I’ve noticed that, lately, a lot of the conversations I’ve had with other single women have taken to a similar tone—I like being single, but sometimes I just really don’t.
And that’s fair, a little confusing, but fair—because I get it when people say that. I’ve been single for like 2 ½ years, and every once in a while, it can get a little old. But mostly, I love being on my own. Making plans and not having to consult anyone—not worrying about whether or not some guy would be willing to move around the world with me or be as on the same page as me when it comes to what I care about most. Don’t get me wrong, I would really like to get married some day, but desire is different from not being content. Desire for something can be Holy, but an unwillingness to pursue joy and glory in the present “status” of your person is never Holy, only harmful.
But there is still that little part of every single person that seems to say, but is the grass really greener on the other side?
The answer is no—it’s probably fake. The grass always looks greener on the other side because we only see the “other side” (whether that other side is singleness or a relationship) in its perfectly styled, edited, and displayed space—we miss all the imperfect things because we really love to focus on the highlights of what we don’t have.
I think, especially in the climate we are in when it comes to marriage and dating in a Christian setting, we’ve been taught that our lives won’t start, in fact, that they can’t start, until there is a ring, vows, and a party celebrating. Now, I love weddings. They’re seriously so fun and lovely, and people can get married whenever they would like! God works amazingly through young married couples, but what I want to say is that He doesn’t only work through young married couples. It sounds ridiculous to believe something so, well, ridiculous, and it is—but reading that, did a little part of you feel relieved? Our purpose doesn’t begin when we find someone else to minister with; it begins when we realized ministry is rooted in the Great Priest Himself—we get to minister alongside Him, and sometimes someone else comes along too! There’s no more or less worthy based on a relationship status—you’re not disqualified by singleness, by a good relationship, by a bad relationship—you are not disqualified, He qualified all of us on the cross, and there is no waiting for someone else. He came, and He bore our sin, and now we get to walk in Wholeness and Glory. There is no second half or “you complete me’s”—there’s just Jesus and His really Great Goodness over our lives.
I was telling one of my good friends the other day that I have had more conversations with young Christians in relationships about not having to be serious in the first 3 seconds than I have with people actually in serious relationships. The culture we have created around marriage as our identity is a narrative that is pushing and pulling at younger minds and young relationships to walk in a way that they aren’t ready to.
And Christians, can I just tell you something? You do not have to talk about marriage right away. Yes, date intentionally, but when you first start a hobby (I’m not saying relationships are hobbies, please stay with me for this metaphor), like painting, you are not an expert by any means the first little while. The more you practice and commit yourself, both with time and quality of that time spent truly crafting your skill, the better you get. Attempting to paint in so detailed and skilled a way in your first week of attempting the artform will only leave you frustrated, and it is likely that you will give up the craft all together! In a similar way, when you first begin a relationship, you don’t even know if it’s going to work! You have no idea how good you and this other random human you chose will work together as a team. When you first begin getting to know each other, it’s in a broader sense, and as the relationship matures, so does the detail with which you attend to it. As the detail increases, so the seriousness increases. But tomorrow is not engagement day when you just met a man last week. (Okay, some people do this, but we are talking about the majority, not the minority of cases in such romantic relationships). So why are we trying so hard to make people “the one” (which, by the way, “the one” does not exist) when we don’t even know their middle name? The commitment, the detail, the quality, and the consistency is not yet present. I could write about this misconstrued element of Christian circles forever, but I want to return to what we were discussing before: your usefulness, your struggles, your purpose, and your quality of life will not change much or at all when (in either direction) your availability in the dating world does.
Whether consciously or not, we have allowed ourselves to believe the lies that wholeness comes from a person and not the King. That joy comes from a significant other and not the Only Truly Significant One. We have attempted to make relationships king and other humans god. We have tried to fill the voids of our self-loathing, loneliness, fears, and shortcomings with a person who was never designed to do any of that.
When will we realize the only Lasting Contentment—the only Lasting Goodness, is rooted in the Father. And any relationship that comes out of that God-rootedness is a gift and not a god.
We are Whole in Him right now. No changes, no touchups—just as we are, right in this moment—we’ve been made Enough. Nothing adds or detracts from that fact.