Here’s a hard truth: if you are not content in your singleness, you will not be content in marriage.
Now before you respond with cries of rage or despair, let’s back up a little…
As we work through this idea together, we need to remember a few things:
Firstly, we are the same person in marriage as we are single. There is no magical fairy dust at the altar that will change that. So who we are as a singleton we will take with us into marriage – for better or for worse. This includes attitudes, characteristics, insecurities, emotional baggage, ideals, expectations, and much more.
With this in mind, it is so important to prioritise becoming a healthy, whole individual during those single years; our single and our married selves will thank us for it.
(You are going to LOVE this devotional. Click below to grab your copy of 31 Days of Prayer for Your Future Husband!)
Secondly, we are all a work in progress. Say it with me: “I am a work in progress”. This means that throughout our entire lives – singleness, marriage, family-life, career changes, and the lot – we will inevitably fluctuate through seasons of varying levels of contentedness. Our human, fleshly selves can’t help but be tossed about a bit by the waves of life, but we can help ease the disruption of transition by finding contentment in all seasons, not just the ones we enjoy or anticipate.
Contentment is not a product of our circumstances, but a condition of our spirit.
King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 10,
“Know the importance of the season you’re in
and a wise son you will be.
But what a waste when an incompetent son
sleeps through his day of opportunity!
The heart of the wise will easily accept instruction.
But those who do all the talking
are too busy to listen and learn.
They’ll just keep stumbling ahead
into the mess they created.
The one who walks in integrity
will experience a fearless confidence in life,
but the one who is devious
will eventually be exposed.
True enrichment comes from the blessing of the Lord,
with rest and contentment in knowing
that it all comes from him.
The fool finds his fun in doing wrong,
but the wise delight in having discernment.
The lawless are haunted by their fears
and what they dread will come upon them,
but the longings of the lovers of God will all be fulfilled.
The wicked are blown away by every stormy wind.
But when a catastrophe comes,
the lovers of God have a secure anchor.
Living in the worship and awe of God
will bring you many years of contented living.
So how could the wicked ever expect to have a long, happy life?
Lovers of God have a joyful feast of gladness,
but the ungodly see their hopes vanish right before their eyes.
The beautiful ways of God are a safe resting place
for those who have integrity.
But to those who work wickedness
the ways of God spell doom.
God’s lover can never be greatly shaken.
But the wicked will never inherit
the covenant blessings.”
King Solomon writes that, no matter what we face, we can rest in God if we choose to trust Him. He calls those who seek God, “wise”, and others to be foolish. So who do we look to to fulfil our desires and lead our lives; ourselves? our spouse? or God?
I have found, having journeyed through many (many!) crushes, that I am least content in my singleness when my own expectations are not met. Perhaps they are expectations thrust upon me by society, or friends, or family members, or even others at church, or sometimes they are simply responses to my own unfulfilled hopes and desires. But no matter where they stem from, those unrealised expectations are what drove my discontentment.
I placed expectations on the crushes themselves: how they might act, what they might say, longed for moments of intimacy.
I placed expectations on social situations and new experiences: who I might meet, opportunities that might arise, how I might portray myself best.
I placed expectations on time: when milestones might be reached, how quickly new relationships might be established, how quickly intimacy might be cultivated.
And because I held such high expectations of specific scenarios in my mind, I was inevitably disappointed on a regular basis. My expectations were unrealistically high, and therefore the lows that followed often took a nose-dive into despair: “Will I be single forever? Will this ever happen for me or am I doomed to be always the bridesmaid, never the bride?”
The change came when I discovered that a life surrendered to God is a life full of peace, contentment, and excitement. When I realised just how much God loves me and I learnt to trust Him with every detail, life with Him became a romance and I began to see all the little notes of His love daily: a glorious sunset, a special conversation, an opportunity to help or encourage someone, a well-timed gift of provision.
My expectations soon morphed into: how might I be used today, what might God do through me, who can I encourage or inspire. My expectations were no longer centred around me – primed for disappointment – but around God’s plan for the day. I can I just say – God’s plan always exceeds any expectation of my own.
(Click below to grab your copy of Lord, Prepare Me to Be a Godly Wife.)
Before any new experience, or potential sighting of a nice guy at church, or opportunity to represent myself, I am intentional in taking time to pray for God’s guidance. I do not want to fall back into the trap of operating at ‘surface’ level – of what can be seen and heard during my interactions with others – but I want to be responsive to the Holy Spirit and to all that He wants to achieve in me and through me. Christ didn’t just die so that He could help me find a nice guy to meet at the altar, He died for the world, many of whom still don’t know Him. So is it not selfish of me to focus on my hunt for a man when so many are heading for a lost eternity because I am allowing my discontentment to blind me to everything else that God is trying to achieve?
Let’s broaden our perspective and be a disciple of Christ, first and foremost, then everything else will be given to us (Matthew 6:33). Being married may change our expectations, but unless we shift the subject of our expectations from ourselves or our spouse to God, we will remain discontent in marriage too. As we focus on God and draw near to Him, our expectations will supernaturally align with the intentions of God, therefore our expectations will be met in abundance and we will find ourselves most content in Him.
What are your thoughts? Comment below and introduce yourself!