In a society where romantic relationships are idealized, God has given me quite a new perspective on relationships. Paul says it himself when he writes to the Corinthians, “An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-34
In Christianity, there is a rich tradition of singleness–everyone from the apostles to the saints. Shane Claiborne put it best when he said, “No one says ‘Poor Mother Teresa, if only she had met her husband.’” That would be ridiculous. Then why do we go around as Christians thinking we’re not complete until we finally find our future husband? Singleness is not a time of waiting around.
What I’ve noticed here in college is this desire to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. Everyone we meet, our first reaction (especially among girls) tends to be “is that my future husband?” Instead of embracing our singleness, we have this question looming in the back or our mind every time we meet a new guy.
I’m not going to say it’s not hard to do that, but Christ tells us He will take us through a process of renewing our mind. Just because our culture has conditioned us to think this way does not mean we should blindly accept that “this is the way I feel, so I’m just going to pursue it.” Yes, God gave us emotions and desires, but we give those up to Christ every. day. Solomon writes, “there is a time and a place for everything” meaning there must be a time and a place for singleness. He also reiterates several times in Song of Songs “not to awaken love until the time is right.”
I hate when I hear young girls say, “I have to date around so I can find out the type of guy/girl I want to marry.” However, I could name off the top of my head several guys I would never consider marrying and I did not have to date them to figure that out. This is the purpose for having spiritual brothers. Furthermore, I do not think it is necessary to go out searching for Mr. or Mrs. “Right.” Let’s look back to the very first relationship. Adam didn’t go out looking for Eve. God brought Eve to Adam. He divinely orchestrated their relationship. So then why as Christians do we somehow think we are better equipped to handle our love lives? We don’t trust God enough to bring our Beloved to us, so we go out looking for that person which usually ends in disappointment and disillusionment when we realize our spouse cannot fulfill every longing and desire we have.
I went to a conference where Shane Claiborne spoke, and It was quite interesting that Shane Claiborne—radical poverty and homeless activist—spoke so much on singleness because that seems to be a theme in my life recently that continues to pop up. This past weekend God spoke in my life to different areas where I was choosing not to listen to Him. I didn’t think God would give me a concrete “yes or no” answer so I continued to push His voice to the back of my mind. However, this weekend God finally got through to me and I realized that I had been magnifying a relationship that wasn’t intended for anything more than friendship. God allowed my spirit to get a sense of the guy’s future wife and she is beautiful! She’s quiet, gentle, soft-spoken and fits him absolutely beautiful. They are PERFECT for each other. And when he sees her he’ll be madly and hopelessly in love with this beautiful woman of the Lord. Words can’t really expressed what my spirit was allowed to see, but I knew as I continued to pursue that relationship I was infringing upon her. She was his—not mine. I knew I had to be faithful to her and God and back off—even in my mind. The mind seems to get all of us girls. With frivolous daydreaming and imagination, we tend to make things more than they are. How fascinating that the mind seems to be the biggest battle field, yet the one we have the most control over. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” I wonder how many of us have been deliberate about pursuing this verse lately. It’s so much more than just ignoring your thought and pretending you didn’t just think that. Call it out. Call it what it is and deal with it. Don’t allow it to continue to grow in your mind.
It’s so important to be aware that God is writing your love story. I know that so often I tend to take the pen back from the Author of Romance. However, as the Author of Romance, only God can create the perfect God-written love story. Psalm 31:15 says, “My times are in Your hand.”