“…happily ever after”
That’s how many fairy tales end. But did you ever notice that fairy tales don’t ever tell the story after marriage? They don’t even describe the wedding! For those of us who were raised on fairy tales and Hollywood, this classic ending places a picture in our heads. It tells us that we will never be happy until a guy with blond hair and blue eyes comes on a white horse and gives us true love’s first kiss; then we could live happily ever after. Tell that to all the single women who are completely fine without a boyfriend.
I’m single, and I’m OK with it. Like, seriously, I’m OK with it. I feel like this season of my life is best lived single; when it’s over, I’ll find a guy. But you would not believe how many times I get asked, “So…are you interested in someone?” When I say no, they still press. “Really? No one?” Really, I’m not pursuing a relationship with anyone.
I’ve read several articles lately that were more or less titled, “Why You are Single and Why You Should Change.” Each writer gives a list of ten things that Christian women (especially) are doing wrong and how they can turn their lives around and marry good men. The writers list reasons such as high expectations, pride, and neediness. However, they left out one reason: because I don’t want to be in a relationship. Does there have to be something wrong with me in order for me to be single? Can’t I just decide that now is not the right time for me to make a commitment to date a guy when, you know, I’m planning on going overseas and teaching English for a year?
I was having a conversation with someone about how happy I was to be single. She smiled. “That’s going to change someday.” “What’s going to change?” I asked. “One day you’re going to be married with a house full of kids.” I was shocked. Am I really not allowed to enjoy this season of my life where I am free to travel wherever I want, whenever I want, without kids, a husband, or a full-time job? She continued. “God hasn’t revealed your husband to you because he is preparing your husband to be the godly man that you need. When you’re both ready, God will allow you to meet each other.”
Now, I partly agree with this. But there’s an error that I really want to discuss before I just let this slip from my mind. After being raised on fairy tales where marriage is the end, our society has become a place where marriage is the end of our stories. We get married; the end. If we want true happiness, we must find our Prince Charming and have a fancy wedding in a pretty dress. And God spends all of our lives preparing us, growing us, shaping us, molding us…so that we could find the man (or woman) of our dreams. And that’s it.
I’ve seen this taken various ways. People feel like they have to live the good life first before they settle down and find a spouse. They feel like if they get married, their lives really will be over. So they sleep around, drink, and don’t really make any commitments. Then you have those who do not want to do anything until they find their spouses. They hold off plans, and they create agendas around when they want to get married.
I think society places a great weight on marriage, and while I am not against it, I believe that there is a time and a place for it. We do not prepare ourselves for marriage; God prepares us for holiness. We are not successful because we are husbands or wives; we are successful because we give glory to God. One of my mentors told me an amazing statement that I will never forget: “Eve was called ‘woman’ before she got married, before she had sex, and before she became a mom.” That means that something more than just what she did made her a woman. She was a woman because God created her; her identity was found in Him.
Therefore, while it is not wrong to get married, it is also not wrong to be single. If Mr. Right hasn’t come along yet, don’t worry. God will use you just the way you are, as long as you are willing to commit to him. Marriage is a season of your life that may feel like forever but is not the end of the story. Sure, we will all live happily ever, but not because a man comes into your life to make it better. We live happily ever after because a man did come into our world, died on the cross for our sins, and has promised to prepare a place for us after death.