Yesterday, I got so angry watching a romcom that I had to turn it off. Between the perfect-looking people, their perfect relationships, and their unbelievably perfect lives, I became, unsurprisingly, very irritated. People let you down, string you along, and frustrate you more than any kind of cutesy, dreamy, dancing little movie will ever let on. And, listen, I wasn’t just angry for no reason—I’ve had my fair share of moments with guys that make me just want to throw my fist through a wall and never deal with dating again, but I’d prefer to keep my home free of crumbling drywall and constant frustration.
And you know what? All of these feelings of frustration, confusion, and an emotional rollercoaster of “what do I want my relationship status to be” are okay. One of my friends mentioned recently how frustrating it is that the idea of being “content” will finally bring you everything you ever wanted. You hear so many married people giving advice about how once you feel good in your singleness, then God will give you a spouse. However, the definition of contentment here is being conflated with complacency and a loss of desire—the goal of contentment has never been to lose the desire for something. In fact, it is incredibly unhealthy for us to pursue the loss of certain desires. Desire well placed is Good and Holy. The desire to grow closer to God has never been told to be forced into a tiny box of mis-defined contentment, why do we think every other desire should be quieted and left alone? There is such a thing as holy desire, and to look at is as something that must be silenced into complacency or ignored completely is rather far away from the heart of pursuing Good Things God is calling us into.
Telling someone to grow complacent and falsely content in their particular situations is not the call of Christ to us in any manner. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13) Paul wrote this verse in prison. I doubt he was overly thrilled to be there. And, mind you, I‘m not comparing singleness to prison, I actually have enjoyed singleness a lot. I am, though, saying that to become complacent and unmotivated in areas where dreams and promises have not yet been fulfilled is much different than discontentment. Holding on to promises and desiring to see their fulfillment is actually nothing close to discontentment, and we need to stop telling people that it is.
Yes—live fully in the now, live abandoned to Joy and the current work God is doing, but do not forget the promises He has given you—whether that’s marriage, familial breakthrough, or anything else. Do not allow yourself to become complacent in seeking the fulfillment of the Promises of God. He is Faithful, so why do we need to pretend nothing will ever happen to see Him be?
There is a Now and Not Yet tension that accompanies all the Promises of the Kingdom, and that doesn’t stop with our relationships, especially looking toward a life-long marriage covenant. Even in the midst of marriage, even when that desire is fulfilled, there is still something within marriage that mirrors the deeper longing of the human heart, which can only be fulfilled in the Glory and Character of a King Who so Graciously Gives. “The fact that our heart yearns for something Earth can’t supply is proof that Heaven must be our home.” (C.S. Lewis)