Marriage

Why I Probably Won’t Marry

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This is not being written out of bitterness or hurt. This is not being written from a place of hopelessness. This is being written from an inner knowing.  Sometimes we reach a point in our life when we question God’s direction in the area of relationships and there has been no clear direction in this area for a while. I thought I would be married by now, I thought a lot of things. The reality though is I’m not married and don’t see it happening in my foreseeable future.

Married people will tell singles to patiently wait. Single people tell other singles to focus on God and our relationship with Him. Divorced people will tell you marriage isn’t worth the commitment or baggage.  God says nothing, He’s silent.

I’m at a point in my life where I would love to settle down and marry, but I don’t see it happening. I stopped seeing it for a while. I haven’t lost hope I’ll find it but I need to be realistic and sometimes being realistic means facing the truth there is no one out there for me. If I could paint any of you a picture of what the last six years of my life have been like in the area of relationships, it’s been hell. My last relationship was different and after it was over I questioned whether I would find someone to settle into a life with.  Honestly, I don’t think I will.  My luck lately has been laughable.

Marriage is a lifetime commitment between us and another person. Marriage is not a piece of paper, it’s a covenant. The kind of commitment I’m looking for isn’t staring someone in the eyes and saying, “I do.” It’s looking someone in their eyes and seeing Christ.

Despite what this culture will try and tell us, marriage is serious.  Marriage is flesh and bone, soul to soul —- one. It’s this unity our culture tries to tear apart by its influence. We have fallen away from what God wants for us and each other, for His Church, by a culture diseased with selfishness and sin.

Marriage is beautiful when two people are brought together by the Lord, I’ve experienced it and it didn’t last. It’s for this reason I don’t believe marriage is in my future. When we love the Lord with our whole heart, mind, and soul, our hearts need to be fully surrendered to Him and not the desire for marriage or a family. Though the desire in my heart has never really been there, sometimes what we think we need in life, we really don’t. People hurt and wound. People are unfaithful and unloving. It takes someone fully committed and surrendered to God to unconditionally love someone else the way His Son loves us. It takes a true follower of Christ to love and lead a woman and family.

I’ve met so many people in my life who have promised to love me and never abandon me. I’ve been looked  in the eyes and told they wanted to spend the rest of their life with me. I’ve heard it all but shown differently. We can’t take others at their word, we can only see their actions.I don’t fault men who are happily married and are good fathers. I’ve met my share of good men and observed how they are towards their wives and children. They’re fully committed to the Lord first and put their family second. They love with all they have and are willing to go above and beyond what is necessary to ensure their wife and children are provided for because they know true provision comes from God and Him alone. It’s through an intimate relationship with their eternal Father they learn what it means to lay their life down for the Lord and follow Him and it’s in their following they learn how to lead their wife and child.

This is why I probably won’t marry. I have yet to meet any single man who is willing and able to do these things or even know how. There is always an excuse or reason. Fear of commitment, fear in general, past baggage, it’s always something. Sometimes I look at myself and wonder if there’s something wrong with me and not the man, but I can’t blame myself for others’ lack of commitment or fear. I can only face my own fears and realize a man’s lack of commitment has nothing to do with me but with what they haven’t fully surrendered to the Lord.  Either way, it’s disheartening.

Honestly, I’m writing this from a place of disappointment. I never imagined I’d still be single at 30 and without children. I never really gave marriage much thought until I had someone in my life who told me I was “The One” and they “knew.” It was then the idea of marriage became more than fantasy but probable. I believed it for almost a year. Now, I don’t know.

It’s been through this time of separation I’ve had to surrender any desire in my heart for marriage and a family.  At this point, probably for good. God never promised me marriage, He promised to give me a future and a hope. Maybe the future He’s promising me is only between Him and I and no one else.

Only He knows.

photo credit: Denise ~*~cc

A Letter to My Future Husband

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It feels kind of silly writing to you. After all this time I thought by now I would have found you — or you would’ve me. Fact is, neither of us have found each other and a part of me has abandoned hope. Funny though, because there are times when I think I have already met you, but I know better, I haven’t.

You’re not like others, different.

In a crowd of a hundred, I know I would spot you immediately. You aren’t dressed in your Sunday best or ‘Jesus swag’. You’re not carrying around God’s Word or even preaching the Gospel. Shocker, I know. In our technology infused ‘Jesus culture’ — others don’t know you by name or Twitter and Facebook fame.

