Why Aren’t You Married Yet?
- Thursday, December 08, 2011
EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: What’s the appropriate (and Christ-like) response to people who are always asking “Why aren’t you married yet?” or “When are you getting married?”
HE SAID: Most every single over the age of twenty-five has probably faced these questions. If not directly, they were posed behind their backs, and the older we get, the more these questions seem to be raised.
I have a friend who I don’t see very often, but when I do his first comment to me is always “When are you getting married? You aren’t getting any younger!” Despite my carnal desire to react with some quip or snide remark, I usually take a breath and refrain.
What I have found to be more crucial than coming up with an “appropriate response” is making sure I am living my life in relation to God’s desires, not my own. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:1, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
Although I have longed for a wife and family over the past couple of decades of singleness, I can honestly look back and feel blessed at the way my life has turned out and thankful for all of the incredible opportunities I have had and the amazing friends I have made along the way.
Even more important, I can see how God’s hand in my life has orchestrated my successes and allowed for my failures in order to get me to the point where I believe he wants me today. As a result, I am at peace about my situation and worry less about “marriage” and more about living a life worthy of the calling I have received, as well as pleasing him.
I find it interesting most Christians probably believe in God’s perfect timing when it pertains to their own life, however, when it refers to others, we (me included) often “think” we know what’s better for theirs.
My response the next time I am posed these questions will be, “I’m getting married when I complete everything God wants for me to as a single.”
SHE SAID: This can be a hard question to hear and to answer. But a verse that immediately comes to mind when thinking it through is Colossians 3:17:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
So even though the questions of “Why aren’t you married yet?” or “When are you getting married?” might seem invasive, intrusive or rude (and if you’re single and have heard these questions a lot, they most likely do seem to feel like that sometimes), that does not necessitate an unkind response or poor Christian witness.
Responding “in the name of the Lord Jesus” means treating the person who has asked you this question in a way that will glorify the Father. Now, that’s easier said than done. I know, because I have sin nature as well, and my flesh doesn’t want to give a kind response when I am asked these questions. Those who are not single may not understand how personal this topic is or how it makes a single feel when being asked these questions. In a single’s mind, he or she can take this kind of questioning to a further degree of “What’s wrong with me?” As in, “Is this person implying that something is wrong with me because I am not married . . . yet?”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve often had this kind of internal dialogue with myself when someone has asked me about my marital status. At first, I used to get angry about it. But as I’ve grown older, I realize that for most people this questioning is coming from a good place and with good intentions in their hearts.
Generally speaking, they aren’t ridiculing, they aren’t trying to make us feel bad and they aren’t saying there is something wrong with us. They love us, they care about us and they truly want to try and understand why God hasn’t already brought us our mates.
So these days, when I am faced with the questions you have asked about, I just assume the best and that they are being asked in kindness and in love. That helps me to release whatever anger or bitterness may try to bubble up inside of me and build a barrier between us. So I choose to make it a “non-event” as I smile and answer like this:
I don’t know, and I don’t understand all of God’s ways or his timing in my life. But I do know that I want what God wants for me. And if that includes marriage one day, then that will be great!
With an answer like that, I am still being truthful but also (hopefully) pleasing God as “the aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15) while in the presence of others.
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is … Laura MacCorkle, Senior Editor at Crosswalk.com. She loves God, her family and her friends. Singleness has taught her patience, deepened her walk with the Lord and afforded her countless (who's counting anyway?) opportunities to whip up an amazing three-course meal for one.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately (we think they sound eerily similar sometimes, too!).
GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.
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