To be married or not to be married? That is the question. It’s a question I receive several times a week these days, usually when someone is referring to my single status or another recommendation for a perfect match… “He’s cute, single, and works in finance in Copenhagen! You two would be perfect together!” (yes, someone actually did say this!) Why do people think I need to be married now? These conversations end quickly if I can help it. The subject seems to ignite interest in others but, am I wrong for believing a manhunt is a waste of time?
“Mah-wage… that blessed awaingement… that dweam within a dweam…” as it’s called in the Princess Bride. Not to throw a huge, wet blanket on the romantic idealist but it’s hardly the blissful, romantic enterprise movies portray or that we might imagine it to be. To put it pragmatically, it’s a facilitator of life, a potentially powerful partnership, and an important calling for some but not a prerequisite for happiness or fulfillment. Sometimes, in fact, it has the opposite effect and one can find themselves committed to an existence of pain and regret.
I learn a lot at weddings and from my parents (I LOVE weddings). Sometimes I see weddings turn into, what appears at the moment, to be a happy marriage. Several brides have confided to me their struggles since the Big Day but continue to see their relationships through eyes of faithfulness. My parents say that marriage is “one of those things worth working for.” More often than not, however, I’ve seen magical, white, fairytale weddings turn into tragic divorces in less than 3 years. Sometimes this was because one or both partners were feeling lonely and discovered unmet expectations and more loneliness in marriage; sometimes it was because one or both partners felt pressure from family, friends, their university culture or other social circles to move into the next phase of life when they weren’t emotionally ready; most commonly, however, physical attraction has been the hinge-pin of the unsuccessful ones. These marriages came undone with the first slammed door.
There’s no question we would have fewer divorces if we had more objective assessments of why we’re choosing to marry. Idealism is hardly helpful when we’re making a decision that will last the rest of our lives and, yet, the mindless feelings and lusty infatuation of what we mistakenly call “love,” drives our logic. This shouldn’t be. You’re marrying the girl because she’s HOT? That’s a rock-solid foundation.
My family has begun to discuss this subject more often the older my siblings and I have grown to be and the ending statement is always the same: “we will all know when it’s the right one.” I have my doubts on this. I’d prefer an arranged marriage to the terrible task of orchestrating it myself or hunting for a person with every character quality necessary to achieve that kind of consensus. I like what Paul says in I Corinthians 7 about marriage. Yes, it’s another kind of lifestyle but shouldn’t be any more or less satisfying to us. Dating websites? Why would anyone want to subject themselves to that? What good would it do for us to maneuver, plan, scheme, or put our effort and time into seeking something that’s supposed to be a natural outgrowth of a complete, fulfilled life? Winning another person’s love shouldn’t be a goal; it should be a by-product – icing on the cake.
All perspectives considered I’ve come to the conclusion that the best idea is to simply wait without investing any concern in the matter of whether or not marriage is a part of life. It’s too complicated a question and should be left in the care of a God who knows everything about us. As my mother said before she was married, “God’s just going to have to plop him in my lap.” Otherwise, it’s a completely pointless waste of time and thought. You can feel free to disagree with me but I believe this to be the best, most rational alternative to the feverish, rollercoaster ride of relationship hunting.
If we serve a God who’s already given us direction for our lives, why go searching for fulfillment elsewhere? Why be so anxious to quit the phase of life He has us in now? Do we have so little ambition for accomplishing greater good with our lives that we can’t imagine any grander calling than marriage; how small and self-centered is our world? Life is about more than this! If we care about anyone’s happiness besides our own, our time is well-spent ministering to the needs of people who have no one, serving God faithfully and joyfully in the sphere of influence He has already given us, not trying to push for an answer to the distracting, unnecessary marriage question.
One final word to the critical analysts:
“Not looking” should never mean “not open.” Actually quite the opposite. The point of this post is to advocate satisfaction with one’s current stage of life (in light of what God can do with one’s productive singleness) and a pragmatic, logical approach to a usually emotion-based decision.
Lol. You should talk to me.I’m single too but focus on finishing my graphic design degree. Remember that the color red is an attractive color for men. Too bad that the Cincinnati reds got swept by the phillies. Poor buckeye nation
“HOT” is a variable matter of perspective.
July 04 ’77- am walking up a flight of stairs with my cousin sister, three girls cross by. As we reach the top of the stairs, I look back at the three who have just reached the bottom, to find one girl look back. Our eyes meet. One fleeting instant. One thought rushed through my head.. “there is someone I’d really love to know”
33years hence, that girl has been my wife of 22years. Who says stuff like that only happens in the movies?
