First of all, I would like to tell you that I am not married, and I am not in a relationship either, but I just want to share to you a lesson that I’ve learned for the past two weeks.
For me, we don’t always need to experience all the hurts for us to be able to conclude something. Just by looking at other people’s lives, we will be able to learn something.
The past two weeks were like God’s way of waking me up — telling me that my image of marriage is quite idolized and idealized. Last Holy Week, I studied the end times doctrines. I juggled Covenant Theology and Dispentionalism in just one week, but I already have a prior knowledge of both doctrines so it was more of a review and comparison. The week was about to end and I still don’t have a clear stand. So, I decided to search for facebook groups for women that tackle theology — thinking that maybe I can see something from their resources on how to study Eschatology. But then, God has another lesson for me.
This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord. — 1 Corinthians 7:35
1. SINGLES ARE SOMETIMES DELUDED WHILE MARRIAGE, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS NOT EVEN PERFECT
Singles have this tendency to think of relationships more often. Everytime I engage some conversations with other single people, they tend to shift the topics to worldly things like boy-crazy moments and all the past relationship dramas. But just last week, I started a messenger group among my reformed friends to pray for a certain issue and asked them about some theological matters as well. The conversations are more insightful and full of wisdom. We talked about how to properly exegete certain Bible verses and even how to approach those who believe what we do not believe. I learned that singles are still capable in starting conversations that are more mature and God-centered.
But admit it, singles. Topics about relationships are so exciting that we cannot think of any other things. Wake up! Marriage is not even perfect. Since two weeks ago, I’ve read so many prayer requests from those facebook groups I joined. Most of those prayer requests are about their marriage and all those problems they’ve encountered as moms.
I even realized that marriage is a scary place for those who think that it is a happy place all the time because their stories clearly showed me that it takes a lot of strength to stand strong in marriage. We, singles, are just too assuming that we will get everything that we want once we get married.
2. MARRIAGE WON’T COMPLETE YOU
Most of the people in those facebook groups are married women, and I respect them for being so strong not just for their husbands and kids but also for their siblings and parents. Marriage widens your family tree, and your responsibility gets greater as well. We, singles, are so deluded that our future spouse is like a puzzle piece that is missing and we must find him/her until our last breath. But marriage won’t complete you the way Christ does.
God is the most important One in every relationship. Your partner, whom you’ve been praying for a very long time, can’t complete you especially when that person is starting to get cold in your relationship and you feel that it’s you alone who make the relationship work.
Those sad stories of dying marriages and broken families are nightmares for us, but those nightmares are real stories of some strong people out there who cry every night as they plead to God for answers.
3. WE NEED MARRIED PEOPLE IN OUR LIVES
Starting a conversation with people who are older than us is good. I realized that we need their counsel as well. Singles most of the time choose not to open up with married people because we think they don’t understand our pain. We think we are not welcome because they are now happy. So we sometimes let our self pity consume us. But these married people were once singles too. They have stories to share that will open our eyes to the reality that we still have so many things to learn. I advice you to reach out to your married friends and ask them lessons that they’ve learned in the long run. Ask them what it feels when the marriage they thought to be perfect is not perfect at all.
Let’s not isolate ourselves and build an idol out of marriage. There are so much more to learn and all we have to do is listen.
4. WE MUST LEARN NOT TO SETTLE FOR LESS
Marriage can be a nightmare for some who were forced to settle for less just because they thought they are getting older and they need to accept anybody that comes their way even if that someone doesn’t share the faith that you have. But to view marriage as the ultimate answer for all your sorrows is the worst thing you could ever do. There is someone close to me who is currently facing court trials against her abusive husband. I sometimes cry to God to give her strength because it is not easy to face those problems.
Singles, we think of marriage so highly without knowing it could be a bad place if we put all our attention to it rather than doing other much more important things. Our feelings of hopelessness can sometimes drive us to settle for less. We start bargaining when we worry without thinking that marriage can be a prison as well for those who marry someone who isn’t godly.
5. THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN
Maybe you think that you are on the right age already but why is it that he/she hasn’t arrived yet? Believe me, there are so much more you need to know. Your spouse is never the answer and I will not get tired of telling you that. You think you are already ready to become a homemaker or to become a working mom, but there is more to life than build an ideal family in your mind.
Your kids could be hard headed even if how much you tell them to behave. For women, your husband could get busy that he will forget to help you in your household chores. Your parents might get sick and your siblings don’t care at all. These are just few of the things that we don’t know how to handle yet. These are real scenarios that we omitted in our minds because we think that marriage is always a happy place. We sometimes idolize marriage too much that we forgot to think the downsides of it.
Because after all, marriage is still a training ground for the saints just like how singlehood became a training ground for us.
MARRIAGE IS NOT THE END POINT
We always hear people telling us to prepare for marriage as if we are preparing for the return of Jesus Christ, but it isn’t. Your spouse is not your savior or your lord and he/she can’t be your everything. You can’t build your life around your desire to be married because our momentary marriage here is nothing but a shadow of what is to come. It means, it’s not our aim but it’s a reminder for us. Our only ambition is to glorify God whether we are married or not.
Now my challenge for you is this: love singleness as it is — with no conditions of marriage attached to it, no expectations of healing from a spouse and no idealized image of a family that you always wanted to build.
Can you do it? Can you live this life only having Christ and not His gifts?