Recently, I accidentally overheard a conversation between two religious friends, one of whom arranged a “blind date”for the other. “That is, this is your opinion of me?!” – the second one was indignant.
The girl, although “very nice”, was not his type. They weren’t compatible, and that was her problem. What’s wrong with her? It was that she had to be able to unlock his potential and become a reflection of his best qualities. That’s why it didn’t suit him.
Another friend of mine has no better behaved. He puts himself so high that others seriously believe that God has not yet created one that will “match” him. In a nutshell, he refused to meet just anyone, because they were all below his level of spirituality, and he was destined for none other than a Christian supermodel.
Some brothers (and sisters) in churches – not all, not most – remain single because they can’t find a wife to suit their taste. Taste means something more than the opposite sex, free status, following Christ. They sweep away girl after girl (or guy after guy) in search of the Queen of Heaven at such a pace, as if they are given a choice not people, but squirrels, geese and crocodiles.
Imagine these characters in the Garden of Eden: instead of exclaiming, “bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh!” (Genesis 2: 23), Adam condescendingly says, “well, this is a better option than the animals suggested. Plus she’s bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh, sweet and all that-we should make friends. She’s just not my type.” And adds: “My God, that’s what You think of me?»
Too many flavors
In no case should this article be taken as a call to run away and marry the first woman who catches your eye in the Church. My message is that some reject (well, okay-put it off “for later») God’s gift of marriage, because their quality standards exceed God’s.
Their exaggerated demands, dictated by overblown self-love, displace the biblical criteria. They ignore the words of the Apostle Paul:” By the grace that has been given to me, I say to every one of you, do not think of yourself more than you ought to think, but think humbly, according to the measure of faith that God has given to each one ” (Romans 12: 3).
I suspect that most of these hopeless romantics (and hopeless through their own fault) they suffer from their pride because they are attractive to the opposite sex. They are not occupied. They have more opportunities than everyone else, and it makes them feel worse. Like a child in a candy store, they can’t stop at one thing, because it will lead them to abandon further choices.
And now they’ve been waiting for something for years. They go on dates, but they don’t want to get married. And they probably don’t even notice that they’re breaking heart after heart. They just haven’t found the waffle cone that the ice cream vendor will put all thirty different spoons of sherbet in. When faced with a choice, they freeze in horror before the thought ” what if…?”. What if they want strawberry-chocolate ice cream later? What if something goes wrong after the wedding? What if they met the one after they were already ringed?
The brutality of an abundance of options and the tyranny of unfulfilled marriage hopes is discouraging, and they turn around and walk away. The ego wins and robs them of love.
Pride and prejudice
I’ve been stealing from myself for years, too. And I am not writing this article in order to stick in the back of a bachelor suffering from loneliness (after all, there are those who do not marry through no fault of their own) knife and crank, or to throw mud at young people for the fact that so few married people (as if only they are to blame for this). I write this to those who consciously make such a choice (in particular, Christian men) and do not notice beautiful girls right under their noses.
I could play two characters in Shakespeare’s Much ADO about Nothing at once. In the role of Benedict, the words would suit me:
“One woman is beautiful – but I survived. The other is clever , but I survived. The third is virtuous , but I survived. Until I meet a woman who is attractive in every way at once, no one will attract me.”
They would say about me as Beatrice:
“Looking at everything with contempt; he values his mind
It’s so high that everything is different
He doesn’t give a damn. Where is there really love!
She can’t even imagine love –
So in love with myself.”
I didn’t get married, not because I was too serious about marriage, but because I was demanding too much for myself. My fiancee was supposed to be different from the others, beautiful, sociable, athletic, easy on the upswing, funny, smart, economic… and, well, also a Christian. She had to have all of these things, and not just because I didn’t want anything less. Only a woman with all these qualities will be my match. There was no room for love for his wife, but for love for himself.
Isn’t it pride, even if it sometimes keeps us from doing something bad, that stands in the way of our marriage? Don’t we pay too much attention to ourselves, which atrophies the ability to devote ourselves to someone else? Let’s drop the self-imposed safety net that prevents us from descending to the level of ordinary people. Being alone doesn’t make us happy.
Standard level of “Everest»
When I say that we overestimate the standards of the future spouse, do I belittle the importance of standards as such? Absolutely not. Attraction, shared interests, shared goals, and character type are all important. It’s right to feel attracted to the woman you’re married to. I was very lucky to have a wife, because I didn’t turn my head off when I set out to get married.
Yet all these criteria are important, but not primary. Proverbs Chapter 31 verse 30 says, ” loveliness deceives and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the Lord is worthy of praise.” Do not flirt with a beautiful woman in order to convert her to your faith, ignoring already believing women who have put an emphasis on spiritual beauty (1 Peter 3: 4). All tastes are different, and it is better to choose from the category aimed at God.
Remember: Christians have a significant advantage over non-Christians – being born again. A divine lightning bolt struck her, awakening her to come out of the spiritual grave. Isn’t this a miracle that makes her worthy of marriage? Isn’t that enough to put her above the earthly criteria? What will happen to her after a thousand years?
Christians, if God trusts you to take care of one of his daughters, allows you to raise children with her, laugh until you get sick, love, travel, one day she will become someone you will want to adore if you meet her today. It will grow to a beauty that cannot be seen with earthly eyes, because it is dazzling. Marriage in the Lord is anything but settling down.
For men and women who rely on marriage more than they need to, and, as a result, overestimate their standards and views on it, I want to remind you that the current world, and everything in it, even marriage, is passing. We can only hope for a happy marriage when a happy marriage is not an end in itself. No matter how desirable our spouse is, she will not create a Paradise on earth. The happiest marriage is no substitute for the afterlife and no substitute for the glory to come.
Only with the arrival of the Bridegroom on earth did we begin to perceive a little of the divine mystery: God conceived marriage for unity. Every time we see our bride, we get goosebumps, our soul seems to foresee the future. Marriage, as beautiful as it is in itself, is not created for us – we enjoy it without worshipping the idea itself. Marriage is given to us as a prototype of what will happen when the Bridegroom comes for his bride.
Until then, we can (and some should) just do everything we can to accept God’s gift of marriage. Until God returns for us, we can only look for Him in people who are not perfect like ourselves, but who are saved By his grace and are alive by Christ. As long as He appoints us to be here, there is only one thing left for us to do: to glorify Jesus Christ, knowing that God is glorified in our families when we seek satisfaction in him alone in our marriage. Two imperfect spouses, one imperfect marriage, and all for the sake of being in eternity with God.