I want to take a break from my series on marriage to write a post for those who are not married (granted this really applies to everyone but especially to those not married).
There has been a tantalizing lie going around (for decades) that you need to be in a relationship to be happy, and that being married will make you happy and your life will be wonderful. I am one of many that bought into that lie and spent most of my life after the age of…well, too young, desiring and fantasizing about having a boyfriend and getting married. Unfortunately, my father was one of the biggest proponents of this idea who has fueled that longing ever since I was a teenager. I never dated until my mid twenties (not because I didn’t want to), when I met the man I am now married to. And dating was wonderful!, probably the best year of my life. But the problem is that we were not made to be fulfilled by human relationships, so the bliss of dating only increased the heartache when I finally came to the point where that relationship no longer fulfilled me the way it had.
The problem is that when you are dating, you are both on your best behavior, and in the love bubble everything seems wonderful. We are fed the romantic stories of drama and intrigue where two destined for each other finally find perfection and joy when they begin their relationship and “live happily ever after” because they “complete” each other. That is not reality, at that time they are basically high or drunk on love. But after you have been married for however long, you sober up and have to face reality; that your relationship is not entirely fulfilling. That doesn’t mean that it is bad or never fulfilling, but it definitely doesn’t give you all that you need to be happy. It is at that point, or just beyond, that a lot of people call it quits, because they have been fed the lie that marriage is the best thing ever because it makes you happy and your life perfect. When it fails to do that, they think their marriage is broken, or they married the wrong person, and leave in order to find a “better” one. It is chronic in our society today, and it keeps getting worse.
The truth of the matter is that it is not possible for one imperfect human being to perfectly complete or fulfill another imperfect human being. It just doesn’t add up. We are created to need more to be completed and fulfilled (hence being imperfect), but we can not find nor should we look for that in another human. We were created with that deep longing we have to be known, loved, fulfilled, but it was created to be filled by only ONE person, and that person is Jesus Christ. He is the only one that can truly fulfill and complete us. He already knows us fully and loves us unconditionally and with abandon. We need to seek and pursue a relationship with Him in order to be fulfilled the way that we desire. The relationships of this world may be and often are good, but as with nostalgia (mentioned in my last post) they are often misused. As nostalgia is meant only to cause us to give thanks for good times in the past and be a foretaste of the good to come, we mistakenly fall into wishing to revive the past good, fueling discontentment and bitterness. In the same way, earthly relationships are meant to be a taste and example of the much greater relationship we can have with God, rather than being all we need in themselves. The trick is that we have to keep seeking and pursuing Him. Many people think, as with marriage, that once they accept Jesus as their savior their lives will be perfect and wonderful. When that doesn’t happen they are disappointed and some walk away from what they believed because it just didn’t measure up. They thought it would just happen without having to do any work. But nothing good comes without work. We have to seek it and pursue it, and we will be rewarded greatly for our effort. Now this is not to say that you should never be in a relationship or that marriage is awful. They can both be good, but don’t expect them to take the place of the relationship we are meant to be filled by. Water is good and necessary for you and your car but you can’t put it in the gas tank and expect your car to run.
The key is that you must have a rich relationship with God, without it you will never be satisfied in or out of relationships. But if you do have that relationship with God, you will be content no matter what your relationship status is. Remember that your identity is not in your relationship status, or your job, house, race, car, friends, skills, successes, failures, flaws, or anything else. Your identity, if you have a saving faith in Jesus, is in Him and what you are because of Him. You are loved (Romans 5:8, Jeremiah 31:3, 1 John 3:1), cherished (Ephesians 5:29-30), redeemed (Isaiah 43:1, Ephesians 1:7), precious (Isaiah 43:4), justified (Romans 3:23-26), chosen (1 Peter 2:9, John 15:16), protected (Psalm 61), secure (Psalm 91), provided for (Psalm 34), an adopted heir with a large inheritance and a mansion in heaven (Romans 8:16-17, John 14:1-4, 1 Peter 1:4, Ephesians 1:11), a child of The King (John 1:12), inseparable from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39), rejoiced over (Zephaniah 3:17), made perfect (Hebrews 10:14), made complete (Colossians 2:10), a precious work of art (Ephesians 2:10), holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4), beloved child (Ephesians 1:5-6). If you believe in Jesus, and believe these things He says about you, you will never “need” a relationship, and you will be content with what ever status God prepares for you along the way. If you do not yet believe in Jesus, but want to know more, see “My Beliefs” tab.