I have lived; I’m sure, more than half my life time being the ripe old age of 57. I’ve never been married. What?!!! I get a few different reactions to this; most people just can’t believe that I have never been married. When I was younger, like in my 20’s, 30’s, and even early 40’s they responded with, “Oh, someone will come along.” Or, some well-meaning friends tried to tell me, “You are too picky.” Then the next question used to kill me, “Well, do you have any kids?” To me, the question after you say “No, I am not married” sounds a lot like this, “Well, do you, at least, have any kids to show something for your life?” When your answer is “No”, to this, most people look at you with pity or that look of, “What is wrong with you?” I’ve even had children ask me if I had any kids. When I said, “No”, they looked at me with some confusion as if to say, “Why not, you are old enough to have kids,” as if there is an unwritten law, “You must have children.”
Now being over 50 with never having been married is maybe acceptable, sort of. But being over 50, never married, and no children is just seen as abnormal. It seems that you don’t have to have been married; you just have to have children, if you are a woman, or something is wrong with you. At least that is how most of the world makes my peer group feel.
So “Why Wait,” you may ask, or “Why Wait” for what? My journey of singleness has given me the answer to that very question. What I have seen in so many marriages in the church urges me to write what I know to be true. Waiting is what Christians should do. We are waiting on the second coming of Jesus. We wait for God to direct us in all things from buying the right house to buying the right car. We bring our petition to the Lord, and then we wait for the answer. Oh yes, sometimes we run ahead of God doing things in our own way which is where we get into trouble.
One of the most important decisions we will ever make in our life is who we will marry. So since most of the world will get married, shouldn’t you bring that most important decision to God and then wait for him to answer? Wouldn’t it be wise to talk to God about that dashingly handsome, gifted, muscular, “he-gives me-goose bumps,” man of God you saw in church, or if you’re a man, that curvy, blond haired, blue eyed woman that smells of sweet flowers and smiles like an angel that you met in Bible study. (Just make sure your Bible studies are in a group. I’ve heard of a few one-on-one Bible studies/prayer meetings with the opposite sex that turned into a vertical one on one meeting, if you know what I mean.)
Would you listen if God says, “No, wait, this person is not the best for you?” Would you dare to discipline your body and all its urges? Would you say, “Okay God, I will wait”. I remember couples that said, “This is the man or woman for me.” They marry and within a year or less they are heading for divorce court, sometimes with children that have to deal with the anger and hurt for years.
Divorce is ugly and it leaves a lot of scars on everyone involved. God wants us to be wise when choosing a mate. Try listening to His voice and be willing to be obedient when He says “NO”. Usually there are clear warning signs that this person is not suitable for you.
Well, I did wait and am still waiting for the promise I believe God has made to me. Has it been easy? Not even a bit. Some of the time I spent begrudgingly as I watched all my high school, Bible College, Co-workers, and church friends get married, have babies year after year, decade upon decade, while I still waited. I’ve seen my nephews, nieces, and cousins grow up get married have kids and some of their kids are having kids.
What is a woman to think? I sometimes questioned myself. God, am I not good enough? What is wrong with me? Why doesn’t anyone want me? How long, oh God? How long? I did have to come to the realization that if God said, “Never,” than never it would be. That took a lot of years and way too much heartache before I was able to say that and mean it. But the desire for a companion never left me. I knew deep down inside that God had made a promise to me when I was in my twenties that He had someone for me. Once I reached my 50’s that promise started to look bleak. I had a time of faltering but in the end God’s promises are yes and amen. So, I wait.
People today don’t want to wait for anything. We live in a microwave, instant meal, fix it now society. How many of us switch lanes at the grocery store because the line you have been waiting in is taking too much time? I am guilty. Computers are much faster today than ten years ago or how about the time before computers when you waited weeks for a letter to arrive with news. You had to visit the library scouring through scores of books in order to find the information you needed. Let’s not even mention the time we spent waiting before the telephone was invented. Technology has made us an instant society.
Today our modern conveniences are a blessing and a curse. The blessings are obvious when we can have what we need quicker. The curse seems to be that we become spoiled and to some degree lazy when we get things easier and faster with little effort on our part. We transfer all of this quickness to how fast we think God should answer our prayers.
The point is since everything is available now, why should I wait for the right man or woman when the one in front of me feels right, right now. Hey, I know what it feels like to want to be loved by someone who puts you before any other human being. I also know all about the hormones raging out of control. I learned all about sex in my teens. Notice I said sex not love, two very different things that may or may not be joined together. You can have either one with or without the other, sex without love or love without sex. Try giving all of that to God.
He does speak to us. We just have to tune our hearts to hear Him, using the Word of God as our guide. If you think God is speaking to you to steal something or that it’s okay to go out with a married person or to have sex outside of marriage, then I’m sure you have heard wrong! See Exodus 20:14, 15; Hebrews 13:4 which gives us direction concerning these matters. The Bible is pretty clear on these subjects.
The Bible however, does not direct us to the person that is best for us. It’s not written anywhere, “Cynthia, you should marry so and so”, just like the Bible doesn’t tell you to join this company on a business venture, move to this city or join this church, yet these are still big decisions that can affect your life, like marriage. For instance I have known several people who, again, swore that God told them this woman or man was the right one, in spite of their drinking problem, anger issues or were not a Christian. Second Corinthians 6:14 says; “do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers”, Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” If that person does not have a relationship with Jesus and you do, how can you walk the road of life together?
As an outsider in these relationships, whose heart had not been affected, the signs were clear to me. I have been told by a very wise woman to guard your heart before you give it away because once you give it away it is so hard to break from that person no matter how bad they treat you. I have seen ones being snared when they don’t guard their hearts from the man or woman that showers them with gifts, always wants to be alone with them, keeping them apart from family and friends, never showing them who they really are. That problem surfaces its ugly head the day after they say, “I do” at that beautiful façade of a wedding.
I feel for women and men that fall prey to that overly kind, affectionate person. Maybe not all the time, but from what I’ve seen, these types are often controlling to the point of smothering who you are. I have also seen them turn abusive, physically or verbally, after they get married. My point is, there seems to be signs that were given before the nuptials that should have sent the other person running in the opposite direction, so guard your heart, be still before God and be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Other things in life should be chosen using wisdom, Proverbs 20:1 tells us, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler and whoever is led astray by it is not wise”. Proverbs 22:24 says: “Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.” It may not be sinful but it will be a snare for your soul. There are many snares and traps in this world that will bring troubles when we do not use wisdom to keep ourselves from them. I have found that when I rely on the Spirit of God to direct me I can avoid snares and traps around me.