I have written a fair amount of articles on dating, on marriage, on relationships between two human beings but the number is lessened when counting those I have written on the absence of it all. And I want to fix that because although I agree with all my past writings, I believe there are more than enough blogs on the internet reminding you who to date and how to date and the convicting area in my heart tells me I will add to that number again but for now I wanted to add some balance to my words in reminding you that we were not created to be dated.
I just began my first year of college and because as humans we abuse time and use it as a source of anxiety, a thought dug its way in to my mind the other day that produced nothing but fear and freak out. I shouldn’t and I know I shouldn’t but I divide my life into different sections. I just finished the high school section, before that was the weird, awkward, wish I wouldn’t have had any social media middle school section, and now I am in the college section. My fear producing thought was this, “My next section of life is being an adult. It’s getting a job and getting married and having kids and I still get nervous ordering pizza and I never really know whose turn it is at a four-way stop. This is all happening too fast. I need it to slow down.”
In the way I see the world, my thought wasn’t completely arguable. When I graduate college, it will be time to get a job so I can support myself financially, so I can pay for my own stuff, so I can finally get that bulldog and become the adult the thirty-two year old inside of me has been for the past eighteen years. So in the next phase, I will be a real life adult. That wasn’t so much the societal constructed part of the sentence. But the words that transformed my heart into a firecracker of angst were the ones telling myself that in the next five to ten years, I needed to be wed.
I think weddings and marriage, both when used to glorify God are the most beautiful of beauty but I think so much of our world has viewed marriage not as a tool of glorification and worship but as a goal. In this belief, there is a mindset of thinking the entirety of your life is simply a lead up to marriage and all after is nothing but the epilogue. And if we live this way, seeing everyone we are attracted to as a possible spouse, we will be restless. How different would our lives look if we ceased our constant motion of trying to be lovable and only desired to love, not as a girlfriend or boyfriend, not as a future husband or wife but simply as a person, a person who knows how loved the world desires to be and showing them a glimpse of the joy you know they long for.
My friends and I took a class linked to Young Life our senior year each Sunday for about a month. One day, we split up genders. As the leader was speaking, I felt less insane for thinking the way I had previously, when meeting someone I found to be attractive. She joked, “Have you ever seen a cute boy in a restaurant or grocery store and after about thirty seconds of looking at him, you have already thought of what your wedding will look like, how many kids you will have and if y’all will go with the white picket fence in the front.” Now, that is exaggerated but the core of it is true. Just like men immediately have other thoughts, which is a completely different article by itself, women have them too. They are just far more connected to what they are strongly feeling instead of what they visually seeing. And that’s okay. You’re not crazy .
You’re not crazy in thinking this way but you’re not correct either. Because looking at every man in the world as if he is going to be your husband is going to leave you endlessly restless. Jesus doesn’t want us to accept this mindset because when we are inside of it, we are under the impression that, being with someone and then marrying them is the prize of life, it’s the end all be all and without it, true joy will never be found. John Piper gave a sermon on this and reminds us, “The gospel is the good news that God in Christ paid the price of suffering, so that we could have the prize of enjoying him forever. God paid the price of his Son to give us the prize of himself.” Just with all the rest, we took something that was meant to do nothing but glorify the Lord if He so chose it for our lives and used it as distanced prize, believing with all of our hearts that when we are in a relationship, when we are married, that it is finished.
What we have forgotten in the midst of this-worldly mentality is that the bible never guarantees to us marriage and never states that it is for all. Marriage, when used for the Lord, is breathtaking and to see two love each other not directly through their love for one another but through their love for their common Creator, is a wonderful example of enjoyment through Christ. But for a moment take one of my favorite metaphors by Regina Brett and imagine us all below the sun. It is incredible. It is beaming. It is so much grander than us all. We stand under it and we do not have to become jealous of any other. Because there is surely enough for us all. Even when two stand side by side pointing at the sun, as we point in the same direction alone, none of us grow greater. We stay the same size but the bypassers who were caught in the shade finally see that light exists. For some of us He wants us to stand and point with another, not because we are more valued than anyone who stands alone but because He knows each of our hearts so deeply that He is fully aware of what will keep us drawing closer to the Sun each day.
We are deeply chosen and honored each day just as we are. In the paths the Lord has constructed for each of us individually, marriage may be a reality or it may not and this changes nothing. We are still just as celebrated, loved and cherished as we stand alone as we are when we stand together. We must stop feeling as if we have to constantly seek a man or woman who loves Jesus well. We must start seeking Jesus Himself. Because we are already the brides of Christ. We have already won the prizes of all prizes. Kim Fleek says, “To be the bride of Christ is the fulfillment of the romance you always wanted. It’s the fulfillment of your dreams. You have somebody who is given completely to you. The thought of being the bride of Christ means there is someone who can totally consume me – and all my passions and desires can go toward loving Him.”
He is our groom, our true groom. Each day He awaits for us at the altar with tears streaming down His face while He looks at us in complete admiration. We are covered head to toe in white as we walk to give ourselves completely away. He is our groom and should remain our goal. Because if we aren’t content and complete with that relationship, we will never be with one of pure flesh.
We are not created to be dated or even created to be wed. We were made purposefully to know our Father, to come to our Groom each and every day. If Jesus knows we will come closer to Him through the gift of marriage, He will lead us accordingly but if not, may we rejoice in His name all the same because we are already full. We are already complete. Let us stop seeking to be in a relationship aside from the Father in each new face we meet. Let us stop placing a relationship status aside from togetherness with our God as one being true fulfillment. He will lead us where He wants us and if He sees as fitting to His plan of wonder, to whomever He will be able to love us through but for now, we can rest. We can stop the fret. We can cut away from our culture in the belief that marriage is the goal of life. Because it is already finished. We have already been won. We are already capable. We already are immeasurably loved. And we are already brides of the sweetest of grooms.