I finally got asked.
I thought I could escape the question for a while more – being the last-but-one grandchild on my Father’s side and all. My aunties had other plans.
“So… when are you also getting married?”
“Who me? I have been asking myself the same question. I’ll let you know when I figure out the answer!” I reply sarcastically.
“So there’s no one special?”
“Do you want me to introduce you to some people?”
“Then that means there must be someone you have in mind!”
“Errrr…. no. Not actually.”
*Ghanaian aunty face of disbelief*
I have to admit, her logic was socially sound. If I don’t have a man, and I’m not looking for a man, then there must be a man in mind, right??
My own response kind of surprised me though! I used to be what my sister calls a ‘serial relationshipist’. Out one relationship, straight into the next one. I just couldn’t and wouldn’t be alone. Truth is, I didn’t know HOW to be alone- or rather I didn’t enjoy or find value in my own being and or think I had my own unique God-given purpose. I went into every relationship thinking ‘This is it! I have arrived!’. And clearly, it never was, and I never did! I was just doing everything possible to avoid having to figure out who I was as an individual – why bother when I could find someone to tell me?
But boy, have things changed!
Today I read somewhere a comment someone made about the Apostle Paul being asexual because of what he says in 1 Corinthians 7. It got me thinking about singleness.
In the letter to the Corinthians, he goes on about singleness and marriage:
Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But singleness is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others. I do, though, tell the unmarried and widows that singleness might well be the best thing for them, as it has been for me.
Some people argue that Paul was asexual. I don’t think Paul was asexual at all. In fact, I actually agree with Paul’s words throughout the chapter – and I am 194% certain I am not asexual. I just totally identify with the points he was trying to make. They weren’t sexist or anti-marriage – they were just matter-of-fact.
… if a man is comfortable in his decision for a single life in service to God and it’s entirely his own conviction and not imposed on him by others, he ought to stick with it.
I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.
Do I want to get married? Honestly, I don’t really know anymore. I know I don’t want to get married now. I can’t really see a someday, because I haven’t found the somebody. I think once I let go of the worldly ideals of marriage – the fantasy of a wedding and having someone to cuddle and smooch with and take trips with – I wasn’t really left with much desire for a wedding ring. Don’t get me wrong, I can tell you what kind of dress I’d want, and what flowers I’d have, and who would be in my bridal party, but when I look at all I have to achieve, and how much I want to grow (and how much growing I have to do) I, like Paul, do not want to tag any more complications onto my life than I currently have. I understand that a marriage is soooooo much more than one day of celebration or a couple vacations, and more than a lot of steamy nights. Marriage is HARD WORK – and many fail at it because they cannot reconcile who they are – their desires and passions and purpose – as a single person, with who they are as a married person. So I get it. I get why he encourages singleness because it’s for the very same reasons that I am single myself. And that’s not a bad thing. I do not feel scared of the future or convicted in my singleness. I feel, as Paul does, free. This doesn’t mean married people aren’t free (though let’s be honest… Like Paul tells us, there is some reduction in freedoms once you’re married, though I’m sure certain privileges make up for it lol). It just means that I, in my current state and with my current responsibilities and purpose, function better in singleness. And I am totally 100% settled with that.
Stay where you were when God called your name. Were you a slave? Slavery is no roadblock to obeying and believing. I don’t mean you’re stuck and can’t leave. If you have a chance at freedom, go ahead and take it… If a man has a woman friend to whom he is loyal but never intended to marry, having decided to serve God as a “single,” and then changes his mind, deciding he should marry her, he should go ahead and marry. It’s no sin; it’s not even a “step down” from celibacy, as some say.
The day might come where this may very well change. I might wake up one morning and realize where God is leading me requires a partnership that isn’t simply of the platonic variety. Maybe if I achieve the purpose God has for my singleness, I may someday have space for something more. I might wake up one day and find that I have slipped and fallen in love with someone – that the love bug crept up on me like a cold in the middle of Summer. I probably will get married – I just think where I am now in my understanding of singleness gives me the confidence that if I do marry, it will be for the right reasons. I will marry not because I desire companionship, but because I have found the man that I cannot live without. If I marry it will be because I have found the man who makes me a person better than I am, than I imagined I could be. It will be because I have found the man who complements and propels my purpose instead of distracting it – a man who draws me closer to God instead of away from Him.
If you’re a woman questioning your singleness, I just want to encourage you to ask God to help you be comfortable with who you are and where you are right now. Doesn’t mean you have to stay there – just means you’re trusting Him to, like Adam, wake you up at the right time. Focus on Him and where He’s taking you. There is no imaginary deadline. You will not magically wither away.
Enjoy your life with God as you are, where you are.