“HOT”.. dunno if you would call it that, but it sure hasn’t burned out.
Of course, we have our fights, arguments, differences… but one thing still remains… “I am with someone I always love to know”
The magic will happen when you least expect it. Good luck!!
Being a productive single and waiting until the Lord shows you that you should, and whom you should, marry is definitely the best plan. I know you’ve had a good example of productive singleness. I know too many Christian women who married for the wrong reasons and have regretted it soon after; most have remained married and struggle quietly. I was a happy, productive single for seven years post-college, and when I married, I knew that my husband was absolutely, 100%, what God had planned for me. Why? First, because we’d been “just friends”, and then best friends, for a couple of years before we even started dating — we saw the best and the worst of one another, yet still liked what we saw. By the time we actually started dating, we both had a strong suspicion of what God had in mind, but we continued to talk together, pray together, and seek together until we were sure. We knew one another’s hearts, and, after nearly sixteen years of marriage, through both the better and the worse, we’ll still sure, still in love, and still best friends. When we used Terry and Barbi’s “No Other One” as our wedding song, we meant it! If the Lord wants you to marry, He certainly won’t forget to tell you!
P.S. You probably don’t remember us, but you can let your parents know that Kyle and Heather are still living happily ever after . . .)
Aww!!! This isn’t facebook but let’s just say I’m “liking” your comment right now, Heather. Of course I remember you! How could a star-obsessed redheaded girl forget sitting in an astronomer’s lab looking at the planets through the biggest telescope EVER?! Mr. Kyle was my hero!
hey b.a. jackson! this is definitely one of your less coherent posts…it must be on your mind a lot lately 😀
your conclusion makes good sense and there is a lot of good to do while you are in your current state of independence. however, be careful about downplaying marriage in your life. Woman was created for man; man isnt good enough without woman (Gen 2.18-24). have you looked through the book of common prayer lately? please pardon my impudence, but the ship is quickly sailing on pre-30 (prime) children-making years. marriage and raising godly children is the closest a man and a woman can get to living out how god intended creation to function and exemplifying how he is saving it.
Haha! Less coherent? Or you just disagree? lol. “Now for the matters you wrote about: it is GOOD for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband… I say this as a CONCESSION, not a command. I wish that all men were as I am. But each has his own GIFT from God; one has this gift, another has that… But if they cannot control themselves, they SHOULD marry, for it is better to marry than burn with passion.” (Paul wrote this in 1 Corinthians 7; these aren’t my words) Children are a high calling but then Galatians says “more are the children of a barren woman than of her who has a husband.” 🙂
well defended, brittany jackson 🙂 i havent the slightest doubt that you will be (and are already) an incredibly effective advocate for the lord and his work.
Through reading this I laughed and felt sadden at the same time. From about 13 to 20 I said that I was never getting married, not because I was a man hater. I was a driven women that did not like to be told what to do, feel held down, or could not go after my dreams because my spouse didn’t want that. The great thing is “I am not in control” I could have locked myself in my house and only went out with groups and if God wanted me married guess what…..I am going to get married. With that said I never looked/hunted for a relationship/spouse. I was driven to find what God wanted out of me and for my life. Through that journey I was open for a relationship “if” that was what God wanted for me. The most wonderful thing is when I was seeking God’s best He blessed me with my wonderful husband. Yes, marriage is the hardest thing I have worked at but also the most rewarding. God had a plan for me and it was greater then I could have imagined.
I in the beginning I said that I laughed and was saddened. I said laughed because I was against marriage because I felt it did hold people back from thing….I was wrong (my husband knows how hard that it for me to say). Marriage can be wonderful, if it’s from God!!!! I said saddened because I feel that we need to allow ourselves to be open to the possibility of a relationship/marriage. To many of us right marriage/relationships off as something to do or painful so we don’t open our hearts/minds to the idea of marriage. God made marriage and everything God made is wonderful. We are the ones that mess it up. I feel that we should never close our hearts to the thought of marriage or view it in a negative way. God made marriage meaning it is GREAT!!!!
I agree don’t hunt for a spouse let God lead you to your spouse/the path God has for your life!!!
Dearest Rebekah, I agree 100%! (: “Not looking” certainly doesn’t mean “not open.” lol. Actually quite the opposite. I’m advocating satisfaction with one’s current stage of life (in light of what God can do with one’s singleness) and a pragmatic, logical approach to a usually emotion-based decision.