This weekend, I mixed sound at a wedding ceremony. This wedding story though wasn’t what you would expect since the bride is in her 60s. It’s awesome to see someone remain faithful for so many years before the promise of her groom came into her life. This is a clear picture of what it will be like when Jesus returns for His faithful spotless Bride. I have to ask myself the question of will I be found standing in faith on that day, despite all the trials, when He comes?
That’s great, but.
To be honest, whenever I attend weddings, there is usually a mix of emotions. On one side, I’m happy to celebrate this display of the marriage covenant in real lives. On the other side though, I feel the perceived pressure of society and the Church that marriage is the picture of wholeness. I’ve known that look of others’ disapproval and shock when they find out I’m not married too many times. Being 35, it never fails that there will probably be a question by someone as to why I’m not married yet. But this time, things were different…
This time, I had to stop and ask what is it? Really? Is this truly all there is about marriage that never sits right with me…or is there more? Is there something deeper that God might want to show me? I admit that weddings are usually a painful reminder of the reality of my own singleness. But I believe there’s more to it than just that. So I sat in silence and asked the Lord for understanding…(be careful what you ask for–you might not be ready for the answer!)And then it hit me. It all can be revealed in just one four-letter word.
I did not expect that word. Why? Mainly because I don’t have a driving strong desire to be married. I never day-dream about having a wife or family of my own. If this is true, how could I be envious? Maybe I heard God wrong? It didn’t make sense to me. But then I remembered a conversation I had one time with a friend’s parent. I remember something that the mother said..
Marriage is vulnerable. You can only be loved to the degree you are known. The more you share, the more you’re known…and the more you can be loved and hurt. You build trust through that.
Then things began to make sense! I’m not envious of the male-female relationship, since I still have no attraction to the opposite gender, nor desire the sexual intimacy shared in marriage. No, I’m envious of the life context and things to which marriage implies.
Complete vulnerability with someone sounds great because I long to share being known by another person. I think about marriage and how it’s a life-long commitment. I would love to have that level of stability and value in a relationship; it sounds too good to be true. I also like the idea of(for better or worse)living with another person, essentially doing life together and having intimate involvement with them in every day-to-day area.
I realize that it is these things that are hard to celebrate that another has found for themselves. I want those things, granted my preference would be to experience that with a guy in friendship. Just as it’s rare to find that special relationship and love in marriage, I believe it’s rare to find it in friendship too. So how then do I cope and not sink into a lonely depression?
The answer first looks like being thankful for what I do have, whether big or small. I thank God for the varying degree of friendships that He has blessed me with. Focusing on what you don’t have never profits. Keeping my attitude in gratefulness helps me to receive from others again and again. The second answer is to realize in full what I have access to with my relationship with Jesus. Like I mentioned earlier, the heart of what I’m looking for can be fully met in one place. The more I talk to and listen to Jesus, the deeper our relationships goes. There’s so much depth to explore and the crazy part is -there’s no end to God so this will never run out! God’s commitment to me is eternal because of Jesus’ blood. He will never break His promise to me so I know I can count on Him. My only appropriate response then is to keep Him first in my life because He matters. Lastly, Jesus clearly stated that we are no longer slaves but friends, sons. We get to partner with what He’s doing and walk with Him as He walks with us. He has given us His very Spirit which allows me to have access to his thoughts and heart all the time. And this joining is much closer and deeper than any joining between a husband and wife. This union is superior to any other. My longing can be fulfilled in Christ, truly.
Remembering this calms me. I repent of my envy and then find myself able to truly celebrate with another and the joy that they have now as husband and wife. I thank God that He sees and knows my struggle and that I’m not alone in it. He, my Husband, is with me.
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Have you ever experienced envy? How did you overcome it? Have you ever struggled with attending marriage ceremonies? Can you relate to the longing for intimacy and vulnerability…if so, how do you cope with it?
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