You’re no idol, invisible.

You don’t boast about things you’ve done or how you willingly obeyed the Lord. You’re quiet, humble. I’m attentive to small things, those things that matter less to you, more to me — to us. Those things resonate more deeply than shallow affection and fleeting trust. You admit your faults, flaws, and fear has no place in you — in us.

You’re vulnerable, sexy.

God is working in me, in you, in us. I may not meet you this year or the next, there is no timetable for an ‘us’. It’s crazy to think we’ve gotten this far without each other, but I know it’s with reason. I searched endlessly and tirelessly for you over the past few years, unintentionally, left heartbroken. You aren’t mine to be found and I’m not yours either. We’re not possessions of each other, we’re separate.

We’re patient, it’s beautiful.

When we do find each other, let’s risk it all together. I don’t know what the risk will look like or how it will feel, but it will be worth it. I know because the risk will be something simple, something we’ve both overlooked in our trying and searching.

The risk of our hearts, each other.

Question is, am I worth the risk to you, for us?

photo credit: kelsey_lovefusionphoto via photopin cc

How To Stay Pure Until Marriage

I’m a virgin. An imperfect one.

I’ve made mistakes in my past and mistakes I still think about even now. I wasn’t always pure in my actions and I paid for them. Being a virgin is a choice for me. It’s a choice I’ve upheld since 17. I made a commitment. A vow to myself and my body that I wouldn’t give it away to any one unless I was married.

Yes, I’ve been in relationships and there was a lot of pressure in those relationships to ‘give in’. It wasn’t the reason we ended our relationship but it started a downward spiral that inevitably ended it. Something always told me to wait. And I’ve waited. The ride to here hasn’t been easy. Words like ‘prude’ and ‘uptight’ have been spread around over the course of my life. I remember brief conversations with men who I were interested in who told me I would never find a man because I wouldn’t ‘give it up.’

Words that engraved themselves in my memory, reminding me  this was a commitment I intended carrying and nothing any one said was going to change it.

Here I am 29, still a virgin, and everyday I am learning more about what I want, don’t want, and have more questions about sex and marriage than I have in my entire life. Being more intimate with God has helped guide me in understanding my body and it’s purpose. It’s a covenant between God and I that shouldn’t be broken.

So, how have I been able to do it? I’ve been asked how and why by people close to me and my response has always changed. And it’s because I’ve changedI’m changing now. God is making all things new everyday and the more I learn who I am, and what I want, I understand why I’m still a virgin.

For me I’ve applied the following in my life to stay pure until marriage:

Create REALISTIC and healthy boundaries in relationships.

In my last official relationship we didn’t have boundaries. He knew I was a virgin and wanted to stay one until marriage. However, because we did ‘other things’, his expectations grew and my commitment to remain a virgin was sending mixed signals. I take full responsibility for it and it taught me an important lesson. I made the decision after our relationship was over to create healthy boundaries early on so there is no confusion later. Healthy boundaries for me are: Understanding what makes me comfortable/uncomfortable and knowing what’s appropriate/inappropriate. I realize this can be different for everyone. So, let me clarify. Kissing is OKAY. Hugging and cuddling are OKAY. Being affectionate with each other is OKAY. These are acceptable for me because I’m naturally an affectionate person and have self-control.

So, what’s NOT okay?

That depends on you. Everyone is different. You know your body. You know what you want. So, I am not going to preach to you about what is acceptable and appropriate behavior for you. What I will ask though is: If God was in the room with you, would He approve of the behavior you and your significant other choose to entertain in outside the context of marriage?

Understand sex in the context of marriage.

Honestly, this has been a huge help for me to stay pure before marriage. Sex in the context of marriage is beautiful. Maybe it’s the girl in me, but the more I read and learn about sex, the more I want it, but I want it differently. I want it with my future husband. Right now I am reading “Sex God” by Rob Bell and it’s an amazing book that explores this topic. The sexual bond between a man and woman is central to what it means to be married. And it’s so much deeper than what our culture paints it. 

Respect your body.

Respect the person God made you to be. Our bodies are His and every piece is beautiful in its creation. It’s sacred. I haven’t always respected my body and I often look back on those moments when I didn’t and I’m disgusted. Sometimes I’m ashamed. My flesh has failed several times in my life and it’s a daily struggle. Lust has had a grip so tight over my life and body for as long as I can remember. But I know what I want and I’m not settling for less than that. Your body, our bodies, are temples where His spirit dwells and every day I remind myself to sow in the spirit, not the flesh.

