Recently a good friend of mine told me I couldn’t “feel” her pain. She is in her mid-30’s in full time ministry and single. I was engaged by 24, married at 25, babies by 26.
She’s right I happened to get married and have kids pretty quickly. However, I started working in some form of ministry very young, and I know what it’s like to be single, and in ministry.
I know what it’s like to have people walk up to you and ask, “When you will be next?” when they hear of the engagement of anyone in a 5 mile vicinity. In America we do not have pre-arranged marriages, so I was never sure how to “make this happen.” At the same time everyone thinks you have all the free time, so you can just be the one to “drop your life” when “something needs to be done.”
There seem to be plenty of books out there (especially for us girls) about how we are supposed to make Jesus the center of our lives then we are “ready” for our spouse. This is what I was taught. If I could just “Kiss Dating Goodbye,” and be about the Lord, then my husband would come. It was almost like he was locked behind a door, that would get opened when I had enough faith in Jesus. The problem of course is that we are pursuing Christ while having one eye open on the moment we arrive at enough “Jesus time” to “deserve a spouse.”
Us “married in ministry” folks do a miserable time at helping a lot of times. I have realized as my friends reach over 30 I don’t always know how to be supportive. The reality is that all of my friends, who aren’t married, would like to be. Yet, at the same time, I know we can’t wave a magic wand and our “prince” shows up. How many of us have heard stories of parents and grandparents who knew each other for like a week and then planned a wedding soon thereafter, only to go on to be married for 50 years? So in our idiocy we start looking around for viable options of other “singles” for you. You date someone for like a minute and we want to talk about the wedding. We mean well, but we are not always helpful.
Part of the solution is that we realize unmarried does not equal undead. Paul himself talked about ministry and singleness being a good combination. You can’t just snap fingers and “get married” so living like you need it to come along any sec can just be frustrating. So my “single” friends know that for now they do just focus on where Christ has them and then see if/when a spouse comes along. So I guess this article is really to us married folks. We need to back off, and for now, let the single be single.
God has each life… He really does…