I'm a little scared to even write about this topic for fear that my intentions or feelings might be misunderstood . . . but you know, I've written a series on relationships and singleness before and I feel the need to approach that topic once again!
So here's what's on my heart.
Every Christian young woman has heard it before, probably about a thousand times: True love waits. You may have worn the ring with that motto, read all the books about it, heard the speakers, gone to the youth group events, sang the songs, taken the pledges, etc. And still you wait.
I understand that "true love waits" was initially intended to refer to purity and saving intimacy for a future husband, and don't get me wrong--that is so Biblical and so good (not to mention so counter-cultural). And maybe I'm about to be too hard on whoever first came up with that slogan, but hear me out. I am so tired of hearing that true love waits, and here's why.
First of all, in my estimation, about 95% of the time the concept of "waiting for marriage" is only addressed to women--not men. As if they don't need to wait, because they're not passive. They do, and they act, but we as women wait. Really? Is that really the message we want to send?
True love waits. I know that the "waiting" terminology started off meaning one thing, and a very honorable thing at that: preserving purity. But "waiting" has expanded way beyond its initial moorings in sexual purity, and it's become synonymous with this damaging overall attitude that pretty much all Christian single women are expected to have: you wait because it's the right thing to do, the only thing to do. You pray for a husband, and wait, and hone your domestic and babysitting skills, and learn how to cook a great lasagna and sew your own clothes, and then you wait some more. You put your life on hold because you're, you know, waiting. Because that's what true love does.
So many Christian young women I know have bought into this idea that finding a mate is the be-all and the end-all of life, and that until you find a husband, your life can't be complete. And so then your whole life is put in a holding pattern, and you're not getting anywhere, because you've placed marriage on a pedestal where it really doesn't belong, and you've idealized it. Or rather, you've idolized it.
And then, when women struggle to find a husband, a common problem, people around them start acting like God uses a form of divine reverse psychology, if you will. "Stop wanting it so much, and then you'll get it. Find your completeness in God, be spiritually satisfied in him, and when you least expect it, you'll find someone!" And then if it still doesn't happen, women who love Jesus more than anything and know it begin to question their own relationships with God, feeling like they've held up their end of the bargain and perhaps, He hasn't held up His. And the broken dreams can lead to broken spirits, leading women to want to rip the "true love waits" ring right off their finger and grieve because there's not an engagement ring to replace it. I don't mean to discount in any way the grief caused by an unfulfilled desire for a husband, because it is so real. I haven't been there yet, but friends have been there. Family has been there, and I know it is so painful to feel tantalized by something you feel like you just can't get.
But at its core, being spiritually satisfied in Christ is about being satisfied in Him and loving Him because He loved you first. He delights in you. He has written your name on the palms of His hands, engraved you on His heart. He sings songs of joy over you even if you never hear the sound. He laughs with you and cries with you and, in fact, even prays for you. Finding your joy and satisfaction in Jesus Christ is about that. Y'all, it's not a bargaining chip to find a husband. It's not like, "Just find your joy in the Lord, and then, you'll definitely be rewarded with a husband." It should not even be like that. Because knowing and loving the Lord is its own reward. It shouldn't be part of a deal we make with God. It shouldn't be something we cheapen to achieve our own ends. Am I guilty of trying to do that? Oh, yes, I am. We all are. Yet another reason why we all need grace, why Christ came to redeem lives just like ours.
And waiting, always waiting, for a mate, and engagement, and marriage, and a family . . . I think it engenders an attitude that we as women shouldn't be acting. We fall into the trap of thinking we shouldn't be out there pursuing our own dreams and living the lives God has blessed us with right now, because we should be waiting. I'm a feminist and I admit it, but isn't that a little archaic? Not trying to sound like Joel Osteen, but you can have your best life now. It doesn't have to be later. Don't wait to start the life God wants you to live. Don't wait for a husband. Don't wait for children. Don't wait to finally have that engagement ring on your left hand. Please, let's just stop waiting. Let's start pursuing our God-given passions, following God wherever He leads, dreaming, having a vision, and going for it. True love doesn't just have to wait. True love can act, and dream, and pursue a vision NOW. Go for it now. I promise, you won't miss the wait.