Lessons from Marriage. Oh Wait. I’m Not Married.

On Mondays, we pray and fast for lunch or longer for women to be softened–trusting God to work in their lives, for men to be emboldened to walk in to relationships, and for God to give the gift of marriage to those who desire it.

I never really understood God’s love until I got married.

When I became a mom, I finally understood God’s fatherly love for us.

God is using your marriage especially to sanctify you.

If you’re eyes roll back in your head, when you hear quips like that. You’re not alone. I usually have one of a few different responses when I hear platitudes about marriage or kids like that: (1) Feel bad about myself that God didn’t choose me to understand his love through a married relationship. (2) Shrug my shoulders and say sarcastically, “You got it, dude.” (3) Quietly wonder if they’re right. Maybe, I’ll never fully understand God’s love if I never get married.

I may not be married. Friends (and sometimes me) may think I spend too much time thinking about marriage and singleness–that writing about it online brands me with a scarlet S. Even single girls who want to be married, don’t always want to admit it or think about it too much. It looks a little desparate. Maybe you’ve never been branded as the single adult who thinks about marriage too much, but I want to encourage you that even as I enter my fifth year of intentionally praying for marriage that the Lord is using marriage–even the just the desire–for as a tool for sanctification.

Here’s two things that have cropped up recently:

Dismantling marriage/family idolatry. Even though I can still find myself slipping back into my old patterns of thinking, the Lord has used my desire for marriage to dismantle my marriage/family idolatry. I used to believe–either absorbed from the culture around me or just welled up in my own heart–that getting married and having a family were the answer to all of my unmet longings. God could have used my own marriage to tear it down, but instead of allowing me to enter a marriage with a hugely out of control set of relational expectations, God quietly walked beside me and showed me how good marriage is and how unrealistic my ideals were.

Do I wish I could have been one of the many girls who went riding off into the marriage sunset at 22 with a newly minted college diploma in my hands? Some days I do, but in my more honest moments, I can see how kind the Lord was show me how stop carrying my burdensome anvil of a marriage/family god and see that he’s the one that is carrying me. (Isaiah 44-46)

Seeing God look for and love me. When I hear marrieds say things like, I now understand what God’s love for us is like. I have to resist running for the toilet or passing out from holding my breath. I know that what they say is true to an extent. God did design marriage to be a unique conduit of his creative love, but marriage doesn’t tell the whole picture of our experience of God’s love here on earth.

As Connally said in her Regent talk, Christ is looking for us. His eyes are on us. I’ll add to that. Jesus is expectantly watching and longing for us in a way that is much more analogous to a single believer’s life journey than a married couple’s. As an unmarried woman, I understand the complex nuances of waiting and looking for something I desperately want so much more than my sisters who got their diplomas and diamonds in one May weekend. It’s painful and bit snotty at times, but it allows me to more fully understand what Jesus feels when he’s searching for us.

So, as you pray and fast this week for the gift of marriage, be encouraged that the Lord is with you, that he’s looking for you, seeing you in the midst of your circumstances, loving you with a longsuffering and patient adoration, and is using your story to show the world a unique facet of his love.


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14 Responses to Lessons from Marriage. Oh Wait. I’m Not Married.

  1. Bea K says:

    Not all articles/posts receive comments. I find this perplexing.

    I’m glad that this post has encouraged and enlightened single women and women who have been single and know what this status is like. With all our paths as disciples we are being sharpened and refined for a holy purpose – we need to humbly allow this. Feel blessed that your own ministry in this time as a single frees you up so much more than if you had a spouse. So let His work be done for His purposes, please!

    I bet you many women who are married or have spouses aren’t always making the right choices but just go along with a relationship… I hope not among Christians but it does happen, surely. A woman standing strong on her own represents surety, high value and not taking second best. A woman should never need to grovel for a man – don’t do that. Such a dude wouldn’t be worth it, anyway. We should seek marriages that glorify God and bear an amazing witness to Him. That would be GOLD. 😉 May His will be done!!

  2. Lyn says:

    For me, as the years go by and I despair of ever finding the love of a good man, I wonder how I can fight off the bitterness. I am getting depressed and angry and am starting to feel that one of the benefits of heaven (to me) will be that there won’t be a slew of wedding rings on everyone’s hand but mine! Just sayin’.

    • fast. pray. says:

      We hear you and understand where you’re coming from. It’s hard not to let bitterness take hold, but I’ll be praying for the Lord to show you grace beyond expectation.


      • Lyn says:

        Thank you for your ministry. It is a blessing to see that others can share stories and be comforted here and you at fast.pray have been a great encouragement.

        I would say the hardest thing is that so many people do not seem to realize how painful this issue is. The few times I have confided in women I feel close to at church pooh-pooh it as if it’s like having a bad hair day. I am made to feel sort of silly, as though I had cried all day for candy canes in July. They just have no idea of the anguish involved, especially when youth and fertility are drying up and there seems to be nobody on the horizon. It gets to the point you just feel like you have clawed up a slimy pit over and over until your fingers are bloodied, and that no one really cares or ‘gets it’.
        Thank you again for fasting and praying. God bless!

        • fast. pray. says:

          We’ve been there with you in those moments! It is normal and natural to grieve. The Lord doesn’t look at your sadness with anything other than compassion — like what Connally said it her talk — even other ladies don’t “get it.”

          – Anna

  3. Rebekah says:

    Hang in there, Anna! I have chaffed at those quips, too. (Shudder.) God most certainly does show His great love, care, concern, and investment in and through the lives of singles. 🙂 Singles don’t escape sanctification opportunities because they are single. That’s why we have jobs, church fellowship, neighbors, families, friends, sometimes ailments or other challenges, etc. in our lives. 😉 I think people forget the extent to which they exclude single people (whom they know, like, and respect) when they make general statements such as those.

    It takes patience and grace to sometimes be quiet and other times, gently point out how those comments are perceived. Oh how we need to know that God isn’t holding back the good stuff from us. For the single person, some of the good stuff shows up in different ways, but it is no less of a blessing and reassurance of His providence and guidance.

    I trust other ladies are very encouraged by what you share and I believe that many young ladies need to have some single women in their lives who demonstrate faithfulness and trust in the Lord. I think when they see God is with you and that although there is struggle, there is also joy, it can help them realize that it’s worth staying focused on Him. Will be praying for you and the ladies that participate in this blog this week! (I was single until almost 7 months ago, and my wedding date was about 2 weeks shy of my 34th birthday. I hope and pray as I’m working with women at my church that I can remember those times and be sensitive to their hearts/lives.)

  4. Charmaine says:

    Well, one sure benefit of thinking about marriage/singleness “too much” on the web, is that you have encouraged and comforted heaps of other women in the process of sharing your reflections and feelings on a public platform and for that I think many of us are grateful. 🙂

  5. Jennifer Porter says:

    Great words. Thank you for writing in a transparent, articulate, and truth-filled manner.

  6. Julie says:

    How timely! I was just praying the other day, reflecting that as a single person, I sometimes feel like an outcast, like a “no one.” Jesus gave me the image of the Good Shepherd SEEKING OUT and CARRYING a weak, little lamb. He has not forgotten us. On the contrary, in realizing our great weakness as singles and our great need for Him, we find ourselves being carried close to His Heart! Not that we don’t hope for marriage, but we also don’t need to worry or be afraid. He’s got our backs in a special way and identifies with our heartaches. He will never leave us. Thank you Jesus that we are NEVER, not for ONE SECOND, alone.

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