Earlier this week I posted on my Insta - @chatswithlou - and tweeted on my Twita (aka Twitter) - @ChatswithLou - 'Being married won't make you happy, when you don't know how to be happy without being married.'
Let's be very blunt, marriage has become an idol to people- better yet singles. Yes I said it, but not in the way so often portrayed. The concept that 'marriage has become and idol' is a funny one really because it's often said by someone/couples who are married, so as much as singles be listening some are also looking at them like - yeah, but you married so is it an idol for me, but it wasn't for you?
But the reality is, it has but not so much how we 'worship' marriage, but what emotions/feelings we place in it.
I've been reading the book of Isaiah, and it really goes to town on Israel's blatant disregard of God and their constant TURNING TO/SUCCUMBING to idols/idolatry they placed their hope in these idols, their successes in these idols, their misfortune, their destructions in these idols until they realised - oh no it's the Lord.
Isaiah 1: 1-2, 4: The Lord has said, “Listen, heaven and earth! The children I raised have turned against me. Israel, you are a sinful nation loaded down with guilt. You are wicked and corrupt and have turned from the Lord, the holy God of Israel."
When I talk to single women and see that there is a level of unhappiness with them being single, it then becomes apparent that they are placing their happiness in finding a Husband. Things are 'ok,' family are fine, job is meh, dealing with a pandemic yeah, 'it is what it is', still no boyfriend who will become a Husband? Bingo - the sigh, the upset, the moaning, the fear, the worry all come tumbling, and they are down. Now I am by no means dismissing these feelings, and they suck to experience, but when feelings come, as we have the Holy Spirit we are to challenge them, so they don't knock us off our relationship with God. When feelings come, I assess the root cause - why am I feeling this? Why does not being in a relationship make you unhappy? Ask yourself and answer the question. I have an answer for you though, because being in a relationship will make you happy.
You've started to place your happiness in a relationship that is yet to come, you've started to equate you being much happier in life with being married. You consider/believe when you are married, then dealing with all the physical aspects of your relationship when unmarried - such as sex, lust, celibacy, sex, purity, kinky thoughts, your desires and you guessed it sex - won't be a problem, because you can enjoy sex and so much more when your married. Putting your happiness in marriage, is like the Israelites putting their happiness in an idol. Marriage should never be the source of your happiness - God is the source of your happiness.
You aren't supposed to be placing your happiness in a relationship with your future Husband - that whether we like it or not, is going to be a relationship that has difficult times, can cause upset and therefore unhappiness. In Isaiah 44: 9-10...Those people who make idols are nothing themselves, and the idols they treasure are just as worthless. Worshipers of idols are blind, stupid, and foolish. Why make an idol or an image that can’t do a thing? Everyone who makes idols and all who worship them are mere humans, who will end up sadly disappointed. Let them face me in court and be terrified (CEV). God is reprimanding the Israelites for their idolatry, their worship of the idols they have created, their worship of objects that have no power, and therefore can't do anything for them. He finishes off that verse with a challenge, if you think otherwise - Let them face me in court and be terrified. - basically if you think I'm exaggerating, let's hash this out and you'll understand I'm not. We sometimes bypass this very real fact when we think of marriage, we bypass the challenges to come like it's a puddle on the ground, but although puddles do dry up they can re-appear when it rains again - even when you have an umbrella. It can be hard enough dealing with different opinions, emotions and feelings when you doing something with a few friends, colleagues, a group of people -
imagine doing day to day life with one other person, for life. Still think marriage is going to be a walk in the park? Yeah, well try walking with wellies as that path is going to get muddy at times.
Better yet do the math - Happiness + Unhappiness = Unhappiness, this is based on the empirical equation of (positive) + (negative) = negative, if you place your happiness in the same source that can make you unhappy, you will end up unhappy - spiritually and mathematically by default.
