Thursday, August 20, 2009

One Day WHEN You Are Married

Those of you who are single I have no doubt you can relate to this, even if you do not agree with me on the subject. This is one of my pet peeves. I can not count the times someone has assumed that I will get married and oftentimes that my entire life up until that point is just preparation for becoming someone's wife. Although I realize the intentions of the person are almost always good, as a friend once told me "people know you are a really cool person and they want you to be happy and have companionship." (quite possibly not an exact word for word quote, but you get the idea.) I've heard it said, and wholeheartedly agree, that the strongest human bond is husband and wife. And, the Bible teaches us that marriage is to be honored and it is a picture of Christ and the church, Ephesians 5. So, of course it makes sense that marriage would be a common topic of conversation and a large part of life, but it is not a given, 1st Corinthians 7. Living life as a single person has trials that come with it for certain, but living life as a married person comes with its own set of trials. I admit I find myself thinking of the idea of marriage often, but a growing concern I have is that too many, girls more than boys, spend so much time focusing on the idea of being someone's spouse, and what their future spouse will be like that they lose focus on God and on how they can serve Him right now, right here, just the way they are. Another concern I have, keep in mind these are concerns for myself not just others, is that between our own ponderings of these things and the people around us encouraging the idea that marriage is a certainty in our lives, what is going to happen if God has chosen a different life for us? What if His plan for our lives is to be single? What if we spend 20 or 30yrs of our life planning to someday start our life as someone's wife instead of seeking to glorify God in whatever path He chooses to lead us on? Life does not start with your wedding day! Life is here, it is now! There is nothing wrong with learning to cook and clean and take care of family, for guys either. In fact, I would encourage everyone to do so, and to use those skills to take care of everyone around you. Your parents, your siblings, and other people God brings along your path, but I would encourage you, whatever you learn, do so with the idea that you want to use this to glorify God and to serve those around you, not with the idea that you have to learn this to train for the day you will be someones wife. I realize I have a tendency to be more independant than most people, partly by choice and partly by lack of alternative options, but keep this in mind too, it is a good thing to learn to work hard and with your hands. Having a job, even a physical one, is not reserved for men. Proverbs 31:10-31 talks about the virtous woman or wife. I am sure any Christian single woman reading this is at least somewhat familiar with this passage. It is often taught as an example of how Christian women should aspire to be, and rightfully so, but what I don't understand is how often we manage to miss the fact that this godly wife on top of taking care of her family at home, she also worked with her hands in a field, sold goods at the marketplace, and girded herself with strength. Too often the idea of what a lady should be is depicted has only cooking and cleaning and watching the kids, being the 'weaker vessel' which is true, but is not equivalent with being weak and danty. I challenge any girl or woman reading this to follow the example of the virtous woman or excellent wife depending on your translation. Whether you are married or single, learn to take care of the people around you. Learn a trade of some sort. Gird yourself with strength. Whether God's plan is for you to marry or be single, it will benefit you to learn to take care of yourself and others. While we are human, and God in His mercy and graciousness often shows us that we need help from others and cannot do things all alone, we also need to learn to depend on God, not on our fathers, brothers, or Mr. Right. God has given us arms and legs and muscles that can work and can grow strong and an ability to think and reason and we need to use these things to glorify God every bit as much as any man. It is natural and even ok to think about and wonder if and to whom we will get married someday, but we must remember that we are living today. Tomorrow and all our plans are in His hands. Our paths are His choice. Our dreams are not a given. Apreciate the growth God has brought into your life, and use the things He has taught you to glorify and serve Him.


Melissa said...

Well said, Sarah. I think that this wholehearted trust in God that I see in your post is a vital part of biblical femininity. The 'laughing at the future' cheerfulness is there, and the strong arms consecrated to the service and care of others is too. :) It's good for all of us to be reminded to live passionately and faithfully in our time and place.

Nikki said...