“It’s easy to take off your clothes and have sex. People do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone, letting them into your spirit and thoughts, fears, future, hopes, and dreams, that is being naked. This is why when people sleep together after they’ve just met, they’re raising the chances significantly that the relationship will not survive. Racing ahead of the progression always costs something. Too much too fast rarely endures.”

I want sex, I crave it, but I want sex with the man God has chosen for me. If that makes me a prude, so be it. I’m not in this world to please any one and neither are you. Each and everyone of you know your body and inevitably what you want. We have desires.  And it’s okay.  It’s normal.

God gave us our desires, but make sure your desire to pursue Him isn’t placed on the back burner for momentary pleasure. 

“Your strength is a beautiful thing. And when you live in it, when you carry yourself with the honor and dignity that are yours, it forces the men around you to relate to you on more than just a flesh level. You are worth dying for.

If you’re a virgin, what has been the hardest struggle for you?

If you’re married, how did your perspective about sex change after marriage?

photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc

Why I’m Scared to Get Married

 

 

“If I get married, I want to be very married.”
— Audrey Hepburn

Every girl dreams of her wedding day. From the dress to the cake, every detail of her wedding is outlined in the canvas of her mind, waiting for the day when she will walk down the aisle.  Then there’s me.  I never had those dreams as a little girl. As a matter of fact I haven’t given any thought to marriage until recently. There have been things going on in my life lately that have made me think more about marriage and if I want to get married at all.Here’s a little confession – I’m scared to get married. Just like my fear of sex, I have a fear of  getting  married.  Most would say that it’s because I have a fear of commitment and I can see how most people would draw  that conclusion, but that’s not why marriage or sex scare me. I’ve had a lot of time to sit and think about this and I can only name a few reasons why I’m afraid of marriage and most of it has to do with my own insecurities and denial.

I enjoy my freedom

I enjoy having the freedom to do what I want. For most of my life I have taken care of myself. At age 11 I was already cooking and cleaning, so I learned how to be independent at an early age. I’ve never had to rely on anyone but my own instinct and when it came time to make hard decisions in life, I followed my gut. Being single has taught me a lot about my personal boundaries and what I will not sacrifice for another person. In marriage we give up the right to be a ‘you’ and learn to be ‘two.’  I’m still trying to figure out how to be ‘me.’ Therein lies my fear of marriage. I realize that by wanting to enjoy my freedom it sounds selfish and it probably is. When we make the decision to marry someone we give up our right to be selfish and learn instead to submit selflessly.  Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll get there.

I don’t want a man to complete me.

I’m a broken person. Probably more broken than I’m willing to admit. I don’t want a man to try and complete me in the areas I’m broken. Where I am weak, I want a man  to build me up and encourage me. I want him to support me. For most of my life I have been the one building, encouraging, and supporting in my relationships. I felt like if I did those things that it would fill the holes in my life and in my heart and make them magically ‘fall in love with me.’  Two halves can’t make a whole. I want to be whole in Christ before I say ‘I do.”

I’m a bad friend.

I’m good at making friends but bad with maintaining them. Good friendships cultivate marriages that last. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read articles about people who have been married for 50+ years and said they married their best friend. When we marry our best friend we not only build a solid foundation for a healthy marriage but we open ourselves to be completely vulnerable with them. The only person I have ever been completely vulnerable with is God.  He knows every broken and vulnerable place. He knows me from the inside out. I have yet to truly expose myself in that way with another person. There are people who know me, but there is not one person who really knows me. . When I came to have a relationship with God some friendships either ended or some got placed on the back burner without intention.  Everyday I’m changing and while I know that most people support the person I am, there are some that aren’t used to this new ‘me’.  Friendship is about companionship, vulnerability, and mutual respect and it’s  a two-way street.  We get what we put into it and marriage works the same way. I want to learn how to invest more time in my friendships before I can walk down the aisle with my best friend.

If I get married, I’m only doing it once.  

I want to do marriage with a right heart that is aligned with Christ. If that is God’s plan for my life I want to spend the rest of my life with someone that God has specially designed for me without fear.

I pray I get there.

1 John 4:16-19

16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us.

What are some fears you had before you said “I do?”

Do you still have them?