Tuesday, May 28, 2013

And Lastly...

The last blog post I wrote before I got married. Engagement and preparing forr marriage left me little time to write and I never finished this series as planned.

Romeo, Romeo, WHERE Art Thou, Romeo?

“How are you going to find someone to marry if you don't go to college?” This is a question I have received many, many times, and each time someone asks it, I find myself somewhat speechless – not because I don't know how to answer, but because I find it funny that someone would actually feel the need to ask this. It's a pretty amusing question if you think about it. I mean, women managed to get married for hundreds of years without going away to college, and yet now we find it incredible that a young lady might actually meet a special young man whilst living under her father's roof.

The very nature of the question is nonsensical, because it to assume several things. First, it assumes that going to college is somehow a guarantee of finding a mate. Second, it seems to suggest that it is impossible, under present circumstances, for me to interact with young men – as if I am locked away at home never to go out to any social gatherings. Third, it implies that if I want to get married, I'd best be sure to take an active role and throw myself into situations where there is an abundance of single men, or I run the risk of ending up an old maid.

When did college become a place for single women to hang out until they could catch a husband? Why is it acceptable to pretend to pursue a degree when, in reality, many young women are there only to pursue a relationship? Why would I spend more than $16,000 a year to attend college and spend my time looking for a husband rather than focusing on the studies I am supposedly paying for? Say I did end up going to college because I felt that was the best place to find a husband – finding him would still cost me more than $60,000! That's one expensive guy!

Even at a Christian college, there is no guarantee that I will meet the right man. Having more men to choose from in no way makes the right man any easier to spot – in fact, it may complicate matters. This only serves to distract us from our true purpose in life. I do not need to throw myself into situations where many single men abound. I do not even have to be concerned about whether or not I get married. There is a huge misconception when someone asks, “How are you going to find a man to marry?” The answer is, I'm not going to find a husband. I am depending on the Lord to find my husband, and I know that He is more than able to orchestrate events to bring us together whether we live in the same town or several countries away from each other. When did we stop believing that God can work through any circumstances to bring about His will? When did Christians start thinking that they needed to help God along in the process of finding a mate? I see no reason to remove myself from my father's protection simply because some think I would have a better chance of getting married if I throw myself out into the world.

The waters of guy/girl relationships can be pretty tricky to navigate in any circumstances. I simply cannot imagine trying to evaluate a young man's worth without the input of those who know and love me most – my family. Is this a mark of immaturity on my part? Does the fact that I admit that I may not be able to make completely wise decisions regarding young men all on my own mean that I am not mature enough to get married? I don't think so. God has given me my parents for a reason – to protect, guide and assist me until my father gives me away in marriage. I don't think it is immature to rely on their wise counsel and listen to their advice about young men. I am a girl and, believe it or not, I am not always level-headed (I know that comes as a big shock ;-). I don't have a problem admitting that I'd rather have the support of my parents when it comes to making decisions about marriage than the advice of college students who do not necessarily have the same values as I do. Someone will have to keep my feet on the ground when I become twitterpated over some young man, and I have more faith in my parents than in my peers to do it.

Soon after I answer the skeptical question about how I will ever find a man to marry if I live at home, the person I am speaking to usually looks at my sympathetically and asks, “What if you never get married?” as if to remind me that if I don't take their advice, the terrible fate of spinsterhood looms on the horizon.

Rest assured, the idea of never getting married does not make me want to run out and drag the first guy I meet down to the courthouse to sign a marriage license. I am not desperate to get married. Seeing as I am the ripe old age of nineteen, I know that's hard for you to believe. I mean, come on, I'm practically a spinster already, it's high time I consider the high possibility that I will remain single until the day I die ;-) But truly, getting married is not my main purpose in life, therefore the idea of living without it does not send chills down my back.

Admittedly, one purpose of me living at home is to better prepare for marriage and motherhood. HOWEVER, that is not the ONLY purpose of living at home. I do not have a rule that says, “If I'm not married by the time I'm this age, I will leave home and give up on the idea of biblical womanhood.” No, I have committed myself to remaining under my father's roof because I believe God's design is for father's to protect their unmarried daughters. That principle does not expire when I reach a certain age. If I never marry, I don't see how that changes my purpose in life. My goal is to please Christ and I believe this includes ministering to my family, visiting the sick and widowed in the community, mentoring younger girls and encouraging them to follow God's will for their lives, being the best sister I can be for my siblings and for my brothers and sisters in Christ, being hospitable, and above all showing Christ to the world and leading others to Him. I do not have to be married to do any of these things, and whether I'm married or single by the time I'm thirty I will still be doing this same work.

Being single the rest of my life is not the worst thing I can think of – far from it! Rather, being impatient and ending up married to the wrong man is one of the worst situations I can imagine. I would prefer to be single the rest of my life than to marry recklessly and without the wise counsel of my parents.

I do not fear an unmarried life, nor am I simply passing the time until I get married. There are blessings in being single that I would not have in marriage. “The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:34). In this season of my life I have the unique opportunity to focus wholeheartedly on serving my Lord, without the distraction of college, or being married, or feeling like I need to find a husband.

Decisions should not be driven by desperation, but by a desire to please the Lord. Trusting in the Lord means that I do not have to worry about going out on a search for the perfect man. I know God will bring us together when it's time. There are no biblical examples of girls leaving home on a search for a husband. Rebekah was living in her father's home when Abraham's servant found her and asked her to return with him to be Isaac's wife. She was living in obedience to God, serving others and working alongside her family, not going out into the world making a name for herself or searching for a husband. And God blessed her quiet submissiveness by bringing her the opportunity to be married to a God-fearing man. She waited on God's timing, but she was not obsessed with the idea of marriage. Instead, she used her single years to serve God and to patiently trust Him.

So, how will I find someone to marry? By waiting on God's timing. What if I never get married? I will continue to serve God to the utmost of my ability. Obviously it is not God's will that I be married today. I don't see why I would live any different if the same should be true twenty years from now. Though I do hope to be married and raise a God-loving family one day, that is not my top priority right now. Preparing for marriage is of second (or maybe even fifth or sixth) importance at this time of my life. If I never marry I will still praise God that He has a plan and I will continue to enthusiastically dedicate myself to fulfilling His purpose.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13). In marriage or in singleness, contentment is the key. And contentment comes with knowing that God has a plan for your life that will benefit the Kingdom, not simply to fulfill your every whim and desire. We have a purpose bigger than marriage, and we can fulfill that purpose through Christ who gives us strength.

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