Have you ever heard that old standard from The Great American Songbook “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You”? Ah, yes. That delightful song that brings a thrill of joy to the lovelorn single’s heart every time it is on.
Who am I kidding? That song is so depressing. But it points to a deeper problem. And this problem is seen both in the church and outside of it. It is the idea that singleness is a problem that needs fixing, that we all have a soul mate somewhere out there who will complete us.
Can I call this what it really is? This is utter malarkey. And I’m not just saying that as a chronically single woman who would really like to get married someday. If you had told me when I was 17 that ten years from then, I would still be utterly and completely single, I probably wouldn’t have believed you, probably because it would have hurt too much. And yet, here I am, ten years on, as single as I was then.
I am afraid I wasted much of this past decade. I spent far too much time and emotional energy on relationships that didn’t have a chance instead of pursuing Jesus. Paul tells us the benefit of singleness is the fact that we can live undistracted. Most of these past ten years, I’ve been single and distracted.
Over the past weeks, something deep in my soul has changed. The Lord has opened my eyes to see a slightly bigger picture. He has helped me realize that there is more at stake here than my relationship status and even my perceived happiness.
There’s a bigger problem here, friends, than whether or not we make that journey down the aisle. The culture and even the church look at us in our unmarried state and tell us, and I’m paraphrasing here, “There must be something wrong with you if you’re still single” or “There must be something wrong with everyone else since you’re still single.” Neither of which statements are helpful. But there is an element of truth in them because there is a problem. But it’s not our singleness.
The problem is our brokenness. The problem is that we keenly feel a loneliness and separation in our souls because sin has torn us asunder from the most love-filled relationship we could imagine. In our own strength, based on our own performance and merit, we have offended the Creator of the Universe and His justice requires that we be isolated from Him.
Our dear friends and family see our relationship status as needing a cure. “I’ve got a nephew who’s just about your age. Can I give him your number?” “We need to find a girlfriend for you, buddy.” “Don’t worry. I’m sure there’s someone out there for you.” “You’ll meet someone when you’re not looking.”
Friends, marriage is wonderful but it is not the cure. If our problem is fundamentally deeper than our singleness, than so too must be the answer.
If brokenness is the problem, Jesus is the cure. Our sin, our wretched behavior, our blackened hearts, have ripped us from a right standing with God, but He cloaked Himself in human flesh and entered our squalor. Life Eternal lived so that He could die and pave the way for us to be right with our Creator. His blood is a better covenant than any marriage we will ever witness here on earth.
The institute of marriage points to Him anyway. The Groom coming for his Bride, the one whom He has redeemed and made perfect, and the final wedding feast which will last forever.
So yes, I’m still waiting for marriage. But if it’s true that you’re nobody ‘til somebody loves you, well I’ve got news for you: The King of the Universe loved me enough to die for me. I’m pretty sure that makes me somebody.
If you know someone who sees marriage as the “cure” for their singleness, will you email them this post to encourage them?