I looked up the amount of verses in the Bible. There are 31,103. That’s 31,103 verses, inspired and breathed by God, to shape our lives, informing us of the life-changing love extended to us and instructing us how to be more like our Maker. There are Bible verses about every topic, for every life event. It is all-encompassing. But to my knowledge, there is not a verse that absolutely promises every person on God’s green earth a significant other or spouse.
So it’s hard, then, when we act like we’re promised one.
It’s hard when it seems like so many Christian young adults are concerned with grooming ourselves to be “wanted”, whining when we’re not, and staring jealously at people who are. It’s hard when we allow our worth and identity to be wrapped up in the availability of another flawed, sinful human to love us. It’s hard when we believe a part of us is “missing” until that person comes around. It’s hard when we start to tell ourselves we will have “made it” once finding “the one.”
Wow so many air quotes because this topic is so sensationalized.
I didn’t hear about, think about, or even imagine feeling any of these crippling fears (that so many people feel and no one will talk about!) until coming to college and placing myself in a Christian community. I’m assuming this is not an exclusively female topic, but I can say that I have heard about it from girls much more frequently.
Last January, I heard Shauna Niequist speak in Nashville. Like she talks about here (y’all it’s good you should read it), she started her talk with “You are significant with or without a significant other.”
I’m glad she says that at college campuses. It is a clear statement regarding the worth we are secured in by Christ that is not said often enough. I can only speak for the Christian community I find myself in at my own school, but in my two years, I’ve found that Christians love marriage and cute couples that love Jesus and putting people together forever on earth and in heaven and for eternity amen. This is not a bad thing. Please do not think I am trying to convince everyone to live alone and actively reject any marriage proposals they might ever receive. Marriage is an incredible covenant created by God so that we may learn to make our lives more about him with another person. The obsession is just a little excessive.
It gets bad when it is everyone’s sole focus: both those who are married, engaged, or dating and those who are single. When we expect that God’s ultimate purpose for our lives is to be served a perfect, God-fearing significant other on a silver platter, maybe with some Chik Fil A or an Edgehill mocha in hand if we’re really lucky, we limit him.
We are limiting the God of the universe’s work in our lives when we set the end destination as marriage.
He can do anything, absolutely anything. I would hate so so much to live my whole life and die and talk to God and hear him say, “You really could have served me better if you and your whole community didn’t idolize marriage when you could have been experiencing the love, freedom and willful service that only a relationship with me brings.”
Not to put words in his mouth. But that would stink!
I’m starting to think it’s the easier route to complain about who God has or hasn’t put in our lives than to really attempt gratefulness. We all do it, so it’s acceptable. I, again, especially feel this around girls. It might be harder, but how much closer to God would we get by daily thanking him for all he has blessed us with? Significant other or not. And maybe then, after that, asking him his will for our lives? And then going and doing it? I hope I care more about that than a boy.
I maybe should have titled this “you are not promised a significant other you were expecting.” Because if there’s any life-changing caveat I could throw in after having written all this, it’s that we are promised a significant other. It’s Jesus. While there are no verses specifically stating that every person God creates gets a human significant other, there are so many verses (!!!!! y’all this promise is so amazing) about the covenant we share with God through Jesus. He is our significant other, collectively and individually! So no, you (and I) are not 100% for sure promised a human significant other. But we are promised so much more.
I love these lyrics from the Sisterbrother song Jealous God. They remind me of his pure, perfect and never-stopping love for us:
I love the way You came to me, so sweet
You sent Your only Son for me, so sweet
I love the way You love me, so sweet
I couldn’t imagine or ask for a better love story! So so so sweet.