I’ve been single for nearly all of the first half of my twenties. I’ve dated a little here and there, but nothing was ever very serious or anything close to marriage potential. As more and more friends and peers got engaged, got married, and even started families in the first few post-college years, I found myself thinking about marriage a lot. I found myself longing to be married, desperately wishing for the person who would swoop into my life and be the other half of the perfect fairytale story I had dreamed up.
There’s something that feels safe and solid about marriage-- you’ve found a person who is your home, your teammate, your companion, and your love… who wouldn’t desire that? I know I have, and still do.
Amanda Seibel, a guest contributor for Desiring God says “it’s safe to say that every person who has ever walked the earth has had a longing to be truly and deeply loved.”
As a woman, I often feel like there’s a pressure on me to find my “one true love” and get married, as if marriage is the end goal for my life and the sole purpose of my existence. It’s easy to let my desire to be married someday become an overwhelming force in my life that takes my attention away from the Lord and steers me off track in my life.
“One thing that we can easily forget,” Seibel writes, “is that marriage, in all of its beauty and glory, is still at its very best only a taste of heaven.”
She goes on to make an incredible point about marriage:
“Marriage has a beautiful, God-given purpose, and it is one of the most incredible ways to display the gospel in this world. But when we spend all our energy clinging to a picture instead of to Christ himself, we end up crumpling and marring the beauty of the picture and forgetting everything that it was intended to represent. To be deeply loved by another human being is a beautiful desire embedded in every one of us. Anticipating earthly marriage is God’s own design for many (Genesis 2:24; >Mark 10:6–8; Ephesians 5:31). But above all, may we eagerly await and long for the day when the true wedding comes and the grandest marriage in history takes place. This is a marriage that will not fade, nor ever come to an end. It is the very thing that you and I were created to enjoy forever.”
So even now, as I approach the second half of my twenties and am still anticipating and longing for that hopeful future wedding and the marriage that will follow, I want to shift my focus more toward God instead.
Here are a few things that are helpful to keep in mind as we wait:
- “We are made for another world, another wedding, another marriage.” This reminder from Seibel is a powerful one. Even if I never have a ring on my left ring finger or have a man to call husband, my purpose and my identity will still be secure in God. The Lord has created each of us for relationship with himself first and foremost, and my relationship with him should take precedence over any romantic relationships (or lack thereof). “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine,” the LORD says in Isaiah 43:1. Verse 4 adds that we are precious and honored in his sight, and verse 7 goes on to say that he formed and made us as his sons and daughters for his glory. We were created to be God’s beloved children, put on this earth to give him glory and praise until the day we are joined together with him forever!
- “Marriage is a beautiful gift to be cherished and treasured, but it is not the fulfillment of our hearts’ deepest cravings.” It’s easy to feel pangs of loneliness or feelings of emptiness and instantly decide that they exist because I’m not married, but that isn’t true. Marriage isn’t an instant cure for all of my heartache or questions or anxieties, and it’s helpful to remember that only the Lord can satisfy the desires of my heart fully-- a husband never could. Psalm 37:4-5 says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this.”
- “Longing for marriage is not in the least bit wrong.” Often, when I catch myself idolizing the idea of marriage or desiring it more than I’m desiring to be close to God, I feel shame or guilt. Recognizing that my longing for marriage is not a sin is freeing. Anticipation and longing aren’t bad things, but we need to remember to keep a healthy perspective on what marriage is and isn’t, and to never let our longing for a spouse overpower our longing for intimacy with our Creator.
“Let us look with true expectancy and longing for the day when the marriage of the Lamb will come and our hearts’ desires will be met in our perfect God,” Seibel says. May Christ be our first focus and highest desire, whether we are waiting, dating, courting, moving toward marriage, or longing for what we hope will come. May we know regardless of our relationship status that “as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over [us]” (Isaiah 62:5).
Photo credit: Unsplash
Publication date: January 5, 2017
Rachel Dawson is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com.