(Don’t be) Satisfied with Singleness
Once you are content with your singleness and grasp that God may call you to be single forever—then, and only then, will God bring you a spouse. When you surrender your desire to get married (i.e. cut your heart out) then God will fulfill your desire for a family.
How many of you have heard statements like these?
A reader recently emailed me confused why I condoned online dating and looking for a husband. Listen to part of what she wrote (I share this with permission from her, so don’t worry about your emails showing up on my blog!):
“Don’t you think as Christians, if we were to pursue our spouses via online dating, we would be moving ahead of God in a way? If I go online to look for my future spouse, it would almost mean that I’m not trusting God to provide for my needs.
If you’re single, the goal is not to be married: it is to walk closely with the Lord and to learn how to be satisfied in Christ. I believe it is then that the Lord will bring our spouse to us if it is His will for us to be married. If it isn’t God’s will for us to be married, online dating and going out and searching for someone who is compatible with us may be walking outside of the will of God for our lives.”
I used to think similarly. Growing up in the church, it seemed that women who stayed single were looked upon as more holy than the ones who found a husband. Women who didn’t make themselves up were more highly esteemed than those of us who wore stylish clothes and exercised to look a certain way. The “just be content” phrase was used so often and going out to try to meet a man was seen as weakness and not waiting on God. Oh, how far from the truth! I truly believe God wants us to be content in every circumstance, but that doesn’t mean that the waiting isn’t hard or it isn’t ok to look for a spouse.
Let’s look at dating through the lens of unemployment. Being unemployed when you really want a job is awful. I remember pouting and eating ice cream every Monday morning when I was unemployed—because all I wanted was to go to work like everyone else. (Ok, a tad dramatic, but I was miserable!). But during that season, I made career websites my homepage and constantly looked for connections, sent resumes, and applied to any and every job I could possibly imagine doing. I didn’t know what God wanted for my future, but I knew he wanted me to do something. So I applied for A LOT of jobs. Not one person told me to be content with my joblessness. Sure, I wasn’t to let it steal my joy or define me—but I wasn’t supposed to stop desiring employment. After all, God created us with a desire to work.
Now, what if I treated unemployment like many of us are told to treat singleness. What if I sat around and ate bons-bons all day and said, “God wants me to be content with my unemployment. And looking for a job and doing everything I can to seek opportunities would be stepping outside his will. When I don’t want to be employed anymore, then God will bring me a job.” I’d become a great story you’d tell all your friends—about your delusional friend who will never be employed. Am I right?
We are free in Jesus, and I want you to hear you have freedom to date online, ask your friends to set you up with someone, wear makeup, buy a new outfit, and desire a husband. Contentment doesn’t mean you cut off your desires and deaden your heart—is simply means you tell God how badly you want to be married and ask him to bring you a man. You can even add the word, “quickly” onto the end of that prayer. Freedom.
I met Michael when I was far from content, far from healed, and very close to my desires for marriage. I don’t know why the church and Christians have defined contentment with our relationship statuses as not wanting a spouse. God wants you and I to live fully alive—hearts open to the great story, even if we don’t always understand the pieces and are far from whole. Most were created with a desire for marriage and singleness can just plain suck at times. And if you hear nothing else, I want you to know that’s okay.
Do you agree? What sorts of things does the church tell singles? How have you learned to be content with your singleness, while still desiring marriage?
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- What if I Never Get Married? The Feared Call of Singleness
- The Story of Addictions
- Are You Satisfied? Dream Houses, Dream Spouses
- 40 and Single | One Man’s Story