1snglDear unmarried ladies,

The church has beaten this topic to a pulp. I know. I’m sorry for adding this to the noise.

Today, I share a post I wrote on March 1st, after fighting with my kitchen sink stopper, which had gotten stuck after I so gingerly put it in upside down in an epic blonde moment. After much prayer, a phone call, some Googling, and major nail- and cutlery-power, the stopper finally came loose, and I shook my head, wondering how I had gotten away with using the thing upside down all that time. I began to think about the many strange prayers I’ve said during my plumbing or carpentry crises, and chuckled as I realized the many skills I’ve acquired in recent years. The prayer that night was “Lord, please help me remove this thing.” (I didn’t even know it was called a sink stopper until I Googled it to find out how to remove it.) I’ve also prayed, “Lord, please help me put this furniture together,” and “Lord, please let it not rain.”

My mind began to wander to some of the mistakes single people make. I’m ashamed to admit it, but a few years ago, there were actually times when I would look at something and think to myself: “I don’t need to know this. I’ll be married soon, anyway.” My husband would take over where my brothers left off, of course. He would deal with anything that remotely smacked of hard labor.

Little by little, I’ve had to go from changing bulbs, to fixing garbage disposals, to fixing furniture. I’ve shared a little bit about this before. I’ll try to stop talking about it but it is because I was such a softie, such an ajebutter that I still marvel that I can do some of these things. It is seriously by God’s grace, my family members can attest to this.

With everything I learn, I feel such a joy, because now I don’t need to depend on someone to do it for me. But as I reflected, I realized that I’ve made other mistakes as well. And it’s from these that today’s reminders are derived.

That’s where this is coming from. Ladies, I present to you, in no particular order: Ten mistakes unmarried women make, and what they can do about it.

Mistake #1: Thinking being single = having a disease.
Truth #1: You’re not sick, you’re single.

Singleness is not a disease. It’s a phase. No matter what it looks like, it will pass. The word “single” is not a taboo. It does not have a negative connotation, unless you give it one. People try to gag singles in so many ways. Speaking about singleness is frowned upon, and any mention of one’s status is often seen as an advertisement of a desire to change it. No wonder many singles feel leprous!

Listen. This generation is averse to statements that begin with “Don’t,” but I am going to go ahead and use it here because there is no way to stress this enough: Please don’t let anyone talk you down or talk down at you or make you think that you’re less of a woman than she is, less of a person than he is, simply because you’re single. I know how it feels to be told your opinion carries less weight simply because you have not been married for ten years. I know that feeling of vindication that comes with a married friend saying, “I can’t believe this; you were actually right.” People will think what they want, but don’t let their thoughts define you.

Mistake #2: Thinking life begins at marriage.
Truth #2: Life begins at conception, not at marriage.

There are many happy marriages out there. But – and especially in our generation – there are also several fronts. Shams! Travesties. The divorce rate is going up just as fast as the marriage rate is. Trust me, dear Liza, there’s a hole in that bucket, so don’t try to fetch water with it. Marriage is hard. If you’re holding back all enjoyment until after your wedding, please stop. Enjoy this phase while you can. Marriage is beautiful, but only for those who make it so – and making it so definitely does not begin with rushing into it because other people have done the same.

Oh, and sex is overrated. We might as well put that out there. When I told a friend that I would be writing this post, she said, “I have something to share. I thought sex was all that. When we were done after the first night, I exclaimed, ‘That’s it?!’ it got better, but it’s still way overrated, and is only a small percentage of the marriage. Tell the single ladies to relax.” She continued, “I had banked all my expectations of marriage on good sex, so I was not prepared for things like finances and the duties of a wife. I had compromised quite a bit sexually, so when it was not much more than what I already knew, I was devastated.”

Mistake #3: Thinking the pool is filled with unlimited options.
Truth #3: The pool is not filled with unlimited options.

You’re beautiful. But beauty fades. Don’t just reject people for the sake of it. I hope I’m not speck-and-logging here. I’ve rejected more than my fair share of men just this year alone. Seriously, appearances are not everything. Money grows wings. Just say yes, already. Is he born again? Truly walking in Jesus? Everything else checks out okay, within reason? Just say yes, already.

Mistake #4: Feeling entitled.
Truth #4: You’re not entitled to a perfect man.

No, you’re not. Nobody is. Because we live on earth, and there are no perfect men here. But it gets even deeper. You’re not even entitled to a man. God has every right to tell you to remain single for life, and He has every right to expect that you continue to love Him even then. Thankfully, He is not a sadist. And He needs Christian families raising Christian babies in this dark generation. So while “none shall lack her mate” (Is. 34:16) is a blessing and not a right (and also a verse often taken out of context when used at singles conferences, but let’s let that go), it’s very likely that you, as His child, will be awarded this beautiful privilege. Just remember to remain humble.

Mistake #5: Thinking their ages define them, and panicking every birthday.
Truth #5: You’re neither old nor a hag.

I will say just two things here. 1) There is no verse in the Bible that says you should be married by twenty-two or done having children by thirty. 2) The word “hag” actually means “witch,” and has Jezebel and Medusa as its synonyms.

