Here is my heart’s truth: I want to be married. My heart is wired to be intimately connected to a man of honor and integrity. I long to study his patterns and preemptively fill in the gaps. I look forward to the day when I can glance across the room, see him see me and give a wink that says, “I see you too.” I can envision us now, awakening the world neighbor-by-neighbor in love, one block at a time, claiming territory for the Kingdom of God. Holding hands, we’ll travel further up and further in, tackling all the good works Jesus has set before us. Back-to-back, we’ll cover each other as we fight for Truth, justice and all that matters. And over a lifetime, as our flesh becomes one, we’ll unearth the mystery of this God-given sacrament for the good of the Kingdom. It’s not satisfaction I desire, but the sanctification for which marriage was created.
Here’s God’s truth: Marriage isn’t the goal I’ve made it to be. It isn’t life’s finish line. Marriage is but a foothill one may cross but it is not the summit of the mountain.
I don’t know about you, but as a single person, my heart compass needs recalibrating every so often. We live in a reality so inundated with romance, St. Valentine may as well sit on the throne and that can easily shift hearts off course if one doesn’t take the utmost care. Since a young age, I’ve considered a romantic connection to be a requirement. As if it’s a measure of current contentment and an objective to be fulfilled to secure happiness. Compulsively, I oriented my energy, expectation and time toward this arbitrary target and went out of my way to manufacture connections with any man who showed potential. Between online platforms and overactive eyes, I was constantly on the prowl, yet coming back empty handed over and over again.
God’s recently opened my eyes to this self-defeating storyline: I feel the pang of longing typified by loneliness. I decide I don’t like said feeling. I quickly set my eyes on the next potential fulfillment - usually the man nearest me. I settle, aggressively pursue and subconsciously fabricate the desired connection. I control my reality to be what I want it to be, rather than submitting to what God has for me. This obviously doesn’t actually work, the relationship falls through and I’m left more deflated and more aware of my loneliness than when I began.
Even since receiving this revelation, I sometimes still find myself a bit off course - feet angled toward the foothill as if it’s the mountain. I get caught up in the romance and sweep myself off my own feet, only to succumb to reality’s gravity and fall flat on my behind. In the midst of my late 20’s, with engagement announcements peppering the atmosphere, sometimes I need a reminder on where my hope comes from. Left to the world, my flesh says it’s marriage and then happily ever after…as if that’s all I was made for.
And in those moments, Holy Spirit gently redirects my path: “Don’t set your sights on foothills when you were created for mountains.”
Don’t get me wrong, the goal isn’t necessarily to stay single but rather, my life’s purpose — my life’s why — does not revolve around another human, nor is it fulfilled should that human make an appearance.
With fresh eyes — the perspective of Christ — God’s impeccable timing ushers me along the path of formation. Observing this long told narrative, I not only see the ailed logic, but by the Father’s grace, I’ve discovered His glorious gift, beautifully wrapped in the depths of my longing. My ache for something more exists not to draw me to another human - to the foothill - but to thrust me into the relationship with the Divine I am created for. That doesn’t mean I feel the longing less, rather I am content knowing it will forever drive me into discovering unlimited newness within my relationship to the Creator of the universe. I am settled in my desire knowing the gnawing hunger I feel will only be satisfied by daily seeking the Bread of Life, by Christ - beauty, love and relationship - Himself.