Being single gives a person a unique opportunity to grow in their faith. As a married woman, you are torn in so many directions each day--your husband, your children, housework, grocery shopping/running errands, bill paying, keeping up on correspondences, home schooling, gardening, and then you need to try and fit in your time before the LORD in there as well? Whereas if you are single your heart can be more fully focused on God, and you have more time to study. And I agree with you that we ought not to assume that we will get married. But I guess I have always thought that if a young woman had a desire to be married, then that was probably an indication that she did not have the gift of singleness, and therefore someday God WOULD fulfill that desire. But, you have wisely pointed out that that is not a guarantee that He will. So if a young lady especially has her focus so zeroed in on getting married, she will be sorely disappointed. Men are sinners (just as women are) and they WILL let you down. No man can measure up to a fictional Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth ;) (love Jane Austen). But God--HE NEVER DISAPPOINTS.
I guess my feeling for wanting to see you with someone is because (and I'm getting teary writing this) you have gone through rough trials, and I don't want you to have to go through them alone. And I know that Melissa especially is a great comfort to you, but she can't always be available. But I guess that ultimately leads me back to God because He will ALWAYS be there, and maybe that is what He is trying to say to me through you--that we can't lean on our spouses during trials; we can only lean upon God.

Sarah said...

Nikki-being a single woman also has many of the worldly challenges fighting for our attention. Some are the same as the one you mentioned, paying the bills, buying food, catching up with friends from the past who God has led to different places, but also has temptations to focus on things you haven't mentioned. I also have work and household things and family that fight for my attention, honestly being single does not even guarantee you more time, it often happens, but some single people are busier than most married people. The blessing that God gives us who are single is that we can make decisions based on what God would have us do without it directly affecting the life of a spouse, so we can sacrifice our time and our possessions without sacrificing someone else's.
As for the desire to marry-Whether we realize it, or like to admit it, God gives us the ability to encourage or discourage our desires, and to be honest I have dual desires that are conflicting, in fact this is true in most circumstances even the ones that do not include marriage. On the one hand I think like you mentioned it would be nice to not have to go through life alone. It would be nice to be able to fall apart on occasion and have someone else there to pick up the slack or just to have someone who has been with me enough to understand what it is I am going through. But, my conflicting desire, the one I conciously choose, is to follow the path that God chooses for me. While I have no doubt if I tried hard enough and looked hard enough I could find someone to agree to marry me, but God has led me HERE. He has chosen to place me in a place where there is no available Christian guy to marry. I don't have to wonder if its His will for me to be single, because marriage is currently not an option, and dwelling on the future possibility of it being an option would cause discontent in my heart, it would be fighting the Lord's revealed will for my life at this point in time, and it would take away from my serving the Lord now. I think that if God has provided the option of marrying and a woman desires to do so it is a good sign that God has not granted that woman with the gift of singleness, but if He has not provided it, it is a test for us to trust that He knows what is best for us, cause I KNOW if it were my decision I'd make the wrong choices everytime.
As far as leaning on a spouse (or a friend for that matter)- While every person you trust will let you down at some point (natural side effect of being human) I don't think it is wrong for spouses to depend on each other with the right perspective. As you mentioned Melissa has been a great comfort to me. While I have been leaning fully on God, one of the gifts of mercy and blessing that He has provided is a friend on this earth to listen and comfort, advise and point me back to God and His wisdom and love. We are to help and lean on each other and I believe a spouse is a gift God gives to some both to help and challenge each other, and to not take advantage of that gift is misusing a gift He has given. But we must keep in mind that it is God who is in control. It is He who can and does work in and through us and the people around us. He causes us to will and to do, and our complete hope and trust is to be in Him.
God in His wisdom chose to have me go through those hard trials alone. And I don't pretend to fully understand all His reasons for doing so, but I think I understand some of them. Not having someone else to lean on caused me to be pushed beyond what I would have thought possible. The fact that I had to take care of everything that needed to be taken care of is the only reason I was able to do it, and I would not have grown as much as I did had I not been pushed to that degree. It has caused me to grow in strength, in love, in understanding, in compassion for others, and in faith and trust in God's wisdom, grace, love, sovereignity, mercy and compassion. God's will is perfect, not despite my pain but even because of it.

Steve n Vickie said...

Excelent post!!! I love your attitude. It's refreshing to see you say, your focus is on glorifying God in your circumstances, and not on moping because they aren't what you dreamed they'ld be. Married or not being content takes work, both sets of circumstances have responsabilities.
As humans, its difficult not to take things into our own hands, or to become frustrated when things don't work out the way we planned.
Keep up the good work Sarah!! I appreciate your challenge, to learn to serve others, to the best of your ability, no matter what God has allowed in your life.
We can trust him, even if we don't want to sometimes :D