The Marriage Calculator

This is your reminder that we are praying for women to be open to their hearts and where they might need to be changed, for men to walk uprightly, and for marriage to be granted to those who desire it.

Even though life is never so tidy, I still have a bad habit of trying to figure everything out.  In terms of singleness, it often takes the form of a giant mental calculator where marriage is the end goal and various life choices have point values.  And somehow, when you get over a certain number of points – voila! – spouse!  So I would assign these mental points to ridiculous things: good hair, education, good music taste, date frequency, amount of time spent single, etc.

And it would be this ridiculous calculation: Oh, of course, she’s getting married…she deserves it.  She is so sweet to everyone (+10 points), has classy but not pretentious taste (+5 points), looks good in skinny jeans (+10 points), had a bad breakup before this boy (+5 points), and is co-leading a small group at a singles-rich church (+15 points).  

Unfortunately this habit also backfired when people didn’t fit into my calculator very well: Wait, she’s 22 (-10 points), her entire life plan is to get married and have kids (-20 points), she has never had another boyfriend (-5 points) and now she’s marrying a tall, dark and smart 30-year old Christian guy (-2974 points)?!?  Does not compute!

The sad thing is that I have applied this “logic” with abandon and often unconsciously.  And not surprisingly, I have had to come face to face with the lies underneath my little calculator:

  • Lie: The goal is getting married.  Again, my silly habit of assuming the next thing, whatever it is, is the thing.  The thing that will answer all my questions and quiet my heart’s fears and solve all my problems.  Yeah.  Mmmhmm.  Not happening, Amy.  The goal that God has in mind is Christ-likeness and his methods may or may not involve marriage.  My job is to trust and obey what I see today.
  • Lie: All I need to do now is figure out how to get more points.  For me, this always boils down to the ultimate “lose 10-15 pounds and win an extra 50 bonus points!”  This is the lie underneath so many others — that if I were more or less of something, I would have been married by now.  That’s it somehow my fault I’m not married and it is now my responsibility to “fix” it.  God doesn’t need my points to bring a spouse, if that’s His will.  And all the fake points I could ever accumulate will never entitle me to a spouse.  What He wants from me is a trust-driven relationship right here, right now.
  • Lie: God’s gifts are somehow related to our merit.  It doesn’t matter how much I know in my head this is the greatest lie of them all, my thoughts and actions often belie the fact that my trust has shifted to something other than His grace.  Time to reread Romans 5.

I stumbled across Deuteronomy 7:6-9 which drove the point home.  At the risk of comparing marriage to the Promised Land (bear with me), I think verse seven most caught my attention.  God emphasizes that it was despite Israel’s lack of qualifications that they were chosen as His people.  The choice was God’s own and his choosing is in complete alignment with His essential and unchanging character: the faithful, powerful, steadfast, loving, covenant-keeping God.  On some level, it’s not about Israel at all – it’s about God’s persistent redemptive purposes toward His people.

And that resonated so much with me and my pathetic life calculator.  Spouses (and all of God’s good gifts) flow directly from the fact that He is gracious and loves us at great cost.  As we fast and pray this Monday, I want to dismantle my calculator and simply reflect on the vastness and depth of His mercy toward me.  I can trust that He is working His redemptive purposes for me in this very day, and to rest in His plan – no matter what direction it leads!

Praying with you,


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18 Responses to The Marriage Calculator

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  4. Ann says:

    I’ve always thought about alot of these to.But I stopped when I saw people that got married are overweight,not equally matched ( IMO ) spiritually or otherwise. I think I have met more people that I wonder why they married than why they didn’t. Bottom line. They still got married. lol

  5. one1love37 says:

    Thanks Amy!!! It is interesting that most woman have a desire to be embraced, longed for, and wanted. The depth of the desire comes from a loss of those qualities in the past and a yearning for the ONLY relationship that will fulfill us. I want to be more in love with God and desire Him more than I desire to have a spouse and kids. Thanks for speaking into the lives of us.. who are hard of hearing in other ways.

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  7. Sarah says:

    I have a feeling I’m going to love your blog!

  8. Ana Alves says:

    This was a great word! Thanks, Amy!

  9. Kirsten says:

    Amy, thank you so much. This resonates at the core of where God has me right now: to practice radical, dependent trust, to eradicate the ever-present lies that point to some supposed flaw in me, and most importantly, that it’s about God’s goodness and sovereignty, not about me. Thanks for presenting this truth with grace and humor.

  10. Amy –

    Thank you, especially for this. . .

    “I can trust that He is working His redemptive purposes for me in this very day, and to rest in His plan – no matter what direction it leads!”

    praying I put HIM first behind what I THINK are my needs!

  11. Rebekah says:

    Thanks for being transparent, Amy! Perhaps one of the ‘gifts’ that time as singles affords us is to gradually learn to stop comparing (or at least catch ourselves earlier on in the process). I’m actually quite thankful for some of the pain that I’ve experienced in singleness and feeling left out or odd (particularly in the church) because the pain is opening my eyes and my heart to see others who feel unseen and to be bold enough to reach out even though I’m usually quiet. When our calculator fails or breaks, we begin to catch a glimpse of how God sees and loves His people. 🙂

    • amy says:

      So true…and I think I have a lot of room to grow (or more honestly, Christ is working on me) to translate my own broken spots into deeper grace toward others 🙂

  12. Eve says:

    Thanks, Amy! I hear you! I think most, if not all, of us have one of “those” calculators and tend to do various forms of “math exercises” (should have been married by 30, should have had 5 kids by 35, wasn’t 18 years enough time to settle down and start a family? etc, etc, etc). Need to learn to just relax, be happy and grateful, and live in God’s love and grace — come what may, and in the here and now. Bless you.

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