I get this email called the Singles Channel Newsletter periodical, i cannot remember if it is weekly or monthly. This lastest article, Independence Daze – Christian Singles Today, really struck a cord and since the editor encourages responses and commentary, I decided to sound off some thoughts. the following is my response to the article:
Hi, my name is Mark, a thirty-something trying to work out my own , way in a world setup for couples. It’s true, after all the advancements that have taken place in our culture over the last 25 or 35 years there is still this cultural stigma that hangs over the thirty-something single person. Like someone looking for left-handed scissors in the office supply store, we aging singles find ourselves in a world not made for us.
There is this almost unconscious assumption of defectiveness applied to older singles that prompt statements like, “You’re too picky.” or, “You’re too independent.” Not only is the world not made for us, but it also wants to see us fixed.
A Christian culture of marriage tells us that we are not quite complete yet. Like unfinished furniture, we have many fine qualities but don’t fit in as-is into the living space. There are some rough edges that need sanding, staining is needed to “fit in” more with the overall decor and a good varnish is needed to add a healthy shine and some protection for the grain. All these things are “needed” in order to define completeness and are the panacea for helping us to find our place in the “living space” we find ourselves in. At least it seems to be the opinion of many of our “completed” brethen and, if you’re like me, plays into our own insecurities too.
I want to be married. Sometimes, more often than I like to admit, I don’t feel complete in my singleness. I want to find the “right” person for me. I want to nail down this unknown in my life, so that I can have a better idea of where I am heading (is that a more male concept, or do women think this way too?). And why haven’t I found missus right yet? Am I too this or not enough that? Am I truly defective?
What about her? What about that potential significant other? She has her own goals and expectations for life, and how do I find someone where those things line up with my goals and expectations. Is there a level of fair give and take in all this? Of course there must be, I have my laundry list of what I expect out of a relationship and she has her’s. What if expectations are too high and what if the respective laundry lists are too taxing?
So I entertain these thoughts of what the Christian culture expects of me, what I expect of me, what I suppose a significant other would expect of me and I am left with one more expectation. What God expects of us is the trump card here. I mean, really, what else is there? God knows what I want from life, but more importantly He knows what I need. He is building us up, forming us really, to the work of His kingdom in the here and now and growing us closer to Him. Everything seems to work to that end and in that end we are complete.
God knows where marriage fits into our individual lives to complete that purpose of building his Kingdom and drawing us closer to Him, all we have to do is trust Him. Harder said than done. It is the same in all the really big areas of our life, it is easier to know to trust God then to actually do it. Still, it is the life we are called to, because trust, or faith, is what God expects of us in all areas of life. Maybe, most especially for us thirty-something singles, learning to trust God in the area of marriage and singleness is one of the big lessons that God would have us learn.