We’d had this conversation before, three times in the previous seven months. I knew exactly what he was going to say because I’d heard it before. You did everything right in your pursuit of her. You’re a godly guy. You are not the problem here. Yet somehow not even the encouragement of the man I trust most could stop my tears.
The consistent pattern of rejection was beginning to wear on me. It still does, even long past this conversation with my mentor. Getting past a second date—let alone actually winning a girl’s heart—increasingly feels like a distance I’ll never be able to cover. Insecurities and fears have plagued me. Perhaps I’m just unattractive and no amount of godliness can make up for that. Perhaps I’m single because God is upset with my dream of being a husband. Perhaps there’s another reason. I’ve stopped asking these questions, though, because I’ve realized that even answers would not change my longing for marriage.
Perhaps this is you. There’s no unrepentant sin in your life, but you still can’t escape the feeling you’re being disciplined. You remain steadfast in prayer because you’re not willing to go around God to get married, but those prayers seem to fall on deaf ears. You’ve followed every piece of advice in Just Do Something, but risk brings ruin more than rejoicing. You know better than to read God’s providence, but still the question haunts you: Does my desire to get married disappoint God?
As if your own doubts weren’t enough, your well-meaning friends offer quick fixes that feel more like subtle rebukes than gentle encouragements. They remind you of the benefits of singleness and the hardships of married life. They quote 1 Corinthians 7 and note how much time you have to serve the Lord. They insist that God takes pleasure in those who are content with their singleness. So you beg God to dampen your desire, hoping that if he won’t grant you marriage, he’ll at least grant you contentment. But he never does. You’ve grown weary of law and long for someone to give you gospel.
If this is you, if your longing for marriage feels like something to be fixed more than embraced, if you are desperate for some indication that God is not disappointed in you, if you’ve grown weary of law, let me offer you a release:
You can rest.
You can rest because God is pleased with you. And not just with you. He’s pleased with your desire for marriage. When Adam greets his wife with a love song, God does not condemn him. When Solomon tells his readers that a wife is a good thing, God does not add an asterisk. When Paul calls marriage a picture of heaven, God does not qualify the line by reminding us that singleness is better. God loves marriage.
And more than that, God loves you. He loved you enough to send his Son to die for you. To atone for every sin you’ve ever committed. To prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is one hundred percent for you. Because of this, there is not a morning you wake up into the condemnation of the Father. And there is not a night that you lay down into his disappointment. Not a millisecond passes in your day where his smile is not on you.
And this love is for the real you. The you who wishes you weren’t so romantic. The you who wonders if you’ve exhausted God’s patience by asking yet again for comfort in the latest rejection. The you who is afraid you’ll never be attractive enough. That is the you God loves. That is the you he is pleased with.
So when you come to God asking for a spouse for the sixth time this week, God does not lecture you on how to steward your singleness well. He does not pause to listen only after reminding you how content you ought to be. He hears your prayers. He sees your desires. And he loves them.
Rest in this.
Enjoy the desire he has given you. Let go of the worry that he would be pleased with you if you could just manage to be more content. Set down the burden of trying to earn his approval. Christ has already borne that weight so you don’t have to.
I don’t know your situation. I don’t know if you’ve lost count of how many times you’ve been rejected. I don’t know if the weight of your singleness feels heavier than anything else in your life. I don’t know if the ill-informed accusation of idolatry has left you feeling condemned or guilty. But I do know this: God is pleased with your desire for marriage.
So to you who have no answers and see no end in sight, to you who feel overwhelmed with the fear of never being enough, to you who wonder if the pain of rejection and loneliness will ever end:
God sees your desire for marriage.
He sees it when no one else sees it.
And he loves it.