The relationship in which we should be placing our happiness in, is our relationship with God. In Isaiah 55:1-3 the Lord says "If you are thirsty, come and drink water! If you don’t have any money, come, eat what you want! Drink wine and milk without paying a cent. Why waste your money on what really isn’t food? Why work hard for something that doesn’t satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and you will enjoy the very best foods. Pay close attention! Come to me and live. I will promise you the eternal love and loyalty that I promised David.(CEV)" God not only promises eternal love and loyalty, He sustains - why wouldn't you place your happiness in a source of eternal, loyal, sustainable love? I would even go as far as saying don't just give your happiness to God, like you give to receive or you give to take back at some point, place your happiness in God, choose to make God the source of that happiness, leave your happiness with God as He is the source that cannot disappoint - literally. If God promises that when you come to him He will give you eternal, loyal, sustainable love, He will keep his promises because “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do?Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" - Numbers 23: 19 .
Placing your happiness in God will enable you to have a stronger foundation, and knowledge of what it means to be happy. It is that knowledge you then take into your relationship, as that is the standard of happiness you know you should be working from or too. Everything you have learnt/are learning in your walk with God becomes the blueprint for your relationship with your Husband, and even in the relationships we have with other people i.e. community, friends, work etc. How God has helped you find happiness after dealing with heartbreak, anger, upset, fear, loneliness - those same lessons you would use in a relationship. But the difference is, because you know what happiness is in God you are more equipped to deal with the highs and lows of a relationship, instead of being floored by the highs and lows - because you placed your happiness in your future Husband, who at times may make you unhappy. You are your Husband would be more aware of the standard of happiness you should both be having, as you know what happiness is in God as opposed to trying to find it in each other.
The empirical equation of (positive) + (positive) = positive, Happiness + Happiness = More Happiness ,if you put your happiness in God, a source that can make you happy (always), you will end up happy - spiritually and mathematically by default.
When the Israelites returned to Jerusalem after over 70 years in exile in Babylon, they gathered together at a celebration and wept for good reason, Nehemiah 8: 9-10 "And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord..." They had had the Law of Moses read out, and heard the betrayal and disobedience that had led to the people being punished, to which they who were listening, had returned from, a punishment given to them as a result of idolatry. But upon recognising what they had done Nehemiah reminded them of the following Nehemiah 8: 10 "...Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” - it's one of the most popular verses of the Bible - the joy of the Lord is my strength.
The joy of the Lord is your strength, the happiness of the Lord which He enables you to enjoy can be your strength, that can be your shield, that can be your fulfilment, that can keep you going way more, and way before your future Husband comes along.
As someone who is fine with being single, I make no bones in telling people that I will get married one day. As there can be an assumption that being happy in my singleness, equates to be being gifted with the gift of singleness (Matthew 19:11), which it doesn't in the sense that I won't be single for the rest of my life. However during this time I became fine with being single because I learnt to find happiness in God, prior to finding it in a relationship. I used to feel those pangs/feelings of not being in a relationship, of being unhappy I was single. But the more I discovered who I was in God, what He had called me to do, the more I started living that out, instead of seeing Christian relationships/happily married couples and saying 'Why can't that be me?' My happiness in the Lord turned that into, 'I can't wait for that to be me!'. There was no unhappiness, there was fulfilment in the Lord and the stepping stone for me to step on that when I do find my Husband. When your happiness is rooted in the Lord, your perspective of what happiness is changes, and you are able to take that into a relationship, as opposed to trying to find that in a relationship.
As the Israelites found out time after time, the idols couldn't make them happy as they were idols - images made out of wood, silver, bronze that had no power - Isaiah 64: 3-5 Your fearsome deeds have completely amazed us; even the mountains shake when you come down. 4 You are the only God ever seen or heard of who works miracles for his followers. You help all who gladly obey and do what you want, but sin makes you angry. Only by your help can we ever be saved (CEV).Your future marriage can't make you happy as it has no power, when your happiness isn't placed in God first. Don't wait to be happy, learn to be happy with God now, and then you will know what happiness is and have that with you in your future marriage.
All verses are from the New Kings James Version unless stated.