Do you know what I’ve noticed? For a lot of my adult life, I have been made to feel like a bad Christian for something I feel powerless to control. I have been made to feel like I am failing to live in God’s will because I’m pursuing carnal desires. When I look at a Christian man and express interest, I am made to feel like a filthy, disgusting poor excuse for a Christian woman. But I’ve done some research. I’ve read books, blogs and most importantly, the Bible and I realised that my desires for a godly husband are far from carnal, in fact, they’re encouraged!
Like with anything, we first need to evaluate the root of our desires. I’ll admit that I want to feel physical intimacy with a man. I want to be desired and looked upon as beautiful by a man. Does it shock you to read that, friend? Is it embarrassing to know that yes, I do dream of that moment when I can give myself completely to my husband? Until recently I would have been uncomfortable to tell you that. I definitely wouldn’t blame anyone for that reaction. As a Christian woman, I’ve been subtlety told that admitting such a desire makes me cheap and dirty, not at all the moral young lady I need to be. I’ve been told to ‘get my mind out of the gutter’ and that ‘God is not pleased to hear that’. So what’s a girl to do? I buried the desire. Blame it on hormones; blame it on the media’s over-sexualisation. I denied I ever had those ‘impure’ thoughts and put on a façade of Christian morality. But my façade is crumbling. If that is the measure of purity, then of course I will fail, indeed many of us will! I cannot eradicate those desires, no-one can. They have been written into our DNA by God!
What? Hold up! Before I get hate mail claiming that I’m blaming God for my impure thoughts, I’ll just do some explaining. My thoughts are not impure. They are natural. I dream of having a husband and making a family with him. I long to have a friend who I can share every passionate and intimate moment with. That desire is completely wholesome. Additionally though, it’s not just pure by this world’s standards but it is in fact a command God gave us! In Genesis, God told us purely and simply to populate the world. Go and make babies. (See my previous blog, ‘The Pursuit Of Marriage’) What’s even more incredible is that He created our bodies specifically to enjoy the procreation act. That’s what sets us apart from the animal world. Humans (and dolphins) are the only creatures atop this earth that engage in sex for pleasure as well as reproduction. So yes, to all those people who have so blatantly told me that sex is a by-product of marriage and not a reason to enter one, I agree. But it is a fun addition, and God created it that way. So take it up with Him if you dare!
So now, where does my desire leave me, as a single woman? Well, amongst other things it leaves me with the label of ‘boy crazy’ in most Christian circles. As if to comfort me in my apparently hopeless pursuits of a man, my married friends pull me aside and gently ask me whether I’ve considered that it might be God’s call on my life to remain single. Maybe God will not bring me a husband. Maybe He won’t. That’s completely His prerogative and I’m comforted in the knowledge that He knows best. But may I pull my married friends aside and say this: You think that will help me understand that my singleness is a gift from God. But what it really says is ‘honey, what if your biggest nightmare is actually going to happen?’ Why don’t you just tell me I’m going to die a horribly painful death as a martyr because let’s be honest, that may also happen. That could also be God’s plan for my life.
We need to evaluate whether what we’re saying is not only truthful but helpful. If I walked up to you on your wedding day and said ‘honey, this is great! You look perfect! But don’t get too excited. It might not last.’ Or if you were pregnant and I gently reminded you that the child you’re so excited to meet might not survive long enough to see kindergarten. Of course what I’m saying is true and it may very well be God’s plan, just look at David and Bathsheba’s child for an example (2 Samuel 12:14-31). But it is certainly not helpful. So, let’s learn to speak the truth in love so that it might be edifying to one another as Paul says in Ephesians 4:29 and Colossians 4:6. So let’s start with this: don’t tell me it’s God’s plan for my life to be single. That’s not helpful or comforting.
Nevertheless, I’m still single right? So my friends tell me to look to other women who pursued seasons of singleness with honour and purity. ‘What about Ruth?’ they say. What about Ruth?! She is a towering figure of faith and definitely someone to aspire to sure. But a model of patient purity? No. The woman propositioned a decent man by presenting herself vulnerable whilst he slept (Ruth 3:4-7). Thankfully Boaz made an honest woman of her, but she took a huge risk to secure her husband. Then there is Esther’s unevenly yoked marriage to Xerxes – a Persian king! Gentlemen, you’re not off the hook either. Must we even look at the lists of immorality in the life of Judah, Abraham, Solomon and David? But of course, I am not at all condoning this level of immorality and I’m definitely not saying that that’s what’s required to find your mate. But let’s be real about this. Those figures of morality were just as starved of physical intimacy as you and I, and it drove them to ridiculous ends.
Now to you dear reader, you may be in one of three positions. You may be married or closely on the way there, you may be single and seeking companionship or you might be content that singleness is the will of God for your life. If you genuinely feel that you are being called to singleness, then you are very much the exception and I have enormous respect for you. As I explained in my earlier blog (see ‘The Pursuit Of Marriage’), God commanded us to make babies (Genesis 9:7) and to do that, we need to get married. But not just any marriage that may present its opportunity. His desire is to fill the earth with generations of God-honouring people and we need to begin with our God-fearing families.
Do not settle on singleness if someone has merely told you that might be God’s will for you. Know that God’s promise is to give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). He delights in making our dreams come true, when they are aligned with His will (Matthew 6:33). So the way I see this is, if you and I desire a partner, He’s going to bring us one or He’ll change our desire. It’s that simple and it’s that exciting. His promise to us singles is rich with love – both earthly and eternally. God is a perfect father – He will keep His promises. How liberating is that?
Yours in relaxation of His perfect will,