Everybody wants to be in love. Everybody. Even those who hide from the world, who seclude themselves and who have little patience for other humans. Yes, they too want someone to love them. Someone who thinks they are just awesome. Someone who lights up when they are around, who loves them despite themselves, simply because they are…
Nobody wants to feel unloved and alone. No, not even the loners. Loneliness is a circumstance that is accepted in defeat…because of the absence of people to love or to return one’s love. God did not make us for solitude. He made us for fellowship, for companionship, for relationship. So it is the worst possible fate for someone to live in this world, all alone and unloved.
However, the fear of loneliness has driven many people to make some unreasonable compromises. As singles mature, and the pool of potential partners dwindle, and as their looks fade away and their circle of interaction spirals inwards, they become desperate to find someone…anybody to love! This desperation can even cause them to overlook very obvious flaws in their proposed mate and to justify any type of relationship, as long as they are not alone.
But there is something much worse than abiding alone and feeling miserable. It is abiding with someone else, who you are bound to for life, who you must consider in all your decision making, who you must love unconditionally, but who makes you most miserable, because they either don’t love you in return or they leave you constantly in wonder about their love, through their neglect or the unloving or abusive things they do.
Yes, I’m talking about the unhappily married. There are so many of them about now, because the pressure to marry is as strong as ever, but people are not prepared for what marriage entails. Marriage requires two selfless people, who have learnt the greatest love possible (through the grace of God), such that they are able to give away what they have received…(Luke 7:47). But two selfish people, who have not known the greatest love possible, are ill-equipped to give the kind of love a marriage demands.
Many of these unhappily married people end up divorced, and rejoin the pool of those seeking a love connection. Because they are already broken, if they are not restored to wholeness by God, they will be less likely to fit with another, and therefore, their future marriages are more likely to fail. Those who do not divorce, whether for religious reasons or for the sake of their children, or for the fear that they may end up alone, will abide in misery, until they are able to realise what every single person ought to realise before they marry…
Your joy and contentment must come from within… From the Spirit of God which abides in you. When you have such joy and contentment in your heart, you will attract goodness to yourself. You can literally change the world by simply being a light that refuses to go out! Even in a dark marriage, you can shine and keep shining until the light that is in you feels your home with light, and lights up everyone who comes in contact with you. This is the gift of God, His unconditional love that is within us, that we can give to a world lacking love.
If you are a miserably lonely single…do not seek marriage. You will surely be miserable in marriage too! Grow up to become a joyful contented single. Learn love, and show love to all. Make friends, and learn to love yourself, and be content with God. Then you have a 50/50 chance of being happily married. 50/50 because your partner’s maturity in this regard will also determine the success of your marriage. And if you are truly contented and connected to God, you will be better able to identify that other someone who is ready to give love, and not just take… Then your chances for happily ever after are closer to 100%!
I wouldn’t wish a miserable lonely existence on anyone. But if you will accept my counsel, it is far better to be miserably single than miserably married. And I must add that you can be single for the rest of your life without being miserable. Abiding as a single is not a sentence to misery; it’s not evidence that you’re immature nor that you’re unlovable. Singleness as a lifestyle works, and it is an acceptable alternative to marriage. Jesus endorsed it! Paul endorsed it! It is a matter of purpose, so don’t be sentenced to a miserable marriage, because of the pressure to conform. For more on this, read A Hard Teaching.
As a single, you still enjoy so much freedoms and you still have opportunity to grow and meet the right person. You also are not living with the constant rejection of the one person who is supposed to love you. You can date and socialise freely, where as in marriage, you have no such liberty. In marriage, you have only one chance at happiness, and that is to make it work with your spouse, faithfully forgiving all wrongs and inconveniences.
Don’t seek marriage because you are hungry and starving for love, but because you have so much love to give… If you don’t have unconditional love to give, you can not survive marriage. You will either end up divorced or miserably unhappy in marriage. And if you are already married and miserable, this is an occasion to let your light shine… “Let it so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matt 5:16). Do not give up; look up to your salvation. He has already given you what you need to be victorious!
Many thanks to Joseyphina, who inspired me to write this post from her Would You Rather series.
Photo credit: http://www.unsplash.com
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