I remember several years ago an older friend of mine (who was also single at the time) talked to me about my desire for marriage: “Nicole, if you desire marriage then you will have it!”
You see, her logic was that if God gave us a desire then surely He would bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” But I wasn’t so sure about her logic.
We have many desires as human beings and not all of them are in our best interest. I can speak for myself and say that many of my desires as a young adult were not in my best interest. I was very immature and naïve about what it took to have a lasting relationship. Much of my time in singleness has been used to mature me and help me gain knowledge about becoming a healthier person.
I’m sure you have come across people with similar ideas as my friend. They say, “If you just wait long enough on the Lord, He will give you a spouse!” Though I appreciate the heart behind the individuals’ statement (more than likely they are trying to be encouraging), I’m not sure if there is much wisdom in their beliefs.
Could it be that the scripture referenced earlier actually means God will replace your desires with His as you delight in Him?
Often in the church I hear, “Most people get married at least once in their lifetime,” and every time I hear it I wonder, what statistics are they quoting? Again, I know the statement is meant to encourage, but is it encouraging if it is not based on facts?
The reality is that I have been called to walk out extended singleness, my close friends have been called to walk out extended singleness, and for whatever reason, many that read this blog have been called to as well. If someone would have told me 10 years ago that I would not have a family of my own by now, I would have thought it impossible. I thought being single in my 30s would be abnormal. As I look around my sphere of influence, my story is more common than I would have thought.
There is nowhere in scripture where we are promised marriage. While I do believe that is the original intention of God (re-visit Genesis 1-2 for a re-cap), the fall of man seems to have distorted a lot of those original intentions. So instead of misleading singles with sincere but empty promises, maybe we should be preparing people to learn how to live an abundant life—with or without marriage?
One of the lifesavers for me in this season has been my relationship with Christ. It has truly been a gift to find solace and strength in the One who empathizes with us. He knows us through and through and He has promised to be with us on this journey with Him no matter what we face.
When I have cried out in agony over an ended relationship or I’ve felt utterly alone on a Friday night, He was there. And if I did not feel His presence, I could see His hand skillfully orchestrating the circumstances and people in my life that would help to bring out the best version of me. I have never been without hope while walking with the Creator because He has shown me repeatedly that His path is better than what I would have chosen for myself.
Even so, it is a difficult thing to navigate these desires for extended periods of time. As I told a friend recently there is an ebb and flow in this journey. There are peaks and valleys, highs and lows. But always, always Christ carries me through and we endure together.
I can’t guarantee anyone marriage and therefore do not advise that we should be expecting it, but I do think its necessary to seek the Author and Finisher of your faith for your story. For all I know that story includes marriage; for others, it does not. But we are all promised an eternal marriage that will not just compliment, but satisfy and complete us.