darkest of questions.
As you consider relationships, please remember that anyone can have a boyfriend. Anyone can get married. Just set your standards low enough, and boom, anyone will jump over.
But you were not created for “anyone” and marriage is not the highest goal – Jesus is. Living for God is what you were created for. Not a husband, not a relationship.
A ring does not add value to your life; it does not make you more significant, Jesus does.
And eventually when the Lord blesses you with a spouse, you will be able to look back and be very glad you took time to make Him your everything.
Marriage tends to show us up, to reveal all these other ways we need God and happy is the woman who learns early to be all in with her Maker.
Will you help me? A few readers have asked for recommendations – books, websites, blogs – for the single and dating season. If you have a book, or website or article that is/was helpful when you were single and dating, please share it in Comments! If you are an email subscriber, simply reply this email and let me know. Help me come up with a good list so we can point our sisters to a good place! Thank you!