As I’ve grown older, my desire for marriage and a partner has grown with me. Looking back I would categorize myself as the avoider, the one who lived in denial of desire for a spouse. I had seen many people live too much in the desire that I swore I’d never be like “them!” and so I wasn’t. In fact it was my goal to be the opposite of living in desire. But as the years passed I realized it was not healthy to live ignorant of or complacent to a desire for a spouse.
I’ve spent the last few years figuring out how to live in the balance of the extremes listed in yesterday’s post. Here are some of the things I’ve learned.
- It is important to know your desire for marriage and to own it.
- It is important to hold the tension of a desire unmet and a life to be lived.
- Live presently. All too often we live in the future or the past. But when we live in today, we actually can live very well. I assume that nearly 90% of the time people are not sad in the moment about being single. It is when they think down the road a few years that they become sad. So choose to live in today.
- Be honest with self and others about your unmet desire. Tell friends you have a desire to be married, but don’t allow that to be the drive or sole content of conversation.
- Do the things you love or feel called to do, now. Don’t wait for what may or may not come. Don’t use singleness as a crutch or as an excuse to not live a good story. Realize that this time being single can be filled with incredible adventures and can be a very good time to risk and live the dreams and passions of your heart. When the only desire we focus on is the one for a spouse we miss out on so much more. There is a lot of life to be lived. Live it today.
- Do pay attention to the people who cross your path and at the same time see people as people and not an “open for business” sign.
- Prepare yourself well for your spouse now. This means take care of you. Take care of your body, mind, spirit and heart. And take care of these things because you love and value you, not so that some else will.
- Find someone you can talk to about your unmet desires. Someone who is wise and who will hear you and encourage you. Find people with whom you can be intimate. Being single does not mean that one will never experience intimacy. (I’m not talking about sex here) Being single means intimacy comes in a different package than a spouse. And, by the way, you’ll need those people when you’re married because marriage isn’t a cure all for intimacy issues.
- Find safe people with whom you can dialogue about sexual desire and temptation. If one has made a choice to live a great story sexually or is choosing now to do so, by waiting to experience sex within a covenant relationship, it can be done. I’m living proof of that. I’m not dead yet and I’m 35 and am still a virgin. But you have to be honest with your desire. You have to have people with you in your desire. You have to have friends who will fight for that choice with you.
- There is no shame in a desire for a spouse, but it doesn’t need to be the topic of every conversation. Find a balance between silence and noise. Invite people to be with you in your desire and talk with them about it when you need to. Ask them to share with you about their unmet desires (everyone has an unmet desire of some kind) and pray with each other.
- Know that your value does not increase or decrease with marriage. Your value is not attached to your ability to obtain a spouse. You in no way are less valuable than your married friends and in no way does your unmet desire say anything about your inherent worth.
Being single isn’t a death sentence. In fact, being single can be an open door to opportunity, as can marriage. Marriage and singleness are not the sole factors in allowing you to live a better story. It is what you do with your time and the life you’ve given in or out of marriage that builds a good story. Marriage and singleness can be a part of an Epic story. But they are not the only story line in our lives.
I’ve received some great feedback from yesterday’s post and it is obvious to me that there are many who struggle in the space between. My prayer for you, in whatever your unmet desire might be, that you’d not place your hope in the fulfillment of a wish or a desire, but that your hope would be set on the only thing that will never change, the character and person of Jesus.
What have you learned about living in balance? Living well in a season of waiting. I’d love to hear your thoughts.