Marriage is Good, But It is Not God
I spent about four years as a single mama. One thing I learned quickly is that people’s view of singleness is that remarriage is the ultimate goal. I saw this in loving, well-meaning comments from senior adults in our church. “God will bring someone to you, don’t worry.” I saw it in the desires and actions of other single adults. I saw it in my own heart. No one would word it quite like this, but the gist is, “All of these problems will be solved when you find that special someone else.”
There are many dangers to seeing single life this way:
- You try to skip the healing and the growth that God has intended for you. In what I experienced and have heard echoed from others in the same boat, becoming single again is of course traumatic, but it is traumatic on so many levels. You have hopes and dreams die. Your entire existence and understanding of your future is changed. The hurt, fears, insecurity and lostness that comes with that is immeasurable. To move forward in a healthy way requires feeling every bit of that. And it is awful. The temptation is to just go ahead and find that person that help us skip the yuck and move on to brighter days. That sounds great in theory, but anyone who has been wounded that deeply must heal greatly.
- You are looking for that mysterious person to fill the gap. Singleness brings a great amount of loneliness. Our natural instinct is to a find a person, sometimes any person, to fill that gap. When that is our motivation we tend to ignore things we shouldn’t because our ultimate goal is to not be alone anymore.
- You are seeking redemption in this mess through a person. I did remarry this summer. Again, accompanied with so many comments of how now my girls and I will be ok and life can move on. As much as I love my new husband, he is not the redemption in my story, nor am I the redemption in his. (and he would agree). God healed both of us. God strengthened both of us. God’s faithfulness allowed the girls and I to endure, grow, and find joy during those four years. Your redemption – your rescue – comes only from a God who promises that He works all things together for His glory. Though God did provide a godly, loving, good husband, he is not the rescuer in this story. GOD is the redeemer of my story.
- You need a number two, not a number one. When/if you find someone, that someone must be number two in your life and in your heart. God must be first, not just in words, but in action and attitude and everything. When God brings someone into your life he/she must be number two and you must be the number two in their life. In these in-between days, focus energy on loving your number one, your God, getting to know Him better and letting Him change you into the person He wants you to be. When all of our attention goes into finding a spouse, that person can become an idol in our lives. In the book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller defines idols as “…anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.” Don’t let the pursuit of another person absorb your heart and imagination. Don’t seek someone else to meet the needs that only God can meet. Let Him fill the empty places and be your number one.
To those that have single people in their world, I would encourage you to look for opportunities to NOT talk about when they are going to find a new relationship. Take them to lunch, invite them to dinner, spend time with them, and point them towards Jesus.
If you are a single person trying to navigate the crazy, consider making the following Scripture your focus:
Rest in God alone, my soul,
for my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will not be shaken.
My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock.
My refuge is in God.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts before him.
God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:5-7 (emphasis mine)
Rest in Him alone. Depend on Him alone. He ALONE is the one who sustains you, gives you worth, and has a plan for your future.