Does God Promise You a Spouse?
By Rob Eager
Jennifer was a disgrunted,single woman at my church. She was 36 years old and complained that her life was slipping away. Six years had passed since her last boyfriend, and her dating life remained in limbo. Jennifer wondered whether her heart still had the capacity to love. Beneath her jaded disposition festered an undercurrent of resentment toward God.
After attending church regularly for more than two years, she suddenly disappeared. Three months later, I bumped into her at a restaraunt and asked her whether she had moved to another church. She replied,"No, I've quit church altogether. I just can't bring myself to worship a God who would leave me in such loneliness." Jennifer concluded that if she was ever going to let God back into her life, He'd better bring her a husband-and fast.
Does God promise us a spouse? The bible says "yes" by describing Christians as the spiritual bride of Christ. Our true spouse is Jesus. Yet, many of us say,"i,m glad to be spiritually married to Christ, but I can't feel him. Wouldn't it be better if I could enjoy God's love with someone else? I want Jesus with skin on." So,we pray for God to bring us an earthly mate.
The Gripe for Love
My search for a spouse turned into a cycle of frustration as I encountered numerous relational struggles and a wife who abandoned me six months into our marriage. I started to wonder if God actually cared about my romantic relationships. Whenever I felt particularly upset about being single, I would sit in my den recliner and gripe to God about the injustice of my social life. Knowing He possessed omnipotent power made it seem logical to expect a wife from Him.
Whenever I demanded that God rush me a spouse, however, He seemed to whisper this question in my heart,"Rob, is the love of Jesus Christ enough for you? Have you allowed My complete forgiveness and unconditional acceptance to satisfy your heart?''
In tears of resignation, I conceded, "I appreciate your love,Lord,but all I really want is a wife." I still believed that my heart needed the affection of a person in order to feel complete. In essence, I valued human love more than God's love.
One day, I began to look back over my life and the numerous dead-end relationships from my past. In each situation, romance had started out with a bang but fizzled under the weight of performance-based love. No matter who I met, either I was too demanding or she couldn't accept me for who I was.
Suddenly, something clicked within my mind. I thought, "Why am I chasing marriage when it cannot provide the unconditional love that my heart craves? Only Christ offers me everything I need." With this new perspective, I relinquished to God my demand to get married. I still wanted to find a spouse someday, but I no longer considered marriage necessary to complete my life. If I remained single for the rest of my life, that was okay-God promised to fulfill my heart.
When we demand that God bring us a mate, we block His love from enhancing our social life. The anger we harbor builds a wall between us and Him. If we are honest with ourselves, we realize that our demand for marriage is a refusal of God's love because we want our selfish desires met. God will never stop loving us, but we ignore Him when we desperately seek a human being to make us happy. Furthermore, whatever we depend upon for our happiness will wind up controlling us. If we believe we need a human spouse to be satisfied, then people, rather than God, will dictate our lives.
God is in control of everything, but He does not intervene just to make your lives easy. He no intention of making a woman magically appear and fall in love with me. Instead, God wanted use His power to mature me into someone who would initiate sacrificial love towards other people. I wanted to get love, while God was teaching me to give love.
The Freedom to Love
Likewise, God is working in your life to help you meet and love other people. However, you make the final choice as to whom you accept and whom you reject. When you interact with another person, you have the freedom to decide which direction your relationship will take. You can choose to become romantic,just be friends, or end your time together and separate. In addition, the other person has a decision in the matter, which means he can influence the outcome. Consequently, a relationship will not develop unless both of you decide to love each other. On the hand, if you or the other person make selfish decisions, your relationship may crumble.
The desire for marriage is a fair request, but the consequences of living in a fallen world can prevent people from reaching that goal. For instance, you can pursue someone romantically, bu that individual my choose to ignore you, a crisis or illness could hinder you, or that person may decide to leave you. The sins of humanity create numerous barriers to good relationships.
Yet, why is life hard sometimes? Why doesn't God use His power to protect us from pain? Actually,God is at work, but in a different way than some of us realize.
Therefore,finding an earthly spouse will not occur through demanding God to miraculously bring someone to your doorstep. Mariage is not a predetermined process that happens mysteriously. You will get frustrated if you believe that God mystically pair people together. If God predetermines marriage, then why doesn't stop divorce? Instead God let us make the decision to love or the decision to leave.
The Choice to Love
God brings people across your path and encourages you to love them, but He lets you manage your relational responses. Thus,marriage revolves around deliberately making choices to love another person. You can improve your opportunities for romance by getting out and choosing to sacrificially love people. Or, you can opt for selfish or reclusive behavior and diminish your relational prospects. The quality of your social life hinges on the choice you make.
Use the follwing questions to consider if your desire for marriage has become a demand:
. Am I dating to find someone who can make me feel better about myself?
.Can I feel content and thankful to God in my singleness?
.Am I cynical about relationships with the opposite sex?
. Am I afraid of the possibility of never getting married?
. Is the love of Jesus Christ enough for me?
If your desire for marriage has turned into a demand,find encouragement by meditating on these verses: Philippians4:6-13; 2Corinthians12:9-10.