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Unmarried in a "We're Engaged!" World

I just got a sudden urge to write about marriage. I resisted…because I am not married. What kind of insight could I possibly offer to a subject that I have not entered? In fact, I can’t really remember my parents being happily married before their divorce…and now, when I can see happy marriages in the family, I am geographically too far to witness. Needless to say, I am unqualified to talk on marriage.

What I feel completely qualified to talk about is singleness WHEN others are getting engaged and married. And that’s what I’m here to do. I’m talking to the people who –regardless of dating status- still check the “single” box when signing up for car insurance.

For a while, I have noticed some problems in the mindset of single ladies (and I’m sure single men, but to be honest I don’t talk to them about this). Single girls- marriage DOES NOT SHOW MATURITY OF THE PEOPLE INVOLVED, SELECTIVE FAVOR OF THE LORD, OR INHERENT DESIRABILITY OF THE PEOPLE.

Do not get me wrong- I believe that people should probably be mature when getting married. I do believe that the Lord loves marriage, and I would hope that the husband desires the wife and the wife desires the husband.

BUT those broad truths about the covenant of marriage are skewing the personal truths about all of us as individuals. Just because a girl has found the person she desires, and just because the boy desires her as well…DOES NOT make her more desirable than you. It simply means that she was desired by her right person before you were desired by your right person.

As for maturity, being married is not the gatekeeper to ultimate maturity. Your married friends are not inherently more figured out or better than you, though I’m sure they are accumulating some hard-earned wisdom fairly quickly in their marriage. Marriage is beautiful and challenging…but just because you aren’t close to marriage, that does not equate to God thinking YOU aren't mature enough, ready enough, wise enough. Look at the facts- a lot of God's disciples weren't married. That didn't mean that they wouldn't make great husbands. And we all know about their wisdom and maturity.

He would not only make you mature and wise simply for marriage. He makes you mature and wise for your job, your service, your friends, your relationship with Him. Marriage is often treated as the end-all for our development as people and that’s a shame.

It is so easy to fall into the ‘I must not be _____ enough to get married yet.’ I have a few of these thoughts: “trusting in God enough” “healed from past events enough.” I think those are legitimate thoughts, but getting married does not mean that a person has reached perfection and solved all their issues. I know that for a fact. No person ever will be perfect. In fact, I have become convinced that although marriage does require maturity, maturity is not what qualifies (or disqualifies) someone for marriage.

So – hearing people begrudgingly say “God must not think that I’m ___ enough for marriage” really hurts. It implies some sort of demoted worth for singles. It also creates a hierarchy among people- some people supposedly more lovable than others because they are in a relationship. I think we need to change the way we are thinking about this. What if becoming engaged didn’t say anything about your worth as a person, didn’t say anything about how God saw you, and instead it just said a whole lot about finding someone you want to love forever?

Becoming engaged, entering marriage- those things are sacred and need to be done on their own time. Some people will get married young, some old, and some not at all.

I think the important thing is to know that none of those options determine your worth. God has His reasons for everything. He wants His kingdom bigger. I’ve always thought that God sometimes thinks it is best to have people marry young and grow as people together, and sometimes God thinks it’s best for people to grow by themselves before joining with another. And sometimes, we are best alone. He knows us; He knows what will be best for us individually. Of course, all of these options are good and right and mature…so let’s treat them that way.

I am learning that love comes at any time. It would probably be more convenient if it hit everyone at 22 ½ .

But we don’t actually want it to hit everyone at the same time. That’d be boring and predictable- Not characteristics you want for your love story.

Basically, ladies- If you are allowing your singleness to tell you how God sees you, STOP IT. I don't believe He sees you as any less worthy, mature, wise, or loving than those becoming engaged. You are no less desirable. So be confident that God works for the good of those who love Him. Be confident that your worth is not based on your relationship status of the moment. You are not being ranked and then shown the ranking by engagement ring sightings. Let’s be confident in our own timing, in our own story, and in our own way of growing.

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