What do the following Christian book titles have in common? ‘What to do until love finds you’, ‘Prayers and notes to my future husband’, ‘Before you meet prince charming’ and ‘Satisfaction as a single: while waiting on your husband’. Now I’ve not read any of these books and their content might be fine but I have a problem with their titles. Do you see it? They all presume that every Christian woman WILL get married. There is no ‘if’ or ‘maybe’, only ‘when’.
Now does the Bible promise marriage? Is it our God-given right to be wed? I don’t see it anywhere in scripture. Will most women get married at some point in their lives? Yes. But not everyone will. Many of us Christians however mislead people with our words. We say, ‘You’ll know when you meet The One’, assuming there is a predestined husband for every woman. We say, ‘You will meet him when you are ready’, suggesting that a single person just has to get to this place called ‘ready’, and their foreordained husband will magically appear in their lives. We attempt to be comforting to lonely singles by saying, ‘Don’t worry, God has your Mr. Right just around the corner…You’ll see’. Is this helpful? Such talk creates false expectations. If many years pass and a woman is still not married, these failed expectations can lead her to feel lied to and bitter.
So if you’re single and are clinging onto the belief that you will definitely get married, I would like to encourage you to let it go. Not to let go of your God given desire for marriage. Not to let go of your faith that God is fully capable of introducing you to a prospective husband. But rather to let go of the belief that you’re promised marriage.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you become so busy that you don’t have the time to get to know a man. I’m not suggesting you stop wisely living like you plan to get married (because most do). Neither am I in anyway suggesting you start making decisions that would hinder you from marrying (unless you feel called to lifelong singleness). I’m simply suggesting you make peace with the possibility marriage might not happen. I encourage you to pray to God: ‘I surrender to you my right to get married. I choose to love you and serve you if I do end up marrying, or if I’m to remain single my whole life. Lord please give me the strength to follow you whatever the circumstance. Lord help me trust You with every detail of my life’.
Why is this a wonderful prayer to pray? Because it further free’s us to live the crucified life! It helps us to not sit at weddings frustratedly asking God, ‘When are you going to bring me MY husband?’, or anxiously check out each new guy in church wondering ‘is that him?’ It helps us to stop ‘waiting’, and to serve Christ more wholeheartedly. Moreover, it helps us to remain peaceful in Christ and not to become desperate. I prayed that prayer about 7 years ago now. I remember pouring out my eyes to God and crying bitterly. I then woke up the next morning and felt so free. I had been clinging to a false promise that was hindering my relationship with Jesus. Marriage is a wonderful blessing (I did end up getting married by the way) but it is only a dim shadow of the glorious marriage we will experience to Christ one day:
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready, it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. (Revelation 19:6-9)
Let’s let go of false promises and rather put our hope in God’s true promises such as…
We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
…and the promise of the future glory…
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18-19)
As Paul prayed in Ephesians: May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give us the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of our hearts enlightened, that we may know what is the hope to which he has called us, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe! [Rowina Seidler]