Mistake #6: Spending very little time with married women.
Truth #6: Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.

The best way to appreciate your singleness and prepare for marriage is to hang out with married women. By observing them closely, you learn what it takes to be a wife. You begin to pick up on what works and what doesn’t. And you begin to take on the demeanor of a wife, which in turn is attractive to any man who longs to become a husband.

Mistake #7: Trying to “earn” marriage.
Truth #7: God gave you your personality – and many of your preferences – because they’re perfect for the call He placed on your life.

Stop trying to “fix” you. Only God can do that. By all means, please let Him. But know that you’re beautiful just as you are – eccentricities and all. Many of your traits were actually deliberately put in you by God. To change yourself and to try to become something other than who Christ called you to be could actually result in pushing you further away from the person you’re supposed to end up with. Don’t think that just because Jane and Mary are both quiet women, and Jane and Mary both got married fairly young, that being quiet = getting married. Marriage is not a reward for perfection. It’s not a trophy you get for being a good Christian woman. If it were, there’d be no unbelieving couples, and there’d be no divorced Christians. Please note that I’m not saying you should go out there and act a fool. Your lifestyle does play a role in laying the foundation for your marriage.

Mistake #8: Thinking every single man in church could be “The One.”
Truth #8: Not every man who does something nice is a potential Mr. Right.

That he’s hot, saved and funny doesn’t necessarily mean he’s yours. “Potential Mr. Right” begins after he puts a ring on your finger. Guard your heart with all diligence. God does not see as man sees. He not only sees the hearts of men, He also sees their futures. Not every man in the church is born again. The most handsome man in the queue is not necessarily the right choice. “The One” just might be in the fields, tending sheep and killing bears and lions.

Mistake #9: Taking the title “The One” to the next level.
Truth #9: The “soulmate” concept is a lie from hell.

This is what’s wrong with the soulmate lie. Men, thinking they have soulmates somewhere out there, decide, “I am waiting on God to give me a spouse,” and do absolutely nothing about it. That’s a whole different situation and would take an entire blog post to expound.

Many women, on the other hand, will sit down, come up with a list, put that list before God, and move on, expecting the man in their list to show up and sweep them off their feet, and in the process turning down every other man that approaches them. This is one mistake I personally am guilty of. Rather than tell God my desires with an open mind and heart that was pliable and adjustable to His will, I came up with a very fleshly list (oh, you should see that list, you’ll laugh, it even has categories), took it to Him, and decided that He would answer. Thankfully, I also prayed that anything that was not of Him be stripped from that list, and in the five years since I wrote it, it has reduced from more than 20 criteria to just two simple non-negotiables – one of which is probably going to get knocked off as well.

I have a few questions. How does this soulmate thing work? Does God wire a liking for them into us before we meet them, or is it possible to have a soulmate one hates but has to be stuck with? If there really is a soulmate out there for you, do you really think anything you do will prevent you from running into each other? If it really were bound to happen, and if this were the will of God, would your being proactive stay His hand or prevent His will from coming to pass? If so, I just might have to ask you to assess the God you serve.

We have to learn to trust God with our desires. Very often, He has blessed women with everything they asked for in their lists, but the packaging just didn’t look right and these women only discovered it after they decided to give these men a chance. Very often, He has denied women their lists, only for these women to discover that what He did give them was much better than what they had prayed for.

The reason many of us are so afraid to “wait on God” is because we think it means doing nothing; just sitting and staring and waiting for things to fall from heaven on a silver platter. But I want to argue that Abraham’s servant going to search for a wife for Isaac was waiting on God. Ruth, leaving Moab with Naomi, going to Israel, gleaning in the field, lying at Boaz’s feet, was waiting on God. The way I see it, to wait on God is to serve Him, much like a waiter would do, and to refrain from meddling with what we have already prayed for, without ceasing to live life or make the adjustments necessary for us to receive what we believe for. We cannot help God; we often need to stop “standing in the way”. In other words, we need to stop running after men. It’s not becoming (unfortunately, due to the nature of the times, we might have to prod these guys a little bit – just a little bit, a Ruth-in-the-threshing-floor little bit). But we should also stop being so unavailable as well.

If you truly think God is going to get you a car, you’d better work on that license, lady. Remember the story about the crusade that was going to be held for people to pray for rain, yet only one child carried an umbrella to the event?

Mistake #10: Thinking only about what’s in it for them.
Truth #10: Marriage is a potluck, not a bonanza.

So you want that hot, saved, funny man… with a fat bank account, a healthy prayer lifestyle, holy but with unmatched sexual prowess from Day 1. What are you bringing to the table? Jesus told us to do to others what we would have them do to us. Are you the type of woman a man would want his daughters to become? Someone asked a wise question years ago that has now become hackneyed: Would you marry you? If no, why not, and what are you doing about it?

Live life. Be the you God called you to be. He is concerned about the sparrows, and knows every single snowflake. He did not withhold His own Son. How can He deny you any good thing?

Love,

Pea

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