Single Christian living in a city like Pune?
Probably your aim is to conquer your graduation with good marks, and/or to work and become financially self-sustaining. While you have a gala of a time doing all that, you also know the next stage in life is probably the dreaded,
M-word : Marriage.
Knowing that God is the creator of marriage, you have had some hopes of finding that one person in life to get married to. Your desktop wallpaper has one of those dreamy “God has plans for you and blahaa blahaa” quotes with some young Western character staring deep into the sunrise in a green field.
(Married folks, try to remember how life was for you before you met your spouse).
But it has been years on end now, hope is like an aeroplane that makes a loud noise on the runway but somehow never takes off. Meanwhile at least one person you meet, in the week or the month, asks you that question –
“So, when are you getting married?”
You, then, experience the following range of emotions:
– The desire to throw your helmet at them.
– The desire to be run over by a Municipal Transport bus.
– The desire for invisibility. Or minimally, you want to cover your head with your jacket and keep walking like you didn’t know this person.
– The deep, deep desire to retort, “In the next 40 years. But I may not invite you.”
You wish the newly married couple that posts 5 blasted pictures every day on Facebook would develop diarrhoea or something so they would STOP posting.
Some Christians try dating and do end up gladly married. Some altogether rubbish it and prefer to not take any chances except for an arranged marriage – as if arranged marriages have resulted in perfect matches. Some still would have liked to date, had someone suitable asked them out.
But – nobody asked them.
Break-ups and failed hopes devastate the Christian heart too. A lot of us know that feeling. I sure remember mine.
The lovely and noisy aeroplane finally takes off; then down it goes and collides with Pain.
Regret enters your dark room like an interrogator and punches you in your guts. You wish you hadn’t sinned. You wish you had stuck with God’s thoughts, not your own. You thought this boy or girl would treat you well, but instead something tragic happened. WHAM.
WHAM. On goes the punching. And thus begins the self-imposed exile from the idea of marriage itself.
Single Christians can get very disillusioned about marriage. Or they can get over-enthusiastic about finding the one. Still some others, have little desire for marriage. They don’t want to deal with all this, so they don’t even try getting to know someone God has put right in front of them. Why get hurt again yaar?
But if you are wondering how to wait for marriage the right way, here are four thoughts. These will vary based on how you have so far received the idea of marriage and singleness:
1. Your marriage matters to God.
Don’t presume that you will not find a suitable match. We could be thinking less than we should of our God. Maybe deep down you’ve assumed that because nothing is “happening” in the quest for your life-partner, obviously your Heavenly Father is also disinterested in who you get married to and when will you get married.
Just not true.
Yes, God is big and we and our affairs are minuscule, but He is still abundant in grace to care for things on our micro-level. Since you have been rescued by the Lord from sin and spiritual death, He is already “at work” on His main agenda – making your character like His Son’s (Rom. 8:28-29, GNB).
So if you are a Christ-follower, marriage is simply a great field of harvest for sanctification.
Unless you are specially called to be single all your life, God will bring you a suitable partner to accomplish this work of Christ-likeness.
This person may or may not seem like who you want- but they will definitely be who God wants in your life.
2. Your marriage is NOT very important.
Don’t presume that you need to find a match, some match. Don’t think marriage to be so important that without discernment, you invest your emotions and thoughts in just about any person who crosses your path.
Such tendencies will make you look for life-partners in every other believer you will meet. How do I know? Alas, experience!
If you have the privilege of searching for a life-partner, please do the diligent task of assessing if you can indeed get along at the very least in a basic Christian manner. You need not marry someone you have zero desire to spend your life with. At the same time, hopefully you don’t have worldly standards of beauty, money and compatibility.
Also remember, you don’t have to do anything wrong your boyfriend or girlfriend says in order to please them. You are called to please God in all relationships. If we find ourselves fretting about our who will get married to, it only shows that we believe we must find ourselves a suitable match.
But God is the only match-maker in every temporary marriage. And He will not be mocked if we try to play god and work our wishes out.
He loves us so much, He won’t hesitate to invoke pain to help us see our sinfulness, disobedience and the damage we could be doing to God’s name, to the church and to others. And we can count that as precious grace.
3. Is there a right age for marriage?
Maybe for you, but I would be wary of making rules about this.
Every culture usually has an accepted age bracket for marriage. Sometimes, medical concerns for child-bearing dictate an upper age limit for ladies. Interestingly and thankfully, the Bible doesn’t state possible medical problems as a motivation to get married. I believe neither should God’s people do so.
Fears that people will reject you if you become older or because it might affect your child-bearing abilities are usually ungodly excuses to hurry marriage. This might be tough to take in for parents and mentors of many Christian sisters of mine, but sorry- Christ didn’t call us to adopt the fears and ways of this world.
(These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. Mat 6:32-33 , GNB.
I am certain even the context is right here. The world does worry about marriage today, possible more than ever before.
Such fears could also be signs of low confidence in God and of legalism in our own lives. We are then telling everyone who is within earshot that we accept people only if they meet our conditions of “prettiness” or who accept our demands. And we affirm that is how the world should work.
Such thinking contradicts the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s be on our guard.
At the same time, those who are not called to life-long singleness for the sake of the gospel, need to evaluate for themselves what motives keep them away from not pursuing the goal of marriage.
4. Be fondly attached to the Suitable Match your church has – Jesus.
Finding a suitable match could take just 4 months. Or just 14 years.
Those precious months and years were not given us to just find a marriage-partner. Single people have certain blessings that married people may not have while on God’s mission! Throughout history, many life-long single people have had the gracious advantage to be involved in God’s work in meaningful ways that marriage might naturally curtail.
Whether you are single or not, are you amazed by He who is truly the lover of your soul?
If you claim Jesus loves you more than your future spouse, then in daily life, is He your primary obsession?
He is the One who perfectly obeyed His Father’s will and rescued a highly imperfect Bride, the church, to make her as Holy as He Himself is. Are you glad and content to be doing God’s work within your spiritual family- your church- and with people who desperately need Christ?
Or would you rather spend your time like singles in this world do, desperately hoping that “something” will happen to them?
I am not saying we should not dream.
Go ahead. Dare, hope and believe all that Jesus himself would have.
He was about our Father’s business. That is good enough for us, single and married alike.