I’ve never had a real girlfriend. Back in middle school there were a couple girls I “dated,” but let’s be honest; holding hands once or twice in a matter of five days isn’t really dating. Then in high school there was a girl I had “dated,” but there again, we only saw each other twice in the 6 days we were dating. And then she dumped me in a note during lunch.
For a single guy like me who struggles with how to even approach women, wedding season is pretty rough. Each newly-wed couple seems to have it all together; it just seems so easy for them to make things work. Sure, appearances aren’t everything. But they somehow got to the altar in the first place, didn’t they? They must be doing something right.
It frustrates me that I don’t know what that “something” is. Is it money? A six-pack? A bribe with lots and lots candy? I have no clue. In my world, it seems like every married man has some sort of secret knowledge that I don’t; like there’s some sort of code that I was supposed to learn in the fifth grade but didn’t because I was too busy playing with Legos. And every time I try to figure it out only leads to more and more frustration.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy for all my friends who’ve recently gotten married (eight couples that I can think of this year, so far). But each time another couple of friends get married I can’t help but wonder why I’m still single. It often feels like I’m doing something wrong.
When I start to feel that I’m doing something wrong, I either give up altogether and try to live the single life permanently or I start to feel sorry for myself and believe that I’m not meant for marriage. Neither of these is a good attitude to have. No, I’m not saying living the single life is a bad thing; I’m saying that allowing yourself to be controlled by your frustration and/or depression is a bad thing. And unfortunately, I often struggle with both.
In First Corinthians 7, Paul actually does say that it is better not to marry – not to say it’s a sin to marry, but to say that one’s worries and concerns are far fewer unmarried than married. And I would love to buy into Paul’s words except one thing: I want a wife.
I want to hold her hand when we walk; I want to snuggle up together on cold nights; and I want to show her my two left feet on the dance floor. I want to laugh with her, cry with her, pray with her, and seek God with her. I want a wife not simply for the purpose of not being alone, but for the purpose of experience life intimately with a girl. I want to see what a walk with God looks like through her eyes.
I’ve expressed this before (and apparently can’t express it enough), but I don’t like to write these sorts of posts because it usually leads to the same thing: People disregarding what I have to say here and simply encourage me with sayings like “You’ll find her some day, buddy” or somebody tries to set me up with one of their friends. If I wanted that stuff, I’d join an online dating site. But I don’t want any of this to be manufactured; I want to meet her when and how God wants me to. No sooner. No later.
In the meantime, though, I’m left to find a way to press on through the wedding seasons. It isn’t so easy with all of what I want mixing with all of what I don’t know about relationships. That is, of course, if I don’t pay attention to the weddings I attend.
With how different one wedding can be from another, there is still at least one commonality: A deep, unspoken friendship between the bride and groom. Every man or woman I know who has gotten hitched this year has had such an intimate, quirky friendship with their spouse. This friendship doesn’t make them any less of themselves than what they were when they were single, but rather more of themselves. Some way, somehow, their spouse brings out every small thing that identifies them as them. For instance, Kevin VanLoo just married Kara Meeuwsen (now VanLoo) yesterday. Kevin has always been a goof ball, but when he’s around Kara, he’s even more of a goofball. And she loves him for it.
He’s also been every bit of a Godly man and, just like his goofiness, even more so when Kara’s around. Spouses aren’t meant for us to stay the same, but, by pursuing God together, make us into the best possible versions of ourselves.
For a single guy like me, all I can do at this point is sigh and continue to pursue God. Most importantly, though, I must pursue God as myself – not faking any part of it, but seeking to improve every part of it. If I’m to find a wife worthy of a life-long relationship, I’m going to want her to fall in love with who I really am, not who I pretend to be.
Congratulations to all those who have gotten married or are getting married this wedding season!
And for those single men and women like me: Press on to know the Lord!