Mondays at lunch: prayer and fasting for men to bravely lead, for women’s hearts to soften, and for current and future marriages to honor the Lord.
My 78 year old Italian neighbor from New Jersey asked me again last week if I was seeing anyone. She is very concerned about me not having a husband and likes to remind me that I’m not getting any younger. She tried to set me up with her lawn man, but he nixed it when she told him my age (15 years older than me). The latest attempt was to suggest I attend a dance at her church, “I know you aren’t Catholic, but you could meet some very nice men.”
She means well. After being married 50+ years herself, I’m sure she just wants the same for me. I half wonder if she was involved in encouraging another neighbor to stick a loaf of bread at my door. I almost hope it was her suggestion, because the alternative of a random “breading” is odd to me, especially at 11:30pm.
As I approach 40 I find more people want to equate my singleness to me being picky. Surely in the last 20 years I could have found someone to marry, right? I think the answer to this question comes down to what kind of marriage I want.
In 2 Corinthians 6:14 Paul warns the people of Corinth to not be “yoked” with unbelievers. While he was not specifically referring to marriage, Paul uses this agricultural reference to warn the believers to guard their associations. In the U.S. we don’t use oxen to plow our fields, but the picture Paul is getting at here is two oxen linked together by a piece of wood trudging side-by-side in a field.
Allow me to take the analogy a bit further and say that I believe a marriage should be about linking with someone plowing the same field in the same direction as me. The foundation point of marriage for a Christian should be a shared belief in God, Jesus, and how He is served. Sharing a Christian worldview, however, only gets us in the same field. I’ve talked to too many individuals that took a “I like you, You like me, We love Jesus” approach to marriage, only to come out years later wondering what in the world they got themselves in to. When I fully embrace the idea that marriage means being yoked with someone, then understanding the trajectory of a man’s life (dreams, hopes, character, etc) takes on a greater purpose and goes much deeper than just sharing a belief in God.
I realize holding this view may mean never getting married, because let’s face it statistically the odds are not good at 40 anyway. But I honestly have to ask myself, do I want to be married more than I want to follow the purposes, gifts/talents, dreams, and aspirations I feel God has placed in my life? I don’t think these should be mutually exclusive. So I have to trust God, holding the course of serving Him with my life and believing that one day I could be yoked with someone heading in the same direction.
As I write this I’m staring out across the Susquehanna River and thinking if God can create this much beauty around me, how can I not trust Him to create something beautiful with my life… single or married.