Marriage vs Singleness

Single, In a relationship, Married, Divorced, Widowed or “It’s complicated:” those were the only choices for relationship status on Facebook when I first set up my Facebook account several years ago. I found the most fitting choice for my relationship status was the choice, “It’s complicated.”  I always love a little dose of comic relief and my marriage certainly was complicated, so it seemed a fitting choice.
At one point, one of my friends, a young man in his late teens, commented,
“Your relationship isn’t ‘complicated,’ you’re MARRIED.”  
“Yes, David,” I replied,  “I’m married … which is WHY my relationship is complicated.”

When we’re young, we’re so …. disillusioned into believing that once we get married,
everything will be wonderful, glorious and special
or at least uncomplicated and stable …
when, in fact, nothing could be further than the truth.
Marriage involves people …. so marriage is complicated and difficult.
It requires a great deal of work from both parties for it to be successful and fulfilling.

I have given great thought to singleness
and marriage
in the last year.

I had a newly divorced acquaintance
who is the father of three and only has average father visitation (two weekends a month)
recently say to me
“I am the most happy I have been in my life.”
He lives alone and is responsible for and accountable to absolutely no one
except himself.
All I could think was, “Well, of course you are happy.
You get to do what you want, when you want, how you want, whenever you want.
There is no one around to hold you accountable or disagree with you on any topic!”

The circular motion of thought in my head is centered upon the differences between
deciphering how to focus upon and please God alone,
the ever changing topography of pleasing a spouse while pleasing God
and living a self-centered life where there
the only one to please is yourself with no regard to pleasing God.

The one thing that I have noticed since becoming single again is that
I now focus solely on God’s desire and design for my life.
What would He have me do to please Him?
I live in constant conversation with Him about what He would want …
rather than in conversation with Him
about what my husband would want.
The huge contrast is that
I used to wonder how I could please God through pleasing my husband …
now I simply focus on pleasing God.

And I wonder …
is there a way to focus …
t.r.u.l.y focus on God …
and be a wife … a friend … a helper … a lover … a soul mate?
If I remarry, do I lose that focus? Is there a way to maintain it?
Because, my experience has taught me that I cannot please God and man …
or maybe I just don’t know how.

Have you seen this illustration? It is one of my absolute favorites
when relating to any relationship
but especially that of a husband a wife.

Whether single, married, divorced or widowed, any relationship we are in will be complicated.
The key seems to be focusing on God first.
I have a great deal to learn about doing this well.

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5 thoughts on “Marriage vs Singleness

  1. I feel I have experienced both sides of the coin. Earlier in my marriage, I felt guilty for going to church and taking my kids to church. Why? Because my husband did not go, and resented my time away when I did go. I always felt torn during that time.
    Today, with a husband who goes to church with the family, attends Sunday school willingly, and is an active volunteer at our church, I feel so much more peace because I do not have to choose.
    I once heard a speaker say that most women love their husbands and appreciate God. And that we should LOVE GOD and appreciate our husbands. That is another thing that really helped my mind be clear about this matter.
    I’m thankful that God can change hearts, and He has changed not only my hubby’s heart but mine too!

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  2. Hey, I love your blog… I have so much to say, but will only add here what strikes me most. (For everyone’s sake!)
    I, too, often reflect on marriage vs singleness… I was so happy when I was married, and thought all was well too. At one time I seemed to have married my best friend. Oh, I know we “both” changed, but he had seemed to change so much….it was our 12th year of marriage, and whatever he was going through, and doing, caused me to say, “I feel like I am losing my best friend…” to which he replied that we hadn’t been best friends in a long time. : ( I spent the next years in pretty much agony, wondering what I did wrong, how to make it better, how to make him want me again…to really no avail. So I feel your pain. We stayed together for another 5 years, but it was hard, and we finally divorced.
    But the beauty in all of it was that I really did seek God in that time. I was a Christian, and went to church, but now I was really seeking, asking, crying, wanting…I felt like I was losing everything I had ever known, everything I had to be thankful for. Little did I see at the time how God was taking care of my children, my job, etc…me…But to me I thought I was losing it all, till a marquis on a church spoke to me. It said, “You realize God is all you need, when God is all you have.”

    I really felt like He was all I had.

    And then He was all I needed, really.

    I don’t always remember that, but I do try.

    There was so much more I wanted to write, but will stop there. It doesn’t end there though. I ask God for guidance, and I believe He will and does, but I jokingly say to my friends that sure God is leading me, just like He led Moses in the desert for 40 years!! : P Oh well, life is a journey!
    I love your grateful journal…I try to go to sleep one more night being thankful for all that God has given me, and pray for “daily bread”, and know that one day maybe my path will be more clear…
    And in the mean time, just “live”…
    Look forward to what you have to say more…
    Keep writing sister! You’re doing great!
    Lisa

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  3. Karen,
    The diagram says it all… When both spouses aren’t pointed towards God, the triangle is not equal, and the misalignment leaves the entire relationship off-balance. It’s just like our God-given body. When it is out of alignment, there is a shift towards pain. Eventually the pain from squeezed or herniated discs becomes unbearable. You can no longer walk. Even lying down can be excruciating.
    A marriage needs proper alignment too, or just like lying down… it can be excruciating.
    The balance can and does exist in many marriages. I would guess it exists in most truly, deeply, happy and loving marriages.
    God wants us to serve Him, and the sacrament that he designed for man and woman to serve Him best together as a unit, is marriage. By serving your spouse, you are ultimately serving God, if you serve your spouse in a Godly way, following God’s laws. It’s all in your heart… you know it to be true. You just haven’t had a taste of it yet… and it remains theoretical. (((hugs)))

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  4. Karen,

    I also like the diagram of the triangle and think it speaks truth concerning the husband/wife relationship. But, like one of your friends said above, the problem occurs when the husband and wife aren’t both climbing up the triangle growing closer to God and subsequently to each other. If the wife is growing closer to God while the husband is not, the distance between them only grows.

    As far as your question, I will let the Word of God answer that. I love the Amplified version and will quote that version here:

    “My desire is to have you free from all anxiety and distressing care. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord — how He may please the Lord.
    But the married man is anxious about worldly matters — hoow he may please his wife —
    And he is drawn in diverging directions [his interests are divided and he is distracted from his devotion to God]. And the unmarried woman or girl is concerned and anxious about the matters of the Lord, how to be wholly separated and set apart in body and spirit; but the married woman has her cares centered in earthly affairs — how she may please her husband.
    Now I say this for your own welfare and profit, not to put a halter of restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly and in good order and to secure your undistracted and undivided devotion to the Lord.” — 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

    “A wife is bound to her husband by law as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she will only [provided that he too is] in the Lord. But in my opinion [a widow] is happier (more blessed and to be envied) if she does not remarry. And also I think I have the Spirit of God.” — 1 Corinthians 7:39-40

    That is the Word of the Lord on that matter. What do you think, Karen??

    I know you are in a HARD place and my heart goes out to you! May the Lord give you PEACE as to your future and what His Perfect Will is for you!!!!!

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