"When are you getting married?" Wedding season is among us. I'm not the first person to write about this, and I can guarantee I won't be the last. Just bear with me for a moment while I prattle on.
It's wedding season. And this girl is single.
However, for some reason unbeknownst to me, people still ask me when I'm getting married. This question makes me want to scratch my head and rattle my brain for a non-sarcastic answer. I get it, y'all mean well. But really, asking a single girl when she's getting married is like asking someone how the cookies taste before making the dough. I HAVEN'T EVEN MIXED UP THE BATTER YET.
Because of these well-intentioned inquiries, along with the ever-looming media influence, it's not uncommon for a single girl to feel shame, simply because she's not the one walking down the aisle. I say these words with caution, as I know I'm possibly stepping on toes and preaching to the choir.
My best friend got engaged a few days ago (shoutout to her!), and my heart is full of joy for this sweet couple. Since the engagement, I haven't felt a lick of envy, despite four people asking when it'd be my turn. For those of you getting married this summer, I hope your married life is full of love, grace, and a lifetime of giggles. Your spouse is a God-given gift, and I pray you never forget that.
I've realized that the problem has less to do with the summer wedding season and sweet friends planning a walk down the aisle, and more to do with people concerned when I'll be walking. Blame it on the media, blame it old-fashioned traditions, or blame it on social assumptions. The problem is, we've created a society that praises the people who get married early and get worried about the people who don't get married until later, if ever.
Marriage isn't "just some thing you do," but the way people ask me about it, it's like they were asking me if I was planning on skydiving anytime soon (which is much easier than marriage...or so I've heard). Many of the people who ask that well-intentioned question are, indeed, married, and I know they realize this, but the off-handed way they ask pierces deeper than we'd like to admit.
The American dream used to be married, with two kids, and apple pie, of course. Now, that's shifted to graduating college with an engagement ring and a job offer. This dangerous assumption that marriage is the next step after graduating college (or high school, for some) has created deep-rooted shame, doubt, and even guilt from us single peoples. The wedding industry is a multi-million dollar business that I believe has actually cheapened marriage. So much focus is put on the actual wedding that the marriage is just an afterthought. The wedding itself is seen as a rite of passage, not the growing pains associated with becoming one unit.
The more people ask why I'm not married yet, the more I question myself, and ask God what's wrong with me. The ever-so-wise Theodore Roosevelt said that "comparison is the thief of joy," and though possibly unintentional, comparing our life timeline with an engaged/married friend is only going to rob you of your joy.
"God has someone planned for you."
"Thankssssss......" This is almost worse than the question of my "impending marriage." It makes me want to squish my face up and shake my head. Also well-intentioned, this statement is actually unbiblical. I really hate to be the one holding the needle, bursting everyone's balloons (I mean well, I promise!), but it's true.
I can promise you this, God has never leaned down and whispered His plans for someone else's life in my ear. Maybe I'm the odd ball out on this one, but I don't know what God has planned for you anymore than I know what He has planned for me. I'm 99.987% positive that God giggles when we tell Him our plans, or worse: when we try to follow through on our own plans. I've made God giggle more than a time or two, and I'm eternally grateful He chooses to gently show me the right way, rather than pick me up and plop me where I'm supposed to be.
One of my favorite guys in the Bible (are favorites allowed?), Paul, even talks about the plight of singledom. In 1 Corinthians chapter 7, he makes the bold statement that it is better to be single than married. Interpret that how you want, but he has a good point. Paul sees the importance on really putting God first, above a potential spouse. So many times, we wrap up worth with relationship status, when these things should never be packaged in one box. You're worth more than diamonds and rubies, no matter if there is a gem on your ring finger or not (Proverbs 3:15).
"She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her." (NIV)
Nowhere in the Bible are we promised a spouse. In that huge book that explains love, there isn't a verse that reads, "And God will give all His people a spouse." Unfortunate, I know. Life would be a bit simpler if we knew from the get-go that God had already handpicked our permanent coffee date. We're promised love, though not necessarily romantic love. I have full faith in God's love, because I already have it. I've experienced God's love through a family that supports me, through friends that give me way too much grace, through an innocent child, through daily talks with Jesus, through people who have walked with me in different seasons of life, through strangers who blessed me in some way. I've had no shortage of love in my lifetime, and I'm so grateful.
Yesterday, I stumbled upon the blog of a twenty something named Emily, who is working as a teacher in Laos right now. Her sweet blog is similar to mine in topic, but the approach is different. Nevertheless, the last part of her blog, titled, "The Blog I Never Wanted to Write.." resonated deep within my soul, so I'm sharing it here.
"No respectable woman is looking for a man to rescue her and jumpstart her life. No man worthy of that woman is looking for a damsel in distress. Every relationship I admire is made up of people who are honored to labor alongside one another because they’ve witnessed each other’s gifts in action. May we be worthy of the man of our dreams, even while he is still just a dream.
My nightly prayer doesn’t end with “Aaaaaand I want a husband. Amen” It is filled with utterances that desire to understand what I’ve just said. I long to be brave, rooted, gentle, loving, and balanced. I long to practice being a Godly woman, and trust that will carry over into being a Godly wife. I pray, even now, that I might make sacrifices for the Kingdom, but that I would never sacrifice the life God would call me to in order to preserve the mere hope of wedded bliss.
Dear women, dear Emily of the future, be women of God. Wait for no man, but wait on the Lord. Follow His call, to law school, med school, to crap paying jobs with awesome missions, to the ends of the earth, and maybe, just maybe, into covenant with someone who wants to go there with you."
Any more questions about my impending marriage?